Located in the heart of Hollywood, the Los Angeles Film School offers aspiring moviemakers an ideal learning environment. Students have access to the latest moviemaking equipment, as well as 350-seat theater and multiple sound stages. In addition, industry luminaries such as Spike Jonze, Oliver Stone, Wes Craven, Nick Nolte and Billy Bob Thornton have served as guest speakers. To discover just what makes LAFS a film school experience like no other, MM spoke with Joe Byron, director of the school’s film program.

Kyle Rupprecht (MM): What makes L.A. Film School’s film program stand out from the vast number of other film schools?

Joe Byron (JB): Three main things:

1. The accelerated intensity of the program. In as little as 13 months, one can acquire a broad base of filmmaking skills, make professional quality short films and get a degree.

2. The location of the Los Angeles Film School, near Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, puts all of the industry’s local resources at the students’ fingertips. Services, products and industry networking give the students advance relationships with people in the business. For many students, their careers start before they graduate.

3. At least 71 percent of our graduates get a paying position in the industry within a year.

MM: A new 4,000-square-foot Hollywood soundstage was recently built on the campus. Why did you decide to add the set? How do you think it will benefit students?

JB: We want students to learn the necessary skills, but just as important is the discipline and work ethic that makes the industry work. We built the stage and set, and now use working crew heads to give students an on-the-job experience that is unique in that they can fail and make mistakes without career repercussions.

MM: The new set is also being used to produce episodes of the classic British TV comedy series “Fawlty Towers.” How did this notion come about? Are these original episodes created by the students, or recreations of old ones?

JB: We are currently using “Fawlty Towers” episodes because they are both fun and practical to make. We have rewritten the episodes to facilitate certain technical challenges, and have moved the hotel to Oxnard, California. We also shoot classic “Twilight Zone” episodes and are planning to do original productions in the future.

MM: If an aspiring moviemaker is considering attending LAFS but is still undecided, what would you say to convince him or her?

JB: If a person is passionate and serious about the filmmaking industry and doesn’t know how to make the leap from aspiration to a professional position, they should visit the school, chat with our faculty, staff and students and sit in on a few classes.

MM: Anything else to add?

JB: The entertainment industry consists of equal parts of art, science and business. The Los Angeles Film School gives equal importance to each. Also, LAFS is not a “hobby” school. It is for serious people who want to spend their lives in the entertainment industry.

Visit http://www.lafilm.com for more information.