AFI Directing 2018

alidir08

Member
Hey everyone I just thought it would be nice to have a place for the AFI directing 2018 hopefuls to communicate.

I'm Ali a filmmaker living in LA for the past 11 years I sent my directing application in on November 1st and am anxiously waiting to hopefully be notified for an interview sometime in January.

Happy holidays everyone and good luck going forward.
 

Zeno

Active Member
Congratulations on getting your application in for the AFI Directing program. Got my application in for the AFI Directing program as well and hoping to hear back with good news.

Last year I applied to the AFI screenwriting program and was lucky to get an interview (they notified me in February) but did not ultimately get accepted. That said, went to LA to do so and it was great to see it first hand. Much easier to interact face to face, regardless. The next day I interviewed at UCLA and it was a very different vibe.

Debating whether or not I also apply to the screenwriting program again this year too. Really like the head of the screenwriting program, Anna Thomas. I'm more a writer-director so will be interesting if I ultimately get an offer there this time versus, say, Columbia University. The latter are def less strict about staying in your lane.

Be interested to know what your time has been spent doing in LA and why you decided to apply. Also, where else did you? Must say that it is interesting to hear about someone staying in LA for as long as 11 years. Many folks I have known seem to get fed up after a few and then bolt.

Glad you opened the lines of communication, good luck, and happy holidays!
 
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alidir08

Member
Congratulations on getting your application in for the AFI Directing program. Got my application in for the AFI Directing program as well and hoping to hear back with good news.

Last year I applied to the AFI screenwriting program and was lucky to get an interview (they notified me in February) but did not ultimately get accepted. That said, went to LA to do so and it was great to see it first hand. Much easier to interact face to face, regardless. The next day I interviewed at UCLA and it was a very different vibe.

Debating whether or not I also apply to the screenwriting program again this year too. Really like the head of the screenwriting program, Anna Thomas. I'm more a writer-director so will be interesting if I ultimately get an offer there this time versus, say, Columbia University. The latter are def less strict about staying in your lane.

Be interested to know what your time has been spent doing in LA and why you decided to apply. Also, where else did you? Must say that it is interesting to hear about someone staying in LA for as long as 11 years. Many folks I have known seem to get fed up after a few and then bolt.

Glad you opened the lines of communication, good luck, and happy holidays!
Glad you decided to apply again and I hope you have better luck this time around. This is my second time applying to the directing program I first applied back in 2012, I got selected for an interview as well but ultimately did not get accepted.

I first came to LA at the age of 19 in 2006 and spent the last 11 years working as a writer/director. I made my debut feature film and one short film that got into Cannes short film corner in 2011 which I used to apply for 2012 but wasn't selected. So after 2012 rejection I used that what would be AFI tuition money and made my second feature film with named talent and in the process of submitting to film festivals and working on distribution for that film. Using footage from my most recent film as part of my submission material and the 5 minute we had to create.

So that's basically my 11 years in LA, I know way too many people to leave after a few years. It's a marathon not a sprint in my mind.
 

JA9

New Member
Did you guys find the AFI interviews tough or daunting? I read a bunch of past threads on here where people seemed to have mixed reactions/divergent experiences with their interviews.
 

IndecisiveElle

Active Member
Supporting Member
Contributor
I applied to AFI for directing as well. Submitted my application just before the deadline thanks to having pneumonia during all of November. I was looking at my Vimeo today and saw they watched a small portion of my "A Discovery" video recently so I'm starting to get anxious now.

Also applied to Chapman for directing program. I applied the last two years as a screenwriter and was interviewed and waitlisted. The anxiety and impatience of not having my work on screen in recent years prompted me to shoot a short earlier this year and that made me rethink my entire strategy for grad school and led me to applying as a director this time around. I love writing, but I am a director at the end of the day. I love being on set and have spent the better part of the last decade working as an AD and PA.
 

nh_filmmaker

New Member
I am not an AFI directing applicant however I did apply to the producing program. I'm hoping we all get accepted and can collaborate further down the road.
 

alidir08

Member
Did you guys find the AFI interviews tough or daunting? I read a bunch of past threads on here where people seemed to have mixed reactions/divergent experiences with their interviews.
I didn't find the interviews to be daunting or a tough process it may be a little nerve racking at first but I found that you get comfortable quickly.
 

BadouBoy

Member
Did you guys find the AFI interviews tough or daunting? I read a bunch of past threads on here where people seemed to have mixed reactions/divergent experiences with their interviews.
I applied/was admitted to AFI last year. My interview experience was not daunting, despite my extreme nervousness beforehand. They asked about myself, why I applied to AFI and what I felt the weaknesses of my video submissions were. Also asked about what books I'd read recently. It felt more like a conversation.

PS. I did not enroll.
 

JA9

New Member
I applied/was admitted to AFI last year. My interview experience was not daunting, despite my extreme nervousness beforehand. They asked about myself, why I applied to AFI and what I felt the weaknesses of my video submissions were. Also asked about what books I'd read recently. It felt more like a conversation.

PS. I did not enroll.
Not bad!
What led to you deciding against enrolling?
 
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paolz317

Member
If anyone has any questions about what AFI is like let me know! I'm a current screenwriting fellow but can answer questions about other disciplines as well as general questions about the school, our new awesome Dean, etc.
 

Zeno

Active Member
Did you guys find the AFI interviews tough or daunting? I read a bunch of past threads on here where people seemed to have mixed reactions/divergent experiences with their interviews.
My interview for AFI screenwriting, last year, was interesting, to say the least. One of the interviewers looked extremely fatigued, admitting that they had done a slew of interviews this year and, per them, this was the home stretch. They got into some personal details shared in my statement that I think could have been handled more delicately. But, I could have been as forceful and blunt back. Suffice to say, other interviews (UCLA, Columbia) felt more like relaxed conversations in the duration while AFI felt more like a sharp interview at times. Like I say, they were probably burned out on interviews with their energy flagging. Guess my takeaway is to go in zen and calm but ready to adjust your approach if need be. There are many factors involved in these interviews beyond just the interview itself. And it is on you as much as them to change the temperature up or down.
 
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JA9

New Member
If anyone has any questions about what AFI is like let me know! I'm a current screenwriting fellow but can answer questions about other disciplines as well as general questions about the school, our new awesome Dean, etc.
Hey paolz, Is there a split focus on Film and TV at AFI for directors? Is it the same for screenwriters?
Also, do most fellows leave the program with managers if they didn't come in with any?

And ignoring the fact there's a market to consider, are students encouraged to write freely, story wise? Be risky? Non-P.C. (if they want)?
 

Erin Dane

New Member
My interview for AFI screenwriting, last year, was interesting, to say the least. One of the interviewers looked extremely fatigued, admitting that they had done a slew of interviews this year and, per them, this was the home stretch. They got into some personal details shared in my statement that I think could have been handled more delicately. But, I could have been as forceful and blunt back. Suffice to say, other interviews (UCLA, Columbia) felt more like relaxed conversations in the duration while AFI felt more like a sharp interview at times. Like I say, they were probably burned out on interviews with their energy flagging. Guess my takeaway is to go in zen and calm but ready to adjust your approach if need be. There are many factors involved in these interviews beyond just the interview itself. And it is on you as much as them to change the temperature up or down.
This is spot on. I interviewed in 16' and had a very similar experience. You nailed it at the end "it is on you as much as them to change the temperature..." Thanks for sharing.
 

IndecisiveElle

Active Member
Supporting Member
Contributor
Based on previous years it looks like this week is the earliest interview invitations go out.
 

paolz317

Member
Hey paolz, Is there a split focus on Film and TV at AFI for directors? Is it the same for screenwriters?
Also, do most fellows leave the program with managers if they didn't come in with any?

And ignoring the fact there's a market to consider, are students encouraged to write freely, story wise? Be risky? Non-P.C. (if they want)?
There is not a split focus on film and TV for either directors or screenwriters. However, students aren't barred from choosing one over the other in what they present/write. During the first year, all students participate in Cycle projects - they are short films that are meant to be practice for actually shooting a film (you get a budget, equipment, find a location, etc.) First one is helmed by directors, second by writers, and third by producers. For each of those projects you may present an idea that runs like a proof of concept for a TV pilot or just shoot a short film.

For the managers question, it really depends on the work that you put it and how you market yourself, as well as the connections that you make with alum, professors, and fellow students. They have a strong focus on internships and are dedicated to helping you find them. Additionally, the fact that it's located in LA is a huge plus because you are right in the middle of the industry. Additionally, alum often contact the office at AFI to seek out interns. I've heard of and talked to multiple writers who had landed a job/manager/agent even before they graduated from AFI.

Students are highly highly encouraged to write and make whatever they want. Cycles especially are a great way to explore, as they are school exercises that never leave AFI. Taking risks is thus encouraged, so that students can explore different styles and find their voice.
 

civetta

Member
I'm a prospective MFA student in screenwriting. They emailed me this afternoon letting me know that I was selected for an interview, which is in two weeks.
great! when did you apply?
 

Jiaying Hu

applicant for 2018 FALL
I got an email from Jill Murrin today to inform me I was selected for the interview for the Directing program. Has anyone here also got the email???
 
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