AFI 2019 Screenwriting

alanray

Active Member
Nice consolation prizes indeed. Were there any other schools you were considering?
All the schools I wanted to go to were in SoCal because I have too much invested in my home state of Cali, plus LA of course. Yeah, being out for USC and AFI now, the two schools it's seriously down to for me are LMU and Chapman. Already been accepted to Chapman, just waiting on LMU now. I'll probably go to LMU if I get in there, if not, I'm fine with Chapman.
 

BuddernScotch

Active Member
If I hadn’t shaved my head bare over the summer I would have pulled out all my hair today from the stress lol. I hope I get into NYU or Columbia so I have something safe to fall back on should AFI fall through, but I’m definitely waiting until the last possible moment before I give up hope on AFI.
I'm waitlisted and I'm rejecting it for LMU most likely! Hope you get in :)

I really wish i hadn't been so dead set on USC. I spent not enough time prepping for the AFI interview and didn't try as hard as I could have for the portfolio. Perhaps I could've gotten more financial aid. Oh well. I wanted to write more features anyway and even if I got 25% tuition scholarship I wouldn't have been able to afford it :'(

MUNNY HUNNY!!!

Good luck to all those waitlisted!
 
Last edited:

BuddernScotch

Active Member
Umm, okay, I feel so bad about my flippant response initially, because I just read my admission letter and, umm, I think they offered me essentially a full-ride scholarship? Holy fucking hell. This..is a development. Kind of in shock, and indecision, as this changes so much of what I wanted to do. USC is my #1 choice. Always has been. But the money AFI is offering me is absolute insanity. I would be a dumbass not to take it, right? Even after years and years pining after USC, and finally getting in?

Ha ha ha ha, my life is so fucking ridiculous.
CONNNNNGRAAATSSS AHHH°°°~♡○ more research necessary now. USC better offer you some green now. Maybe you can play hardball.

Also is full-ride tuition only or cost of living as well? I don't think Canada really does those so I don't know.
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Praying for everyone's success.
CONNNNNGRAAATSSS AHHH°°°~♡○ more research necessary now. USC better offer you some green now. Maybe you can play hardball.

Also is full-ride tuition only or cost of living as well? I don't think Canada really does those so I don't know.
Full ride usually means cost of living but, in my excitement, I misused the term. They gave me approximately two dollars more than tuition. So unless I can find a place in LA for $2 a year, that's still on me. Still though...I never expected an offer like that from ANY of these film schools, let alone AFI (the most expensive one!) Hard to pass up. But still, with USC...the dream.

Gonna take some time for me to come to peace with letting that die, after literally a decade of it.
 

Lifeisnoholiday

Active Member
Hey, so I got waitlisted. I've got to be honest, I was disappointed. Everyone who got rejected or waitlisted, my heart goes out to you!

Something tells me I was right about not doing well at my interview. I feel like it ultimately pushed me down. Welp, I'm gonna remain on the list, but waiting for NYU decision (which is not soon at all) just got a lot harder.

Everyone who got accepted, congrats! You earned it, guys!
 

BuddernScotch

Active Member
Full ride usually means cost of living but, in my excitement, I misused the term. They gave me approximately two dollars more than tuition. So unless I can find a place in LA for $2 a year, that's still on me. Still though...I never expected an offer like that from ANY of these film schools, let alone AFI (the most expensive one!) Hard to pass up. But still, with USC...the dream.

Gonna take some time for me to come to peace with letting that die, after literally a decade of it.
LOL. 2$ a year. Hmmm.

And yeah you and me both I think we put USC on a pedestal. I basically only applied to it for the past 2 years as well and look what happens when we branch out!

Also take a look at AFI alumn. Insane. AFI in some rankings stand higher than USC. And more importantly muuunnny.

But which courses/profs interest you more? Consider that too.
 

Cdemon

Active Member
Hey, so I got waitlisted. I've got to be honest, I was disappointed. Everyone who got rejected or waitlisted, my heart goes out to you!

Something tells me I was right about not doing well at my interview. I feel like it ultimately pushed me down. Welp, I'm gonna remain on the list, but waiting for NYU decision (which is not soon at all) just got a lot harder.

Everyone who got accepted, congrats! You earned it, guys!
Glad you were waitlisted at least.
 

Lifeisnoholiday

Active Member
Full ride usually means cost of living but, in my excitement, I misused the term. They gave me approximately two dollars more than tuition. So unless I can find a place in LA for $2 a year, that's still on me. Still though...I never expected an offer like that from ANY of these film schools, let alone AFI (the most expensive one!) Hard to pass up. But still, with USC...the dream.

Gonna take some time for me to come to peace with letting that die, after literally a decade of it.
Hey, I don't know your situation, but minimizing that gargantuan cost as much as possible is invaluable (in my opinion). I feel you with the dream thing, but at the end of the day, both schools have stayed around top 3 for years. Plus, must be they want you THAT much, right?
 

Dean

Member
Supporting Member
I'm late cuz I was in class. Well... at around 11 AM I was unfortunately rejected by AFI. Which really stung cuz I thought my interview went really great, so there's nothing more I could have done. But I'll go out like a champ, It's good. I'm really ecstatic to see many of you regulars here in! I was really hoping a lot of you would be. Good luck to all! I hope you waitlisted guys get in too
Like I said was rejected two years in a row by NYU without even an interview. I even had a recommendation letter from one of the NYU film teachers but still not in. So keep your chin up and you never know who'd be the one that can recognize your talent.
 

Dean

Member
Supporting Member
Full ride usually means cost of living but, in my excitement, I misused the term. They gave me approximately two dollars more than tuition. So unless I can find a place in LA for $2 a year, that's still on me. Still though...I never expected an offer like that from ANY of these film schools, let alone AFI (the most expensive one!) Hard to pass up. But still, with USC...the dream.

Gonna take some time for me to come to peace with letting that die, after literally a decade of it.
I never researched into USC. A lot of my NYU Tisch friends went to AFI what that became my de facto choice. What do you think USC is better at? Curious to know. And AFI and USC being both in LA, do you think they have collaborations?
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
I never researched into USC. A lot of my NYU Tisch friends went to AFI what that became my de facto choice. What do you think USC is better at? Curious to know. And AFI and USC being both in LA, do you think they have collaborations?
Oh boy, you asking this really opened a can of worms that I wasn't expecting when I started commenting, but...sorry! Here's a very long post:

Not so much "better," just different. The conservatory approach has its benefits (you're always making stuff! Everyone there is a filmmaker of some sorts! etc.), but its also something I imagine I'll have to get used to as compared to regular schooling. USC is also a huge, renowned campus with thousands of people, dozens of events in a given week, etc. AFI has like 250 people, total. Across all departments and both years. So it will feel a lot smaller, and a lot more like living in a little bubble, rather being part of this massive machine. Which, once again, isn't bad at all! But it's not really what I was preparing myself for in this whole ordeal, if that makes sense.

Additionally, the thing they wanted to nail down the most during my interview was that AFI is BUSY, and that you won't have time to do anything else but what the school has you do. Going to USC is slightly more lax from what my research has shown me, and does allow times for part time jobs (to help pay for, you know, living in LA) and ESPECIALLY internships, one of the most important parts of this endeavor IMHO. When I spoke to AFI they mentioned that they would have a little of that (and a break in the summer for potential internships as well), but it really seems like time management might be complex at AFI. Well I don't shy away from the work necessarily, I do have to wonder if committing myself fully to just doing AFI will severely limit my ability to expand. AFI seems like a little bubble of filmmaking education, which is as exciting as it is (frankly) scary.

And though AFI has a lot of notable alumni coming from their ranks, almost all of them seem to be in production and directing, with only a few scattered about in the writing program. Also, a lot of the alumni (like David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky, etc.) seem to focus on a very specific type of film -- moody, dark, eclectic works. I love those types of movies and wouldn't mind to dabble in that realm, but my main focus is TV comedy and (frankly) big studio comedies -- something the alumni of USC (Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, etc.) seem much more connected to. It's not necessarily that I don't think AFI will "allow" me to write more comedic stuff (I said that was my focus in the interview, after all, so it must be something they are looking for to some degree), but I do wonder if culturally what I do will "fit in" to the school at large.

And from a pure vanity stand point: USC is just culturally a "bigger" name than AFI. Right now not for the best reasons, sure, but when I tell people I got into USC, right away they know who and what I am talking about, and see the value in being accepted. In the (few people) I've told about my AFI acceptance, they respond with a "what is that?" kind of thing, and I have to go into a whole description of what the conservatory even is. Obviously in film circles it's renowned, but outside of it? Less so.

I know that sounds incredibly silly to worry about, but with working in the industry not a sure thing, I do have to wonder if the overall cache of USC would open more doors. One of the things I would like to do as a fallback of sorts while trying to get my stuff made is PR and publicity type things (I have a B.A. in Journalism, and past experience in the field.) Would just being from the University of California, and with their vast alumni network from all sorts of different focuses (business, journalism, communications, etc.), be more beneficial in that regard? Or would the fact that it's a "Screenwriting" degree regardless carry little weight outside of that medium (or any medium, really -- I'm not going to delude myself on the "value" of the degree here. It's all about what I take out of the program which, frankly, will probably be equal no matter which of the two I chose.)

I dunno, as is clear from this post. It's possible (and likely, actually) that a lot of what I'm saying about both schools is completely inaccurate. More research is needed. I have spent literally a decade absorbing info about USC, so that's where my mind (and my heart) currently rest. I've researched AFI a ton too, but not quite to the same level.

TLDR; They are both fantastic schools that I would be excited to attend. But they are different, and wrapping my head around those differences and what they mean for my future is going to take some time and serious thought. Thanks for allowing me to vent said thoughts in an open forum, though!
 

Julie Lew

Moderator
Staff member
Oh boy, you asking this really opened a can of worms that I wasn't expecting when I started commenting, but...sorry! Here's a very long post:

Not so much "better," just different. The conservatory approach has its benefits (you're always making stuff! Everyone there is a filmmaker of some sorts! etc.), but its also something I imagine I'll have to get used to as compared to regular schooling. USC is also a huge, renowned campus with thousands of people, dozens of events in a given week, etc. AFI has like 250 people, total. Across all departments and both years. So it will feel a lot smaller, and a lot more like living in a little bubble, rather being part of this massive machine. Which, once again, isn't bad at all! But it's not really what I was preparing myself for in this whole ordeal, if that makes sense.

Additionally, the thing they wanted to nail down the most during my interview was that AFI is BUSY, and that you won't have time to do anything else but what the school has you do. Going to USC is slightly more lax from what my research has shown me, and does allow times for part time jobs (to help pay for, you know, living in LA) and ESPECIALLY internships, one of the most important parts of this endeavor IMHO. When I spoke to AFI they mentioned that they would have a little of that (and a break in the summer for potential internships as well), but it really seems like time management might be complex at AFI. Well I don't shy away from the work necessarily, I do have to wonder if committing myself fully to just doing AFI will severely limit my ability to expand. AFI seems like a little bubble of filmmaking education, which is as exciting as it is (frankly) scary.

And though AFI has a lot of notable alumni coming from their ranks, almost all of them seem to be in production and directing, with only a few scattered about in the writing program. Also, a lot of the alumni (like David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky, etc.) seem to focus on a very specific type of film -- moody, dark, eclectic works. I love those types of movies and wouldn't mind to dabble in that realm, but my main focus is TV comedy and (frankly) big studio comedies -- something the alumni of USC (Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, etc.) seem much more connected to. It's not necessarily that I don't think AFI will "allow" me to write more comedic stuff (I said that was my focus in the interview, after all, so it must be something they are looking for to some degree), but I do wonder if culturally what I do will "fit in" to the school at large.

And from a pure vanity stand point: USC is just culturally a "bigger" name than AFI. Right now not for the best reasons, sure, but when I tell people I got into USC, right away they know who and what I am talking about, and see the value in being accepted. In the (few people) I've told about my AFI acceptance, they respond with a "what is that?" kind of thing, and I have to go into a whole description of what the conservatory even is. Obviously in film circles it's renowned, but outside of it? Less so.

I know that sounds incredibly silly to worry about, but with working in the industry not a sure thing, I do have to wonder if the overall cache of USC would open more doors. One of the things I would like to do as a fallback of sorts while trying to get my stuff made is PR and publicity type things (I have a B.A. in Journalism, and past experience in the field.) Would just being from the University of California, and with their vast alumni network from all sorts of different focuses (business, journalism, communications, etc.), be more beneficial in that regard? Or would the fact that it's a "Screenwriting" degree regardless carry little weight outside of that medium (or any medium, really -- I'm not going to delude myself on the "value" of the degree here. It's all about what I take out of the program which, frankly, will probably be equal no matter which of the two I chose.)

I dunno, as is clear from this post. It's possible (and likely, actually) that a lot of what I'm saying about both schools is completely inaccurate. More research is needed. I have spent literally a decade absorbing info about USC, so that's where my mind (and my heart) currently rest. I've researched AFI a ton too, but not quite to the same level.

TLDR; They are both fantastic schools that I would be excited to attend. But they are different, and wrapping my head around those differences and what they mean for my future is going to take some time and serious thought. Thanks for allowing me to vent said thoughts in an open forum, though!
Hi @Septopus7! Congrats on getting into both USC and AFI!! I did just want to say that maybe outside the film world AFI is less known than USC, but it's definitely extremely well known in the industry. I live and work in LA and AFI is very well respected. And since it's elite and hard to get into, as well as being a good program, I think that it definitely has as much power to open doors as USC. One of my friends who goes there got an internship at Blumhouse in development.
 

BuddernScotch

Active Member
Oh boy, you asking this really opened a can of worms that I wasn't expecting when I started commenting, but...sorry! Here's a very long post:

Not so much "better," just different. The conservatory approach has its benefits (you're always making stuff! Everyone there is a filmmaker of some sorts! etc.), but its also something I imagine I'll have to get used to as compared to regular schooling. USC is also a huge, renowned campus with thousands of people, dozens of events in a given week, etc. AFI has like 250 people, total. Across all departments and both years. So it will feel a lot smaller, and a lot more like living in a little bubble, rather being part of this massive machine. Which, once again, isn't bad at all! But it's not really what I was preparing myself for in this whole ordeal, if that makes sense.

Additionally, the thing they wanted to nail down the most during my interview was that AFI is BUSY, and that you won't have time to do anything else but what the school has you do. Going to USC is slightly more lax from what my research has shown me, and does allow times for part time jobs (to help pay for, you know, living in LA) and ESPECIALLY internships, one of the most important parts of this endeavor IMHO. When I spoke to AFI they mentioned that they would have a little of that (and a break in the summer for potential internships as well), but it really seems like time management might be complex at AFI. Well I don't shy away from the work necessarily, I do have to wonder if committing myself fully to just doing AFI will severely limit my ability to expand. AFI seems like a little bubble of filmmaking education, which is as exciting as it is (frankly) scary.

And though AFI has a lot of notable alumni coming from their ranks, almost all of them seem to be in production and directing, with only a few scattered about in the writing program. Also, a lot of the alumni (like David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky, etc.) seem to focus on a very specific type of film -- moody, dark, eclectic works. I love those types of movies and wouldn't mind to dabble in that realm, but my main focus is TV comedy and (frankly) big studio comedies -- something the alumni of USC (Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, etc.) seem much more connected to. It's not necessarily that I don't think AFI will "allow" me to write more comedic stuff (I said that was my focus in the interview, after all, so it must be something they are looking for to some degree), but I do wonder if culturally what I do will "fit in" to the school at large.

And from a pure vanity stand point: USC is just culturally a "bigger" name than AFI. Right now not for the best reasons, sure, but when I tell people I got into USC, right away they know who and what I am talking about, and see the value in being accepted. In the (few people) I've told about my AFI acceptance, they respond with a "what is that?" kind of thing, and I have to go into a whole description of what the conservatory even is. Obviously in film circles it's renowned, but outside of it? Less so.

I know that sounds incredibly silly to worry about, but with working in the industry not a sure thing, I do have to wonder if the overall cache of USC would open more doors. One of the things I would like to do as a fallback of sorts while trying to get my stuff made is PR and publicity type things (I have a B.A. in Journalism, and past experience in the field.) Would just being from the University of California, and with their vast alumni network from all sorts of different focuses (business, journalism, communications, etc.), be more beneficial in that regard? Or would the fact that it's a "Screenwriting" degree regardless carry little weight outside of that medium (or any medium, really -- I'm not going to delude myself on the "value" of the degree here. It's all about what I take out of the program which, frankly, will probably be equal no matter which of the two I chose.)

I dunno, as is clear from this post. It's possible (and likely, actually) that a lot of what I'm saying about both schools is completely inaccurate. More research is needed. I have spent literally a decade absorbing info about USC, so that's where my mind (and my heart) currently rest. I've researched AFI a ton too, but not quite to the same level.

TLDR; They are both fantastic schools that I would be excited to attend. But they are different, and wrapping my head around those differences and what they mean for my future is going to take some time and serious thought. Thanks for allowing me to vent said thoughts in an open forum, though!
Septopus7 now: mo' money mo' problems.

Except replace money with amazing film school choices :D
 

d890

Member
Hi @Septopus7! Congrats on getting into both USC and AFI!! I did just want to say that maybe outside the film world AFI is less known than USC, but it's definitely extremely well known in the industry. I live and work in LA and AFI is very well respected. And since it's elite and hard to get into, as well as being a good program, I think that it definitely has as much power to open doors as USC. One of my friends who goes there got an internship at Blumhouse in development.
Do you think the same goes for Columbia as far as reputation is concerned?
 

Chris W

As You Wish
Staff member
I do have to wonder if the overall cache of USC would open more doors.
Dude. NO ONE in the industry cares where you went to film school. Don't go for that reason.

USC people might help out other USC people and AFI people might help out other AFI people but that's about it.

People care if you're talented and if you can tell a story. NOT where you went to school.
 
Dude. NO ONE in the industry cares where you went to film school. Don't go for that reason.

USC people might help out other USC people and AFI people might help out other AFI people but that's about it.

People care if you're talented and if you can tell a story. NOT where you went to school.
exactly this. the only reason an executive, agent, manager, etc. would care is if they also went to the same film school. like chris said, alumni tend to bring each other up, but everyone else outside of that doesn't care at all which school someone went to, or even if they went to school at all :)
 

Cdemon

Active Member
exactly this. the only reason an executive, agent, manager, etc. would care is if they also went to the same film school. like chris said, alumni tend to bring each other up, but everyone else outside of that doesn't care at all which school someone went to, or even if they went to school at all :)
Do you guys think it helps still in the first couple years out with getting read and getting your work (writing specifically) out there? If so how much or what are the better avenues? (Other than contests/fellowships)
 
in fact, 99% of the writers i work with who are signed to agents and/or managers did NOT go to film school. and on top of that, most of the executives, managers, and agents i work with also didn't go to film school. the ones who did go went to schools listed in the top 10, but the differences in rank never matter (as far as relationships with other filmmakers and success in the industry goes). honestly. so if your worry is being looked down on for going to one school over another, it's truly nothing to worry about.
 

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