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Ian Bensman is a graduate of the Motion Picture Institute and now runs NEW RADIO MEDIA, a streaming channel that boasts full time employees, original programming, and a bright future. Ian also dropped out of Columbia College and chose to restart his film education at MPI. Like others, he will tell you that switching to an intensive one-year film school made all the difference. For Ian, MPI was the answer.


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Amber Harley-Smith attended a four-year university but got nowhere in the film business until she restarted her education at MPI.  Amber is now a prominent Script Supervisor whose worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest motion pictures including Marvel’s THOR and the Academy Award winning FIRST MAN.  For Amber, MPI was the answer, not a four-year university.

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One might even say that four-year universities are turning to the Motion Picture Institute as well. University of Michigan and Michigan State University both offer film studies at their big ten colleges. And both schools have film instructors who were trained and schooled at MPI.  For Vince Longo and Rola Nashef MPI was the launching pad not a four- year university. 


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Time plays a major factor in one’s ability to achieve success. Three months after graduating MPI Kelly Colohan had made enough money in the film industry to pay off his entire film school education.  Kelly credits his success to MPI’s comprehensive 12-month program.  Imagine being debt free months after graduating film school? That’s a common fact for graduates of MPI

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MPI President and CEO Douglas Schulze adds that 15% of the annual student body is made up of students who left major four- year Universities to restart their education and attend our concentrated one- year program.

He expects that percentage to grow as social media and hard facts are making students wiser to how careers in the film industry are really made.

The truth of the matter is, and we’ve been saying it for 22 years now, that careers in the film industry are not tied to a degree. SOME formal film education is necessary and expected but when you consider that half of a four-year degree is spent focusing on things unrelated to filmmaking it continues to be a costly move that can derail your dreams.

Schulze sees it all the time. Students are graduating from big and costly 4-year universities with over 100k in debt.  Sure, they may get a 12-week internship at a studio but then they’re back on the street looking for money to make a feature.  I’ve lost count of how many 100k in debt 4-year film school grads who’ve spoken to me for advice. My response is always the same; I wish you’d found us sooner.


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So, what’s stopping students bound for overpriced four-year degree colleges from making the wiser, more cost-effective switch to a school like the Motion Picture Institute?  PARENTS and HISTORY says Schulze.  Historically we have been led to believe that a four-year degree was a rite of passage for anyone entering the professional world. We’re at a pivot point in the educational paradigm where parents are finally starting to see the light.  Parents are starting to realize that what they were raised to believe wasn’t accurate.  A four-year degree is not going to guarantee you a job; especially not in the film industry. In fact, when you consider the time involved in getting that degree it can be a harmful deterrent to your overall goal. 


Society is undergoing a kind of education revolution. College grads are speaking up on social media and saying, “hey I’m a 150k in debt and all I have to show for it is a lousy 12 week internship”.  Mom and Dad used to be able to rely on the mantra “a degree will get you a job” and that’s no longer the case. In fact, it never was when it came to the motion picture industry.

An article in VICE supports the data the next generation are wising up and looking to trade schools like the Motion Picture Institute for their comprehensive film education.

The research is sobering. According to BUISNESS INSIDER Google hires more non-degree employees than those with four-year degrees.

Sadly, the line of jobless film school grads with four-year degrees is growing. The good news is so is the line of those choosing an education from the Motion Picture Institute that are launching their careers in a years’ time. The question is what line do you want to join?


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Written by Doug Schulze, CEO and Founder of MPI

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