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Columbia University - MFA - Fall 2018

Discussion in 'Graduate Film School Discussions' started by Patrick Clement, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. Patrick Clement

    Patrick Clement Active Member

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    Opening this thread for applicants. Questions, concerns, application status, interviews, nerves, how babies are made, winning lottery numbers, .
     
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  2. Operator

    Operator Active Member

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    I was waitlisted for Fall 2017...wondering if I should try again for Creative Producing. =/
     
  3. civetta

    civetta New Member

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    Hi, Patrick,

    thank you for this thread.

    I want to apply for the screenwriting program. Do you know should I upload video materials?

    Also can you please tell how do you like the screenwriting courses?

    Thank you.
     
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  4. Patrick Clement

    Patrick Clement Active Member

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    You should totally try again. Why not? I would just look at your application materials and try to fix any weaknesses you might have in your application materials. If I remember correctly, the Producing application you can submit written or filmed materials. Maybe try to strengthen one of those?

    I do know some students who are strictly "screenwriting." One of them might be able to answer your question better. But, here's some thoughts.

    Columbia has a unique program in that all non-producing students are admitted as screenwriters/directors. Only in the second year do students choose which degree they want (screenwriting or directing) which largely affects the number of thesis films you can shoot, the number of scripts you can submit to the annual Columbia University Film Festival and your thesis advisor.

    If you are strictly interested in screenwriting, Columbia may not be for you.

    While I know many students who ultimately decided to focus on screenwriting over directing, I think most come to Columbia with at least an interest in directing, even if they change their minds later.

    A very long answer to a very short question later; I would perhaps submit visual materials if you are interested in directing, but submit stronger writing materials if your true interests are in writing. Although again, if you are def not interested in directing, I would look at other schools like AFI, USC, UCLA or schools with a conservatory model. Columbia def is sort of a "do everything" model. Even producers direct and write in their first year.

    As far as screenwriting goes, and I have written about this before, Columbia (in my opinion) is not the strongest "production" school. However, the screenwriting faculty is very strong. They function as a "workshop" model with ab out 12 students in each class and you are reading everyone's scripts, giving notes while you are writing your own material. The instructors are, for the most part, very good and very interesting people.

    I do think some of the adjunct faculty can be hit-or-miss, but you find that at every school. Currently, the full-time screenwriting faculty as Andy Bienen, Trey Ellis, Katherine Dieckmann and Jamal Joseph. Its a very strong group. All very talented and also, all very interesting people, which for me is a big plus.
     
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  5. Cynthia Atuhaire

    Cynthia Atuhaire Miss

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    Hi Patrick,
    I am preparing to apply for the MFA screenwriting/directing at Columbia University this weekend. Am very excited.
    Do you know of any scholarships for International students for this particular course?
     
  6. Patrick Clement

    Patrick Clement Active Member

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    The university offers a small scholarship for nearly all accepted students, but overall the scholarships for all of the students are really sparse.
     
  7. Operator

    Operator Active Member

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    Screw it, I'm reapplying. Good thing they let you reuse your recommendation letters and transcripts from the previous year application. =)
     
  8. ash_ketchum

    ash_ketchum New Member

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    I applied last year and got an interview but was rejected. I'll apply again!
     
  9. Operator

    Operator Active Member

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    If I'm accepted, do you know of any no broker fee apartments in NYC/Brooklyn that are actually affordable for a college student living off loans? I know they're out there, but I find that not being local to the area I always look in the wrong places online.
     
  10. ash_ketchum

    ash_ketchum New Member

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    I'll message you.
     
  11. IndecisiveElle

    IndecisiveElle Active Member

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    Would you mind posting your application videos again? I remember seeing it in the past when we both applied to Columbia, but I can't find the link now. I'm changing some major gears and applying as a director myself now vs screenwriting in the past.
     
  12. Patrick Clement

    Patrick Clement Active Member

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    I am also a US loan student. Some people choose to live in off campus housing, but I can't speak on that. I live in a Columbia owned building on 112th street. A studio. No broker fee. University are landlords, so no sketch shit, no broker fee and they have been very accommodating when the rent has been late :)

    If you want university housing you need to apply to the lottery as soon as you are accepted. They don't give you options and there is a short period for you to accept an offer, but I've found it to be really nice to be in one place for three years and only 5 mins from Dodge Hall.

    Here is my application video:
    Somewhere Between Freedom and Protection, Kansas - Complete Short Film
     
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  13. Operator

    Operator Active Member

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    If I get notification of acceptance, I guess I better try to sell my car, and just take the bus or train from Vegas to NYC. I looked up parking garage fees and they're insane! $450 per month?! That's more than my car costs per month. How is university housing during breaks? Do they allow you to stay during winter, spring and summer breaks? Can you room with people in your class? Or do they randomly place you?
     
    #13 Operator, Nov 3, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  14. Patrick Clement

    Patrick Clement Active Member

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    Most people in my class didn't have a car, but some did. It can be quite expensive. I live close to campus and take the subway or a Lyft. $450 is alot of subway rides and Lyft rides!

    University housing leases run from whenever you arrive (Aug/Sept) until May. So you have a lease through the nine month school year. In May you can choose to either move out or sign a lease through the year (May through May).

    When you enter the housing lottery, you list your area of study and your roomate preferences (Single, roommates, etc). The housing lottery places you and you sort of have to take it or leave it. Menaing, onc e you get a housing notification you either accept or not accept and you won't get a second choice.

    The housing also has a "transfer" period in October, which allows you to apply to transfer to a new residence, if you want.

    I entered the lottery asking for a studio, which I got. So I've been happy thus far. The trick is to get in to the lottery as soon as you can after acceptance.
     
  15. K.Sun

    K.Sun New Member

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    Hi! I read some of the thread last year. This is a nice place to share thoughts. But instead of question about applying, I wonder if you can tell us something about what is unique in Columbia? Frankly I've never been there, and I am applying because of the reputation. I saw your post last year about the department being underfunded and I find that really helpful. Any more details you can share about being a student there will be so appreciated!
     
  16. Operator

    Operator Active Member

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    I flat out asked them last year during the interview why I should choose them over other schools if I am accepted to others. Their answer was: their main focus is story telling when it comes to their film making process. That fact that it's a great location to shoot in and the surrounding areas. I asked if they help secure internships for students, they said no.
     
  17. K.Sun

    K.Sun New Member

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    Thanks! That is a good question. What are you guys mainly talking about in your Personal Statement? What I did was analyzing my story style and self critic. I tried telling interesting stories, but all my friends read it and they all suggest I gte rid of the story and focus on the analysis and says that part is really good
     
  18. Patrick Clement

    Patrick Clement Active Member

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    I want to make sure you are not just pulling one or two of my criticisms from a wide range of posts I've made about the school. No school is perfect. Each has their benefits and deficits. The $$$$ for Columbia SOA is unique because of the way CU schools are funded (different from other MFAs), which has effects on the Film MFA. It is a complex issue which deserves full and complete consideration.

    Columbia is a story school. I think that is the space the MFA takes up right now, so I think that is its strongest asset.
    If you dig back you can find a bunch of my posts and replies. \

    Hope that helps!
     
  19. K.Sun

    K.Sun New Member

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    Oh no I didn't mention their funding as a criticism. It was just example because that seems more real than talking about acceptance rate. So far it seems Columbia is the one that focuses most on storytelling.
    Is it helpful to write the personal statement in the form of story? So far I only have a few experiences and mostly analysis.
     
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  20. Patrick Clement

    Patrick Clement Active Member

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    I do think its part of the larger picture of Columbia, but should be part of a larger conversation. You know?

    You can read my personal essay here:
    Columbia University MFA Fall 2016
     

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