What Core Topics Are Covered in Film School?

In film school, students learn about the key aspects of movie making. Topics of study include producing, directing, art direction, cinematography, screenwriting, postproduction work and sound. Film school students can earn undergrad and graduate degrees in film, cinema studies, media studies or cinema production. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You'll Learn in Film School

Film schools often offer a variety of degree programs, from associate and bachelor's degrees to master's degrees and conservatory programs. By attending film school, you should receive an education in core topics that cover all aspects of filmmaking, from finding financial backing to locating just the right prop. If you prefer a more narrow focus, such as production, many schools also offer degree programs, both graduate and undergraduate, that are more specialized. Film schools may also include programs in acting or animation and digital arts. While some film schools are stand alone, others are part of a larger university.

While curriculum varies depending on the type of program, students often have the opportunity to learn from people who are actively working in film and television, and often have the chance to work on their own film projects, getting hands-on experience. Some topics may be split into multiple in-depth courses (such as Directing I, Directing II, and so on), which varies among schools.

Important Facts About Film School

Prerequisites High school diploma or GED equivalent; an artistic portfolio may be required, particularly for graduate programs
Online Availability Widely available
Degree Fields Film studies, digital film editing, motion picture & television
Possible Careers Film editor, art director, production assistant


Producing a film requires the oversight and management of a film's production, including budgeting. In a producing class, students learn how to:

  • Develop scripts
  • Manage budgets
  • Find sources of funding


Film direction includes the transformation of the written script into a film. Directors typically provide creative ideas to a film in terms of acting, lighting, scenery, etc. Directing classes might involve lessons in how to:

  • Analyze and choose scripts
  • Cast actors
  • Run rehearsals
  • Work with the cast

Art Direction

A film's art director, along with the production designer, takes the director's ideas for the movie's look and feel and turns them into reality. Future art directors discover how to:

  • Build scenery and sets
  • Make or obtain props
  • 'Dress' a set--add small props that make a set look real and lived-in


Students in film school also study screenwriting, the process of writing scripts especially for film and television. Important screenwriting topics include:

  • Story structure
  • Dialogue
  • Character development


Classes in cinematography focus on the technical aspects of behind-the-camera work. In cinematography classes, students learn to:

  • Run a movie camera
  • Determine correct exposure
  • Set up lighting
  • Work with various kinds of film stock
  • Move the camera
  • Compose a shot


Postproduction is the processing of the film after shooting is finished. These classes may give students the chance to work on some of the most current technology in the industry. Classes in postproduction introduce students to:

  • Film editing
  • Color correction
  • Sound

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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