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The Academy of Art University

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityD Faculty AccessibilityC
Useful SchoolworkC+ Excess CompetitionC
Academic SuccessC+ Creativity/ InnovationD-
Individual ValueF University Resource UseB
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyD FriendlinessB
Campus MaintenanceC- Social LifeB
Surrounding CityA+ Extra CurricularsB+
SafetyA
Describes the student body as:
Arrogant, Snooty, Closeminded

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Arrogant, Self Absorbed

Male
Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Individual Value
F
Highest Rating
Surrounding City
A+
He cares more about Creativity/ Innovation than the average student.
Date: Jun 29 2007
Major: Video/Media (This Major's Salary over time)
I am a graduate FILM student, went to the school for 5 1/2 years. Here are my gripes:

1) AAU is nothing more than an extension of High School, with a a lot of cliques and teachers playing favorites. As a film student this is VERY discouraging especially when you depend on other students for help. I can't count the times I worked on other peoples set only to get a

sorry I can't help you
, when time came to repay the favor. A lot of teachers play favorites. I guesss they feel its easier to help only students who could be potentially helpful to their own career. ITS A LOT like the industry in that it plays to those who have money. For instance, one student flew down to LA, paid to have their film bleached by passed only for a simple class exercise. But thats just a reflection of the real world of TV and Film- only the privileged have a voice.

1) The advisors are incompetent, specially Ron Bun and Cindy Leo. It took an extra semester because my "advisor" was uninformed about my major and miscalculated my credits. Also the administration is sometimes incompetent. The AAU informed me just 3 weeks! prior to graduated that I owed them around \(1,000. Since I have student loans, tuition is automatically deducted so I still don't understand where they got this balance from!? Thanks for not keeping your students informed and taking advantage your students AAU! :)SRF:ELEMENTS:9xsrf2) I would not recommend this school. Too expensive, outdated equipment (still using clunky semi broken 35/16mm cameras from 1960's), higher level classes had instructors that were RARELY THERE, specifically Randell Love- He was one of the two most knowledgeable teacher but was there only 5/16 classes!!! Also instructors are reluctant to give advise, I guess they see us as competition. The Head of the Equipment Dept Elan Santiago is an @\), no other way of saying it. I dont know one person who has said something postive about him, but no one says anything. Reason why is if he doesn't like you, you don't get the equipment you need. He caused many good equipment techs to quit unnecessarily. Eduardo, David Drum and Miss Sumtner were cool.

I would advise to take specific classes or seminars in LA or NY where there are more resources. Do not get sucked into paying $100,000 in student loans for an education like I did. The degree is worthless, I even had the Senior Year Portfolio Instructor of Motion Picture & TV tell the class that point blank. This makes no sense to a blue collar person such as myself who doesn't have the money to spend thousands of dollars on projects semester after semester. If you want to get into film, buy a camera, pickup a basic book on storytelling and video production, get yourself a job and do self fulfilling projects on the weekend's off. Or just go to LA and work your way up. Thats what I'm doing now and I already have my degree.

Two big thumbs down!

PS- A lot of these problems are systemic of the Higher Ups. Alicia "Bush" Stevens should sell her privite jet AND helicopter AND limo and actually try to fix the school, because its a school not just a business.

 
Responses
commentOn top of that, the 90% employment rate the AAU so proudly boast, does NOT include the FIlm department—over heard an instructor say this. They also include intership in that precentage. My experience… out of the 8 friends that graduated with me, only ONE had a PAYING job inside of the industry. Others are working at Starbucks, Grocery Stores, and the like or doing internship. I ask you… whats the point of paying for a degree that only gets you as far as an INTERSHIP?!!?? crazy, dont go.
responseI am a Graduate Student at the Academy Of Art University in Motion Pictures and Television specializing in Cinematography.

I completely disagree with the above posted comments.

My background was in Business and Marketing and everything I know about film I learned at the Academy.

First of all in terms of cost you can look and compare prices of other film schools and you will find that the Academy is on the lower percentile.

Regarding employment, I can tell you that a bast majority of people working in the bay area in film and advertising come from the Academy of Arts and they will help you get jobs in this industry, you just need to work hard and be willing to learn. Not expect a job just because you spent that kind of money. Nothing works that way anymore.

In terms of facilities and equipment, the Academy of Art not only is one of the few film schools that will still give you the possibility of working with film (8mm/16mm and 35mm) but they will also give you access to some of the latest digital equipment available, hard to come by in the real world unless you are in high profile shoots (ie: Alexa, Epic, Sony F5/F55…).

Through the Academy and concretely with the help of Mr. Elan Santiago, I was able to do a week internship in the best rental house in Hollywood, Otto Nemenz and another week at Mole Richardson ( lighting Hollywood movies since Hollywood is Hollywood ). I was able to take a workshop on underwater cinematography with Mr. Phil Bowen, one of the most amazing 1st AC's in the bay area, that shot Pirates of the Caribbean and a million other major Hollywood Blockbusters ( All that through the help and the initiative of Mr Elan Santiago. Not only that, he helped me get my current job as Director of Photography.

So to call him what this member called him in the above comment is very wrong and highly inappropriate.

Is the Academy of Art perfect? Of course not! but like most schools they will give you the tools if you are willing to learn and go further. If you just show up, do your assignments and do not put 120% of yourself into it, you will not get what you expect. To succeed in this industry you need to love the craft and WORK, WORK, WORK, then work some more and never stop learning. I cannot say that I am successful but at least I am working in what I love.

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