Feedback on Collaboration Essay Ideas? USC Film and Television Production MFA Application 2021


Well-Known Member
Hi everyone! (repost because I unfortunately didn't get any feedback the 1st time, understandable though because this post is kind of long)

I'm brainstorming topics for the Collaboration Essay for USC film/tv production MFA and so far I've come up with a few ideas. I was wondering if I could get some feedback on if any of them are any good and could work? I'm having a LOT of trouble with this question and would really appreciate any help!

Positive Collaboration:
1. I was the Opinions Editor for college newspaper. I once edited an essay that was both bad and problematic, and together we came up with a final product that said what they actually had meant to say all along. I learned that people all have a contribution to make, even if you can't see it at first, and they just need some guidance to blossom.

2. As Opinions Editor, I edited an essay that I did agree with, and together we came up with a version that was more clear and we'll written than before. I learned that when two people work together, the final product is always stronger.

3. Just writing about my experience on the Editorial Board as an Opinions Editor, editing many articles and us making good work together, while also helping to change the viewpoint of how to edit an article for the other board to focusing more on mutual growth and less on robotic proofreading. I learned that in a space where the leader is willing to listen (the editor in chief) the other people will follow, and my mutually coming together on our points of view we made both the articles and the publication stronger.

4. While in college was a Tutor for high school writing. I helped one of my students write her common application essays, and she sent me an email saying I changed her life. I learned that if you let people's inner creativity free, with a little guidance and structure it can become great.

5. I did a group presentation on Black maternal mortality, and we all came together to present well. My role was to figure out people's strengths and delegate parts of the assignment, acting as a sort of glue.

6. I volunteered to teach a group freshman about multicultural awareness as part of a team of other upper classmen. My freshman were very contrary and uneducated on diversity, so I merged with my team members who were teaching about peer awareness.i learned that as a group not only did we have more authority, are concepts and sessions became clearer and stronger with all of us bouncing ideas off of each other.

7. I wrote an article for the newspaper I was on the board of about a student art show (that I was also in). I collaborated with the photographer and the editor, to produce the final copy. We had to work really closely together because we had to make sure there were photos of everything I wrote and I wrote about what was in the photos, and the editor had to ensure everything was good with the people who ran the show and with the newspaper's style guide. However, each one of us had worked as a writer, editor, and photographer. I learned that a good collaboration isn't about just smashing everyone's individual parts together in the end, but working together intimately from the beginning. We weren't just relegated to our individual responsibility for that piece, but used our collective knowledge together to make the best possible product.

Negative Collaboration:
1. I was a Senior Editor for a literary/visual arts magazine (under the Editor-in-chief). The EIC had a bad attitude, made fun of people's art they didn't like, didn't delegate but then also didn't do their jobs. The culture was toxic.What I learned was if the head isn't doing it's job properly it'll poison the body and as a result the whole creative work

2. I was on the planning love for the Black Students Formal. Basically the head wouldn't delegate and despite the other members making themselves available, the creative vision got too convoluted and it all fell apart.i learned that it is important to get the creative input of others because in the end your work will become stronger for it.


Staff member Writer
Hi! I would bring your entire experience as an editor into an essay OR your experience in planning these events. I think I would lean towards the editor role and your lessons learned there. You'll be collaborating with a lot of people with a lot of opinions as a filmmaker and you can use your experience with being an editor to draw on what you learned about collaborating - what worked, what didn't work, etc. Does that make sense?

Basically, you want to showcase that you have been in a position of needing to collaborate and have learned from the give and take that collaborating requires.


Well-Known Member
Thank you so so much for the feedback!

Based off it, I'm thinking maybe doing the newspaper Opinions editor as my positive collaboration and talking about the various ways we give and took, and then contrasting with my Senior Editor position and how there was no give and take (eventually leading to a stagnated and stale publication) could be good then?


Thank you so so much for the feedback!

Based off it, I'm thinking maybe doing the newspaper Opinions editor as my positive collaboration and talking about the various ways we give and took, and then contrasting with my Senior Editor position and how there was no give and take (eventually leading to a stagnated and stale publication) could be good then?
Hey, so one piece of advice I saw somewhere (maybe on here or in my endless google search) was trying to make every single aspect of your application showcase a different side of you. I say this to say that if you're going to use the newspaper experience for your positive collaboration, maybe use a different experience (such as the Black Students Formal) for the negative collaboration. It'll not only show your strengths in both a successful and failing situation, but also show variety in your involvement.

Also, as you're writing these two essays be sure that you are hitting the questions and sub-questions in the prompts, and really bring it home in the last part of each prompt after the "Finally," because that's where they'll see the impact those situations had on the way you think and what you'll bring to the institution and industry.

And don't forget to tell a story! :) It's one thing to read an essay, another to read a story posing as an essay lol.


Well-Known Member
Thank you so much!

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