A few additional considerations:
Ask current and former students at the schools you are considering how long it
actually takes to complete the MFA, what the average completion time is, etc.
Some students more or less choose to stay on in an MFA program rather than
rapidly completing it because they like the environment, friends, and
especially access to equipment that they would otherwise have to buy or rent.
Consider your living expenses over time: do you need a car in this place? how
much will that cost? what is the cost of living, especially rent, in a "safe"
environment? A program you can complete in 2 years may be a better bet than
one that takes 3 or 4 years.
Are there any jobs or gigs in the area? What would you be comfortable with?
What could you make enough at? What would advance your professional skills?
Think broadly: do you have to be in the union? would you shoot wedding videos
for some outfit that does that? can you live with logging someone else's tapes
for hours on end? Do you have some other skill that will actually pay pretty
well to keep you going?
What is your aim with the portfolio: a bunch of short calling card films?
potential festival pieces? your ambitious indie/Sundance project? How will
you finance your portfolio work?
Will your partner, parents, and kids if you have them suppport you in all this?
for how long?
It's great to have an aspiration; it's important to temper it with a realistsic
assessment before you get started.
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