Filmmaker John Milius once said of film: “If you want to be honest, film is like sex — if I had three dollars, that would make all the difference.” But how much?
It varies greatly.
A film degree in a major program such as film studies at Cal State Fullerton offers students the privilege of working alongside pros such as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman and Woody Allen. It also allows students to focus on a specific genre or style of filmmaking and gain access to world-class resources such as film school courses, the film festival circuit, and the Sundance Institute. But how much does a class with film degree holders cost?
How Much Does the Film Industry Pay? With tuition and tuition fees costing California student students around $15,000 per year, many students are unable to afford film programs of any kind.
“While film arts programs are not cheap, when they have the opportunity, you do see many of California’s top directors are working with students in these programs,” says Milius. “The problem is, you need to live up to these standards. It’s not cheap.”
As well as having students from the state and the country pay to attend film school, those aspiring artists who do become full-fledged film professionals must take on extra jobs as producers to fund their studies, as well as make their living as directors and writers. As such, not everyone chooses to go to film school. If you cannot afford a film degree, your only option could be to pursue an arts degree, such as journalism or performance.
“I don’t think there is a magic bullet for film arts degrees,” Milius says. “I think there is enough for me to tell anyone who wants to pursue a degree in film arts. But it is not cheap.”
How Much Does the Film Industry Pay? Film industries pay thousands of dollars per year for production assistants and additional crew, and even hundreds of dollars a month for salaries, to get to film school. In 2017, the average production salary for an assistant director was around $65,000, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“I really can’t justify [going to film school] in America,” admits actor and director, James McAvoy. “You have to work very hard for that.”
And in case you’re wondering whether filmmakers can have a cushy life for the money, Milius believes
12 stages of filmmaking, filmmaking where to start, filmaker, movie credit roles, filmmaking app