The USC Film School Interview

How do interviews work in the admissions process?

This is something that I feel is viewed with so much mystery. [Interviews] don't mean much at all. If I'm reading an application and there's something in that application that makes me want to know more about the applicant than what they've presented to me, I will do an interview with them.

It's not required. It doesn't mean you're getting any special treatment. The one thing that I'll say is, typically speaking, if we're going to go through the trouble of doing an interview, it's probably because there's something in that application that interested us enough to take the time to meet that person. It doesn't mean that just because we don't call someone, we're not interested.

So, in that case, an interview isn’t a prerequisite for acceptance?

I don't know the exact number, but when I was a student and I talked to my classmates, I think probably 50% of them who had gotten in had been interviewed and probably about 50% had not. That was a long time ago and it might have changed since.

Is it common for you to interview both undergraduate students and MFA students or does one tend to be interviewed more than the other?

Personally, I try to interview everybody I can.

Are the people on the admissions committee the ones that do the interviews?

Yes.

Is it common for people to be denied after they have been interviewed?

I'll tell you this: just because of the size of our classes, I’ll always have to deny more people that I interviewed than I accept. I know that on FilmSchool.org, it seems that everybody who had an interview got in. I don't want people getting discouraged, but I also want them to know that just because they got an interview doesn’t mean they are accepted.

What are your interview tips?

If someone interviews you, you don't know what they're looking for, because you don't know the reason they contacted you. So don't try and guess. Instead, just truly be yourself. Usually, we're not expecting for you to impress us as much as we're just trying to see if you're authentic, able to communicate in person, and match up with the person who we think wrote the application.