"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."
Thanks for your review. You are spot on with your commentary. We're always trying to improve the student experience, and there are definitely hours spent outside the classroom. We are so glad you had a positive experience at TFA.