LA Film School

Built on Avid Gear.

This 10-year-old entertainment industry training ground has two missions – satisfying both the students and their potential employers.

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Film School (LAFS), recently approved as a degree-granting institute of higher learning, has accordingly launched new educational programs and is also due to mark its 10th anniversary. All this is exciting for LAFS’s instructors and students alike – they all know that graduates will be hitting the job market better prepared than ever and ready to start work. “And not at a Blockbuster,” as Director of Education Joe Byron says.

One reason for the school’s success is its commitment to professional tools by Avid and Digidesign – software and hardware for post production that is actively in use at essentially all the film studios, post houses and television networks where LAFS grads hope to work.

Students can now graduate with an associate degree -- the equivalent of a two-year program at a general education college -- in only one year. “It’s a very accelerated program,” says VP of Education Bill Smith. Students attend class for 1,376 hours over 12 months and a new cycle of students commences each month. “Students are required to be in school 40 to 48 hours a week,” Smith says. “It’s a full-time job.”

Regardless of their career focus, all students take the same classes – they don’t have “majors.” However, says Byron, “the school is open 24 hours a day. If you visit our facility you’ll see there’s always somebody in the editing room. The actual positions and focuses of the students are defined, not by the classes they take, but by the work they do and what they call themselves.”

The point is that all students become handy with the software and hardware in use at the places where they’d like to work. Irrespective of their personal interest in directing, cinematography, scriptwriting or other disciplines, LAFS students learn how to use what the industry uses. They then follow their muse after hours. And quite often that places students in the Avid editing lab.

Up until a recent decision to begin offering some Final Cut Pro courses, LAFS has been an all-Avid school. Byron says their original all-Avid reasoning was simple: “We wanted to have a school that would create professional people ready to get into entry-level jobs in production or post production as soon as they graduated. We thought it was better for them to have hands-on experience with equipment they were most likely going to use and that was Avid Media Composers. We made a substantial investment – that was quite expensive in 1999 – and we became an Avid-only house.”