Tribeca Flashpoint Reviews
I attended for one year of the program. My main complaint about this school is that the administration failed to inform the class of 2016 that the focus studies that we had been told we would be engaged in for the second year had been dropped and the program was completely changed. Had I known that, I never would have chosen this school. I specifically talked to the admissions dept. about focusing on producing, and during the first year, there was not one single class that focused on that. Sure, there were a couple of classes where group projects occurred and I was able to experience the producer role, but with no guidance whatsoever. Everything I learn, I taught myself. As far as the quality of the faculty, the best teachers I had were adjuncts (and they are treated like crap by the administration). The full time staff in the film department is spotty. Often times emails with important questions go unanswered. I am an older student who has spent my life in the working world and I truly expected a higher degree of professionalism. Not to mention that I was paying cash for this experience and I expect a certain amount of accountability from the school that I was paying. For the most part, the administration (mostly the woman who is the film department chair) treats students with little regard. She has a huge ego (which her resume does not really support) and treats students as if they are an inconvenience to her life. The entire program is in complete disarray that is obvious from the way schedules are changed at the last minute and teachers are not really informed of the changes in their syllabus in time to prepare for the first day of class. Fortunately, there are a few people in the faculty that are truly interested in teaching skills to the students. I learned much from them. I loved working with most of my classmates. But in the end, they simply can't teach me what they promised to teach me and I found I can better learn it on my own using the contacts I developed in my first year. I will put the $25,000.00 I will save in tuition costs towards my first film. It's a shame that the administration does not pay any attention to the complaints of the students. Also, as others have noted, this is a FOR PROFIT institution. Actually the main shareholder is a private equity firm. That should tell you a lot. I would never send my child to a school run by a private equity firm. All they care about is turning a profit. Which, if they don't get a handle on the experience they are giving the students, is going to get more and more difficult for them.
Quite possible the worst decision of my life to give my time, MONEY, and energy to a profit factory. Make no mistake, you are not getting a job with anyone worth working for after you graduate here unless you already have previous industry experience or a wide network in which to get a foot in with. You will waste shit tons of money on a degree that does not transfer ANYWHERE, and you will learn skills that you can learn elsewhere for much less coin. Yes the campus and marketing strategy is flashy and is designed to keep you energized and keep you feeling like the 1st place trophy winner your parents tell you you are, but you suck, this school sucks, and you should just go to Columbia, a school that actually gives you a worthy degree and allows you to learn important social skills and other liberal art skills (i.e college level math, writing, research, humanities, etc..) that are essential to being a self-sustaining member of society post-graduation. Please do not make the same mistake I have, my friends have, and hundreds of starey eyed high-school graduates keep making, and that is making those fucking investors RICH. This place is a FOR-PROFIT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION. Your education, and you in general, are entirely SECONDARY TO PROFITS. That is the way this place was built, and that's the way it is ran. Look at the fact that the administrative staff has substantially changed EVERY YEAR. The main people who founded the place are LOOONG gone. That alone should tell you how shaky things are. It's all about making the shareholders happy. And that involves taking a lot of your money. Stop making share holders happy.
This is a FOR-PROFIT school Stay Away! I'll start with the Good. If you know absolutely nothing about filmmaking, are fresh out of highschool, have an expendable income, and all the time in the world this is a good place to start. Career Services is getting better and their staff puts the work hours in and are often more responsive to emails than faculty. I will be getting a job in the industry, however not because of a direct relationship with my degree (prior education and experience). The Curriculum is a joke. The curriculum is designed to create insanely unnecessary stressful situations early on to disenfranchise students to quit, so the school can keep their money. The Production Module class where students take on different roles creating each others 3min short films is absolute chaos with little to no guidance. Production in Action is the only time when you will be working with all the programs. The "Collaboration" that is advertised is all on the individual student and in this incredibly rushed unorganized curriculum collab opportunities and extra curricular collaborations are not on one's priority list. The broadcast side of the degree is essentially two adjuncts that spend most of their time actually working in real life that 1/4 of the time they absent and need a fill in. Teachers are often unprepared for their classes and the ones that do know what they are doing are being stretched thin. The Adjuncts and part time instructors that do a better job are just because they are separated from all the nonsense taking place in the administration. A student has little to no choice in the classes they take, or when to take them (especially with the curriculum constantly changing). Making it difficult for anyone who has any outside of school responsibilities. With this locked in curriculum one would think the classes would work well together; they do not. 2/3 of all your class grades are based on group projects. Meaning that at any given time one will have to communicate with >3 different groups of 3-8 people outside of class on a regular basis, on top of the individual homework and personal projects already assigned. This creates a situation where poor performing students are able to skate by, and focus on their individual studies. While those students taking time to motivate and get the groups to function properly end up wasting all of their time and falling behind in their core work. On top of that squared away students will always put aside their individual homework to complete their time sensitive group work because they don't want to screw over their friends/classmates; this creates a constant clash between priorities that has caused students to have breakdowns in the middle of the hallways. The students that do the best often are from Chicago, have few outside responsibilities, already have access to resources at home, and have a tight connection of family&friends to use for making their films. Something Non-traditional students often do not have access to. The Faculty and Administration Is in absolute disarray. Besides the fact that the programs across the board have been constantly changing and fluctuating due to the constant turnover of staff and teachers. The equivalent of an industry professional is getting a Masters Degree/ bachelors at an actually respected Film School working in the field for >=5 years possibly working on a feature, then bam you can teach. Guests have mistaken teachers for professors, and some actors have mistaken students for instructors. Some instructors even have the audacity to say in class that film school is unnecessary, that one only needs to go volunteer as Production Assistants and within a couple months you are in. Which is incredibly insulting, given a student could by a land, car and home with this debt. Many of the faculty only teach part time and work freelance on the outside. This makes communication with them like pulling teeth, due to their many responsibilities in and out of school. Every year the teachers voted as the best or most influential by students are the ones that actually have office hours, communicate on time, and host clubs/organizations; something that is standard at almost all other colleges or universities. Faculty/Administration is often unprofessional, and disrespectful often treating all students as if they just came out of highschool and are completely unaware of the real world. When really at least 1/10 students in my class had prior degrees, with 1/5 having attended college before, several were prior military. The Facilities Are completely and totally misused! Used Studio 505 for ONE CLASS! Only 1/3 of my graduating class was comfortable working with Chromakey or VFX (even though a massive greenscreen room was built). 3/5 of my graduating class can't name all the major camera movements, angles or shot types, something one would learn first class of working with a camera. What equipment they do have is old and they refuse to actually use it in controlled situations, so it just collects dust. There are two whole computer labs of that were never even touched (one specifically for Avid an editing class that students couldn't even complete properly due to trials running out before the class was over), on top of video editing suites that I never saw a student use. Instead of keeping the software or hardware up to date the school spends an exorbitant amount of money putting advertising for the school everywhere they can. Installing color changing lights on the stairwell, overspending on useless furniture and projection mapping on the walls instead of actually updating their software licenses. This makes any use of a school computer involve having to go to IT to solve some issue that a local state university or community college wouldn't even allow (cause they wouldn't be wasting what little money they had on shit they didn't need). There is a school Network full of potentially useful information, sharing potential, backup access and resources, but one would be hard pressed to find a Film/broadcast student that could log in without asking. Some didn't even know it existed for regular student use. Recording arts students and other departments use it on a regular basis but for some reason it is hardly ever used or discussed in Film/Broadcast. TL:DR All in all, you teach yourself at this school due to the lack of oversight. I learned more about professionalism and filmmaking from other students more than I did this school. TFC prides itself on throwing students into the deep end and putting them to work for companies and organizations that would normally hire graduates or small studios for media work. Instead of paying for an education, you are PAYING to WORK. Go to a cheaper proper school, take your time, have a job on the side to survive and actually learn about what you are doing. Rushing out a degree in a year and half or two years is not worth the lackluster education, stress, and possible failure. (The amount of "Graduates" I've heard doing retakes is disgusting.) PS. I didn't even touch on the several legal issues that almost took place/might take place due to the constant curriculum and program changes.
Don’t buy the fluff, don’t believe the numbers. One of the main selling points for picking TFA for me was their job placement number, which was something like 70% when I attended. Don’t buy it. There is no way it is accurate, they are either counting stuff like a retail position at game stop as a “industry job” or flat out lying and fudging numbers. My guess is they have an EXTREMELY loose definition as to what an industry job is. A year after graduation I was looking at my class and the amount of people in game industry jobs was shockingly low. From my specific focus, which included around 30 students, I believe only 3 or 4 (myself included) made it into the game industry. Out of my entire game and interactive media division I seriously doubt more than 15% made it into the game industry. This was in 2013 by the way. Personally for me it worked out and I found work a year after school though in all honesty I think I would say I found work DESPITE my time at Tribeca. If I would credit TFA at all I would say I ended up finding a job because of a few EXTREMELY dedicated instructors and a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, those instructors are no longer at TFA. Their curriculum is extremely counterproductive for honing your skills to help you find a job. Let’s say you want to be an artist in the game industry, you would expect most of your classes would revolve around getting you training so that you could achieve this one day. Not at TFA. My time there involved taking only ONE glass relating my focus each semester.. As for the other classes most were okay but generally just got in the way. Also I got the impression that the teaching staff was a lot of the time slowed down by the administration and hindered by upper management intervention. I would highly recommend you look elsewhere for this kind of education, try a 4 year school that’s going to have a better curriculum and give you more time to develop your skills, 1.5-2 years with Tribeca’s systems will most likely just leave you with a massive amount of debt and a bitter taste in your mouth. Also I believe recently they have been cutting staff and consolidating programs to be smaller and more cost effective for TFA. If you are considering going to this school for the digital art/animation I urge you to reconsider and do some research on alternative programs. In general I wouldn’t trust for-profit schools like this. Also carrier services were extremely unhelpful and honestly somewhat condescending of the game students in general. The jobs they refer were for the most part jobs you were either grossly over qualified for or grossly underqualified for. Also it is true, as I think someone mentioned on here before, that they at one point put a game stop retail position up on one of the job boards. When I attended it seemed clear to me that the schools image and profitability was more important than the students. On a personal note I think its criminal for schools like this to skew information about job placement numbers and focus so much on the schools image and marketability while neglecting students the training they need to find the actual jobs. I don’t get how people who are in charge of stuff like this can sleep at night, misleading people trying to get an education and better themselves for profit is just appalling. Let me finish by saying that this review is purely about their game/animation programs and no other curriculums like film or music as I didn’t experience those.
I can't speak highly enough about my experience at Tribeca-Flashpoint. I transferred in from an unrelated program at UIC three years after the school was founded after being wooed at an open house tour. From the very beginning the staff (many of whom I now consider mentors and friends) were helpful in helping me determine honestly whether or not this was the right school for me. (Spoiler alert: it was.) During my two years in the audio program I found the classes comprehensive, focused and efficient — I never felt like I had a wasted day in the classroom and I always had the sense that my teachers knew what they were talking about. The classes and projects were collaborative, which I enjoyed. I'm sad to see the negative reviews here, but not totally surprised, because while I thought the teachers were clear, helpful and supportive, they weren't shy about handing out bad grades to students who didn't put in the work. I felt like I got 4 years of education out of 2 years of study and I think it showed in the rigor and quality of work that was expected of us. I wouldn't trade my two years there for another program elsewhere and am proud to have a diploma from TFA. I would (and have) recommend this program to others who are serious about building a career in one of these industries.
I will preface by saying I had the wonderful opportunity to have several years of experience before engaging in TFA's film program. That said I was curious as to how I would rank in the school when I started. I quickly found that many of the courses were inadequate for me and a few other students. For the most part our class was learning new things. While the curriculum needs work, I think it's decent for beginners in the industry. This school is NOT for anyone with a decent amount of experience. The biggest issue you will find while at TFA is the uncaring Administration and financial aid. As humans we like to vent to one another and approximately 95% of all discussions I have had with classmates and alumni have been about the poor attitudes and communication skills of the TFA administration. Career Services seems to get a lot of flack but I personally have felt satisfied with their attempts. Of course I live six hours away and their only offers are usually around Chicago so I don't pay attention. I did allow a certain amount of room for the schools adolescence but it only excused so much. On several occasions classmates and myself were treated with utter disrespect and behavior completely unbecoming of the professional behavior they claim to preach. Oh and TFPS point, I did my best to aquire them. Had the most in the class. They count for nothing. After a couple months they just stopped giving them out. Once the student lounge area was renovated on the 4th floor (with 1200 chairs mind you) there were constant tours for investors and potential students showing off just how "cool" the school was. We quietly muttered under our breath, "run! Get out while you can!" Joking of course...or were we? Financial aid doesn't care about your needs. They only want their cold hard cash. It takes forever to get any problem solved. And their state of the art equipment?? Yeah most of it is over 5 years old at the earliest. The VFX department had better cameras than the film department did. What?!? All I can say is that if your fresh out of high school and rich then this school is for you. If you have a mind of your own, any experience at all, and are looking for tools to begin your career then find something better. SIU Carbondale still exposes students to actual film and tuition there is around $16,000. Also if you're not a feminist or hard core Democrate prepare to have people's opinions thrust upon you. TFA, please do not respond with your typical "we're sorry you had a bad experience but..." I've read the responses on several posts and while they may help you feel protected against what was said they still do not appropriately cover the issues people discuss in their posts.
You may be going site to site looking for a general average consensus about this school. Here is a quick summation of what you can expect: 1. $60,000 in debt, accruing at a 9% interest rate. 2. An unhelpful career services team that offers you jobs completely unrelated to your field. I was honestly offered a job at gamestop by career services. The sad part is, they would have marked you down as a "found job in related field" statistic in their books. 3. Did I mention that you won't find a job in your field? Ya, that's a big part of it. Avoid this place like you avoid any disease, because that's all that it is. A for-profit institution trying to make as much money as it can before it's venture capitalist CEOs pull the plug on the operation. If you took a look at the statistics of this school vs. (arbitrarily chosen) The University of Illinois, the numbers won't lie to you. University of Illinois Residents Non-residents Tuition and fees $15,602 - 20,606* $30,228 - $35,232* Books and supplies** $1,200 $1,200 Room and board (10 meals/week) $10,848 $10,848 Other expenses *** $2,500 $2,500 TOTAL ESTIMATED COSTS $30,150 - 35,154* $44,776 - 49,780* TFA Tuition and fees $50,000 Books and supplies** $1,200 Room and board (10 meals/week) $10,848 Other expenses *** $2,500 TOTAL ESTIMATED COSTS $64,548 - Given comparable living circumstances and assuming you live in the area, you will find that TFA will cost you $30,000 more on average than a regular 4 year university. On top of this, the education is better, the degree is a Bachelors, as opposed to an associates, and you will find that the career services team will actually find you a job in your field. Take it as you will, but I have taken it upon myself to make sure that anyone seeking a true review of this school doesn't need to look much further than this thread. If a school has an average rating under 80%, you should probably avoid it, and TFA fails this criteria profoundly.
I went here for an entire month in 2012. I had to take out student loans upon which only Sally Mae was provided, being told that there is hope in federal funding opportunities in the future. I withdrew because I knew I couldn't keep myself in that hole of debt, let alone work for companies I do not like (like fast food advertising for ten years just to get somewhere because I have debt); which seemed to be the setup of this school and it's employers. Sure there are those lucky few, but the 70% that would supposedly get jobs, almost all are for companies that you couldn't find a soul in. So I withdrew assuming my deadline was in so I could get out clean without debt. Now, 2 years later, Sally May is taking legal action against me and I am facing homelessness. I have a hard time finding minimum wage work let alone pay for rent and food as a result of my credit score being below what I can get to get approved for rent, or even to work some jobs, solely from this one decision. Please, this is a money making school. While some of the teachers were fantastic, the administration spends all its time wasting its money on advertising. Now at the time with loans after 2 years, I calculated I would be about 78,000 in debt after the Sally May compound interest after the initial 50,000. I'm happy I at least have only 6,000 of debt now instead of what would be much much more, but was it worth it? If I can share my story with you all, I would please advise against this school. Your portfolio speaks for itself, and this school doesn't really get you a job per say, they just do a good job of selling you, it is a business not so much an institution. Now I'm not taking away their right to make money, that's fine, I'm just saying if you REALLY want to get into this area (Audio, Video Game, Animation, or Video) please take free online courses, Youtube videos, teach yourself, make a few pieces of artwork to build your portfolio, and go straight to the employers or make connections at concerts or wherever you find yourself attracted to. I went here because I was sold, and sold myself in a sense, into a fear that I need security to make it into that world. I have moved to LA since then, and even though I am homeless now, I understand how much more transparent these industries are. Their security is tight, consists of a sexist ex-police officer, and I won't go into details because that's not the core of what I am writing about. While they do let you use their equipment, you spend most of your time trying to sign forms and clearances and there is ALWAYS a sense of mistrust among the administrators and students which always creates a barrier for creativity. The teachers themselves aren't always satisfied with their work as I have seen one leave this school while I was there for the month. Please don't think I am trying to leash out onto this school after my misfortune of digging my own hole, but please don't make the same mistake I have. If you are a kid with money, invest in some equipment, or just start with anything you have right now, don't let other people fool you that they can get you to do something, only you can. Write, draw, design on the computer, do what you need to do, but capture your imagination while you still have that flame.
I went to school with peers that said the same criticism as below. What it factors down to is how much work did you put into your own education. TFA is built upon the declaration of Malcolm Gladwell. He says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. With this being said, all the fields that Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy teaches can be learned on your own time. A popular wave of thinking right now is "Film School in a Book". What this means is that the film, game and recording studios do not care what school you graduated from is nor your GPA while attending. What they do care about is your reel, portfolio and resume experience. If you graduate within two years that means you will have two years experience on anyone graduating within 4-5 years. TFA tries to condense the education you would get from a typical four year university into a two year course. Their classes are designed for hands on training. Your first year is designed to give you the basics of each field. For example, as a Film and Broadcast graduate I learned the basics to producing, cinematography, editing, screenplay writing and sound design. Your second year you really get to dive deep into the field of your desire. Keep in mind though that you will not be able to log 10,000 hours of practice within two semesters of classes. TFA expects you to check out their equipment and do projects outside of class. Some of my second year classes were just to critique our class project and watch what our peers were creating. The projects themselves were to be completed outside of class. This teaches you time management and how to multi-task. There were times that I had to figure out certain aspects of a software program or problem solve on my own. It instilled in me a sense of how to conquer software and hardware that I have never touched before without fear of a safety net. With the luxury of small classes the professors and chair heads know all of the students and receive reports about how each student is doing. At the end of every group project and end of every semester we are expected to fill out class surveys about how we interacted with our group. Who slacked off and who worked hard. As well as if the class was informative and if there are any suggestions on how to improve the classes for next semester. I have personally seen the chair head of the film department come into a class that was getting negative reviews only to say that they would be addressing the situation that week and how they would improv our experience. The following semester the class was drastically different. Professors are on the chopping block as well since this is a for profit school. If enough students feel as though they do not learn well from a professor, I have seen them replaced. While attending TFA I have been able to hear from a new industry professional every month telling their story on how they got started and what is going on in our field currently. I was also able to work with real industry clients while still in school, adding to my resume before graduation. Their career services is the most interactive and helpful group I have come across from ANY university. The alumni's from TFA stick together and try to help out new graduates with work where they can. At the end of the day this is a school that is less than a decade old and is still maturing. There is a lot of room for improvement but they have no illusions of other wise and are willing to work hard for the students. The only way to show a successful track record is to have college graduates working in their field of expertise so that is priority number one to them. Again, it's all about what you put into your education and learning. If you go home and slack off then you will never succeed.
The only reason I give 2 stars to school experience is because of the connections I met while attending. You will literally learn nothing if you decide to attend this school. Don't waste your money or your time.