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The Film Production program at Southern Adventist University is designed for people who want to become top-notch filmmakers. Whether your interest is directing, producing, cinematography, post production, or writing for the screen, we have the equipment, facilities, and know-how to help get your career started. While enrolled, you will get hands on experience with lights, cameras, actors, editing tools, writing methods and much more. Story is always king, so students learn how to share visual narratives that matter, and in ways that uplift the Creator.

Examples from Lighting Class

To give you a taste of some of the things we do in Film classes, the clips in this video are selected for their excellence in use of lighting. Lighting is fundamental to film because it creates a visual mood and sense of meaning for the audience.

Film Careers

What can I do with a degree in film production?

Graduates can land jobs all over the entertainment industry, or even continue studying the art form in graduate school. Alumni from the School of Visual Art and Design have gone on to find successful jobs as independent producers, cinematographers, writers, directors, editors, assistant directors, media pastors, television camera operators, motion designers and even photographers. If you like telling stories through pictures and sound, working in a collaborative environment, and are good at troubleshooting everything from a script to a smoke machine, film production could be the ideal career for you.

What is a career in film production like?

Film production is a very diverse field. It takes many people with very different skills to execute a successful film production. A screenwriter may work solo, writing commissioned script pages from home. A camera operator may shoot twelve hours a day in a remote location. An editor or sound designer may spend the day clicking, replaying, and honing the way a scene feels for the audience. It is fair to say that no matter what aspect of film production you may be involved in, the work is demanding and will definitely require long hours (occasionally, if not regularly).

What careers positions area available?

At the School of Visual Art and Design, we focus on teaching what we consider to be the core skills of film production: producing, directing, writing, field production, and post production. Upon graduation, many of our student will find entry to mid-level positions in these areas.

The film industry has a pretty time-honored system of working your way up through the ranks. If you plan to work on feature films, be prepared to start out with a basic job like a runner or assistant of some kind. On the other hand, if you want to work at a small video production company, it is likely you would be expected to perform multiple tasks such as writing, shooting, and editing on any given day.

What does it take to succeed in the industry?

There are many paths to success, but the consensus is that the following are common characteristics of those who are successful:

Be willing to work hard and have a thick skin. Stay positive and focused. Make a good impression on your coworkers and develop a network of people that trust you. Know your beliefs and standards and how you will react when they are challenged.

What are the working conditions like?

Conditions vary considerably based on location and job type. In the entertainment industry, there are strong unions that work hard to protect the rights of employees, but you may not decide to join unions if you are living in a smaller city and/or have little experience. You will always be expected to work hard and deliver a quality product on time.

What is the future of the industry like?

Film production is in a phase of growth and restructuring. While making films is not cheap or easy, it is now more possible than ever to produce independent films. The demand for content worldwide is huge and markets continue to diversify. Hollywood has begun to realize that there is a sizeable, and largely untapped marketplace for Christian films. Change is a constant within the industry, but at present many of those changes are creating an environment that is more hospitable to independent newcomers.

Should I plan on attending graduate school after I finish the undergraduate film program?

Graduate schools offer excellent opportunities to expand your personal network and continue to develop a focused skill set but isn't necessary to land a job in film.

Where will I work?

This depends on what is important to you. There are jobs for filmmakers in every major population area of the country. If you want to work on feature films and television, Louisiana and Atlanta offer abundant opportunities in the southeast, and of course, Hollywood is still one of the best places to be. If you do not want to work in Hollywood, then you will most likely want to work towards a career as an independent or regional filmmaker. Outside of feature films and television, corporate communications, music videos, TV commercials, or media pastoring are all common and viable options.

How do I get a job? How do I break into the Industry?

The two biggest factors in getting a job are good skills and great connections. Since people work on a film and then move on to the next one, getting hired for your next job is always important. When people are putting their team together, they're always looking for the people that they can trust to do the job. Start by getting a menial job and do it very well—then you'll be trusted with more the next time. Developing a network of people that like working with you is very important. While the skills are very important, young filmmakers often underestimate the importance of teamwork and social skills.

How much can I make?

Experience, location, and job position are the main factors that control how much money you can make. Entry-level positions in the industry can offer earnings anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 annually. Experienced professionals in major markets should expect to make more than $100,000. Choose film as a passion, and it can be a vocation.