AFI 2019 Screenwriting

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Narrowing it down between Tisch & Columbia...
That's a hell of a Devil's Trio to chose from. What made you eliminate AFI from the equation? Was it just the prospect of living in Los Angeles? Since you clearly chose East Coast, as a Westerner, it is now my job to engage in gang warfare with you. Prepare accordingly. I'm already getting started.

1199
 

d890

Member
That's a hell of a Devil's Trio to chose from. What made you eliminate AFI from the equation? Was it just the prospect of living in Los Angeles? Since you clearly chose East Coast, as a Westerner, it is now my job to engage in gang warfare with you. Prepare accordingly. I'm already getting started.

View attachment 1199
Haha. WELL. I really feel like I did my research with AFI... I spoke to current students from both screenwriting and directing disciplines, and to alumns... DISCLAIMER: I really don't want to badmouth AFI but in my personal opinion, the general consensus of the people I spoke to has been that AFI's best/ strongest disciplines are Directing and Cinematography, and the Screenwriting discipline is of a lower caliber (according to those I spoke to) and the faculty isn't very strong, and that -- and this one was the most important for me -- the screenwriters don't really collaborate much with the other disciplines. Lots of directors told me that the directors seemed to be better writers than the screenwriters. Again, these are hypotheticals and subjective views, maybe, but to me the fees of these schools really give you access to a peer group, with whom you hopefully grow and collaborate strongly together -- and hopefully work together for life. That's what I'm looking for, and I don't think I'll get it at AFI. Plus, I don't like LA (and don't drive :p).
 

Cdemon

Active Member
Haha. WELL. I really feel like I did my research with AFI... I spoke to current students from both screenwriting and directing disciplines, and to alumns... DISCLAIMER: I really don't want to badmouth AFI but in my personal opinion, the general consensus of the people I spoke to has been that AFI's best/ strongest disciplines are Directing and Cinematography, and the Screenwriting discipline is of a lower caliber (according to those I spoke to) and the faculty isn't very strong, and that -- and this one was the most important for me -- the screenwriters don't really collaborate much with the other disciplines. Lots of directors told me that the directors seemed to be better writers than the screenwriters. Again, these are hypotheticals and subjective views, maybe, but to me the fees of these schools really give you access to a peer group, with whom you hopefully grow and collaborate strongly together -- and hopefully work together for life. That's what I'm looking for, and I don't think I'll get it at AFI. Plus, I don't like LA (and don't drive :p).
Cool this is great intel- do you have any specifics people said or any groups/forums etc that you can refer those of us still doing research? I would love to talk to some current students/alumni.

Idk anything about Columbia- but from my past research, for NYU, they don’t Do much collaboration (any really) with production. It’s very much on you to make that happen. They are separate departments and the few Screenwriting students I spoke to and the few teachers and dept. head said that they are separate and that the film dept isn’t much into formal collaboration. You still can collaborate- but it’s on you to seek out film production students and work together. (If it’s changed, this info is from last year, please say as much. I don’t want to steer people wrong). Anyway- make sure you ask those same questions there.

Anyway, I’d love more details about AFI!!
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Yeah this is interesting, because everything you said @d890 about AFI is specifically things I've read that are (allegedly) in AFI's favor, from the strength of the faculty to the amount of collaboration amongst the students. Now granted I have never spoken with someone in depth about the program (always second hand sources), so I would love to hear more particulars about how AFI doesn't measure up in these regards. I'm just shocked because, course wise, AFI is the only program I've found that actually has screenwriters write stuff with and for the rest of the students, in like ANY capacity. None of the other big programs mention this as a selling point -- I spoke to USC directly and they pretty much told me that you just write, with only a few opportunities to work with other students outside the screenwriting departmwnt on stuff. That seems to me at least to be the norm for pretty much all these screenwriting programs -- none of them have you working extremely close with other departments to do projects. AFI was the only one I researched that made that seem like a possibility. I mean, aren't writers required to work on all that Boot Camp production too? I figured that was when those connections would be made. But I guess that's not entirely accurate either.

But, frankly? That's probably the most realistic response if these schools are actually trying to prepare us for the industry. Writers write. And then most pass whatever they have on to the people who actually make it. Though we all have (slight) delusions of grandeurs about being writer/directors, writer/producers, showrunners, etc. that's a very rare class for this profession, and one that you got to work to. Until then? You just write. To quote Mustache Superman:

1200

Ultimately, I think this goes back to a mantra I've seen passed around a lot on these forums lately: this whole thing is what you make of it. No program will be super great at actually having their 100+ cohorts working in tandem, at all times. Logistically, it's just a lot to handle. But nothing's stopping the individual from going out and making those connections, should you chose to. Which I at least will try to do, when my fingers aren't bleeding from all the writing, of course.
 

Chris W

As You Wish
Staff member
I'm just shocked because, course wise, AFI is the only program I've found that actually has screenwriters write stuff with and for the rest of the students, in like ANY capacity.
Chapman has you write and collaborate with directors. Ask @IndecisiveElle :)
 

alanray

Active Member
I'm in the boat with everyone else that I'm surprised to see someone say that AFI doesn't have good collaboration with other departments... because all the research I've done seemed to indicate that AFI has the MOST collaboration between screenwriters and film production (at least of SoCal schools). They're the only school that actually forces directors to use scripts from screenwriters at times and writers are very involved on a lot of set productions. A lot of programs just have you write and only write.
 

Cdemon

Active Member
@Septopus7 and @isabe
Yeah, you have to work production while at AFI. You’re required to work on all of the 3 “cycle projects” first year. You write one for sure, the others you might do-write, story edit or write depending- but you still work set on all 3. :)
 

d890

Member
Yeah this is interesting, because everything you said @d890 about AFI is specifically things I've read that are (allegedly) in AFI's favor, from the strength of the faculty to the amount of collaboration amongst the students. Now granted I have never spoken with someone in depth about the program (always second hand sources), so I would love to hear more particulars about how AFI doesn't measure up in these regards. I'm just shocked because, course wise, AFI is the only program I've found that actually has screenwriters write stuff with and for the rest of the students, in like ANY capacity. None of the other big programs mention this as a selling point -- I spoke to USC directly and they pretty much told me that you just write, with only a few opportunities to work with other students outside the screenwriting departmwnt on stuff. That seems to me at least to be the norm for pretty much all these screenwriting programs -- none of them have you working extremely close with other departments to do projects. AFI was the only one I researched that made that seem like a possibility. I mean, aren't writers required to work on all that Boot Camp production too? I figured that was when those connections would be made. But I guess that's not entirely accurate either.

But, frankly? That's probably the most realistic response if these schools are actually trying to prepare us for the industry. Writers write. And then most pass whatever they have on to the people who actually make it. Though we all have (slight) delusions of grandeurs about being writer/directors, writer/producers, showrunners, etc. that's a very rare class for this profession, and one that you got to work to. Until then? You just write. To quote Mustache Superman:

View attachment 1200

Ultimately, I think this goes back to a mantra I've seen passed around a lot on these forums lately: this whole thing is what you make of it. No program will be super great at actually having their 100+ cohorts working in tandem, at all times. Logistically, it's just a lot to handle. But nothing's stopping the individual from going out and making those connections, should you chose to. Which I at least will try to do, when my fingers aren't bleeding from all the writing, of course.
Thanks for this post! All fair points. As I pointed out in my post, this is the opinion that has formed in my mind after having done my own research. I might be wrong, but as far as I'm concerned, the cons outweighed the pros, while at Columbia, I felt I found a better match for me. Wishing you the best of luck!
 

Cdemon

Active Member
Thanks for this post! All fair points. As I pointed out in my post, this is the opinion that has formed in my mind after having done my own research. I might be wrong, but as far as I'm concerned, the cons outweighed the pros, while at Columbia, I felt I found a better match for me. Wishing you the best of luck!
Cool thanks!
Was there any particular place you found this info? (Is love to know more of what current students say particularly when they aren’t on campus and thus talking nicely-
Thanks!
 

d890

Member
Cool thanks!
Was there any particular place you found this info? (Is love to know more of what current students say particularly when they aren’t on campus and thus talking nicely-
Thanks!
I didn't find this info online. I reached out to my work contacts who are AFI alumns, both in the Screenwriting and the Directing disciplines... Spoke to about 8 in total.
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
I didn't find this info online. I reached out to my work contacts who are AFI alumns, both in the Screenwriting and the Directing disciplines... Spoke to about 8 in total.
Pretty cool you have eight "work contacts" who are AFI alums. And I'm guessing more who are Columbia/Tisch people? That's a pretty competent network there. Do you already work in the industry? Either way, use those contacts if you got them, I guess! You end up far more informed than the rest of us.
 

Chris W

As You Wish
Staff member
I didn't find this info online. I reached out to my work contacts who are AFI alumns, both in the Screenwriting and the Directing disciplines... Spoke to about 8 in total.
Neat. Are they willing to review AFI on the site?


 

Cdemon

Active Member
By the way @Cdemon, did you end up going to the AFI Expo? How did it go?
Hi! I meant to write this before, so thanks for checking in :)
AFI Fest was great. The films I saw were very good, well crafted and well executed and all of the films are now up online
so check them out. A lot of them are very dark, as tends to be the case with student films, I liked Haunt a lot, which was humorous. You definitely can see how good the producers get at securing resources and how much the fellows can accomplish.
I got the chance to speak to Giovanni and another Screenwriting alum briefly and both were positive. Giovanni more-so, but he works there so that’s also not surprising. I asked about the screenwriter showcase and they both said they got opportunities to submit to people after the showcase- also that you better be damn ready with your piece when you put it in the showcase as people have missed out on rep/opportunities by putting in pitches they weren’t immediately ready to send out scripts for.

All in all glad I went.

When are you visiting the campus?
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Hi! I meant to write this before, so thanks for checking in :)
AFI Fest was great. The films I saw were very good, well crafted and well executed and all of the films are now up online
so check them out. A lot of them are very dark, as tends to be the case with student films, I liked Haunt a lot, which was humorous. You definitely can see how good the producers get at securing resources and how much the fellows can accomplish.
I got the chance to speak to Giovanni and another Screenwriting alum briefly and both were positive. Giovanni more-so, but he works there so that’s also not surprising. I asked about the screenwriter showcase and they both said they got opportunities to submit to people after the showcase- also that you better be damn ready with your piece when you put it in the showcase as people have missed out on rep/opportunities by putting in pitches they weren’t immediately ready to send out scripts for.

All in all glad I went.

When are you visiting the campus?
I'll be down there Thursday, and sitting in on some TV spec class at like 6.
 

Latest Applications

Latest reviews

  • Cal State Northridge (CSUN) - MFA in Screenwriting Program
    3.00 star(s)
    I was accepted to the CSUN MFA program in 2018 and took part in in for a full year; however, I recently decided not to go back and complete the...
    • Anonymous
  • Savannah College of Art and Design (MFA)
    1.00 star(s)
    The school is a complete honeypot, department head Donald.W Moffett has limited film production experience and has not idea how to properly guide...
    • Anonymous
  • Emerson College
    3.00 star(s)
    Emerson opened a lot of doors for me, so I can't dismiss that fact. However, I don't think it was necessary for me to go to Emerson as opposed to...
    • Anonymous
  • NYU - Tisch Kanbar Institute of Film and Television (M.F.A.)
    5.00 star(s)
    Currently in my third year of my MFA at NYU Tisch Grad Film (writing/directing). I cannot praise this program enough! It exceeded any expectation...
    • Anonymous
  • National Film and Television School (NFTS)
    5.00 star(s)
    I'm currently in my first year of a 2 year MA at the NFTS. I saw these relatively negative reviews about the NFTS before I applied, but I can now...
    • VDW
Top