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Film School Interview Questions

  1. Chris W
    This is a list of ACTUAL interview questions reported from posts from our members from the thousands of posts over the years on these boards. Please leave a reply in the discussion thread with any that you've had and I'll update the article.

    Also WEAR NICE CLOTHES TO YOUR INTERVIEW - as an AFI interviewer said according to the forums - "He said he didn't expect a full suit but to dress nice, like nice slacks and business appropriate top. He talked about a sloppily dressed guy giving him the impression that he didn't care."

    More tips on the interview:

    "I wore a suit to both. I rarely wear suits, but I have to say when you dress well, you really do feel much more confident. I don't know how to explain it any better than that. I highly recommend over dressing because it undoubtedly boosted my confidence, as strange as that may sound. From my experience as well as from the advice I was given prior to my interviews, confidence goes a long way in these interviews. Try to avoid um, so, well & other transition words at the start of each sentence. If you need a second to think, just take your time and answer with conviction instead of stalling with those transition words."

    Here are all the interview questions that I've been able to find that were posted on the site... There of course could be some that I missed. Please add them.

    • Why do you think MFA will help you?
    • What's a movie you've seen recently that you liked?
    • What do you think makes a good producer?
    • What skill set are you hoping to learn?
    • Do you have funding programs available in your country?
    • Any questions for us?
    • Why Columbia?
    • Why do you want to make films?
    • What types of films & filmmakers you like?
    • What kind of films do i want to make?
    • What area do i want to dive into?
    • Which filmmakers career inspire you?
    • What areas do you want to improve on most?
    • What are your favourite films?
    • Why USC, Why film school?
    • Name a movie that has had an impact on your life and why?
    • If you had the resources to work on one project now what would it be and why?
    • Are you aware how much it costs? Will you be able to pay for it?
    • Did you apply to other school?
    • Why do you want to pursue this field?
    • Identifying filmmakers who influence you or whose work you enjoy
    • In the practical situation not everyone will be directing or producing when they get out of film school, what other roles in filmmaking do you feel your skills speak to?
    • If you could only make one film right now and had the resources for it, what theme would it have?
    • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    • What kind of movies inspire me to make films
    • What do I want to get out of film school that I can't get outside on my own
    • Which movies that influenced me to make films
    • Are you prepared for a 3 year program, or is that too long?
    • What projects are you working on right now?
    • What skills do I want to work on if accepted to Columbia?
    • What are your weaknesses?
    • Some questions about my dramatic writing sample regarding why does it mean to me and what it is about.
    • Have you ever written anything collaboratively?
    • What are your steps in the revision process?
    • What do you do for enjoyment outside of writing?
    • He asked me about my portfolio, my normal writing process, my undergrad majors (International studies and history), what I want to write, how I knew I wanted to do screenwriting, and basic questions about where I am from and what I hope to get out of the program.
    • What other schools are you applying to?
    • Why choose to do MFA now?
    • What are the recent films that you like?
    • Describe the city you're living in now and the people living there.
    • Tell us a memorable moment in your life.
    • What are you concerns about the program if you get in.
    • Will you consider cinematography?
    • If you don't get into USC what will you do?
    • What do you see yourself doing down the line?
    • Film or TV? Then they asked what is your favorite film or show.
    • Advice on the interview: expect the questions you assume (why film school, what films you hope to make, what movies you like, how will you pay, etc.)....My interviewers very thoroughly had read both my essays and had watched both my films (the "surprise" film and the other submission)-- they will most likely ask you questions about things you wrote in your statements. Overall, they're just trying to get to know you and what you're about. They try very hard, they say, to build an ensemble group that meshs well together as a class and contains a variety of voices. My advice is to be yourself and hope that who you are comes across in the questions you answer.
    • The interview included my top five films, my strength and weakness, what did I do until now, pitch a story, where will you be the next ten years...
    • What have you been doing since undergrad?
    • Top 5 films? but don't say why
    • Is there a common thread that pops out to you about your top 5 films?
    • If you could pick one of those films, would any of them be similar to the types of films you want to make?
    • Pitch your short film idea
    • Why apply to film school?
    • Tell us a story from your childhood that resonates with you
    • What are you looking to get out of the program?
    • Why NY, why NYU?
    • The one question I remembered being asked was how much writing I'd done, mostly to see if I'm serious about it.
    • What's your leadership style?
    • Any questions about the program?
    • What kind of film do you want to make in the future?
    • Are you aware of the cost of the program?
    • Why film school? Why USC?
    • Where are you from and your cultural background?
    • Any questions for us?
    • What do you believe the program will give you?/Why the UCLA Screenwriting MFA?
    • What type of material do you intend to write in the program?/What do you enjoy writing?
    • Did you write at a young age / do you have a specific memory of writing as a child?
    • What would you contribute to the classroom setting?
    • What is your greatest weakness?
    • What have you been working on in the past 6 months?
    • What is a story/book that you'd like to adapt to the screen?
    • Have you directed actors?
    • A question about my visual sample and personal statement.
    • Any questions you have for us?
    • What sentimental object do you carry in your wallet that is not cash or credit cards? If you don't have a sentimental object in your wallet, what would you have?
    • If you were a character in a film, how would the first scene introduce you that would encapsulate you as a person?
    • Why AFI?
    • The interviewer only asked me two questions, both questions could be related to my personal statement (why producing & why chapman..).
    • What skill set are you hoping to learn?
    • They were interested in knowing who i am. They asked me some questions about the treatment i sent them. And also many questions about why i want to make films, what area do i want to dive into, what are my favourite films etc. Interview goes by like a friendly chat. At the end they asked me if i had any questions for them and gave me info about the faculty and the courses.
    • Be ready to summarize your personal statement, and answer various questions about it.
    • Tell a story that you have heard over and over growing up (about your yourself, parents, family, etc).
    • Talk about your favorite directors and why.
    • Why NYU?
    • Why go to film school now? Why have you applied for an MFA now?
    • Who are your favorite filmmakers and why? (Have a few names in mind, their films and why? Watch their films again. You might be asked about a particular scene.)
    • You may have more experience than others in you class, how do you feel about that?
    • You may be asked to highlight something about your city and why?
    • What will you add to the classes and NYU?
    • Be prepared to talk about your visual sample.
    • Describe something interesting that has happened to you recently (Have one or two incidents in mind.)
    • What are the challenges you may face once you are there?
    • What kind of films you want to make?
    • Why would you want an MFA instead of just going straight into production work?
    • Why producing?
    • What do I see myself doing in 5-10 years? (producing, directing, entrepreneur....)
    • am I prepared for a 3 year program, or is that too long?
    • how I was planning to pay for the program due to the high costs
    • if I had any questions for him

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    About Author

    Chris W
    BU COM 1999 Graduate. Currently working as a Film & TV editor in Los Angeles. Founded Studentfilms.com in 1998 (from which the film school forums were spun off into FilmSchool.org in 2014).