2nd Year AFI Screenwriting Fellow, Accepted USC Screenwriting Applicant, Multi-Year Applicant Person - AMA! (1 Viewer)

Septopus7

Writer
Staff member
FilmSchool.org Writer
Supporter+
Hello applicants,

Septopus here. You might have seen this article I recently posted, re: my experience applying and getting into AFI, USC, etc.

After Three Years of Rejection, I Got Into The Two Best Film Schools in The World. Here Are The Five Things I Learned...

After Three Years of Rejection, I Got Into The Two Best Film Schools in The World. Here Are The Five Things I Learned...

So...you’re applying for film school, huh? I mean, that’s just my assumption. Not sure why you would bother reading this otherwise, especially with where we are currently in The Cycle of Applications. These next couple weeks are pretty much when all the major film school programs have their...

I wrote at length - way too at length, probably, like did anyone actually get through that thing, cause I sure didn't - but thought I would reach out to anyone who had any other specific questions that I could address related to AFI, the application process, getting into USC, screenwriting, the best Pixar movie (spoiler: it's Inside Out), etc.

I'm far from from an expert, but like J.K. Simmons selling insurance, I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two.* So feel free to ask away either below or, if privacy is your jam, send me a private message on here. I'm around (sometimes, when I'm putting off work that I have to do).

*It's come to my attention that J.K. Simmons isn't actually a real insurance agent, but just plays one in a series of TV commercials. But, tbh...I don't believe that.
 

Inkie9

Member
Hey!

Thank you for your article – it was really helpful to read!

I was just wondering if you have any advice on the AFI Narrative Statement? I'm a bit unsure about what sort of tone to use – can I be quite casual and story-telling, or should it be more of a serious essay-style thing? Any tips would be amazing!

I'm applying for screenwriting :)
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Hi Septopus7!
Wondering if you're still up for answering some questions...?

I'm a Screenwriting applicant for Fall 2021, I just had an interview with two lecturers and there are two things I'm wondering about that I think a student can answer way better than a teacher! They are:

1. How would you characterize the AFI student body? The 'vibe' or personality of campus, of the people on campus? And do you think it's the same in all other LA film schools, or are there differences?

2. You did your first year in person and were thrown into remote work for your second year. How do you think doing first year remotely would impact the program? For example, boot camp and cycle films must have been...different? Non-existent? Say AFI confirmed next year would be remote again, would you recommend that accepted screenwriters attend anyway, or that they wait a year and re-apply?

Thanks in advance and hope your semester is going great!
 

Septopus7

Writer
Staff member
FilmSchool.org Writer
Supporter+
Hi Septopus7!
Wondering if you're still up for answering some questions...?

I'm a Screenwriting applicant for Fall 2021, I just had an interview with two lecturers and there are two things I'm wondering about that I think a student can answer way better than a teacher! They are:

1. How would you characterize the AFI student body? The 'vibe' or personality of campus, of the people on campus? And do you think it's the same in all other LA film schools, or are there differences?

2. You did your first year in person and were thrown into remote work for your second year. How do you think doing first year remotely would impact the program? For example, boot camp and cycle films must have been...different? Non-existent? Say AFI confirmed next year would be remote again, would you recommend that accepted screenwriters attend anyway, or that they wait a year and re-apply?

Thanks in advance and hope your semester is going great!
Hi llueve! Congrats on your interview! Hope it went well.

To address your questions:

1) You know it's kind of a hard one to define, in probably a good way. Everybody at AFI is pretty different, and for my year at least, what ends up happening is that most groups form based around those with similar - if not identical - interests. For the Screenwriters at least, it's a healthy mix of pretty much every type of person - although I would say we oddly lean more as a class to genre work, be it horror, comedy, sci-fi, etc. Not at lot of people doing like straight dramas and biopics, which probably is different than at least a few schools. But overall, I imagine AFI is looking for much the same that USC, UCLA, etc. is (and in fact the schools tend to recruit from similar pools in the first place, haha).

2) Almost entirely, from what I heard. I talk to some of the first years and it's been a pretty different experience - although to AFI's credit, they are trying to do everything that we did Year One, to the extent they can. Like boot camp was still a thing, and cycle is still in progress right now - although they have been on pause for a little while, with LA being what it is right now. But I would say, myself, couldn't even imagine my first year at AFI online. Would just be a VASTLY different experience, and in my mind a much poorer one. You end up spending, umm, at least 75% of your days at AFI in person - but totally worth it, in my mind. That's where the best work and strongest relationships are formed. So yeah, if I was told my first year would be online only, I probably wouldn't pay full price for this.

HOWEVER - do not worry about this. There is pretty much no chance in the world that AFI would - or could - do another year remote. It's not gonna happen, especially with where we are in the course of the pandemic. By September, the situation will allow AFI to operate in person classes again, and there's nothing more that AFI wants than that. They will make it happen, and by then will be allowed to make it happen. If AFI is still going remote by September, then it would be the least of your concerns in this country, because something horribly, horribly wrong must have happened that would cause a less-than-worse case scenario like that.
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Hi llueve! Congrats on your interview! Hope it went well.

To address your questions:

1) You know it's kind of a hard one to define, in probably a good way. Everybody at AFI is pretty different, and for my year at least, what ends up happening is that most groups form based around those with similar - if not identical - interests. For the Screenwriters at least, it's a healthy mix of pretty much every type of person - although I would say we oddly lean more as a class to genre work, be it horror, comedy, sci-fi, etc. Not at lot of people doing like straight dramas and biopics, which probably is different than at least a few schools. But overall, I imagine AFI is looking for much the same that USC, UCLA, etc. is (and in fact the schools tend to recruit from similar pools in the first place, haha).

2) Almost entirely, from what I heard. I talk to some of the first years and it's been a pretty different experience - although to AFI's credit, they are trying to do everything that we did Year One, to the extent they can. Like boot camp was still a thing, and cycle is still in progress right now - although they have been on pause for a little while, with LA being what it is right now. But I would say, myself, couldn't even imagine my first year at AFI online. Would just be a VASTLY different experience, and in my mind a much poorer one. You end up spending, umm, at least 75% of your days at AFI in person - but totally worth it, in my mind. That's where the best work and strongest relationships are formed. So yeah, if I was told my first year would be online only, I probably wouldn't pay full price for this.

HOWEVER - do not worry about this. There is pretty much no chance in the world that AFI would - or could - do another year remote. It's not gonna happen, especially with where we are in the course of the pandemic. By September, the situation will allow AFI to operate in person classes again, and there's nothing more that AFI wants than that. They will make it happen, and by then will be allowed to make it happen. If AFI is still going remote by September, then it would be the least of your concerns in this country, because something horribly, horribly wrong must have happened that would cause a less-than-worse case scenario like that.
Thanks so much, Septopus7! It's really great to get detailed insight and opinions from a current student. I really appreciate it!
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
Hi Septopus7!

I'm a screenwriting applicant and AFI is my top choice. I'll be interviewing with Anna and Ed in a few weeks. If you don't mind answering a few questions about your first year I'd greatly appreciate it.

1. You mentioned above that cycle films are still in progress. So are these cycle film smaller sets? What's the protocol to ensure everyone is safe on set?

2. Are there any classes from your first year curriculum that have exceeded your expectation?

3. How are your cohorts/professors?

Thanks!!!
 

tls

Well-Known Member
Hello applicants,
Hi hi! Interviewing for AFI very soon! (Directing).

A few Qs:

1) Why did you choose AFI over the other programs?

2) What is the school doing to prepare you with the business sense needed to have a career in writing (as opposed to just honing your craft)?

Thanks!
 

Septopus7

Writer
Staff member
FilmSchool.org Writer
Supporter+
1) Frankly, I chose AFI because the offered me the most in terms of scholarship support. But I applied to them because they seemed like a rigorous and practical deep dive into what life is like in the film industry, and so far in my experience that has in fact proven to be true.

2) We do a lot of pitch work, which is of course important no matter what you are doing in this industry. Also just in general, being in a workshop replicates the experience of being in any kind of collaborative meeting, and the pitfalls and navigations you have to make to get a project to the finish line in as good a place as possible. There's a lot of collaboration in general through the cycle and thesis process that mirrors what it is like when working with others in a professional environment. AFI puts a lot of effort into replicating that world, which I appreciate quite a bit. That being said, for Screenwriters, a majority of the "industry training" comes in full force (from what I hear at least) after the two years are over and during the four month long "Transition to Industry" program. Which apparently is going to be done for other departments this year, from what I have heard. But don't know too much about how they will be tackling it, unfortunately!

Hope that helps!
 

kcgam

Member
Supporter+
Hi llueve! Congrats on your interview! Hope it went well.

To address your questions:

1) You know it's kind of a hard one to define, in probably a good way. Everybody at AFI is pretty different, and for my year at least, what ends up happening is that most groups form based around those with similar - if not identical - interests. For the Screenwriters at least, it's a healthy mix of pretty much every type of person - although I would say we oddly lean more as a class to genre work, be it horror, comedy, sci-fi, etc. Not at lot of people doing like straight dramas and biopics, which probably is different than at least a few schools. But overall, I imagine AFI is looking for much the same that USC, UCLA, etc. is (and in fact the schools tend to recruit from similar pools in the first place, haha).

2) Almost entirely, from what I heard. I talk to some of the first years and it's been a pretty different experience - although to AFI's credit, they are trying to do everything that we did Year One, to the extent they can. Like boot camp was still a thing, and cycle is still in progress right now - although they have been on pause for a little while, with LA being what it is right now. But I would say, myself, couldn't even imagine my first year at AFI online. Would just be a VASTLY different experience, and in my mind a much poorer one. You end up spending, umm, at least 75% of your days at AFI in person - but totally worth it, in my mind. That's where the best work and strongest relationships are formed. So yeah, if I was told my first year would be online only, I probably wouldn't pay full price for this.

HOWEVER - do not worry about this. There is pretty much no chance in the world that AFI would - or could - do another year remote. It's not gonna happen, especially with where we are in the course of the pandemic. By September, the situation will allow AFI to operate in person classes again, and there's nothing more that AFI wants than that. They will make it happen, and by then will be allowed to make it happen. If AFI is still going remote by September, then it would be the least of your concerns in this country, because something horribly, horribly wrong must have happened that would cause a less-than-worse case scenario like that.
I had my interview with AFI (screenwriting) and am currently waiting for results by reading threads here :) HAHA! Not the most productive. Anyway, the information you shared was very helpful! Thank you.
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
I had my interview with AFI (screenwriting) and am currently waiting for results by reading threads here :) HAHA! Not the most productive. Anyway, the information you shared was very helpful! Thank you.
Nice!!! Rooting for you : ) I have my interview next week.

Btw, here's the 2021 AFI Screenwriting thread:

 

kcgam

Member
Supporter+
Nice!!! Rooting for you : ) I have my interview next week.

Btw, here's the 2021 AFI Screenwriting thread:

Thank you, Abbey!! Best of luck to you too! You got this! There's been a lot of great info shared here already on the suggested interview questions. It was more casual than I anticipated which was really nice. Enjoy it.
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
Hi @Septopus7

I was recently admitted into the Screenwriting discipline and will start this fall. A few questions:

1. As far as living situation goes, do you recommend staying close to AFI? I'm debating whether or not to move into my friends place near Playa Vista/Culver City area.

2. What habits (either writing/non-writing related) have you developed to ensure you're making the most out of your time at AFI?

3. Any tips/advice on how to avoid burnout going into your first year (i.e. therapy, recreational sports, yoga, meditation)?

4. Do you know anything about the AFI Backlot? I know it's farily new and meant to connect alumni.

Thank you!!!
 
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