Do it. Ask me things. And I will tell you answers. Yup.
I mean I tried to beef up my portfolio as much as possible, but my “awards” were just school awards from my undergrad at a tiny Catholic college. It didn’t really matter though. USC doesn’t really care about portfolio. Half of my class when they started had never done film before. USC primarily cares about your personal statement, so I really really worked on mine till it was as perfect as I could get it.What did your portfolio look like before you started attending (like did your thesis or something earn awards or official submission slots)?
Hey again! I hope to stick around and check back in periodically I still love this site.Nice to see you back! Hope you're enjoying it. Are you in the production track?
Ah yes. I started film school wanting to direct but realized I wanted to edit.And yes I’m in the production track. I started out wanting to direct or edit, but I was surprised to find out along the way that I’m a pretty solid producer, so I’ll be trying that out mor
I have worked on dozens of projects in basically every capacity including Director, Producer, Editor, Director of Photography, Gaffer, Grip, PA, and Actor.How many projects have you worked on so far? Can you describe a typical "day in the life" at USC SCA?
1. Yes each incoming cohort (spring/fall) has around 60 students. So far in the first year we were assigned our team members so collaboration was incredibly important, but it was more about working with the people we got assigned, rather than selecting people to collaborate with. Going forward, I'm very much looking forward to picking people I want to work with. I already have a list of people who I trust and who I think are talented who I'd like to work with. I think basically everyone in the cohort knows each other, or at least knows of each other, so reputations do get around.1) Collaboration: I heard that each class has 60 folks. How hard/easy is it to start scoping out the people you want to start collaborating with? Is it a rat race to get with the strongest DP/Director/Writer/Producer first or does it kind of play itself out over the course of assigned teams/work over the 1st year?
2) Time: In the 1st year, do you have time to pursue outside endeavors?
If you can come to USC with a few ideas and/or scripts already prepared that are 5 minutes with no dialogue, you'll have a major leg up. The main thing to keep in mind for the first semester (and even more for the second semester) is that you HAVE to collaborate. Literally everyone will have issues with their trio. But almost no one is willing to admit that they themselves are responsible for just as many issues as the partners they'll blame. If you come into the first year at USC willing to take responsibility for the issues that arise, you will have a wonderful experience imo.What should be kept in mind during the first semester? I've heard that the Production I class is difficult
Basically yes. TA positions are reserved for critical studies students (PHD’s). But production classes (the ones for MFA’s) have SA’s “Student Assistants”. You aren’t allowed to be an SA in your first semester, and not many people do it in the second semester because the second semester is the busiest one of all. But at the beginning of your second year a lot of people decide to SA. I will be SA’ing for 2 classes next semester, and I’m excited.Thanks for the response.
Another question: Are there opportunities to be a Teaching Assistant or something similar to offset tuition costs?
Oh, to piggyback off of storyteller's question, I read somewhere that if your 1st year films win any awards or gets recognition at various film festivals, that this positively affects how much SCA will offer you in 2nd year scholarships. Is this true/accurate?I know it's possible to get a merit-scholarship once you're already a student, but how are the chances of actually getting one?
There are a lot of scholarships, but virtually all of them are partial scholarships. From what I understand, nearly everyone here has at least some sort of scholarship. So it's not hard to get one, but it is usually hard to get some of the bigger ones.I also have a question!
I know it's possible to get a merit-scholarship once you're already a student, but how are the chances of actually getting one?
Yeah I've heard this too. I believe it's true, but you'd probably be best off not banking on this happening. In your first semester, your production class will be 507, where you and your trio make films using a very very nice camcorder, The Canon XC-15... but it's still a camcorder. I've seen some lovely work from 507, but a 5 minute film shot on a camcorder by 3 people, 2 of whom are usually noobs, your odds of having a festival winning film are virtually 0.Oh, to piggyback off of storyteller's question, I read somewhere that if your 1st year films win any awards or gets recognition at various film festivals, that this positively affects how much SCA will offer you in 2nd year scholarships. Is this true/accurate?
So far nothing has blindsided me. I feel like I knew exactly what I was going to get, because I researched it all in advance. I made sure to be fully aware of how the loan situation would work out. For me that meant being aware of and committed to the concept of using Income Based Repayment, so I always justified the decision to go to film school by asking "Am I willing to give up 15% of my income for the next 15 years to be able to get into the industry I truly love?" And I always answered that question yes. So that mostly means I'm willing to rack up a big dollar amount in loans, because that won't change the amount I actually will repay, since what I'll pay will be tied to IBR.What do you wish you know before you applied?
What do you wish you knew before you started?
How does the reality of USC film school compare to what you imagined it would be like?
I just went through the application process a few weeks ago for Fall 2020. You can apply for up to 3 programs, but the recommendations, personal statements, portfolio, etc. need to be submitted to both programs separately. I'll let sharkb8 confirm or dispute that, though.Oh, since you're doing this AMA and are planning to respond to us future applicants, I have a question that I'd love to ask. When applying for grad school, are you allowed to apply to more than one discipline or do you have to commit to ONE program and apply to it alone? I want to apply to the producing program AND the tv writing program and am hoping I can submit two apps.
Thanks! This is wonderful news.I just went through the application process a few weeks ago for Fall 2020. You can apply for up to 3 programs, but the recommendations, personal statements, portfolio, etc. need to be submitted to both programs separately. I'll let sharkb8 confirm or dispute that, though.