INPUT NEEDED: Your questions for USC SCA Film Admissions faculty :)

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Prior forum member and current USC Film School Admissions faculty member @USCSCAAlumni/Faculty has generously agreed to be interviewed for an article on this site next week. (Awesome and thank you!)

If you have any questions that you would like us to ask them please respond with them below.

The following questions have already been asked in the USC thread but we can for sure ask them (or similar ones) again:

Could you explain how interviews work in the admission process? Is getting a interview a prerequisite for getting accepted?
I don’t know if you are allowed to answer this but I would love some clarity on how the whole process works. As in what happens between the time you submit your
application on slideroom to when you get your decision status in youSC?
I was wondering what you think are some common missteps that prospective students make during the application phase. You mentioned that you learned more about your own errors when you reviewed the application of an accepted student - what were your main takeaways? What did you improve upon or change on your application in response?
I would love to know what you did differently for your last application. What changes did you make? Also, if you're permitted to answer, how many people, on average, are interviewed for each term? How many people, on average, apply?
What if during the interview I felt like I did not provide a convincing answer "what will make you a better collaborator"? The problem accused because it was quite difficult for me to formulate a proper explanation of my point of view? Then I decided to reach out to professor via email with some clarifications (and also a few questions about the program) but I did not receive any answer (but during the conversation he said I can reach out to him to ask anything). Is this a bad sign? How should I consider this?
You mentioned that in your fourth try applying to USC you got admitted with scholarships. I was wondering if you had any advice you could offer on getting scholarships and standing out as an applicant? Thank you for your time and help!
thanks so much for doing this and speaking reason into our manic panic lol... lame question, but should we start receiving admissions decisions this weekend?
I also wanted to ask about the approach to evaluate a candidate. Is there anything special about the USC in particular when in comes to the decisive factors? Smth that makes SCA different from other schools. I heard, for instance, that GPA is not that important as for NYU admissions committee. Is this a myth? What USC professors are looking for in their applicants in the first place? What can be a decisive factor when candidates are considered almost equally deserving an admission? How does USC resolve a tough choice?
I also heard that every year SCA is trying to hold a certain balance between the X students and Y students. Like, for a simple instance (first thing that comes to my mind), admission's committee may try to keep balance between the students who wants to make comedies and the students who wants to make horrors and so on.
I wrote my personal statement in the form of an imaginary interview between myself and a newscaster talking about one of my short films; figured it would be more interesting to read than a regular essay. Do you think using an unconventional format will hurt or help my chances at admission?

Please respond with any other questions that we should ask here... :)

Thanks again for doing this @USCSCAAlumni/Faculty


Active Member
I have a somewhat cheeky question -

Has USC ever received an application from someone that was so professional and full of talent/creativity/what have you, that USC chose to refuse their admission because they felt that the applicant didn't need to go to film school?

And here are two serious ones -

Has a personal essay from an applicant ever made you cry, double over in a belly laugh, or better yet, both?

What has your experience been with your double life as an instructor and a professional? Have you ever worked with students on a personal project, or found yourself in a situation where you struggled with practicing something that you've taught in class?


I haven't found many tips for the collaboration questions or the video introduction. Any advice on these? What makes one stand out? Any clichés we should avoid? How heavily are they weighted?

I believe they are relatively new to the application process, but any advice is helpful :)


Active Member
Thanks for doing this interview! I'm not sure if you have much insight into the undergrad Writing for Screen & Television program but it would be great if you could answer some of these questions :)
  • How many people on average apply each year for the program?
  • What is the admissions committee looking for when reviewing a portfolio (challenges, personal essay, etc...)? I'm sure there are many great applicants every year but what are some reasons/examples why one portfolio may stand out more than another one?
  • What are some common mistakes undergrad applicants make in their portfolio scripts?
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New Member
- How much does the creative portfolio affect the application versus the actual personal statement and scripts?
- When are interview requests usually sent out? I was doing some scrolling on this website and some applications for the same program as mine (screenwriting) marked interview notification dates in March.
Thanks for all your help in this trying time...


New Member
- How can we let the USC SCA Faculty know of changes to our application? For example, letting the professors know USC is our top choice school. Sometimes we can inform our admissions counselor but I was uncertain if they pass that information along.
- If we are applying from Writing for Screen and television, do we get interviews as well? If so, how can we best prepare for the interviews so it goes smoothly for both sides.


Active Member
1. When putting a grad screenwriting class together, what are some of the things you look for re: good fit?

2. How much debate is there between admissions members re: potential grad screenwriting students?

3. What are things that makes a grad screenwriting app go immediately to the "no" pile?

4. How many grad screenwriting applicants end up on the waitlist?

5. If a screenwriting applicant is rejected, how should they approach reapplying, e.g. start from scratch, rework some of the content they submitted, move on to another school, kill yourself and come back as someone who can actually write 🙃?
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