varietyVariety just published their list of the top 40 film schools, and Chapman University along with California State University Northridge made the list!

Now, to be honest, it is no surprise that Chapman is on the list. Pretty much everyone in the industry agrees that USC and Chapman have the best programs on the West Coast, if not everywhere.

CSUNwordmark200tWhat is interesting is that for the second year in a row, CSUN has joined the rankings. Last year, we made it into the top 25 list; this year the list includes the top 40, and schools are only listed alphabetically within the list (no numerical rankings). Not doing numerical rankings makes more sense to me, because there really is no fair way for the staff of Variety to make those conclusions -- they are just NOT that intimately familiar with our individual programs and the levels of teaching.

It is quite remarkable for a school such as CSUN to have attained this level of excellence, especially when you consider that both USC and Chapman charge well over $50,000 per year for tuition; and CSUN is down there around $5000.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not claiming that CSUN's program nor its facilties are anywhere near the outstanding level of USC and Chapman.Both of those schools are mind boggling, and if someone is able to afford them -- those are the schools to attend!

I know, because I am an Adjunct Professor at Chapman as well as at CSUN; though, to be honest, I am much more involved in the day to day program as a Production Faculty member at CSUN than I am at Chapman.

But for a small program with limited financial resources, I am proud to say that CSUN offers students who are less financially endowed an excellent alternative. The Film Option program is run by Option Head, Professor Nate Thomas; under Department Head Joh Stahl. Nate's team of key faculty include: editor Michael Hoggan ACE, cinematographer Richard Ollis, soundmixers Fred Ginsburg CAS PhD and factory ProTools textbook author/trainer Joel Krantz, accalimed Hollywood director Donald Petrie, filmmaker Karen Carpenter,  Avid instructor Jan Popiden, just to name a few.

Here is the link to Variety's article:

Just as an aside, I found it interesting that the main photo illustration that Variety ran with the article depicts a student boom operator using a shotgun mic without a foam windscreen, and not wearing headphones. At CSUN and Chapman, we would not let our student soundpeople make those mistakes on a set!best film schools list