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Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
Best Online Film Schools

Best Online Film Schools

As more and more film schools take their courses, degrees, lectures, and webinar sessions online, more opportunities there are for people to increase their knowledge regarding the film industry and even start a career.

In fact, the online film school industry has arguably never been as popular as it is now, with countless online courses being offered.

If you’ve always dreamt of working in the industry but don’t know where to start, this gives you the perfect chance to start your journey.

Through an online film school, you can explore film and grow a specific skill set and knowledge base that will help you work within the industry.

Better still, you’re able to do all of this from the comfort of your own home.

However, with so many schools to choose from, how do you go about choosing the best one? That’s where we come in!

In this article, we’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the best online film schools available. Today, we’ll show you what each one has to offer.

Let’s dive straight in!

1. Academy of Art University


We’ll start our list with one of the most popular and arguably the best film schools in the world.

With over 16,000 students, all of which have the desire to work in this industry, it’s fair to say that this school has a lot to offer.

Founded in 1929 in San Francisco, the school has a wide range of film topics to choose from.

Whether you want to be a producer or editor, this film school has something for everyone. They teach directing, cinematography, producing, editing, production design, and screenwriting.

Despite offering a comprehensive list of topics, it is actually the school’s admissions policy that impresses us the most.

The school has a no-barrier admissions policy. That means that anyone can join online classes without having prior experience or qualifications related to the industry.

Even international students can apply.

The online programs offered by the Academy of Art University have been purpose-built to suit those with less flexibility. You can study in your own time and make use of the school’s physical facilities.

Pros

  • Detailed – You will learn everything you need to know.
  • Flexible – Learn in a way that suits your life.
  • Access to physical facilities – You can visit the school’s library, etc whenever you want.

Cons

  • Pricey – This school’s courses are expensive.

2. The Los Angeles Film School

Considering how important Los Angeles is to the film industry, it only makes sense that one of the best film schools in the country started there.

The Los Angeles Film School is a high-quality film school that offers an incredibly varied curriculum that can be accessed online or on campus.

Easily one of the best things about this school is how they offer online film degree programs.

That means you can earn a Bachelor of Science in filmmaking without leaving your home. This could be just what you need to start a career in the industry.

In terms of what’s on offer, the school has a wide range of online programs to choose from.

These include Digital Filmmaking, Graphic Design, Entertainment Business, or Animation. The school also offers a Music Production course.

What we loved most about this film school are the opportunities it presents students with.

Based in the heart of the industry, this film school gives students the opportunity to network and potentially start working in the industry while they work towards their film degree.

This is perfect for anyone that dreams of working in LA one day.

Pros

  • Networking opportunities – Make contacts in the industry.
  • Work as you learn – There’s an opportunity to take up work.
  • Degree level course – You’ll finish the course with a film degree.

Cons

  • Not all courses are offered online – More courses are available on campus.

3. Masterclass

The next online film school on our list is slightly different.

Instead of being a dedicated school or university that focuses solely on film, Masterclass is an online learning platform packed with an extraordinary collection of courses, all of which cater to different industries.

This might not suit those that want to complete a film degree, but if you simply want to learn more about the industry it could be perfect.

One of the greatest things about the Masterclass platform is the number of film courses available.

There are a wide variety of different classes to choose from, some of which feature industry filmmakers.

This includes courses delivered by Ron Howard, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, and David Lynch.

Every course is prerecorded too, making it much easier for you to watch the course lectures in your own time on this online platform.

Accessible to everyone, affordable, and well organized, we see this as the perfect school for those that want to find out if the cinema industry is for them.

Pros

  • Suitable for any learner – Your skill level doesn’t matter.
  • Affordable – Courses are made much more accessible.
  • Learn from the best – The film courses on Masterclass give you the chance to learn from the best.

Cons

  • Fewer qualifications – You can’t complete an online degree on Masterclass.

4. National University

Next up, we have National University. Based in San Diego, National University is a school that offers a comprehensive list of varied programs, offering courses that look at a wide range of different fields.

Programs are offered both on campus and online, helping those with less time and flexibility learn from the comfort of their own home.

Unlike the other online schools on our list so far, National University offers students a Master of Arts in Film Studies.

You can expect to learn about the aesthetics and history of film. This makes the course particularly popular with individuals who one day hope to be film critics or teachers.

The National University also delivers several graduate and undergraduate options, giving you more chances to find the course that suits your specific goals.

Some of the other programs available include a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Arts.

Personally, we really appreciate how the National University gives students the opportunity to take part in more generalized education or specialized training.

Pros

  • Variety – The National University offers a wide range of courses in an attempt to suit every learner.
  • Receive high-level qualifications – Earn a film degree online.
  • Learn more – This school gives you the chance to learn more and more as you develop your skill set and knowledge base.

Cons

  • Big commitment – You have to make a big commitment if you want to complete your course, especially if you are aiming for a Master’s degree.

5. New York Film Academy

The final online film school on our list is New York Film Academy.

New York Film Academy makes this list for a number of reasons. However, the main one has to be the speed at which it takes to complete a course.

The non-degree programs on offer at the New York Film Academy only take 15 weeks to complete.

This is perfect for anyone who wants to learn quickly.

For those that seek a more extensive learning experience, the academy also offers Undergraduate and Graduate online degrees.

Another great thing about this school and probably the thing we were most impressed with is the price of each program.

The programs at this school are much more affordable than those at other schools.

For part-timers, the workshops will help you quickly develop industry knowledge, giving you an idea of what a career might look like.

For people looking to kick start their career in film, the programs on offer will give you everything you need to thrive and be successful.

When it comes to the courses, you’ll find topics that focus on everything from screenwriting and digital editing to filmmaking and film history.

Pros

  • More Affordable – The courses at this academy are better priced.
  • Suited to any learner – Each course is designed to suit any type of learner.
  • Learn at home – Earn your qualifications from the comfort of your own home, in your own time.

Cons

  • High school diploma required – The only prerequisite the academy asks for is a high school diploma.

Buyer’s Guide

Now you know more about the best online film schools, it’s time to start thinking about the school you want to attend.

Unfortunately, though, things aren’t as simple as picking a school and hoping for the best.

Instead, you need to take a number of important things into consideration to ensure you choose the right school for you.

To help out, we’ve put together this small, but handy buyer’s guide.

In this buyer’s guide, you’ll find the most important things you need to think about before making your final decision. Make sure you take each point onboard.

Pricing

Sadly, one of the most important things you need to think about is pricing. Higher level education comes at a cost.

This cost can be anything from $30,000 to $170,000. For obvious reasons, you need to ensure you choose a school that you can afford.

If not, you could be left in crippling debt. Another reason why this is important is that it makes it even more crucial that film is the line of work you decide to work in.

For example, it makes little sense to spend thousands of dollars on a degree program if you then don’t use it to work in the industry.

With that in mind, you might want to attend a more affordable program first to guarantee that film is what you want to do.

It is also worth weighing up any financial support you could receive.

The Level of Program

Another important thing to take into consideration is the level of program you need or want to take part in.

Some online programs give you basic qualifications that set you on your way. Others are seen as a higher form of education and often lead to jobs in the industry almost straight away.

If you want to work in this industry, you should consider completing a degree.

This will give you the knowledge and skills you need, as well as the qualifications you need to stand out above other candidates when applying for jobs.

What Do You Want To Learn?

You can’t start an online film school program without first knowing what you want to learn about.

This could be one of the hardest decisions you have to make because there are an astonishing array of courses out there.

There are courses that focus on the film industry as a whole and more specific courses that look into targeted topics.

These topics could be anything from filmmaking and screenwriting to post-production and directing.

Before deciding which course to join, you should carefully consider what it is you want to learn and what you want to do in the industry.

Only then can you make the best decision.

Film School Reputation

Joining schools with the best reputation can set you in good stead when it comes to finding a job.

Therefore, you might want to think about the reputation of the school before joining a course.

For example, schools like the Academy of Art University have long been known as one of the best schools in the industry.

On the other hand, other online schools that don’t offer specialized courses aren’t as highly thought of. Having said that, finding the right balance is key because simple things like the lecturer also play a part.

An example of this can be seen with Masterclass. The masterclass isn’t known for offering the highest level of film programs.

However, some of their programs are led by the likes of Martin Scorsese.

Lecturers like Martin Scorsese are important as they are some of the biggest experts in the industry.

Flexibility

Finally, you also need to find a course that suits your lifestyle.

The fact you’re on the lookout for an online course would suggest you need more flexibility in a course.

With that in mind, always make sure you check the details of the programs you want to join.

Some courses offer unlimited flexibility, letting you complete the program in your own time.

However, despite being online, other courses still require you to attend the course at specific
times. If that isn’t flexible enough for you, you have to make sure you find a course that is.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Degree Is Best For Filmmaking?

If you want to become a filmmaker, you should look at doing a degree in international filmmaking, digital film design, or cinematic arts.

It is also possible to complete a degree in just filmmaking and film production.

While free, unqualified courses are great when it comes to developing your skill set, they won’t help you get the top jobs as those are almost always filled by those that have a degree in the industry.

Is A Degree In Film Worth It?

If you have a strong passion to work in the industry, a film degree is most definitely worth it.

A degree will not only help you improve your knowledge and hone your skills, but it will also help you obtain working opportunities and build connections with industry professionals.

When applying for jobs, companies are also much more likely to look at you more favorably. This could then lead to greater success in the industry.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Film Director?

The top job in the industry is film directing. This is a job reserved for the very best in the industry.

Therefore it takes time to be skilled enough for the role. For starters, you will need a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.

It will take you almost 7 years to complete both.

After that, you need to ensure you have plenty of experience in the industry. Before becoming a director, you might have to work your way up the film ladder.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a list of the very best online film schools that will help you step into the industry. As you can see from our list, the options we have available are pretty impressive.

Whether you want to learn the basics or take part in a detailed course that will result in you obtaining a degree, there’s an option on our list that suits you.

While they all offer something slightly different, every school on our list gives students the tools they need to easily learn from the comfort of their own homes.

Each course is run by industry professionals, comes with detailed classes, provides students with access to valuable resources, and helps students make their first steps into one of the biggest industries in the world.

Now you have our list of schools at your fingertips, you should have a much better idea of the programs available to you.

In fact, your next step could be to narrow down our list and identify the school you might want to attend.

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