Accepted to USC - Peter Stark AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Julie Lew

Moderator
Staff member
I'll be attending the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC this fall. Happy to answer any questions about the application process, so AMA!

Best,
-Julie
 
I'll be attending the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC this fall. Happy to answer any questions about the application process, so AMA!

Best,
-Julie


Hey Julie, Congratulations - this is such an achievement I'm looking to apply to attend Fall 2020, and I have a few questions around who I should get for a recommendation? Also, some confusion around cost I'm trying to put together a semester by semester breakdown. Any help would be appreciated.
 
Hey Julie, Congratulations - this is such an achievement I'm looking to apply to attend Fall 2020, and I have a few questions around who I should get for a recommendation? Also, some confusion around cost I'm trying to put together a semester by semester breakdown. Any help would be appreciated.

Hi @Jwhite62! I set up a meeting with Michael Lane at the Stark office and asked him this question last summer. He stressed that you should choose people you know for sure would praise you and recommend you highly, regardless of whether they're a big name in the industry or not. I ended up choosing my favorite undergrad professor who I've known for years and could attest to my drive and work ethic; a producer I worked for both on set and in development (who also happens to be a 2x Emmy winner); and a director I did an internship for years ago on a small indie film (who is a USC alumni herself). I also did an internship for a production company whose creative executive was a Stark alumna, so I was very vocal to her about my desire to apply for the program and she helped me with my application. The long and the short of it, in my opinion, is to be very strategic and be very clear early on with people you'll ask for recommendations for. And be sure to ask people who can really speak about your character.

As for the cost, they say it rises yearly usually, and I've certainly had issues tracking down cold hard data before I got my bill. So I'll just be straightforward and tell you my tuition before aid was just about $25,000 (inclusive of cinema lab fees and student fees). Year 2 has only 10 units per semester so I don't think it's the same amount each semester.
 
@Julie Lew That is very helpful and I appreciate the insight! I have one more question, do you think the program is better for suited for applicants/students who are further along in their career? For example, is there preference given to experience, just asking because I graduated from undergrad a little over a year ago and though I'm working on creating some short docs and have an internship "in the industry" under my belt I don't know there is an emphasis on applicants that are more senior, suggesting I should get more experience before applying. Any insight that you may have would be great? Thanks so much in advance, I've been researching this program for a couple of years.
 
@Jwhite62 I think they look for self-driven people who they see potential in, regardless of previous experience. I think in general the SCA grad programs are a good mix of people who have been working for a few years and people who just finished undergrad. I graduated with my BA last spring and have been interning and working in the industry since then, and I fall in the average age range of incoming grads, I believe.
 
Similar to Jwhite's question, how heavy do you think your industry experienced weighed on your application?
I'm applying for Fall 2020, and despite having an undergrad degree in film, I've spent the past 7.5 years as an active duty Air Force Officer--certainly outside the realm of "the industry."
 
@KeenanDK, my unique experience helped me in the sense that I was able to share my story with the Stark office and give them a sense of who I am. And you can do that too, with whatever experience you have because that is valuable. If you can share your story and your background and how that fuels your ambitions and what you want to do, I get the sense that that is what they're looking for. My current cohort comes from a diverse set of backgrounds, with only a few having actual experience inside the industry. I think having an Air Force background can help you if you really think about how that has shaped you and can aid you in your career as a producer, executive, director, etc.
 
Hi @samantha_e! Good luck with your application! In hindsight, I think I worried too much about my past experience, when what's truly important is demonstrating you're the type of person that could excel in the program. My classmates and I all come from different backgrounds, with varying prior experience in the industry. So having previous experience is certainly helpful, but don't stress whether it's enough or you need more. Let your passion for filmmaking show in your application, and explain how grad school and Stark in particular is the right program for the next step in your career.
 
Hello! I'm going to be applying again this year, though I'd received a rejection after interview last year. Made 25+ films in the past two years and just finished my undergrad -- now working as a database administrator to save up money for the process. Are there any tips for the passing the interview? Is the point to be likable and give them a sense of who you are, or to show professionalism and consistency? :)
 
Hello @sakemetekika! Good luck on your application this year! I think they want to get a sense of who you are as a person, so don't worry about trying to figure out who they want you to be. Everyone is my cohort is very unique and different in terms of personality. We have extroverts and introverts. The program is really keen on choosing the best people to learn and work together, and I think they evaluate each candidate on how well they'd work with their other picks. So ultimately, I recommend thinking about who you are, what makes you tick/drives your passion for film, and what you've done so far that illustrates this. The professors here really emphasize that we have to understand who we are to understand what kind of films/tv we want to make.
 
Hi @samantha_e! Good luck with your application! In hindsight, I think I worried too much about my past experience, when what's truly important is demonstrating you're the type of person that could excel in the program. My classmates and I all come from different backgrounds, with varying prior experience in the industry. So having previous experience is certainly helpful, but don't stress whether it's enough or you need more. Let your passion for filmmaking show in your application, and explain how grad school and Stark in particular is the right program for the next step in your career.
Thank you!
 
I'm applying to the Production Division, but I did wonder how much collaboration goes on/is possible between the Starkies and the Production students. For class projects / outside of class or over the summer projects? As I understand it, producing is also a track within Production so I'm wondering how that overlaps as well.
 
I'm applying to the Production Division, but I did wonder how much collaboration goes on/is possible between the Starkies and the Production students. For class projects / outside of class or over the summer projects? As I understand it, producing is also a track within Production so I'm wondering how that overlaps as well.

Hi @truffleshuffle! The degree of collaboration is up to individual Starkies, nothing mandated or overseen by the program. It's very easy to never interact with production students unfortunately, but it's also very easy to make friends with and collaborate with other divisions. Production students often seek out Starkies to produce their thesis projects. The Stark program also has a thing called the Stark special projects where we get to pitch shorts that the program will greenlight to get made. Often Starkies recruit production and writing students to help out on these.

As for the difference between the two, I can't really speak to the production program, but our Stark program is very producing/business/pitching/finance focused with less time spent on production aspects.
 
I'll be attending the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC this fall. Happy to answer any questions about the application process, so AMA!

Best,
-Julie
I'm thinking of putting together an article on the site on something like "Film School in the time of COVID" to help current applicants and people who may be attending schools in the fall. I'd love to be able to interview you (or one of the site's writers will) about how the pandemic is currently affecting you at the school and what the school's plans are for the fall if any. Would this be something that you're interested in?

Thanks! I think it'd be a great help for the people on the site.
 
I'm thinking of putting together an article on the site on something like "Film School in the time of COVID" to help current applicants and people who may be attending schools in the fall. I'd love to be able to interview you (or one of the site's writers will) about how the pandemic is currently affecting you at the school and what the school's plans are for the fall if any. Would this be something that you're interested in?

Thanks! I think it'd be a great help for the people on the site.
I'm down!
 
Hi @Jwhite62 I've been wait listed 2 years in a row for this program, what exactly am I doing wrong, I really don't get it, I'm an international student so maybe I'm not saying or doing something right in the interview because why even bother considering me twice and wait listing me both times
 
I'll be attending the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC this fall. Happy to answer any questions about the application process, so AMA!

Best,
-Julie
Hello Julie, Congrats! How's your 1st year been? I'm applying as I speak and I appreciate you been accessible for us. Can I ask you a few questions regarding the application process?
 
Log your film school application with our Application Database so that we can improve our admissions statistics.




Latest Accepted Applications


Acceptance Data
For up to date Film School Acceptance Rates, including Minimum GPAs, Minimum Test Scores, After Interview and Off-Waitlist Acceptance Rates, Film Experience and Undergraduate degrees of accepted applicants, Age data, and other acceptance statistics for your film program of choice simply navigate to the Acceptance Rates tab on each film school's page in our Film School Database.

For example:
Log your own Application with our application database to help improve the site's acceptance data.

Latest Film School Reviews

  • NYFA - New York Film Academy (Los Angeles Campus)
    3.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Alumni
    Degree: MA/MFA
    Concentration: Filmmaking
    Quality Teaching However...
    The best thing I can say is that for the filmmaking master's program I have truly learned. I am so grateful and gracious for the level of...
    • Anonymous
  • UC Berkeley
    4.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Alumni
    Degree: BA/BS/BFA
    Concentration: Film and Media Studies
    UC Berkeley Film Packs a Punch!
    I absolutely loved my time at UC Berkeley and I would not have traded doing my undergrad there even for a top spot at UCLA for a BFA in Film...
    • 8ballqueen
  • Rome International Film School
    5.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Alumni
    Degree: Certificate
    thank you R.I.F.S!
    I recently participated in their 10 - Week Program and I could not recommend it enough! This was the first time that I found a comprehensive film...
    • olivia.altiok
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (BFA)
    4.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Alumni
    Degree: BA/BS/BFA
    BFA University of Colorado at Boulder BFA Film Production
    Honest review. CU Boulder is an interesting place to learn filmmaking. The University boasts some excellent professors who are actively making...
    • Anonymous
  • University of Central Florida - School of Visual Arts & Design
    4.00 star(s)
    Reviewed by: Current Student
    Degree: BA/BS/BFA
    Concentration: Film - Feature/TV Writing
    UCF Film BFA (College of Sciences - School of Communication)
    UCF's BFA program is split into 4 modalities: narrative production, documentary production, experimental production, and feature/tv writing. I...
    • Anonymous

Latest Applications

Latest questions

Latest Articles

Latest Accepted Applications

Applications
Articles
Forums
Film Schools
Scholarships
Back
Top