AFI screenwriting 2019 Interview preparation

Dean

Member
Supporting Member+
AFI
For those of you going for the interview, which I think starting in one or two weeks, let’s pool together previous interview questions and experiences and discuss how should we prepare for them!
 

Chris W

"The night was..."
Staff member
BU
For those of you going for the interview, which I think starting in one or two weeks, let’s pool together previous interview questions and experiences and discuss how should we prepare for them!
Here's a bunch that were compiled over the years:

Film School Interview Questions

I'm sure new ones could be added.

  • Why do you think MFA will help you?
  • What's a movie you've seen recently that you liked?
  • What do you think makes a good producer?
  • What skill set are you hoping to learn?
  • Do you have funding programs available in your country?
  • Any questions for us?
  • Why Columbia?
  • Why do you want to make films?
  • What types of films & filmmakers you like?
  • What kind of films do i want to make?
  • What area do i want to dive into?
  • Which filmmakers career inspire you?
  • What areas do you want to improve on most?
  • What are your favourite films?
  • Why USC, Why film school?
  • Name a movie that has had an impact on your life and why?
  • If you had the resources to work on one project now what would it be and why?
  • Are you aware how much it costs? Will you be able to pay for it?
  • Did you apply to other school?
  • Why do you want to pursue this field?
  • Identifying filmmakers who influence you or whose work you enjoy
  • In the practical situation not everyone will be directing or producing when they get out of film school, what other roles in filmmaking do you feel your skills speak to?
  • If you could only make one film right now and had the resources for it, what theme would it have?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What kind of movies inspire me to make films
  • What do I want to get out of film school that I can't get outside on my own
  • Which movies that influenced me to make films
  • Are you prepared for a 3 year program, or is that too long?
  • What projects are you working on right now?
  • What skills do I want to work on if accepted to Columbia?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Some questions about my dramatic writing sample regarding why does it mean to me and what it is about.
  • Have you ever written anything collaboratively?
  • What are your steps in the revision process?
  • What do you do for enjoyment outside of writing?
  • He asked me about my portfolio, my normal writing process, my undergrad majors (International studies and history), what I want to write, how I knew I wanted to do screenwriting, and basic questions about where I am from and what I hope to get out of the program.
  • What other schools are you applying to?
  • Why choose to do MFA now?
  • What are the recent films that you like?
  • Describe the city you're living in now and the people living there.
  • Tell us a memorable moment in your life.
  • What are you concerns about the program if you get in.
  • Will you consider cinematography?
  • If you don't get into USC what will you do?
  • What do you see yourself doing down the line?
  • Film or TV? Then they asked what is your favorite film or show.
  • Advice on the interview: expect the questions you assume (why film school, what films you hope to make, what movies you like, how will you pay, etc.)....My interviewers very thoroughly had read both my essays and had watched both my films (the "surprise" film and the other submission)-- they will most likely ask you questions about things you wrote in your statements. Overall, they're just trying to get to know you and what you're about. They try very hard, they say, to build an ensemble group that meshs well together as a class and contains a variety of voices. My advice is to be yourself and hope that who you are comes across in the questions you answer.
  • The interview included my top five films, my strength and weakness, what did I do until now, pitch a story, where will you be the next ten years...
  • What have you been doing since undergrad?
  • Top 5 films? but don't say why
  • Is there a common thread that pops out to you about your top 5 films?
  • If you could pick one of those films, would any of them be similar to the types of films you want to make?
  • Pitch your short film idea
  • Why apply to film school?
  • Tell us a story from your childhood that resonates with you
  • What are you looking to get out of the program?
  • Why NY, why NYU?
  • The one question I remembered being asked was how much writing I'd done, mostly to see if I'm serious about it.
  • What's your leadership style?
  • Any questions about the program?
  • What kind of film do you want to make in the future?
  • Are you aware of the cost of the program?
  • Why film school? Why USC?
  • Where are you from and your cultural background?
  • Any questions for us?
  • What do you believe the program will give you?/Why the UCLA Screenwriting MFA?
  • What type of material do you intend to write in the program?/What do you enjoy writing?
  • Did you write at a young age / do you have a specific memory of writing as a child?
  • What would you contribute to the classroom setting?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What have you been working on in the past 6 months?
  • What is a story/book that you'd like to adapt to the screen?
  • Have you directed actors?
  • A question about my visual sample and personal statement.
  • Any questions you have for us?
  • What sentimental object do you carry in your wallet that is not cash or credit cards? If you don't have a sentimental object in your wallet, what would you have?
  • If you were a character in a film, how would the first scene introduce you that would encapsulate you as a person?
  • Why AFI?
  • The interviewer only asked me two questions, both questions could be related to my personal statement (why producing & why chapman..).
  • What skill set are you hoping to learn?
  • They were interested in knowing who i am. They asked me some questions about the treatment i sent them. And also many questions about why i want to make films, what area do i want to dive into, what are my favourite films etc. Interview goes by like a friendly chat. At the end they asked me if i had any questions for them and gave me info about the faculty and the courses.
  • Be ready to summarize your personal statement, and answer various questions about it.
  • Tell a story that you have heard over and over growing up (about your yourself, parents, family, etc).
  • Talk about your favorite directors and why.
  • Why NYU?
  • Why go to film school now? Why have you applied for an MFA now?
  • Who are your favorite filmmakers and why? (Have a few names in mind, their films and why? Watch their films again. You might be asked about a particular scene.)
  • You may have more experience than others in you class, how do you feel about that?
  • You may be asked to highlight something about your city and why?
  • What will you add to the classes and NYU?
  • Be prepared to talk about your visual sample.
  • Describe something interesting that has happened to you recently (Have one or two incidents in mind.)
  • What are the challenges you may face once you are there?
  • What kind of films you want to make?
  • Why would you want an MFA instead of just going straight into production work?
  • Why producing?
  • What do I see myself doing in 5-10 years? (producing, directing, entrepreneur....)
  • am I prepared for a 3 year program, or is that too long?
  • how I was planning to pay for the program due to the high costs
  • if I had any questions for him
 

kreativesoul

Active Member
AFI
LMU
@Dean so far I've spoken with an alum who graduate in 2010, two people who currently attend, and one person who graduated last year. Two were persons of color, one was international, and I made sure two were women and two were men. I was told the best way we can prepare is by knowing?

-what kind of stories you want to tell and why
-how do you feel afi will prepare you
-what are your career goals
-why afi and why a masters now
-they ask questions about your personal statement and potentially about the scene you wrote
-what is the biggest thing you could work on as a screenwriter
-stress the importance of wanting to collaborate and learn from your fellow students in the cohort
-who are your favorite screenwriters
-who arey our creative influences
 

d890

Member
t
@Dean so far I've spoken with an alum who graduate in 2010, two people who currently attend, and one person who graduated last year. Two were persons of color, one was international, and I made sure two were women and two were men. I was told the best way we can prepare is by knowing?

-what kind of stories you want to tell and why
-how do you feel afi will prepare you
-what are your career goals
-why afi and why a masters now
-they ask questions about your personal statement and potentially about the scene you wrote
-what is the biggest thing you could work on as a screenwriter
-stress the importance of wanting to collaborate and learn from your fellow students in the cohort
-who are your favorite screenwriters
-who arey our creative influences
Thank you for sharing!!!
 

Dean

Member
Supporting Member+
AFI
@Dean so far I've spoken with an alum who graduate in 2010, two people who currently attend, and one person who graduated last year. Two were persons of color, one was international, and I made sure two were women and two were men. I was told the best way we can prepare is by knowing?

-what kind of stories you want to tell and why
-how do you feel afi will prepare you
-what are your career goals
-why afi and why a masters now
-they ask questions about your personal statement and potentially about the scene you wrote
-what is the biggest thing you could work on as a screenwriter
-stress the importance of wanting to collaborate and learn from your fellow students in the cohort
-who are your favorite screenwriters
-who arey our creative influences
thank you so much for sharing their insights. Good luck to us both!
 

Marie021

New Member
hi, i am new here & i just completed by interview via Skype w/ afi. it was two parts, the 1st was a alumni who works w/ admissions & he went through the costs, tuition, housing, etc. it is expensive & u won’t be able to work at all during the 1st year, the 2nd year is more relaxed though. they don’t have housing, but will assist u in finding a place to live. it seemed to me that loans were the main source of Tuition payments by the students. but there are scholarships. so if u do go, plan on getting loans no matter what, can’t avoid them unless u have savings & or are rich. :D

The 2nd part was a faculty member & another recent alumni. they asked why i applied to afi & what i hope to do with a degree from them. they both told me that a majority of the screenwriting students were aiming for tv & that’s where the “work was.” the conservatory has an 80% job placement rate. both the alumni said they have friends who have sold their work to Netflix & hbo. i was surprised that they didn’t ask about my scripts i sent to them. i guess that means i won’t be admitted? anyway, the whole thing took an hour. i hope this helps. :)
 

Lifeisnoholiday

Active Member
@Marie021

Thanks for sharing! What was the general tone of the second call? Did it feel like another test?
 

Lifeisnoholiday

Active Member
In The first one, it was an alumni. He graduated last year. In the second interview, a faculty member and another recent graduate.
No, I meant who was it exactly from the faculty?
 

kreativesoul

Active Member
AFI
LMU
Oh so you didn't interview with Anna?
 

kreativesoul

Active Member
AFI
LMU
I'm interviewing with Anna Thomas and Kevin Kennedy.
 

Cody Young

Tattoo/Film Enthusiast
Supporting Member
AFI
I’m interviewing on the 6th with Michael Urban and Sarah Swingley. Has anyone here had any experience with them? I read their bios and IMDb to prepare, I’m just wondering if anyone here knows what they are like?
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member+
AFI
USC
Hey all, just prepping for my interview tomorrow, and have a question for the lot of you. When I first scheduled the interview a few weeks back, I missed the part at the end of the email saying "please reply to this email to confirm receipt and with your Skype username." I noticed later while reviewing the email again, but this was about five days after the fact. Anyways, I responded with my Skype username and everything, but never got a response in return verifying receipt of it. Did any of you get another email after giving out your Skype username? Is radio silence the norm? Honestly I wouldn't worry so much about it under normal circumstances but, considering my near week delay in giving them my username, afraid it might have gotten lost in the shuffle or something.

(Side note: I checked the Empower website, and all it says under my status is "Interview scheduled." That sounds about right to me but, once again, unsure if it differs from any other interviewing applicants.)
 

filmschool0

Member
AFI
Chapman
USC
Hey all, just prepping for my interview tomorrow, and have a question for the lot of you. When I first scheduled the interview a few weeks back, I missed the part at the end of the email saying "please reply to this email to confirm receipt and with your Skype username." I noticed later while reviewing the email again, but this was about five days after the fact. Anyways, I responded with my Skype username and everything, but never got a response in return verifying receipt of it. Did any of you get another email after giving out your Skype username? Is radio silence the norm? Honestly I wouldn't worry so much about it under normal circumstances but, considering my near week delay in giving them my username, afraid it might have gotten lost in the shuffle or something.

(Side note: I checked the Empower website, and all it says under my status is "Interview scheduled." That sounds about right to me but, once again, unsure if it differs from any other interviewing applicants.)
Hey, I replied with my skype account in the first email but didn't get a reply. I don't think they send out confirmation emails. But if you're concerned, it wouldn't hurt to send an email to check!
 

Marie021

New Member
Hey all, just prepping for my interview tomorrow, and have a question for the lot of you. When I first scheduled the interview a few weeks back, I missed the part at the end of the email saying "please reply to this email to confirm receipt and with your Skype username." I noticed later while reviewing the email again, but this was about five days after the fact. Anyways, I responded with my Skype username and everything, but never got a response in return verifying receipt of it. Did any of you get another email after giving out your Skype username? Is radio silence the norm? Honestly I wouldn't worry so much about it under normal circumstances but, considering my near week delay in giving them my username, afraid it might have gotten lost in the shuffle or something.

(Side note: I checked the Empower website, and all it says under my status is "Interview scheduled." That sounds about right to me but, once again, unsure if it differs from any other interviewing applicants.)
hey,
Nope, i didnt get a response and i was worried too. but i had my interview as scheduled. everything will be okay. :)
 

Lifeisnoholiday

Active Member
I'm interviewing with Anna Thomas and Kevin Kennedy.
Oh, I'm interviewing with Anna Thomas, too, as well as Jennifer Glickman. When is your interview? Mine's on the 15th.
 

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