Frequently Asked Questions

Do students have access to equipment that they can check out for use? Is there an extra fee for this, or is it included in tuition?

Students do have access to equipment and can reserve it up to four weeks in advance. There is no additional fee—although there are fines if equipment is returned late.

You must be in a filmmaking class to have access to filmmaking equipment (cameras, tripods, sound, lights, grip, etc.) and spaces (like the soundstage or the Ziskin editing lab). However, the College's Audio/Visual department has cameras, tripods, and sound equipment available to the entire Sarah Lawrence community regardless of which classes you are enrolled in. So, if you find yourself not in a filmmaking class for a given semester, it’s still possible to get a camera. The AV Director and Film Technical Director try to coordinate our technology so that we have similar cameras. Also, there are other computer labs on campus besides the one we have in filmmaking that also have much of the same software.

We do have different tiers of equipment that students need to have certain semesters of experience to use. This year, that means:

  • If this is your first semester in a production class, you have access to the Sony NX3 and the Canon 70D.
  • If this is your third semester in a production class, you have access to prime lenses (we have several Rokinon lens packages) for the Canon 70D, as well as access to a Blackmagic Pocket Camera (we have two) or the Blackmagic 4K Production Camera.
  • Beyond your third semester in a production class, you may write a proposal to request access to use a Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K camera. Essentially, students in their junior and senior years (or, in some cases, sophomores) who have three or more semesters of production experience are given access.

We also have two ARRI Alexa cameras, a RED ONE camera, and two Blackmagic URSA 4K cameras that are used by our cinematography class to provide students experience with industry-standard cameras and workflows.

We do not think that better gear or better cameras make better movies—better stories make better movies. However, students doing more advanced work do have access to more advanced equipment.

​Do you have to apply for film school separately?

​No. If you are accepted to Sarah Lawrence College, you may freely study in the Filmmaking & Moving Image Arts Program.

The crux of what makes Sarah Lawrence unique, aside from the conference/don system and small class sizes, is the way we allow students to connect the creative arts (media, film, video, photography, art, music, etc.) with the humanities such as history, literature, anthropology, art history, philosophy, film history, as well as math and science. We are not a conservatory. You will study things other than filmmaking and we see that as a major benefit.

The only limitations are the following: you can only take one creative arts course (10 credits) as a first year student. After that, you are only limited by the overall 60 credit limit that an undergraduate student can take in creative arts (again, we are not a conservatory or a BFA program where you would take more than 60). To be clear, you may take 50 credits in one specific creative arts discipline (like filmmaking), but 60 credits overall in creative arts. A semester-long class is five credits, while a year-long class is 10 credits. You take 30 credits per year, adding up to 120 credits to graduate. This means there would be some semesters where you decide to take two (or even three) creative arts classes. You can study in any of the different creative arts areas as long as you don’t exceed the 60 credit limit.

Are there a lot of internships available for film students? Are there any paid internships available?

There are a number of students who seek internships on their own as well as through our Office of Career Services. A few that students have had recently include ABC, AMC, Annie Leibovitz, AOL, Atlantic Records, Blue Light Productions, CNN, CBS, Comedy Central, DC Comics, Marvel, Dog Eat Dog Films (Michael Moore), Dreamworks, Focus Features, Google, Lytro Cinema, IFC, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, MTV, NBC, Priority Film Group, Sony Entertainment, Sundance, Tribeca Film Festival, VICE, Warner Brothers, and Women Make Movies.

Do the faculty members teach the classes? Are they still active in their fields?

All courses at Sarah Lawrence College are taught by faculty members—and many of them are still quite active in their fields. Everyone is working in the industry in one way or another, independent or otherwise. There are no teaching assistants at Sarah Lawrence. Some of our technical/software labs are taught by active professionals currently working in their fields.

When do students begin filming?

When you take a production class, you will have a camera tech lab the first or second week of the semester. Once you take that lab, you will be able to check out equipment. As long as you are enrolled in a production class, you will have access to equipment from the Filmmaking & Moving Image Arts program. If you want to be hands-on right away, there will be nothing to stop you. Most shooting takes place on the weekend simply because that is when students are more available to crew for each other.

Do students work collaboratively on most projects?

Students collaborate and work on each other’s shoots constantly. It’s all about networking and helping out other filmmaking students.

We have classes in producing, cinematography, storyboarding, animation, editing, and television writing that did not exist just a few years ago. Students are finding a warm, collaborative environment to learn rather than an overly competitive one. Filmmaking is inherently a collaborative art. Some students work together constantly, crewing for each other’s films; some students are more independent. Experimental and documentary tend to be more independent areas just because of the nature of the medium, whereas narrative work requires more collaboration so students work to help each other out.

The filmmaking faculty meet monthly to go over a variety of issues and work to improve the program. It’s a highly collaborative group.

Are there computers available for students? Do I need a personal computer?

Our main editing lab—the Ziskin Digital Media Lab—has 16 iMacs in the main room and six private editing suites with Mac Pro towers. This lab is reserved for filmmaking students. There are a few other computer labs on campus, as well. Students primarily use Final Cut Pro X. Our Technical Director is an Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and a Blackmagic Certified Trainer for DaVinci Resolve. The Ziskin Digital Media Lab has the Adobe CC Suite (including After Effects and Premiere), as well as Avid Media Composer and DaVinci Resolve. Animation students use Harmony and Storyboard Pro. Producing students use MovieMagic Budgeting and Scheduling.

A personal computer is not required as there are several labs on campus, but many students do have laptops for convenience.