American Film Institute Conservatory Reviews

  • 19 Reviews
  • Los Angeles (CA)
  • Annual Tuition: $65,800
0% of 19 students said this degree improved their career prospects
84% of 19 students said they would recommend this school to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

Jack Wilson
  • Reviewed: 7/3/2019
  • Degree: Psychology
"AFI is not a school, its a place to collect your money, it teaches nothing except aligning yourself with others who might have contacts outside the school. You can learn much more on your own, save your money and make your own movie, the program does nothing for you, it's just a big joke."
  • Reviewed: 11/27/2018
  • Degree: Film Production
"If you have money to burn and are not expecting much of an education or a diverse enough portfolio to be competitive professionally then by all means go here. This school is charging top dollar for their name. Their equipment is old, their academic rigor in several disciplines is non existent. The teachers are not properly equipped to be successful and there is not enough of them or much substance to the program outside of shooting cycles. You are giving them money to shoot films, which you can do on your own. They do not prepare their students for realities in the industry, there is an extreme lack of diversity in the upper echelon of the staff and thought that permeates the program. Chapman utilizes a similar approach and has better equipment, facilities, and support, and is less expensive."
  • Reviewed: 7/7/2018
  • Degree: Film Production
"Coming into AFI I thought it was my dream school. I was so proud when I got in and I had such high hopes. It was such a huge disappointment and one that I will be in debt for for a very long time. The school is so poorly run. There is no curriculum. It feels like a cult, teachers tell on you constantly to the dept head. If you ask a question they often don't answer the email or it gets forwarded to the track head and treated like you should already know the information that you are paying their bills to learn. They send formal progress reports for absences, lateness etc. People you've never personally interacted with grade you on your personality. Most of the faculty like keeping up some sort of hazing facade of military level sternness and are belittling to try to "break you". It's a creatively unfulfilling place. You have school 7 days a week with no breaks and the faculty never let up with constant assignments/deadlines and research papers during this schedule. You are always exhausted and have no time to study or do reading if you want to sleep at all. The positives do not outweigh the mental torture of this school. People usually won't talk about how terrible this school really is because they want to keep up the facade themselves for spending this much money -so somehow the reputation remains intact, despite the reality of the institution. Just shoot, get on sets -get on AFI sets if you don't believe me-around mid-Spring of the 1st year's cycle 3's and see those thousand yard stares of the cinematographers for yourselves. Run. far. away. Save yourselves."
  • Reviewed: 11/27/2017
  • Degree: Film Production
"AFI is a transformative graduate film program that will enable you master the craft of your chosen discipline. Its transformative because you get to grow personally and professionally, learning how to multi task in a stressful environment, as well as enable you to learn form not only the industry professionals but also your fellow fellows who are truly talented and diverse."
Paola Villegas
  • Reviewed: 6/29/2017
  • Degree: Performing Arts
"From the moment I was accepted, AFI went above and beyond in informing me and preparing me for a new life in Los Angeles, California. The welcome packet they sent was highly informative, giving me information on important contacts in my program, as well as helpful information on life in LA. The courses are challenging and the material rigorous - AFI's sole focus is to make you the expert of whatever your discipline is; mine is screenwriting. They train you to be capable not only within your chosen field but the collaborative nature of the film projects that you engage in stresses cooperation with your fellow filmmakers. This is absolutely essential in this industry, as filmmaking is such a collaborative art. The instructors all seem genuinely interested in you as a person and as a writer - and because it is a small program, they are able to follow you and track your progress from day one. This is invaluable in guiding your journey to becoming a better writer and filmmaker as a whole. Additionally, the professors are highly accessible and always happy to help. The same goes for your peers, no matter that you are in different disciplines. Again, the small exclusivity of the program allows personal connections to be grown with your classmates, providing valuable networking opportunities for the future. Overall, I feel strongly that AFI is preparing me for a successful career in film."
Andrea Gonzalez
  • Reviewed: 12/22/2014
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"The program is the best of its kind. It prepares students through advanced courses in their discipline and allows for technical and artistic mastery of the craft."
christian vogeler
  • Reviewed: 10/12/2014
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"The American Film Institute is a european style conservatory program that is discipline specific in multiple areas of filmmaking. I my self am in the directing discipline which only allows me to direct through out the entire program. Teaching me the best possible approach to creatively collaborate with leaders from the other disciplines. Specific focus, and collaboration are the corner stones of this unique program. The conservatory style teaching keeps you on your toes 7 days a week, with multiple projects over lapping each other, classes, seminars and future career preparation all happening throughout the entire 2 years of the program. I read somewhere that in the 2 year program of AFI you get almost double the amount of classroom and hands on filmmaking experience then USC and NYU in their 3 year graduate programs. Even if I never made another film outside this program, the life changing experience of going through the process has been more then worth it."
NIcholas Erickson
  • Reviewed: 9/30/2014
  • Degree: Film Production
"The pros of this program include the enormous network of working professionals that are your peers and your mentors. Moving to LA it is really valuable to establish a solid network of talented people. Cons include the price of the school which hardly gives out any financial aid."
Marianne Williams
  • Reviewed: 8/1/2014
  • Degree: Communications
"AFI is truly an amazing, transformative experience, but the cost and loan debt is overwhelming. At over $50,000 per year (it's a two year MFA program) you have to push yourself to make sure you get everything out of your time at the conservatory possible. The other fellows are amazing. The camera and lighting gear is very good and the Conservatory encourages on location shooting, but the campus lacks a professional studio space for project shoots."
Sara Valadbeygi
  • Reviewed: 3/4/2014
  • Degree: Film Production
"It's a very ambitious graduate program and helps fellows connect to professional people in the film industry outside of the school. It's very expensive and financial aid is not enough for me."
christian vogeler
  • Reviewed: 1/16/2014
  • Degree: Film Production
"This program is amazing! but since being a conservatory it demands your 24/7 attention, you must dream about your work, and what you have to do next, and that is both a pro, and con."
James Stiegelbauer
  • Reviewed: 1/14/2014
  • Degree: Film Production
"Afi is incredible, it's intense and competitive, not for everyone."
Jeremy Cloe
  • Reviewed: 8/12/2013
  • Degree: Film Production
"AFI provides not only the top level of faculty who still work in the industry today but also some of the most talented students. Being surrounded with such high standards immediately raised the bar for my own efforts. Through the course of the 2 year program you make several films. You are learning from trial and error, and boy do they make sure you never forget your errors. Their guests include some of the biggest names in the film industry and getting to screen their films before the official release is definitely a huge perk. The school leaves a life changing impression and although there's not even time to breath while attending, it has been incredibly rewarding and worth the high cost of tuition."
Nicolas Navia
  • Reviewed: 7/27/2013
  • Degree: Film Production
"AFI is by far the best film school in the world. The workload immerses you so deeply into the art of visual storytelling that you immediately feel a progress in your train of thought and in the output of your work. Their faculty comprises of all successful individuals in their own right and they support your endeavors not only in the classroom but beyond. As a soon graduate of their program, I highly recommend this institution."
Allison Lopes
  • Reviewed: 7/16/2013
  • Degree: Film Production
"The American Film Institute Conservatory is a very unique grad school program. There I am studying production design and I am successfully doing so. Coming from an architecture background I was afraid of not being able to keep up with other film students however I am learning more than I have ever imagined and I believe I am being successfully prepared for life beyond school."
Anisha Acharya
  • Reviewed: 6/28/2013
  • Degree: Liberal Arts
"Pros: Hands on, Collaborative, Narrative-oriented, Networking Cons: Expensive"
Nicholas Bupp
  • Reviewed: 6/12/2013
  • Degree: Film Production
"Strong Graduate Program that provides you with the tools needed to both learn and grow within your field. Very strong networking opportunities."
Trevor Worley
  • Reviewed: 6/6/2013
  • Degree: Communications
"AFI is one of the most competitive graduate film programs in the world with a first class education in real-life applicable disciplines for narrative story telling in film."
Joseph Connor
  • Reviewed: 12/31/2012
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"If you're committed to focusing on a single filmmaking discipline, and you believe in the power of collaboration, AFI is the best film school imaginable."