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4.8 2011-08-02 Schools in Review rrf-logo-sir
School Type: Mentor / Apprentice
Locations: United States, Canada
Degrees: Certificate of Completion
Programs: Directing, Producing, Screenwriting, Editing, Camera and General Production
Tuition Range: $7,750 - $13,500
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The Film Connection offers the same course as traditional film schools, but with a big difference. Rather than learning in a crowded classroom, or participating in group student film projects, students at the Film Connection learn while working on real film and video shoots for paying clients. Film Connection also has structured course curriculum in directing, producing, screenwriting, editing, camera and general production to go along with the hands-on training.

Each student at the Film Connection has their own private mentor who is a working professional in film or video. Directing students pair up with professional directors, producing students with real producers, etc. The benefits of private mentoring are obvious: the student learns real world career skills; the student is apprenticing at a real film or video production company which often hires them once they complete the program; the student gets to learn at their own pace and direction; and the student makes dozens of industry connections while working on their mentors real world productions.

One of the advantages of the Film Connection is that you can attend their programs virtually anywhere in the United States or Canada. There’s no need to relocate or quit your job to attend the Film Connection as they have hundreds of mentors all across the United States and Canada and courses can usually be scheduled around the student’s needs.

Additionally, the Film Connection’s Learn in Los Angeles graduate level equivalent program is available to advanced directing and producing students. The Learn in Los Angeles program expands on the original Film Connection program by offering multiple mentors, a full internship at a major Los Angeles production company and the opportunity to pitch your movie to Hollywood pros who have the ability to green light your project.

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Student Reviews

Film Connection Film Institute Review Rating: 4.76923076923 out of 5 based on 26 Ratings

The Film Connection offers the same course as traditional film schools, but with a big difference. Rather than learning in a crowded classroom, or participating in group student film projects, students at the Film Connection learn while working on real film and video shoots for paying clients. Film Connection also has structured course curriculum in [...]

  • Review by Testa Schools In Review Verified
    September 24, 2013
    Overall Rating 44444
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 44444
    Instructors 55555

    GREAT!!!

    Debt Accrued: Less than $5,000

    Found work after graduation? Yes

  • Review by Rob B. 
    December 1, 2012
    Overall Rating 44444
    Tuition 44444
    Curriculum 44444
    Instructors 44444

    Very interesting -learning the basics and fundamentals of making movies.

  • Review by Yacine K. (Source)
    November 26, 2012
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 44444
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I ended up settling in the Film Connection after taking some classes over at S.F.S.U. and Northwest Film Center. I really wanted an atmosphere that was a lot more progressive than they offered.

    I always had been a real independent kind of person, I was always looking for an environment where I could do my own thing and focus on stuff I really wanted to focus on… So I wanted to actually work in a studio and be around people that were actually making a living in film and what I wanted to do. That seemed like something I wanted to be around.

    At the start of the program it was kind of a stretch for my mentor and I we were trying to feel each other out, trying to figure out what made us tick. There was definitely a build-up of trust that happen with us, at first it was just I was coming doing grip work, by that I mean just getting a feel for where things were, they had just moved studios so there was a lot of work for switching over from standard deff to HD, they had this massive amount of DV tapes that need to be sorted through and organized… So I did some dirty work for about 3 1/2 more months, I will say it was my chance to get a feel for the studio to shadow Lisa, my mentor, on edits and started small was far as editing goes. She had me label clips by what kind of shoot they were, whether it was nighttime or daytime or a longshot a close-up yada yada yada. She just started small then by the end of my apprenticeship I was able to take my experience and feel comfortable editing projects on my own.

    Found work after graduation? Yes

  • Review by Josh K. 
    November 21, 2012
    Overall Rating 44444
    Tuition 44444
    Curriculum 44444
    Instructors 44444

    The Film Connection provides me an affordable opportunity to work in a hands-on environment with my very own “mentor”, while offering me the flexibility to work around my job schedule! I have to admit at first, I was a little skeptical because I didn’t know what to expect. However, after meeting my mentor and going to my first television series film shoot, I knew I was on the right track and had made the right decision for my career.

    I’m three months into my program and feel that I’ve gained more knowledge than I could have ever learned in a classroom. My mentor has many years of experience and is involved in many projects including commercials, television, movies, and corporate gigs of which I’ve been able to observe and be a part of. I feel like I have now been trained accordingly and have become part of the team. Most importantly, I’m already making connections and have been offered several paid positions. I’ve even earned myself credit on a HBO project as a ‘Boom Operator’! The Film Connection is a wonderful way to get your foot in the door if you’re willing to dive in and get your hands dirty!

  • Review by Devon W. 
    November 12, 2012
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I decided on Film Connection because it felt like it would help me get immersed in the industry. I though it was an amazing opportunity so I just sought after it. This program definitely gave me those opportunities to make those connections happen. My mentor was great. He gave me insights into the business, the industry, things I should work on. Then he would tell me stories of what to expect when it comes to shoot, even on shorts or on big features. He gave me a lot of insight I didn’t really know about the business beforehand. If I had any questions he’d answer them and then sometimes he would hook me up on dates with short films that maybe need PA work or something I might be pursuing in. I wanted to pursue directing, so my mentor gave me a lot of opportunities to go on sets, work with the director or with other positions to give myself other knowledge and experience. I also got to work on my own shorts where he helped out a lot because as producer and actor, well especially the producer part, he knows the whole rundown. How much things cost, who to get, he really helps you to figure all of that out and to build connections so when you do want to make another short film you can rely on those people who can also rely on you, all through my mentor’s help. So it’s really a nice web that he creates, or any mentor can create. Since graduating, I’m going to be directing a short film for a student whose actually producing a couple of films, short films. So I’m definitely still working and my mentor keeps feeding me opportunities as they come up. There should always be something coming up soon, which I’ll be on that one which is going to be very exciting.

    Found work after graduation? Yes

  • Review by Matt Z. (Source)
    November 7, 2012
    Overall Rating 44444
    Tuition 44444
    Curriculum 44444
    Instructors 44444

    When I got to Film Connection, I used everything that I had thought was the right formula to do it, which is basically, show the mentors and the staff, don’t tell them how good you can be, show them how good you can be, with your writing technique. Once I did that, I found that the homework and everything they provide is perfectly equipped to help you and enhance you as a student and as a writer or director or whatever you want to be. The fact is that this is the perfect apparatus to get you to where you need to be as a professional writer as a professional director.

    Debt Accrued: $5,001 - $10,000

    Found work after graduation? Yes

  • Review by Stacy S. (Source)
    November 6, 2012
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    It exceeded my expectations, which was the thing. I will have an Oscar nomination, and I will get an Oscar one day for screenwriting. That is the main goal and the main reason why I got into the Film Connection, because I knew that I needed someone or something to help me get to that point. The Film Connection and my mentor, Peter have really done that. The homework itself, challenges you and shows you a lot of great studying tips and a log of grreat lessons learned. The work with the mentor really improves and shows everything that you need to succeed in the business. One of the other things that I needed to work on, or that I felt that I wanted to do better, is right outside of my comfort zone. Again, like I said, I usually write horror movies and things like that. I wanted to write a love story type of thing, something that I had never done before, ever, in the career of writing

  • Review by Jan S.  (Source)
    October 18, 2012
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 44444
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I’ve been into cinematography for as long as I can remember. I tried the four year university thing but it was too stifling. A friend told me about Film Connection and before you know it I was apprenticing inside a major film and television studio in Fort Worth.

    It gave me the opportunity to work a lot of leads aside from the productions I was already working on other than the generic productions. What you need to do and where you need to put this and what not so I actually got to meet a lot of the clients very personally that came through here. I got to know them on a level that where they were talking about their experience to my mentor or even with someone else in the studio they referred to me by name. This could not have happened at a four year school, or even a trade school. For me it was the perfect opportunity and I started working the Monday after I graduated.

  • Review by Jarred  (Source)
    October 15, 2012
    Overall Rating 44444
    Tuition 44444
    Curriculum 44444
    Instructors 44444

    I wanted to go to film school, but it can be expensive. So I wanted to look around and I was trying to find a place that was local… You guys put the student right into the studio itself.It was really exciting. I just couldn t believe this. I get to work with a producer, to learn from him, I thought it was too good to be true. The good thing about this program is its flexible…. I feel really at home there, honestly. I love being there… Also I m meeting so many people, I m meeting all these producers from Florida to Los Angeles. Its just a good connection to have and this industry is all about who you know. We just shot a movie called The Demented , its this zombie movie and I was a PA on that set. I was working throughout the whole thing, from the pre-production to the wrap… I even volunteered to be a zombie. My mentor, Jason loved it, he said he loved it when people step up like that. You know I just like to give the best impression because that means a lot to people. A few days after that, Jason sat down and was like Huan, what do you want to do And I was like, I want to be an assistant casting director and he was like alright, just as soon as we re done with this program just come talk to me and we ll try and find a way to help you out with that field.

  • Review by Yacine K. 
    October 15, 2012
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    Since Day One, they’ve had me going. Mostly on commercials for the Where To Eat Guide because my mentor was hired for them. That was good and one time he let me go in and actually do the camerawork which was extremely nerve-racking but I was glad he was letting me do this because it was building my confidence.

    I got to do a music video once which was fun and challenging because replaying the song back over and over again so that the actors and people in the music video could match their movements and things to the music was fun and lots of set dressing.

    I did tons of editing which was good, I was glad to become somewhat familiar with Final Cut…We did work on one for an early Head Start programs in a close by town and that was the first project that I helped out on, that was interesting and good because we had to go several times to set up lighting for an interview for several interviews, doing shots of the kids playing around. That was good because we did a lot of different things with the video and editing it and it was a very broad projects so I’m glad we delved into that one first.

    Right after I graduated from the Film Connection in San Francisco, I went to Colorado to work on a web series, I was the script supervisor for that and I did hair and makeup as well. It was a pretty small crew and small cast but it was super fun and I got a feel for what it was like to be on a film or on a TV series but it was a tiny, tiny one.

  • Review by Chris K. Schools In Review Verified
    June 16, 2012
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I took a course through the Film Connection. They pair you up with a mentor. In my case, because I took the film program, they paired me up with a local film company and I worked with a producer. I worked with her covering everything from the history of film making, to the business of film making, to the techniques of film making. It was a fairly thorough course and I would accompany this film crew, or this film company and its crews, voluntary crews. Really, their film crews were not paid but they were voluntary, people who wanted to gain experience like myself. We would go out and shoot films that were part of this company’s, part of their series of projects.

    I was able to get quite a bit of experience in doing that. I was with them for probably about a year or so, and I was on a number of film shoots. I can’t say how many, probably a couple of dozen. I assisted the lighting crew. I was assistant to the cameraman, the director of photography. I did everything you can imagine from helping out with the catering and so forth, to hauling actors to and from the shooting site and so forth. There was quite a bit involved in that program. I did graduate, you get a certificate when you graduate.

    Since graduating, I’ve done some additional work on the side, some film work with others. I’m trying to take my sound experience and put that to use in this area. Because I’m told by the producer that I was paired with as my mentor, that sound men are very sought after in the film industry here in this area, in the Michigan area.

    I would say it was a good program. I’d take that course if I could go back in time and start all over again. I would say it was worth the time and effort, and the money.

    Found work after graduation? Yes

  • Review by Devon W. (Source)
    April 20, 2012
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I’m sure as a first time writer, or as somebody who is the first time in the Film Connection, you see it from a narrow view. You see it through your view. Once you start working with the mentors, as I found, you really understand that if you have an open mind, and this is the key- you must have the open mind. If you have the open mind, they can get you to a place, just like mine did, and is currently doing now, because I’m writing an incredible script that he loves. If you open your mind and you let them come and you let them give the information that they know, and their advice on you, and you take it. You actually apply it, and don’t just listen to it . You actually apply it, and study it, and understand why they’re saying it. Not just know what they said, understand it, and put it to paper. You’ll find that everything really works out for the better.

    Found work after graduation? Yes

  • Review by Derek S.
    November 10, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I have been working at my mentors Company all month as usual. I am now getting many more opportunities to edit every week thanks to my mentors’ help. Recently I got to borrow one of my mentors’ cameras, a Sony, dvx 100. I took it over an entire weekend while I was rock climbing and hiking. I outfitted a backpack with padding to securely transport the video camera with me. I was able to get some interesting shots and plenty of practice with the camera. And, even on father’s day my mother and I went to visit my grandfather, and the rest of the family. I shot some film of my grandfather reflecting on family memories and enjoying the small reunion. I still have the tape and plan on putting together a DVD when I begin to learn editing.

  • Review by Anthony P.
    September 30, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    My first session went great with my mentor. We first started off the day by working on an opening and ending statement from someone who works at the St. Jude Hospital. We started off by setting up a 3 point lighting set up with tungsten lighting, then worked our way to more lights as we needed. Some of the lights I got to set up had gels to diffuse the amount of light hitting the clients face. From this I learned how to work with different c-stands and gels. Along with this I learned how to white balance a camera to make the sure the picture was perfect with the lighting. With my mentor we moved on to working on step-by-step directions on how to set up a teleprompter for the client to read off of. While working on this I was mostly with my mentor working one-one-one, however, I also got to work with the camera operator, who showed me a lot of useful tricks with lighting and green screen. Overall, looking back on my day spent with my mentor, it was really a great day filled with a lot of learning.

  • Review by Tervel Y.
    September 30, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    Being in my thirties, I was nervous to sign up for the Film Connection film school program, but I did and I’m glad I did. Working with my mentor in Chicago is an enjoyable experience. I have been involved in various projects. I have gained good, behind-the-scenes insight working with camera and lighting in particular. Also, I am particularly interested in gaffer and grip work. It fascinates me the way light can be modified and changed to fit certain purposes and moods. I like working on film sets and ensuring things are properly done. I truly enjoy working with the people at the studio and I am greatful to have made some good friends there. I am especially thankful to my mentor Jim who has exhibited an endless amount of patience with me. Film Connection works. One-on-one training sounded too good to be true, but it isn’t. Their program works. I had no experience when I enrolled and Film Connection got me in the door. This is not just an internship, it’s an apprenticeship that gets you trained in your desired field.

  • Review by Saul K.
    September 23, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    This week with my mentor was invited to join a small crew on a small shoot, where I got to meet the owner of my mentors’ company. He was really cool and nice, and was really on top of things. During this shoot I was instructed to do things, and the owner was telling crew members to show and explain things to me as we were loading them up to the truck. On the way to the shoot I sat with the owner in the car, and he asked me questions and gave me tips and advised me on how to improve my own movie that I am currently working on. When we got to the location, I learned all kind of things. I was given a lesson in how the Steadicam works and how complex it is, and I learned about audio and lighting techniques. As shooting began, I was given the Clapper and was in charge of writing down the takes and timing each one. The client wanted to film again and again, so we ended up shooting the same little thing 64 times! While shooting, I also learned that no matter what, you always have to make sure that the client is always happy. When we finally finished, we drove back to the studio and unloaded the truck, and the owner was even still teaching me things. He showed me the correct way to roll up a cable, and wouldn’t let me go until I got it right. I am happy to say that I had a good, interesting, and productive day with my assigned mentors, this is how I imagined it to be

  • Review by Aaron G.
    August 17, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    This past Saturday, I’m worked as a Production Assistant on another Film Connection student’s short film. I’ve begun polishing up a script I wrote awhile back based on my mentor’s input so hopefully we can get something going for my own script. During my stint as a production assistant, I got to meet some very cool and talented people. I’m very excited for what lays ahead… thank you Film Connection!

  • Review by T. Jones
    August 3, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I’m very happy with my decision to attend the Film Connection. It has become a turning point in my life. The reading that the Film Connection assigns has been very helpful, and I’m learning so much about the business end of things with my mentor. The more time I spend with him, the more I feel comfortable with everything I’m learning. My mentor and his company have many projects lined up, so it’s the perfect time to be apprenticing there. Student Services have been great about keeping in touch with me at all times.

  • Review by Jan S.  (Source)
    July 6, 2011
    Overall Rating 44444
    Tuition 44444
    Curriculum 44444
    Instructors 44444

    If it weren’t for Film Connection’s flexible schedule I would never have been able to go to film school because of my crazy work schedule. This is not your typical school. I learned that this wasn’t going to be easy right away, that there is a lot of planning and I matured a lot as to how I saw the process. I did think that it would be a little bit of an easy road before hand but then when I got there I saw everything was rofessionally done and I had a different outlook of it now and how to approach and do things and how to get the job done.They make it pretty simple for you to figure it out because they have great instructors and everyone was real helpful. You’re never afraid to ask the question because they will be able to answer it for you.

    Found work after graduation? Yes

  • Review by Rich J.
    July 6, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I didn’t want to leave my job or my city to go to film school. Film Connection trained me around my regular job. I went into the production company I apprenticed with once per week around my busy schedule and I learned camera. After my training was over, my mentor got me a job at a local camera rental house so I was able to quit my day job. Now I know camera and have a job. Film Connection’s film course rocks. Don’t go to a traditional film school and spend $30,000 or more. I almost did and I am so glad I chose to be trained by a real pro at a working production house instead of some teacher in some crowded and expensive college classroom.

  • Review by Karen P.
    June 29, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    My first lesson consisted of a two and half week assignment as a production assistant on an independent film that was being shot in Rhode Island. This was my first time on a set of any type and it ended up being an amazing experience. Erik gave me positive feedback from the other people on the set as well. I learned a great deal about on set protocols and networking. I did many p.a. errands and tasks but became popular on the set for setting up the craft services (everybody needed their caffeine and candy fixes). It’s a good thing when the 1st ad only wants you making his coffee right? The job involved long hours and a level of commitment; I now understand why people say you have to love this work. I already miss being on the set.

  • Review by Luke K.
    June 17, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    I have learned a lot of little things that I wouldn’t have even thought of without the training from my mentor. He showed me a number of cool keyboard shortcuts and tricks on the timeline. I always come out of my sessions that I had with my mentor feeling 100% smarter than I was going in to the session. This week, my mentor and I worked on a project that he had been working on, which was a wedding reception. He had me work with some of the footage, taking out parts that I thought he could use for a music video for the wedding couple. Next, my mentor went through and had me watch as he did his thing with the project, explaining everything very well. I wrote every single thing down and have been studying it. I am truly in love with this program and what I continue to learn in my mentors’ studio. I believe that my mentor is fantastic, as he teaches me a lot, and even in one session, I come out learning so much. I am eager to see what’s next

  • Review by SchoolReview
    March 11, 2011
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    My experience with Film-connection was good. I signed up in New York City originally — within 10 days or so I got my books, and three days after that I was working on film sets in the Camera Dept. Then I decided to move out to LA when my wife got a job out here, I called up Jimi Petulla and he transferred my education out to L.A. — I got a new mentor and I was working on film sets in the camera dept. within two weeks. In the program I worked with a bunch of different camera depts. on smaller budgeted and major budgeted movies. They really worked for me and put me in contat with about 60 different cinematographers. Now I’m working as a 2nd AC for pay, and I just shot my first short as a DP.

    I didn’t have any negative experience with them. The reality for me is that this program gets you the contacts while you’re learning, where as regular film school teaches you but when you get out you have no contacts.

  • Review by Robert P.
    January 9, 2010
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    For those who wish to break into the Hollywood movie business, this school is the best there is. Their mentorship program will have you working with real film professionals in real film sets, so you get a valuable firsthand experience that will be extremely helpful when you start looking for a job.

  • Review by George B.
    November 23, 2009
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    The film connection program is a great approach. It puts you on the job almost immediately so you learn how things are really done. Best of all you get your own personal mentor.

  • Review by George I.
    September 22, 2009
    Overall Rating 55555
    Tuition 55555
    Curriculum 55555
    Instructors 55555

    Back in the day several enlightened colleges (Antioch and Goddard to name two) offered work/study courses that combined on campus classroom education with real world job experience. A little over a year ago I fell victim to the recession as my position was eliminated and showed no signs of recovery. I decided it was time for a career change. I’ve always been fascinated with the process of making movies, but really had no desire to go back to school to learn a new trade. At this point, a friend turned me on to Film Connection, one of three media courses offered by Entertainment Connection (the others being in radio broadcasting and music recording). I liked their no-nonsense, accelerated mentor/apprentice program. I talked with friends in the industry and thoroughly digested their website http://www.filmconnection.com) and was totally impressed. I scheduled an interview through Film Connection with my mentor, and we talked for over an hour about my goals, expectations and what the process of taking their film course. In the end I went with my gut instincts and signed up for the course. I graduated five months ago, and although the economy continues to negatively impact all business, including the film industry, I have found enough work in the last five months to match my best year in my former occupation. I’m also having a lot more fun. Clearly, the Film Connection is not for everyone. Every student that takes their course will not have my results. However, I really believe that for the money the Film Connection is an amazing deal. Real world experience. Structured course curriculum. Six months duration. Lots of industry contacts (which is how I got my first gig upon graduation.) A lot depends on what you, the student, brings to the party….ambition, drive, smarts, attitude, confidence are all necessary. In conclusion: the Film Connection delivered on what they promised me. I did my part by working my tail off and seizing every opportunity to network.

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