The Los Angeles Film Scene

Learn about the history of the Los Angeles film industry.
hollywood boulevard street sign

As part of the city of Los Angeles, Hollywood draws hopeful film industry workers looking to make it big in the glittery, glamorous movie business.

Originally, the movie industry was driven to the West Coast by the strict limitations placed on filmmakers by Thomas Edison's monopoly known as "the Trust." The physical distance between California and the East Coast-based Trust allowed filmmakers freedom they wouldn't have had otherwise.

However, with its sunshine and wide array of desirable film locations, California was an ideal home for the fledgling film industry. Today, despite worries about increased competition by filming hot spots such as New York and Vancouver, B.C., the Los Angeles film industry is a hub of multi-national corporations invested in not only movies but television, video games, home theaters and publishing.

An Economic Boon to Los Angeles

Since the establishment of Nestor Studios, the first Los Angeles-based film studio in 1911, Hollywood has continued to cement its position at the center of U.S. film. By the mid-1920s, the "big 5" studios—20th Century Fox, RKO Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and MGM—were in full swing, with smaller studios Universal, Columbia and United Artists hot on their heels. The industry was off and running, never to look back.

The Los Angeles County Economic Forecast and Industry Outlook Report for 2019-2020 states the number of new digital projects nearly doubled between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 development cycles, increasing approximately 85.3% in one year.

Find a Los Angeles Film School

Los Angeles supports its thriving industry with the education to help sustain it and keep it moving forward. As technologies change, schools offer state-of-the-art programs in everything from 3D animation to digital editing. Whether you want to work in animation, editing, directing, lighting or cinematography, Los Angeles has a school that can help prepare you for a career in the filmmaking industry.

Here are the Los Angeles-area film schools extracted from The Hollywood Reporter's list of the top 25 film schools in the U.S.:

  • The University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • UCLA, Westwood
  • American Film Institute, Los Angeles
  • Chapman University, Orange
  • Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
  • California Institute of the Arts, Valencia
  • ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena
  • Cal State University, Northridge

Additionally, the 2019 rankings included these two Northern California Schools:

  • Stanford University, Palo Alto
  • San Francisco State, San Francisco