The graduate programs at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Conservatory of Motion Pictures are designed to empower you with the skills required to meet the challenges and expectations of the film and television industry.
I thought I'd start a thread about this program and see if anybody has any strong feelings about it, which I'm sure you do! I didn't know anything about it until just recently but it sounds really cool. It sounds like a great idea as an alternative or a prelude to an advanced degree. (Apparently lots of UCLA's MFA students come from this cohort.)
If you haven't heard of it, basically you take two courses (lecture & workshop) for a year taught by UCLA's screenwriting faculty. Here's the...
I decided to post this as its own tread so it would be helpful for years to come and easilly accessable! Behind the link you can find the google spread sheet where everyone (non forumers too!) is kindly asked to input your information. Please don't hesitate even if you haven't heard from some school or don't get in. Nobody will be the wiser who "Bananalover13" or "Anonymous99" really is, but for us and upcoming applicants the input is invaluable during already stressful times....
It's been awhile since I've logged in, but I thought I'd come back to share my application experience with anyone thinking of applying next year. I'm very happy to say I've accepted NYU's offer and my visa has been granted! I've made a list of things I've done well and things I could have done better. I hope this list helps you all. FYI, I applied to Columbia and NYU MFA and was offered scholarship from both universities.
Things I did well
- Invest plenty of my time on the Personal Statement
I really believe this was the key to my successful applications. I went on a holiday by the coast for 5 days to get away from it all and spent the whole time fine tuning my personal statement. I made my reason for going to school clear and I explained how the MFA program was going to help me achieve my goals. The more drafts you have of the PS, the better. I think it gets better with every draft. Get it proof read by people you trust, people who will give you an honest feedback.
- I think I picked the right referees
I approached three people I trusted, who knew my character, my work ethics and my strengths and weaknesses. I set up a meeting with them, emailed everyone a copy of my updated CV and Personal Statement so that they aligned their references to my mission. Even though some referees could have been better because they had great name and title value, I didn't approach them because I knew they'd either be too busy, or wouldn't put enough effort into it or weren't good writers.
- Reread submission instructions
I caught a lot of mistakes right before application. For my NYU silent synopsis submission, I found out a week before deadline that I had written a synopsis which was set inside a house when the instructions clearly stated that it must be set in exterior settings. I had to write it all again but I'm glad I reread all the instructions. Sometimes you concentrate on the story so much you forget to follow instructions.
- Only applied to schools I really want to get into
I didn't apply to 'safe schools'. I figured if I'm spending over US$150k on my education, I should apply to only those that I really really want to go.
- Joined this forum!
Boy did it help me a lot! I got so much information, encouragement and online camaraderie. It was the highlight of my day for a while, to check in and and soak in all new information, and share the nervousness and excitement. Some of them have made it to NYU too, so look forward to meeting with them.
Things I didn't do well
- Started my creative submissions too late
I started researching schools in June 2014 and I didn't start my creative submission work until November 2015. I think I was trying to create perfection and every time I sat in front of my computer, I ended up procrastinating. I did this for 4 months. I can't tell you how stressful it was, knowing deadline is approaching but not being able to produce. Looking back, it was such a waste of time, I should have just written it. In the end, I don't know how I finished it, I submitted everything 24 hours before deadline. My advice; start early, even if you think it's crap, it's still better than blank pages.
- Didn't look into scholarship opportunities
I didn't because my undergrad GPA is so shocking. But after I applied, I found out that there are so many scholarships out there - even for international students. A lot of these scholarship applications close earlier than graduate school deadline, so get active and apply to them all... who knows.. you might win one.
- Didn't do my math
I applied without thinking of how I was going to pay and how much living costs would be. And maybe that's a good thing because there's a good chance I might not have applied at all if I knew how much it was all going to cost me. After the acceptance letters came in, reality set in and I panicked. Where am I going to get the money from? This delayed my visa application greatly. I think it would have been better to have a sound payment plan before applying.
I hope that helps... good luck to you and all the best
Hey guys! I was recently accepted to the MFA in Production program at Florida State. For me, preparing for the interview was a nerve-wracking process. However, I knew quite a few people in the BFA program and was able to help prepare myself for a few of the questions they asked me.
I'm here to do the same for you. While your interview experience could be substantially different from mine (even if you're also interviewing at FSU), I wanted to provide you with as much information as I could about the experience. I hope that this makes things easier for you when you're applying to film schools.
I tried to maintain an open dialogue with the admissions counselor, though not to the point of ridiculousness. As soon as I received an email from them stating that they wanted to interview me, I sent a reply back as quickly as I could, and even asked to be signed up for the very first appointment they had available. Did this make a difference? Probably not. However, I wanted these folks to know that I was very serious about attending film school and tried to look as invested as I could.Practice Makes Perfect
It's also a good idea to ask any questions if you have any. What sorts of things should you anticipate? Where is a good place to park? Do they recommend wearing a suit, or is it a more laid-back affair? Again, this can give you more information about what to expect while also displaying your enthusiasm.
One time after I emailed the admissions counselor a week before the first interview, she was quick to send out relevant information shortly after I'd asked. Again, I wasn't trying to bombard the poor woman, who must read hundreds of emails a day. However, I was able to get the material I'd asked for, which was great.
What's the worst thing that could happen? Go through as many mock interview questions as you can. Ask yourself important questions - why do you want to go to film school? What's your plan if you aren't accepted? What's your favorite movie? Why is it your favorite movie? Go deep - real deep - so you can provide an honest, quality answer.Make Friends - Have fun!
You may encounter a different experience at other schools, but upon arriving at FSU I was led into a room where I met a few current MFA students as well as the other guys I was to be interviewed with. If you aren't sweating bullets in fear/anticipation/nervousness already, you might be by the time your name is called. So sit back, relax, and socialize. These people could be classmates of yours in the future, so why not get acquainted now? It is also very likely that the interview committee will want to see how you interact with others. They'll be less interested in an "artist" who thinks he's better than everyone else as opposed to a wide-eyed social butterfly who's excited about the film making process. Be nice, hang out, and make some friends. These people could end up being coworkers with you in the future.Be Yourself
Sounds cliche? Of course it does - you've probably seen dozens (if not hundreds) of movies that force-feed you this advice. But it's true - the interview committee likely knows a lot about your artistic ambitions from your resume, creative portfolio, and letters of recommendation. Now they want to know what you're like in person. If you've properly prepared yourself, you won't need to worry about nerves. But you will have to make sure they see you for who you are.Group Projects
The committee wants to know what kind of student, friend, worker, and thinker you are. Here's your chance to show them what you're really made of. If you want to make really artsy movies about time, death, love, etc. with lots of VFX, cool. Let them know what you want to accomplish. If you don't have as much experience on set, but you have a sincere passion for characters and plot, tell them about poems or short stories you've created in the past that show your ambitions. Show the committee what you personally want and hope to do in film and they'll help you get there.
In some cases, you will be asked to collaborate with your fellow interviewees to create a story or perform an activity. The best thing you can do here is have fun and be a team player. If you go into the room trying to be the next Kubrick, you may come across as a bit of a jerk. Brainstorm together and have a ball! You'll all have a much better time if you work together and play around with it, and the committee will enjoy seeing that you're a genuine team player who isn't afraid of group discussion. Do your very best (and feel free to try taking the reins if no one is saying anything), but remember that you will have a time limit and a deadline that must be adhered to. Be conscious, but enjoy the time.Be "THAT Guy/Girl"
So maybe you didn't enjoy your day. Maybe you thought you had a crappy interview and didn't do as much as you could. Maybe you wonder if you've wasted your time and that you have no chance of getting into film school.Would love for you guys to include any other useful information for aspiring applicants. Best of luck to all of you!
You know who else felt that way? This guy.
Even if you don't feel great at the interview's conclusion, you should still try to go out on a high note. Thank the committee for inviting you to their school. Thank the MFA students who have hosted you. Thank your fellow interviewees for going through this process with you and wish them all the best. And most importantly, thank the friends, family, and mentors that have helped you get this far. You know how many people want to go to film school and don't even get interviewed? A ton. Even if you aren't successful, you can always try again, and it's difficult to do too much networking in the film industry.
If you've made it this far, pat yourself on the back. You love movies enough to spend thousands of dollars on an education, and that means a whole awful lot.
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