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What it’s like being in the Film Conservatory

October 16, 2020
  • Filming
    Marilyn Warshawsky

Written by Marilyn Warshawsky

When you study film in the BFA program here at Purchase college, every year varies in what you learn, study, and shoot, but one thing is for sure - you will always be busy! Although I’m a senior, I can still remember freshman year perfectly.

When you’re a freshman, the most hands-on class you take is Cinematography I. You get to learn all of the freshman equipment, such as the Canon 60D and all different kinds of lighting kits. You have the opportunity to make a small project every week in class with your crew, and there are even assigned days for each student to come in and TA for the class beforehand with your professor. In this class, you learn what it’s like being on set and working with other people with strict time constraints.

The longest class of the week is your Film Workshop class, preparing you to create your freshman thesis film. Your freshman thesis film isn’t allowed to have any dialogue in it, so that class teaches you how to be able to convey emotions visually. You spend all semester screening each other’s small projects, and learning how to critique one another respectfully.

Outside of class, freshmen can be found in the Hub getting food by day, and in the edit lab at night. Every class has access to editing labs where students can go any time to work on their movies, writing, or anything else together. During the day, a freshman film student might end up in the film store, where they can rent equipment for their projects. From there, a lot of students take their equipment to the basement of the music building, where students work on their on-going projects.

The other years of the film program are just as communal. The projects get more specific, difficult, and intensive. By junior and senior year, you spend the entire year working on your thesis film. You have one main production class and every week you show scripts, audition tapes, rough cuts, and finally, final edits of your film. By the end of the year, you are ready to screen your film at the end-of-year screenings, where your family and friends will see it.

Now as a senior, my days look a little different than they did freshman year. I’m done with screenwriting, editing, and cinematography classes, and just have one intense senior production class. I’m close to the people in my class and at this point, we have been on so many student film sets together. We lean on each other for help and rely on each other’s feedback in our classes just as much as our professors’. As a senior, I acquired a senior production room, where I can edit my movies and/or do any work I need to get done. Although my days have drastically changed ever since I was a freshman, I’m glad to be a part of the Film program.