University: University of California Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: media
Study type: Summer Sessions
Originally I had planned to vacation in Los Angeles in the summer of 2008. When I told a friend about it, he immediately asked me “do you do summer sessions?” to which I asked “what are summer sessions?”. I then researched it and was flabbergasted at first that such a cool thing existed. The vacation to Los Angeles was planned because it’s the Mecca for young filmmakers like me. The fact that I can then also take courses there at one of the three best film schools in the USA (if not the world) blew me away, precisely because in Germany, fresh out of school and out of community service, I couldn’t even get into something like that. So it was clear: I’ll do the Summer Session! Visit act-test-centers.com to get information about UCR study abroad program.
Courses: “Art & Technique of Filmmaking” and “Independent Feature Film Production”
I will not list any data and facts such as the number of students during the summer etc., you can read about that on Wikipedia, you can get impressions from photos, e.g. in my blog: http: //blog.farkasmedia.com/ (click to page 10)
I lived off-campus, ie in a student apartment building right next to the campus, so really directly, ie the campus begins on the other side of the street. I had my own room with a small hallway and bathroom, my roommate, who also had a bathroom and bedroom, was also from Germany. Living room and kitchen were large, there was also a balcony and air conditioning, everything was perfect, there was comfortable furniture too. But you won’t be in the apartment much anyway. If you don’t have classes in common with your roommates, you see them once every two days. Because life on campus, in Westwood Village where you live, and in Los Angeles in general, just offers too much. It’s a field report about summer sessions, ie it’s supposed to be about studying, but for most people that’s just a side issue. Westwood has lots of restaurants, good big movie theaters even on campus, and nice shopping and nice neighborhoods. Unfortunately, there are no clubs, except for a “bar”, which I cannot recommend. More on that later.
About studying: The lessons were very interesting even for experienced filmmakers, the facilities and resources of the university are top. Editing suites, cinema, libraries. I can only speak for the Theatre, Film & Television Department now, but UCLA is first class in every way. The size of my courses was manageable, I estimate about 35 people per course, and actually you came into contact with everyone during the class time. That’s definitely partly because the artists and filmmakers are really open and the business is also about relationships, partly because of the design of the lessons, which were really very interactive. Friends of mine who have attended physics courses or similar, for example, have not exchanged a word with their table chatter, and the students were 80% (out of 120 people in the room) closet Asians. In any case, I got to know so many people and made many contacts that still exist today, including with the lecturers.
As expected, in their free time (you have a lot when you take two courses, especially film courses, where there isn’t actually any homework or anything like that, others were really bothered by that) the Germans hung out together and did something. I was also in contact with almost all the Germans there, you find each other first, especially if you have previously had contact via the Internet, but I had a lot of contact with non-Germans through the communication courses and film projects there, many Americans, Mexicans, Greeks, French, British, etc. Because my roommate had other courses, he knew other people and so our circle of friends often got together, and so we were out and about with even more people. Very beautiful.
It is also standard during the session that you get together for an excursion. The destinations are of course San Francisco, Las Vegas and San Diego. I’ve been to San Francisco and Las Vegas.
This is just a rough overview of what to expect at the session, I could fill pages (5 pages would only describe the burger offer and how many Dr. Pepper Refills you can drink until you burst.), But you don’t want to either read forever, but also register for it immediately!
I give session 08 9 out of 10 points….. why only 9?! Because session 09 was even better!
At the end of the summer of 2008 I said to all my new friends: “Guys, I’ll be back…” (with my best Arnie impression) “…every summer!”, as it later turned out they believed me 50%, but I came back! Actually, I just wanted to visit the people, but “Directing” and “Cinematography” were just a great addition to my previous courses (well, I got B, B, A and A+ by the way). I had the same teacher again and also had lessons with an old friend. I met all the other friends from LA again and made even more new ones. I have to say that I was only 21 in 2009, so the nightlife in the second session got busier and wasn’t just limited to the very awesome frat parties,
The first time in LA I somehow always had in the back of my mind what I wanted to do with tourist stuff (that’s why I took pictures of every piece of shit, as you can see in the blog), and even in class, I was not actually a student a bit reserved. But the second time, you already know everything, you chatter away a lot in class, you’ve had more experience yourself, you’re more open. Outside you know your way around the whole city, don’t go crazy when you see a celebrity or something similar. You just live quite normally, like here, and that’s nice. You know more people because you know them from last year, you spend a lot of time with everyone because you live a normal life without constantly looking at anything and taking photos.
But I admit that I was a bit sensational the first time. But the lust is satisfied if you don’t just sit in the booth, of course. For example, in the summer of 2008 Angels & Demons was filming on campus and I met Tom Hanks. If you go to the right club at the right time, you’ll meet Teri Hatcher, and when that becomes commonplace, it’s suddenly quite normal to meet Robert Rodrigeuz at the LA Film Festival (in Westwood!).
I could tell you a lot more, but I think you’ve already been convinced to do a summer session. And if it’s UCLA, we’ll meet up for a coffee or a burger, okay? Cool.