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Filmmaking Schools in Lakeland FL

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Looking for the best Filmmaking Schools in Lakeland, FL? You’ve come to the right place!

  • Exclusive programs: Discover top-tier filmmaking degrees and courses.
  • Experienced faculty: Learn from industry professionals.
  • Career opportunities: Connect with local film industry networks.

Explore the top filmmaking schools in Lakeland, FL and start your journey today!

Why Choose a Filmmaking School in Lakeland FL?

Lakeland, FL, offers an ideal environment for aspiring filmmakers. Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider pursuing your filmmaking education here:

Strong Local Industry Connections

  • Proximity to Major Film Markets: Lakeland is close to major film markets like Orlando and Tampa, providing numerous networking opportunities and industry connections.
  • Supportive Arts Community: The city boasts a vibrant arts scene with regular film festivals, art exhibitions, and community events, fostering a creatively stimulating environment.
  • Collaborative Opportunities: Local production companies and media firms often collaborate with filmmaking schools, offering hands-on projects and internships.

Climate Advantages

  • Sunny Climate: Florida’s sunny weather allows for year-round outdoor filming, giving you more opportunities to shoot on location.
  • Diverse Landscapes: Lakeland’s diverse settings, from urban to natural landscapes, provide versatile backdrops for different film genres.

Quality Education and Facilities

  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Filmmaking schools in Lakeland boast modern labs, studios, and editing suites, ensuring you have access to the latest technology.
  • Experienced Faculty: Institutions feature faculty members with extensive industry experience, providing you with invaluable insights and mentorship.
  • Comprehensive Programs: Schools offer well-rounded curricula that cover every aspect of filmmaking, from screenwriting to post-production.

Overview of Filmmaking Programs

Several institutions in Lakeland offer various filmmaking programs. Whether you are looking for a degree, certificate, or short-term workshop, you’ll find suitable options.

Degree Programs

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): Offered by Florida Southern College, the BFA in Film provides a comprehensive education, combining theoretical, historical, and practical elements of filmmaking.
  • BA/BS in Film Production: Southeastern University offers these degrees, focusing on hands-on experience with courses in writing, directing, cinematography, editing, and production management.

Certificate Programs

Some institutions offer certificate programs tailored for those who wish to quickly gain practical skills:

  • Digital Media Technology Certificates: While specific to digital media, these programs at Polk State College can offer foundational skills relevant to filmmaking.

Workshops and Short-Term Courses

These are typically offered as part of continuing education departments or by local film organizations.

  • Specialized Workshops: Topics may include screenwriting, editing software (e.g., Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere), and cinematography.

Top Filmmaking Schools in Lakeland FL

Florida Southern College

Florida Southern College is renowned for its Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film program. Here’s what sets it apart:

  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The program integrates theory, history, and practical filmmaking.
  • Industry-Experienced Faculty: Professors bring extensive industry experience, enriching the learning process.
  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Students have access to modern studios, editing suites, and production labs.
  • Portfolio-Based Admission: Applying for the BFA program involves showcasing your talent through a portfolio review.

Southeastern University

Southeastern University offers robust BA and BS degrees in Film Production. Key highlights include:

  • Hands-On Experience: The program emphasizes practical learning, from writing and directing to cinematography and production management.
  • Senior Capstone Projects: Students create a significant project in their final year, demonstrating their mastery of film production.
  • Industry Connections: Faculty members often have strong ties to the film industry, facilitating networking opportunities.

Polk State College

While direct information about a filmmaking-specific program wasn’t found, Polk State College offers a Digital Media Technology program that can align with filmmaking studies.

  • Versatile Learning Opportunities: The program includes courses in graphic design, digital video, and multimedia production, providing relevant skills for aspiring filmmakers.
  • Affordable Education: As a community college, Polk State offers more affordable tuition rates, making it accessible for many students.

Lakeland Film Academy at Polk State College

Though specific details about the Lakeland Film Academy are scarce, Polk State College offers digital media programs that may align with filmmaking interests.

Digital Media Technology Programs

  • Comprehensive Education: Courses cover graphic design, digital video, multimedia production, and web development.
  • Modern Facilities: Students access up-to-date labs and software, ensuring practical and relevant experience.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Programs often cater to both full-time students and working professionals, with flexible class schedules.

Career Support

  • Internships and Projects: The college facilitates internships and collaborative projects with local media firms, providing real-world experience.
  • Career Services: Students benefit from career counseling and job placement services, helping them transition into the industry.

Southeastern University: Film Production Program

Southeastern University’s Film Production program stands out for its hands-on approach and comprehensive curriculum.

Degree Programs

  • BA/BS in Film Production: Offers extensive training in various aspects of filmmaking, preparing students for multiple career paths in the industry.
  • Capstone Film Project: A culminating project where students produce and direct a short film, showcasing their learned skills.

Facilities and Resources

  • Modern Production Studios: Students have access to state-of-the-art studios and equipment, enabling high-quality production work.
  • Experienced Faculty: Professors with industry experience guide students, providing professional insights and mentorship.

Career and Industry Connections

  • Networking Opportunities: The institution fosters connections with filmmakers and studios, aiding in job placement after graduation.
  • Alumni Success: Graduates of the program have gone on to work in various roles within the film industry, demonstrating the program’s effectiveness.

Lakeland, FL, offers rich opportunities for aspiring filmmakers through its dedicated educational programs, supportive community, and extensive industry connections. By choosing one of these top filmmaking schools, you will be well-prepared to embark on a successful career in the film industry.

Workshops and Short-Term Courses

Besides degree programs, Lakeland offers several workshops and short-term courses catering to film enthusiasts looking to refine their skills quickly. These options provide hands-on experience without the long-term commitment of a degree program.

Types of Workshops Available

  • Screenwriting Workshops: These sessions focus on narrative structure, character development, and dialogue. Students often complete the workshop with a polished short script.
  • Editing Software Courses: Workshops on software like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere can be invaluable. Participants gain hands-on experience in editing, special effects, and color correction.
  • Cinematography Classes: Learn the art of visual storytelling with workshops on camera techniques, lighting setups, and shot composition.

Duration and Costs

  • Short-Term Commitment: Most workshops run for a few days to a few weeks, making them perfect for working professionals or students looking for additional skills.
  • Variable Costs: Prices vary depending on the length and depth of the workshop. Entry-level courses might cost a few hundred dollars, while more advanced workshops could be more expensive.


  • Varied Requirements: Some workshops require basic knowledge or previous coursework in filmmaking, while others are open to complete beginners. Always check the specific requirements before enrolling.
  • Portfolio Review: Advanced workshops may ask for a portfolio submission to assess your current skills and ensure the course is a good fit for you.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Investing in a filmmaking education can be daunting, but numerous scholarships and financial aid options can help ease the financial burden.

Types of Scholarships Available

  • Talent-Based Scholarships: Institutions like Florida Southern College offer scholarships based on portfolio reviews. Exceptional work in film can lead to substantial financial support.
  • Visual Arts Scholarships: Additional scholarships are available for students excelling in visual arts. These can significantly reduce tuition costs.
  • Need-Based Financial Aid: Both Florida Southern College and Southeastern University provide need-based financial aid packages. These can cover a portion or even all of your tuition fees.

How to Apply

  • Prepare a Strong Portfolio: For talent-based scholarships, a compelling portfolio showcasing your best work can set you apart.
  • Meet Deadlines: Scholarship and financial aid applications have specific deadlines. Mark these dates on your calendar to avoid missing out on opportunities.
  • Consult Financial Aid Advisors: Speaking with advisors at your chosen institution can provide personalized guidance on available options and the application process.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Academic Performance: Some scholarships may require a minimum GPA.
  • Demonstrated Talent: For talent-based scholarships, quality and originality in your portfolio are crucial.
  • Financial Need: Need-based aids consider family income and other financial factors.

Career Opportunities in Lakeland for Filmmakers

Graduating from a filmmaking school in Lakeland opens a plethora of career opportunities within and beyond the city. Here, we explore potential pathways for filmmakers and the local industry connections that can facilitate your career growth.

Potential Career Paths

  • Directing: Utilize your vision and leadership skills to bring stories to life.
  • Screenwriting: Craft compelling narratives for films, series, and other visual media.
  • Cinematography: Capture the essence of stories through innovative camera work and lighting techniques.
  • Editing: Shape the final product by piecing together footage, adding effects, and ensuring a seamless narrative flow.
  • Production Management: Oversee all aspects of film production, from budgeting to team coordination.

Local Industry Connections

  • Production Companies: Numerous local production companies in and around Lakeland offer job opportunities and internships for recent graduates.
  • Advertising Agencies: These agencies often seek skilled filmmakers to create compelling advertisements for various media platforms.
  • Media Firms: Media firms provide various roles in content creation, production, and post-production.

Notable Employers

  • WEDU PBS: The public broadcasting service in Tampa could provide numerous opportunities in producing educational and informative content.
  • Florida Citrus Sports: This organization often requires the creation of promotional and event videos, offering chances for collaboration and employment.
  • Local TV Stations: Working with local television stations like WFTS ABC Action News can offer invaluable experience and exposure.

How to Apply to Filmmaking Schools in Lakeland

Applying to filmmaking schools in Lakeland involves a multi-step process. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you navigate your application:

Step-by-Step Application Process

  1. Research Programs: Thoroughly investigate the filmmaking programs offered by institutions such as Florida Southern College and Southeastern University.
  2. Prepare Your Portfolio: Create a compelling portfolio showcasing your best work. This is crucial, especially for talent-based scholarships.
  3. Gather Required Documents: Essential documents typically include high school transcripts, recommendation letters, and a personal statement.
  4. Submit Online Application: Complete and submit the online application form through the school’s website.
  5. Meet Deadlines: Be aware of and adhere to application deadlines to ensure your application is considered.
  6. Interview Preparation: If required, prepare for interviews that might assess your passion and suitability for the program.
  7. Financial Aid Application: Concurrently apply for financial aid and scholarships to support your tuition costs.

Required Materials

  • Transcripts: High school or previous college transcripts.
  • Recommendation Letters: Letters from teachers, mentors, or industry professionals.
  • Personal Statement: An essay explaining your interest in filmmaking and your career aspirations.
  • Portfolio: A collection of your best and most relevant work.

Application Tips

  • Highlight Your Passion: Personal statements and interviews are your chance to showcase your dedication to filmmaking.
  • Showcase Diversity: Include a variety of projects in your portfolio to display range and versatility.
  • Proofread: Ensure all written materials are error-free and professionally presented.

Student Life in Lakeland

Being a student in Lakeland offers a unique blend of academic rigor and vibrant social life. Here’s what you can expect as a filmmaking student.

Local Culture and Attractions

  • Arts Scene: Lakeland has a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries, theaters, and cultural events throughout the year.
  • Dining and Entertainment: Enjoy a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining, and local entertainment venues featuring music, film screenings, and live performances.
  • Outdoor Activities: With its sunny climate, Lakeland offers numerous parks, lakes, and outdoor activities, perfect for relaxation or even as filming locations.

Housing Options

  • On-Campus Living: Institutions like Florida Southern College offer dormitory options, providing a traditional college experience.
  • Off-Campus Housing: Numerous affordable apartments and rental homes are available near campus, giving you more freedom and independence.
  • Homestays and Shared Housing: These options can offer a more community-oriented living experience and are often more budget-friendly.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Film Clubs and Societies: Join clubs focusing on film appreciation, production, and discussion to enhance your learning and network with like-minded peers.
  • Workshops and Guest Lectures: Participate in specialized workshops and attend guest lectures from industry professionals.
  • Community Events: Engage in local community events, which often include film festivals, arts fairs, and cultural celebrations.


Pursuing your filmmaking education in Lakeland, FL, offers a well-rounded experience combining high-quality education, abundant resources, and a supportive community. Whether you choose to attend Florida Southern College, Southeastern University, or another institution, you’ll find programs aimed at fostering your creativity and honing your skills. Start your journey today and transform your passion for filmmaking into a successful career.

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