One after another, touring groups of prospective students and their parents stopped late last month to pose for pictures around a bronze Douglas Fairbanks, who wields his sword in a courtyard fountain here at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Not even the imposing Mr. Fairbanks,a founder of the film school, has kept newcomers at bay. But another round of graduates is now hitting the street, in greater numbers and perhaps better equipped than ever before, to pursue opportunities that have seldom been more elusive, at least where traditional Hollywood employment is concerned.
As home-entertainment revenue declined in the last five years, studios reduced spending on scripts from new writers, cut junior staff positions and severely curtailed deals with producers who once provided entry-level positions for film school graduates. Yet applications to university film, television and digital media programs surged in the last few years as students sought refuge from the weak economy in graduate schools and some colleges opened new programs.
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