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I'm applying for MFA Film at NYU, AFI (directing) and Columbia. I have a few questions about the personal statement and the general portfolio :))


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I'm an applicant from London and have very little guidance about the process in general. I have been seen differing advice online about the personal statement - one side of the spectrum is that it should be heavy on academic intent (the kind of work I want to do later in life as well as at the institution) then the other side is a story about you, your background and why film, why the institution. Currently mine lies right in the centre of those extremes. I haven't included too much about my own background, but there is a lot about what topics interest me and why. I have also spoken about what films I would maybe like to make but I read advice that said don't talk about what films you like so I haven't done that. Is all this sounding ok to you?

Second question: does my portfolio need to show a breadth of genre/type of story? I am trying to do this but have had a rough couple of months and the only things I'm able to write are very personal/ about my experiences in dramatic form. Also, is it a problem to make some political statements in a piece?

Last question: how detailed does the film treatment need to be? I have a rough synopsis told in acts then themes and inspiration at the end. It's love story so there isn't much I can explain in the synopsis apart from character descriptions and basic plot points.

Sorry for my incoherent questioning but hope somebody can answer at least some of it :)

Thanks so much!!


I'm also very interested into any insight people have about this! I've read a lot of useful information about what makes a successful personal statement to get into USC, but I'm curious if those tips apply to AFI, NYU, Columbia, etc? Are there things those other schools prioritize in a personal statement?


Hi! I was recently waitlisted at USC for Spring 2021 and just reapplied for Fall 2021, just in case. I got an interview for Spring 2021. For my personal statement, I weaved my personal story (growing up experiences that made me who I am) to a filmmaking cause that means a lot to me (for me, diversity and inclusion, especially of people/stories that are often neglected), which led to the kind of stories I want to tell and my goals as a filmmaker, and my background in film.

Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions!

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