What the best film schools in the world look for in applications

Straight to the point, no-bullshit—this is a list of the best film schools in the world and how to crack their admission process. Spanning the US and EU, with a special mention for the Film and Television Institute in India, this covers the preliminary research aspiring filmmakers have to do to shortlist their dream school so that you can get to work on fulfilling its requirements. 

Here goes: 

TISCH School of Arts NYU (US)

Community service and a distinct voice. The NYU-based prestigious arts school emphasizes that your creative resume can include a list of activities that are not strictly creative, so long as they highlight “an engagement with your community and/or a significant time commitment from you.”

Their list of requirements includes a portfolio with original works, two creative assignments, the resume mentioned above and a video about yourself. The video, specifically, must be true to who you are and should not be a repetition of why you are applying to the school. The rest is up to you. 

Notable alumni include: Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Reed Morano, Joel Coen, M Knight Shyamalan, Charlie Kaufman, Chris Columbus

FAMU (EU)

Lots and lots of work. The school requires quite a hefty portfolio that includes things like a short feature or documentary (up to 10 minutes long), a storyboard presenting a narrative based on an encounter, two short synopses for short fiction films and an audiovisual self-portrait. 

Notable alumni include: Milan Kundera, Frank Beyer, Agnieszka Holland, Milos Forman, Jasmin Dizdar

London Film School (EU) 

Initiative. This film school has a relatively straightforward portfolio requirement: an original script for a three-minute-long film. However, they provide the option of sending in any other creative work, including photographs, videos or even literary pieces. So, get creative and show them what you’ve got—quite literally—in your arsenal. 

Notable alumni include: Iain Smith (Mad Max), Michael Mann (Heat, Miami Vice), Terry Bredford (Monty Python), Don Boyd (21), Tak Fujimoto (Star Wars, Silence of the Lambs, Gladiator)

American Film Institute (US)

Passion and street smarts that help you tell compelling stories with limited budgets. The institute offers two year masters in fine arts specialising in 6 disciplines—direction, cinematography, screenwriting, editing, production and production design. Admission to each of these programs has different requirements; for instance, the direction course mandates the submission of: 

  • A 10-minutes moving image project that the applicant has personally directed and that best demonstrates individual talent and ability. 
  • An original moving short (five minutes or less) that highlights your storytelling abilities.

Both of these must be accompanied by one-page descriptions of why and how you made these films. 

Notable alumni include: Darren Aronofsky, Neal Baer (Law and Order), Moritz Borman (Terminator Salvation) and Doug Ellin (Entourage)

FTII (Asia) 

Knowledge and a sharp focus on why you want to be a filmmaker. The Pune-based institute has an entrance examination followed by an interview where you must demonstrate why you want to make movies. 

Notable alumni include: Jaya Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, David Dhawan, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Rao

University of Southern California, LA (US) 

Quality letters of recommendation as well as good communication skills. In addition to your creative portfolio list or list of projects you have worked on and samples of your work, USC requires a compelling personal statement and two letters of recommendation. 

Notable alumni include: Will Ferrel, Macy Gray, LeVar Burton, Forest Whitaker

UCLA

A keen sense of interest in one of the aspects of filmmaking, for both their Masters and undergraduate programs. The requirements for the undergraduate program also include a one-page essay on a challenge that you have faced. 

Notable alumni include: James Dean, Steve Martin, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Jim Morrison and Ray Manzerek.

Cal Arts (US) 

Plans for the future. This film school wants to know how far along you are on your creative journey and where you want to go. In addition to film or video work, the institute requires an artist statement that addresses the issues that inform your filmmaking, your artistic goals, a little bit about the films you want to make and why you’re applying to Cal Arts. 

Notable alumni include: James Mangold (The Wolverine), Tariq Tapa (Zero Bridge), David Nordstrom and Rachel Goldberg

Lodz Film School 

Versatility. In addition to samples of your work, Lodz requires you to submit a self-presentation on who you are and your life, an outline of an original fiction film, an idea for a documentary and a story board on Landscape, Portrait and your observation of an event with no more than five to eight images. 

Notable alumni include: Roman Polanski, Emily Young, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi

5 Tarantino Films To Revisit Post The Release Of His Latest Film

Did you know that Quentin Tarantino has only directed nine movies? Yep, that’s right – and he plans to stop entirely after the tenth one. A commitment he intends to keep since he reiterated it once again, post the release of his ninth movie, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood. He also said that his tenth and final film will most likely be more “epilogue-y”, but refused to divulge any further details. Without the slightest hint of subject matter, plot or release date, who knows when (if at all) this will happen but, given that the Brad Pitt-DiCaprio starrer just hit Indian theatres, chances are you’re in the mood for more Tarantino. 

So, press rewind and re-watch 5 of his best movies to quell your hankering for QT’s brand of movie-making, complete with ensemble casts and unpredictable action: 

Pulp Fiction

Where: Prime Video 

Oh, man. Arguably Tarantino’s finest hour, the 1994 film is an icon in its own right. The story of how the lives of two mobsters, two petty criminals, a gangster’s wife and a boxer get terribly intertwined will leave you breathless…even if you’ve watched it before. Marked by graphic violence, punchy dialogues, non-linear storytelling and memorable performances, Pulp Fiction should be on every cinephile’s list of movies to watch before you die. 

Django Unchained

Where: Netflix

The synopsis of Django Unchained simply reads, “With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.”  However, this ode to Spaghetti Westerns (a genre created by Spanish director Sergio Leone, owing its nomenclature to the fact that most of these Western movies were made cheaply in Europe by Italian filmmakers) is marked by incredible performances and a more reckless, free-wheeling Tarantino at its helm, making it one of his best movies. 

Inglourious Basterds

Where: Prime Video

Christoph Waltz is probably the best thing about this movie that tells the story of two plots to assassinate Nazi leadership that culminates in a visually-stunning, and ironic, climax. If you haven’t seen Inglourious Basterds yet, we highly recommend adding it your watch list stat. 

Kill Bill Vol 1 and Kill Bill Vol 2

Where: Prime Video

An ode to grindhouse cinema, including martial arts films and samurai cinema, Kill Bill stars Uma Thurman as the Bride, a pregnant assassin who wakes up from a coma to discover she has been betrayed by her team and their boss, Bill. She swears revenge and sets out to kill Bill and the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

Image courtesy : www.slate.com

Do you think you can be the next Tarantino? Join our Filmmaking capsule and start your journey today!

Honest Parent Confessions: What Mums and Dads Think of Project Mynt

After the completion of the first round of capsule courses in Filmmaking, Photography and Electronic Music Production, we asked our students’ parents what they thought of the Project Mynt way of learning. And, luckily, we came off looking pretty good! Don’t believe us? Check out this parent-review of the filmmaking course: 

Was there any reluctance before you decided to sign your child up for Project Mynt’s capsule? 

We want our child to explore avenues that help open up his mind and vision to the possibilities in life. The only concerns were regarding the faculty he might get, the sort of infrastructure that would be there, the distance from our home and the safety of our child.  

What is the biggest change you see in your child after the completion of the course? 

This was something he hadn’t done before and we see a rub-off effect in how he does sketching, his favourite hobby, now; he composes a story around what he draws and focuses more on the complete canvas, not just on the characters he’s drawing. 

Are you open to letting them explore unconventional careers as their full-time jobs? 

Why not? This is the best time to be young in India given the possibilities that exist. 

How do you believe that India’s education system needs to evolve so that it can truly benefit your child? 

Address each individual and not just the curriculum. I think the education also needs to be in sync with technology, which is not just about using IT in classes but how technology has changed the world. It’s not about knowing stuff anymore. Google can tell you that. It’s how you use that knowledge that matters. In addition, we ought to mainstream creativity and not just limit it to something they do one class a week or in free periods!

How likely are you to recommend Project Mynt to a friend?

Very likely.

Impressed by review and our report card? Check out www.projectmynt.com to find out more about our education philosophy and upcoming capsule courses. 

 

DIY with MyNT: Shoot Your First Film At These 5 Locations In Delhi

At Project Mynt, we’re not only trying to widen your horizons so you can explore different interests and passions but also equip you with the skills to chase them. Including how to make the most of what you have. It’s simple really. Want to get fit? Don’t let an expensive gym membership get in the way of your goal; just go for a run. Want to learn how to edit videos? Start on your phone with free YouTube tutorials instead of waiting to get professional software and powerful computers. Interested in photography? Give your phone camera a shot. 

The point is to work with what you’ve got rather than procrastinating about what you don’t; taking the first step is always the hardest, but it can set the course for a lifelong, fulfilling journey. To that end, we’re rolling out our DIY series, or a compilation of easy hacks, comprehensive guides and instructional videos so you can get started with whatever it is that makes you excited to get out of bed every single day. No more waiting around for the right moment, the DIY series is about making every single moment count instead. 

For instance, if you’re interested in making films but can’t wrap your head around production costs involved with renting studios or making a full fledged set , here is our list of completely free locations for you to shoot at in Delhi. All you need to carry is your equipment, a compelling story and laser sharp focus on what you want your future to look like.  

 Lodhi Garden

On a good day, Lodhi Garden is absolutely stunning; the landscaped lawns are strewn with beautiful, flowering trees, demarcated by stone walkways, and marked by three picturesque tombs from the 15th century. The perfect setting for fitness videos, short films and lifestyle montages, Lodhi Garden opens bright and early at 5am. 

Lodhi Colony Art District

Lodhi Colony underwent an incredible transformation from a sleepy neighbourhood market into a thriving, vibrant art district with stunning graffiti and murals. Perfect at golden hour, and near-perfect the rest of the day, we recommend filming dramatic backdrops in this part of town. 

Hauz Khas Village and Lake

Not just every kind of watering hole, Hauz Khas Village also has a lot of filming locations–from the mysterious fort, the bustling market or the serene lake. The narrow bylanes are perfect for edgy fashion films or sketches. The running track near the lake can obviously be used to shoot both health and lifestyle videos such as restaurant round-ups. The park just outside the village compound is also worth exploring. 

Old Delhi’s Spice Market

Want to try your hand at documentary filmmaking? Head to Old Delhi’s Spice market, located in Gadodia market in Khari Baoli. Not just for the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, the spice market’s greatest draw is that it is steeped in history and full of stories. You never know which one will inspire you. 

Champa Gali

Love love stories? Shoot a short one at this hidden gem in Saidulajab. Tucked away in Saket, away from traffic and real life, Champa Gali feels like a time portal back to simpler times. The entire lane is adorned with fairy lights and comes alive at night. 

If you’ve started making your own films and are interested in learning more about the craft of filmmaking, join us for our Filmmaking capsule starting on the 17th of August where over the course of 3 weekends, you will explore what goes into making a film by working with industry experts and making your own short film on professional equipment. Call us on +91-8448550445 for more details!

Films On A Budget!

If you want to understand the craft of filmmaking, you gotta make a film! It’s that simple, and it can also be that budget-friendly—so long as you have a little bit of help. One of the many benefits of living in a digital world is that it has drastically reduced the costs required to shoot and produce a film; don’t get me wrong, it’s still a challenge, but it’s not impossible!  

In fact, use the challenge and let limited funds inspire you to really get creative with filmmaking. Take a cue from living legends, Richard Schenkman (The Man from Earth) or Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) who directed stunning no-budget films. 

What it boils down to is making a few key adjustments right when you’re starting out. These decisions can not only help you save some big bucks but also add character, infuse creativity and, eventually, help produce a piece of work that you’re proud of. Here are a few nifty tips for making your first ever, low-budget film with as few hassles and bills as possible: 

  1. Shooting in black and white reduces a significant amount of work and money that would be spent during and post-production. 
  2. Using props and situations that are raw and earthy, instead of flamboyant and flashy, is a really good way to cut back on costs. For instance, if there’s a scene that involves the use of guns in your script, maybe you can use a saw or a hammer (easily available in most garages) instead. This can help eliminate things like expensive rentals, sound effects, and editing.
  3. You don’t have to force your imagination and creativity when it comes to filmmaking. Instead, try and build a story that’s closer to your heart and mind. Maybe your city, your college, your school or even your own family can be jumping-off points. Instead of racking up set-building bills or paying hefty actors’ fees, you can try and set your first film in as natural a setting as possible. 

These aren’t just my personal thoughts on filmmaking; these are tips from very successful and renowned directors who, at one time, were only aspiring to become film-makers—just like you. Here’s a video by the Royal Ocean Film Society in which they review younger films that Christopher Nolan, Robert Rodriguez, and Richard Linklater made, discussing techniques and approaches they took to create low-budget marvels of cinema. Have at it!

For more tips on shooting on a minimal budget, attend one of our Filmmaking Capsules  where in a span of 6 days you will learn what it takes to shoot and deliver a short film using minimal equipment and budgets.

Take Inspiration From These Talented Hollywood Film Directors

Wish to film a story that you always wanted to tell the world? Let’s break the bubble down and make you guys aware of the fact that filmmaking is not just about lights, camera, and action, but a lot more! The art of making a film involves a number of stages including ideation, script writing, casting, shooting, sound recording, editing, and screening. A lot of patience and toil goes in the whole process, especially for the directors.

A film director is a person who oversees the entire process of making the film and controls artistic and dramatic aspects. They also visualize the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. Pheww! Tough job, ain’t it? Not forgetting the budget, their key responsibility is to create a masterpiece without crossing the expenditure limits.

Also read:  How Experiential Learning is the way forward in  India?

We don’t have any favourites but we do look forward to the following directors who have given us some phenomenal movies! Their understanding of the way things should be shot and delivered on the big screen is just incredible.

1. Christopher Nolan – The Master of Spellbinding Cinema

Nolan fan, are you? Christopher Nolan is an extremely talented filmmaker who usually doesn’t fail to surprise his audience with spectacular twists and turns. Known for his cognitive and unconventional storytelling, his intellectual plots will make sure that you stay on your toes until the conclusion. He usually ends up connecting past with the present (yes, a lot of flashbacks) and doesn’t miss to add a pinch of ‘film noir’ perspective in his films.

Born in England (1970), Nolan started making films as a child at the age of 7! He eventually went on to attend University College London, where he studied English literature and joined the school’s film society.

Director Christopher Nolan has taken moviegoers into space exploration for survival, through the crimes of Gotham, and into the deepest bafflement of reality and dream. With top grossing films like Interstellar, The Batman Trilogy, The Prestige, Inception, Memento and many more, Nolan is a director who has a proclivity to indulge in thorough research and give the audience pragmatic and not larger than life characters who with their dialogues and scripts address larger points relevant to all of us. His films do not undermine a viewer’s curiosity and intelligence and always urges viewers to delve deeper.

Christopher Nolan

2. Steven Spielberg – The Epitome of Great Storytelling

Just so that you all know, Steven Spielberg has been in the field of filmmaking for six decades now! And that’s what makes him one of the most successful directors of Hollywood. Being a dropout and facing rejection to USC film school due to poor grades teaches us that it’s not always about marks but our dreams and the passion to pursue them. Spielberg then started off as an unpaid intern in the editing department of Universal.

The Oscar-winning director pioneered the practice of product placement and special- effects in movies influenced by the pop-culture. Using powerful flashlights in dark/night scenes, showing images of the sun, depicting kids in danger and/or bad relationships, discovering extraordinary species and using the cutting-in-camera technique are just some of the trademark Spielberg-movie-traits. He is also famous for his proactive nature that includes suggesting angles or shot ideas on set.

Spielberg is known for breaking boundaries across genres and making films as diverse as The Adventures of Tintin to Amistad to Munich. Not to miss the dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park that broke all the records, Steven has got a bent towards commercial stuff with some of the highest-grossing films ever! But without Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Jaws, our list of favourites would not have been complete.

3. James Wan – The King of Horror Flicks

Best known for showcasing the horror world on the big screen, James Wan ought to be on this list! Insidious and The Conjuring franchise top our list of favourite Wan movies. Saw, which was inspired by Wan and Leigh Whannell’s dreams, got an overwhelming response at the box-office in 2004. The Conjuring was critically acclaimed and got many people to start loving horror films. The Annabelle doll became a synonym to demonic figures worldwide and Wan’s continued involvement in this project with similar visual styles, classic old-school storytelling, and numerous jumping moments proves that he is here to stay.

If you wish to film a scary story, then you must pay close attention to James Wan’s incredible work. According to him, the smallest things can create a big impact and real horror lies in the sound. “A creaking door can send chills up your spine, and it doesn’t cost anything.” Even a low-budget horror story can work wonders!

He aims at breaking the audience’s expectation by playing with their emotions and fear. For instance, Lights Out is based on a classic fear that lots of people face – fear of darkness. As a director, James Wan very well knows where & how to place a camera or how to get that reaction. Impressed much? We are!

4. Quentin Tarantino – Action, Action, and Some More Action

Great dialogues and wonderfully shot action scenes packed with loads of drama and humour – that’s the recipe of a Tarantino movie. With Pulp Fiction, he has become a legend and we just can’t agree more! The best part about his films is the way he portrays women – strong, witty, independent; breaking the mainstream. Being a director with no formal training in filmmaking, Tarantino sets a perfect example that experience is the best teacher and nothing can stop you from doing what you really want to do.

Some of his successful films include Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight. The 15-minute-long opening scene of Inglourious Basterds could not have been shot better by anyone in this whole world.

Actors driving vehicles, showcasing cult fiction, adding the Dutch element, guns & briefcases, unique storytelling with extreme close-ups, violence and revenge, offering comebacks to cult actors, killer soundtracks, your favourite characters dying horrifically, etc. are a few characteristics of why we love Tarantino movies.

Getting inspired from these directors and paving your own way towards success is what your aim should be. Remember, there is a thin line between inspiration and imitation. Unique techniques matter a lot in the film industry for they can get you utmost appreciation and self-confidence.

We can help you tell your story!

Project MyNT is all set to introduce its filmmaking course offering a great opportunity for students to put their dreams into action! This is an interactive course to explain and train those eager to learn the skills needed to tell stories through film.

Powered by internships and training under highly experienced mentors, our curriculum is inclusive of numerous clips or films to be shown in theme-based classes. It would require the students to be verbose about what kind of cinema they like, how aware are they of the process, and mainly what is it that they’re looking to learn from this course.

Enrol today!