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2016 UCLA Screenwriting MFA

googoomuck

Member
I'm just trying to make myself feel better about not getting an invite so this post is totally insane rationalizing in my attempt to resolve my cognitive dissonance. It's all just BS I'm making up, none of it is fact. Humor me...or don't. Haha!

consider...
1. the program plans to take somewhere around 30 new students.
2. every student who gets admitted is interviewed.
3. not everybody who is interviewed gets admitted.
4. not everybody who is admitted accepts the offer.
all of this being true, we know there will be more than 30 interviews conducted. How many more, who can say. 50? 100? 31? The school must arrive at that figure each year. No sense worrying about that because we also don't know how many applicants there were since they are not required to register at the forum or contribute to the spreadsheet (darn!). Next...

Last year everybody got invited on 2/5 and then everybody (who posted it) got rejected on 2/6. Interviews took place between 2/24 and 3/10, a period of 2 weeks. This year invitations have been spread out over the week and were actually concentrated over the weekend, perhaps because everybody's in school during the week. Nobody has gotten a rejection yet. All interviews have been scheduled for the same week, between February 16-20. So, even though invitations have been sent over a longer period, interviews have actually been scheduled into a tighter time frame.

Unless they are planning to take in fewer students this year--which is valid and possible--I think there could be a second wave of interviews the week after next (2/28-3/5). BUT I MIGHT BE TOTALLY WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING...so I'm not getting too attached to this theory haha. Maybe they just don't want me.

All we can know for sure is that I went to a research university and have officially gone off the deep end!!!
 

beardown

New Member
I have an interview scheduled for the 18th in LA for the Screenwriting program & I'm wondering if anyone has any information about interview questions besides what was posted on the main acceptance/rejection page. I'm not sure how to prepare/what to be ready to talk about & am nervous about that aspect.
 

bastianbarba

New Member
Confirmed interview for 2/20 in NYC (I live in Boston). I get a sense these interviews are to prove we're all empathetic people, aka, not sociopaths. My big concern is dress code. What do you all think is appropriate? I work at Harvard and any time someone shows up on Graduate Program Interview Day in a suit, I think, ho-boy you're trying to hard. And now that I'm in his shoes, I want them to be the nicest shoes!

(If there's a dress code thread, I'll switch to there. Didn't see one.)
 

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Confirmed interview for 2/20 in NYC (I live in Boston). I get a sense these interviews are to prove we're all empathetic people, aka, not sociopaths. My big concern is dress code. What do you all think is appropriate? I work at Harvard and any time someone shows up on Graduate Program Interview Day in a suit, I think, ho-boy you're trying to hard. And now that I'm in his shoes, I want them to be the nicest shoes!

(If there's a dress code thread, I'll switch to there. Didn't see one.)

Richard Walter (who may likely be one of your interviewers) addressed this in an interview once. 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. None of this is a direct quote, just my general recollection from one of his interviews.
 

Boethius

Member
Everyone who has an interview next week should take the time to watch these two videos. They're basically a cheat sheet for what you should be prepared for at the inteview.

And it would be good to watch the other clips too.
 

iYaro

Member
@loho @TezcaJuan @beardown
Just got my time and interviewee last night. Interviewing with Neil Landau on the 18th at 11am. Anybody have any suggestions on preparing? Other than "be yourself" haha. I picked up Neil's book, The Screenwriter's Roadmap, just to get a chance to pick his brain a little so I don't go in blind. Since this isn't Harvard Business school, I think we can be a relaxed in our dress code. But from my research, I keep hearing "dress nice, business formal." So leave the tuxes at home ladies and gentlemen.

@Boethius
Thanks for the links!
 

SlothsRock

New Member
Hi all - I've never posted on here but have found these forums to be very helpful. I also applied to this program and received my rejection email this morning. Boo, but huge congrats to those of you moving on to the next step and best of luck with your interviews!
 

Bigedblue

Member
@loho @TezcaJuan @beardown
Just got my time and interviewee last night. Interviewing with Neil Landau on the 18th at 11am. Anybody have any suggestions on preparing? Other than "be yourself" haha. I picked up Neil's book, The Screenwriter's Roadmap, just to get a chance to pick his brain a little so I don't go in blind. Since this isn't Harvard Business school, I think we can be a relaxed in our dress code. But from my research, I keep hearing "dress nice, business formal." So leave the tuxes at home ladies and gentlemen.

@Boethius
Thanks for the links!

iYaro -

My interview was more of a conversation. Just go in and relax. You got this far. You can make it to the finish line.
 

LilyMunster

Member
So, I was rejected from the "prestigious" UCLA(screenwriting MFA) today without an interview. Disappointed? Yes. Bitter? You betcha. Oh well.
 

iYaro

Member
@Bigedblue

Thanks! Got my tomorrow morning. Looking forward to it.

@LilyMunster @nervouslurker
So sorry to hear the bad news. But don't you dare stop. If writing is your life then don't stop. Keep writing like you're mad and try again next year. I've been rejected by dozens of schools, production companies, and festivals in my career. This moment is only a stepping stone in your brilliant writing careers. Don't stop writing those beautiful, scary, and/or tragic stories and I can't wait to read them when they are all finished.
 

bastianbarba

New Member
I've got an interview with Hal Ackerman and Marc Arneson tomorrow. I gotta say, I'm nervous for it. But I got my best duds and my writing professor says I'll do fine. Still... Anyone who had an interview have any tips? I know it'll be a conversation. But what types of questions are they asking?
 
@Bigedblue
So sorry to hear the bad news. But don't you dare stop. If writing is your life then don't stop. Keep writing like you're mad and try again next year. I've been rejected by dozens of schools, production companies, and festivals in my career. This moment is only a stepping stone in your brilliant writing careers. Don't stop writing those beautiful, scary, and/or tragic stories and I can't wait to read them when they are all finished.

Ditto. If it's what you want to do, it's what you want to do. Make that decision, and if so, go for it again. It's a positive mark on your future application that you've applied in the past. Persisting through failure is a major aspect of being a writer, and these schools are fully aware of that. I'd say probably 25% of my class had applied at least once prior to getting in the next time.

Also remember that writing is free, and you don't need anyone's permission. One of the first things every successful writer gives as advice is some form of "keep writing." It's the only way to get better and the only way to succeed in an industry where writing is the main currency. Keep your head up!
 
I've got an interview with Hal Ackerman and Marc Arneson tomorrow. I gotta say, I'm nervous for it. But I got my best duds and my writing professor says I'll do fine. Still... Anyone who had an interview have any tips? I know it'll be a conversation. But what types of questions are they asking?

No way to know what they'll be asking, but I'd suggest focusing on what you think they're looking for in a potential student. UCLA's on the quarter system, so everything is accelerated compared to schools on the semester system. They want to know that the people they bring into this program can keep up with the workload. (Think of things in your life that you can point to and say "this proves I have what it takes to handle the workload.")

All the writing classes are workshop classes, too. So for 3 hours once a week (per class), you're sitting with a small group of peers and an instructor and asked to give notes to your friends about what's not working with their scripts. Conversely, they're doing the same thing to you. It's obviously important they bring in high-quality individuals who can communicate with peers and superiors with respect and thoughtfulness. (Again, how can you show them that you're that person?)

They might ask about things in your personal life that appeared on your resume or personal statement, too. If they throw you off with something, just remember that the most important thing is well-constructed honesty. By well-constructed, I mean "thoughtful and intentioned"-- not beautifully worded.

Good luck!
 

bastianbarba

New Member
No way to know what they'll be asking, but I'd suggest focusing on what you think they're looking for in a potential student. UCLA's on the quarter system, so everything is accelerated compared to schools on the semester system. They want to know that the people they bring into this program can keep up with the workload. (Think of things in your life that you can point to and say "this proves I have what it takes to handle the workload.")

All the writing classes are workshop classes, too. So for 3 hours once a week (per class), you're sitting with a small group of peers and an instructor and asked to give notes to your friends about what's not working with their scripts. Conversely, they're doing the same thing to you. It's obviously important they bring in high-quality individuals who can communicate with peers and superiors with respect and thoughtfulness. (Again, how can you show them that you're that person?)

They might ask about things in your personal life that appeared on your resume or personal statement, too. If they throw you off with something, just remember that the most important thing is well-constructed honesty. By well-constructed, I mean "thoughtful and intentioned"-- not beautifully worded.

Good luck!
Wow! Thanks for this!
 
Wow! Thanks for this!

Hey bastianbarba,

Had my interview with adjunct faculty member Simon Herbert on Wednesday.

I recommend preparing answers for:

(1) What do you believe the program will give you?/Why the UCLA Screenwriting MFA?
(2) What type of material do you intend to write in the program?/What do you enjoy writing?

My interviewer dug into (2) with a few additional questions about my writing tastes. My four writing sample submissions were action-adventure, thriller, period drama, and science-fiction, so he asked me about the eclectic nature of my portfolio and which genre I would pursue professionally if forced to choose. Based on that, I would anticipate a few follow-up questions about the exact type of creative voice you intend to develop.

Two questions I wish I answered better:

(3) Did you write at a young age / do you have a specific memory of writing as a child?
(4) What would you contribute to the classroom setting?

And the inevitable final question:
(5) What is your greatest weakness?

I love the program, worship their alumni, and would be thrilled if they accepted me -- but to be honest -- the length of the interview left me frustrated. It flew by. I probably prepared enough speaking material for 90 minutes -- but because of the fact they're seeing 80 kids in the length of a week -- they are obliged to end the interview at 35 minutes on the dot. So in the middle of passionate, detailed descriptions of how the Screenwriting MFA would benefit me, my interviewer didn't hesitate to move onto the next question.

Not criticizing -- they obviously know what they're doing -- just advising you to be BRIEF!
 

LilyMunster

Member
@Bigedblue

Thanks! Got my tomorrow morning. Looking forward to it.

@LilyMunster @nervouslurker
So sorry to hear the bad news. But don't you dare stop. If writing is your life then don't stop. Keep writing like you're mad and try again next year. I've been rejected by dozens of schools, production companies, and festivals in my career. This moment is only a stepping stone in your brilliant writing careers. Don't stop writing those beautiful, scary, and/or tragic stories and I can't wait to read them when they are all finished.

Thanks. Ucla did invite me to apply to the professional program. But I'm not going thru that with them again. I will wait for Loyola Marymount.
 

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