Filming On Campus: Hollywood’s Top 10 Favorite College Campuses
Hollywood has a tradition of utilizing real college and university campuses to double as the fictional one set forth by the script. Sometimes the names of real colleges may be used but a completely different campus may double for the school. The choice for campus is based a lot on architecture, cost, and how appropriate the campus is for filming. Often cosmetic changes are implemented to disguise the campus. Throughout the history of American film colleges have been used nationwide, and some have proven to be attractive to directors, having appeared in multiple films over years. The following 10 schools are part of the Hollywood history, their facades and campuses recognizable through repeated onscreen presence.
Harvard University – Harvard University has appeared as the backdrop of several Hollywood films. The brick architecture covered in ivy is the very essence of high quality education in the northeastern United States. The school has the added notoriety of being the subject of many films, such as Stealing Harvard, Legally Blonde, Good Will Hunting, and With Honors among others.
University of California – Los Angles – Located in the western end of Los Angeles, UCLA has served as a film site for many productions in both film and television. The school’s unique appearance offers traditional looking buildings alongside temperate weather, and its close proximity to many studios has made it an attractive location for filming. Such films as Back to School, How High, and Van Wilder, as well as television shows including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and House have been filmed at UCLA.
Columbia University – Columbia University is the very definition of New York City higher education, and as such has made numerous appearances in a variety of films. The school’s location in central Manhattan also allows for ease of filming as equipment and actors typically do not have to be relocated and production costs can therefore be reduced. Some films shot at Columbia University include Ghostbusters, Hannah and Her Sisters, Quiz Show and West Side Story.
Occidental College – Occidental College is located in the heart of Eagle Rock, part of Los Angeles County. The enclosed campus, full of greenery, fountains and art, has operated as a double for many fictional and real schools. Given the location of the school, filming is convenient for studios, and the separation of the campus from the rest of the city allows it to be placed in any state through the magic of filmmaking. Films include Real Genius, Clueless, and Star Trek III.
The University of Southern California – The University of Southern California is located within a strongly urban setting, allowing filmmakers to willfully utilize the school’s surroundings or even mask them to project the feel of an Ivy League university. The school itself has a number of old brick and mortar buildings with ivy growth and provides convenient access as it is within Los Angeles County, thus a short distance from many of Hollywood’s studios. Films include The Number 23, Old School, The Graduate and Forest Gump.
California State University Long Beach – California State University Long Beach provides a modern campus near the California coastline, allowing for non-descript modern setting to be utilized for a fictional campus. The two most notable films utilizing the CSULB campus filmed it as a high school, these films being Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and American Pie.
Agnes Scott College – Agnes Scott College, located in Decatur, Georgia, offers a setting that screams southern architecture and seclusion. Many of the films that have utilized the school have done so to emphasize the films location being in the south rather than focusing on the campus as a school. Films include Scream 2, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Bear, and Driving Miss Daisy.
College of Charleston – The College of Charleston in Charleston North Carolina has been used in a number of films, its buildings used to recreate 1800’s settings and architecture or to provide a regal and elegant setting for modern times. Films include American Wedding, Cold Mountain, The Patriot, and The Notebook.
Fordham University – Fordham University has often been used to double for Ivy League schools, as the architecture and location allow for a passable exterior. Films include A Beautiful Mind, Quiz Show, Love Story, and Center Stage.
University of Redlands – Located in the northern Greater Los Angeles County, the school’s ability to double as an elite east coast college and the remote feel of the campus, as well as its proximity to Hollywood studios has made it an ideal filming location for a variety of productions. Films include The Rules of Attraction, Slackers, Joy Ride, and Hell Night.
About the Author:
Kami Lebaredian is a writer for MatchCollege.com, a free college and degree search site that assists students and career professionals. To learn more about a career in Cinematography visit MatchCollege.com and browse their list of top Cinematography and Film schools today!