Interviews - Acceptances - Rejections 2018

Manwitch

Member
I'm applying this year to a school I was waitlisted at two years ago. I didn't apply to that school last year but applied to another prestigious school and was rejected so this is my third year applying for an MFA in screenwriting but my second for this particular school. I've decided that this is my last time applying to a highly competitive and exclusive program and will probably just apply to a more accessible, less competitive program if this doesn't pan out so I can at least pursue teaching on the collegiate level.
 

Anja

Member
It's my second time applying to USC and my first time applying to UCLA, BU and Chapman.
If I don't get accepted this time around I think I'll try a film school in Europe (where I live), hope I get in, and try everything to do a semester abroad in the U.S. (but I really hope I don't have to resort to plan B!) :)

Good luck to everyone! I'd be absolutely thrilled if I actually got to meet some of you at one of our dream schools ;)
 

snoopdog

Member
This is my second time applying as well. Last year, I applied to USC And Columbia. This year, I tried to apply to more film production programs rather than screenwriting.
I re-applied to the USC screenwriting program and, in addition, I applied to Chapman, LMU, and NYU film production programs.
I intend to apply again next year if I don't get in this year. I am also looking at Film School in Europe if this year doesn't work again. For example, Film School in London or FAMU in Prague.
 

MacAndEs

Member
This is my first time applying so I'm honestly not expecting all too much to happen. It'd be a shame to let the $500 I spent on all the applications amount to three rejections but if it's not meant to be, well darn.
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
This is my first time applying so I'm honestly not expecting all too much to happen. It'd be a shame to let the $500 I spent on all the applications amount to three rejections but if it's not meant to be, well darn.
Yeah, that's one of the reasons I haven't applied to more than USC. The prices are crazy for something that might not lead to anything concrete. I can barely scrap together the $100+ for the one school, let alone multiple! But, like I said, will try to save money so I can do it next year, of course based on the principle I won't be accepted to USC THIS year...
 

IndecisiveElle

Active Member
Supporting Member
Contributor
This is my first time applying so I'm honestly not expecting all too much to happen. It'd be a shame to let the $500 I spent on all the applications amount to three rejections but if it's not meant to be, well darn.
I totally get where you are coming from - that's why I think it's important to be highly selective in where I apply. Not only would it be a waste of an application fee if the program and classes weren't what I wanted to focus on, but also the massive price tag of tuition were I to get into a program I wasn't in love with.

But everyone has their own strategies and priorities based on their goals and past experiences. I know a lot of people, other focuses included, see grad school applications as a lottery game where they buy as many tickets as possible and don't research the programs as throughly as I have over the years.
 

IndecisiveElle

Active Member
Supporting Member
Contributor
My laptop just decided to die for the last 32 minutes and I swear I was having about to have a melt down. I fly out for my interview on Thursday and wouldn't have had time to get it into an Apple store. :eek: Crisis averted.
 

MacAndEs

Member
I totally get where you are coming from - that's why I think it's important to be highly selective in where I apply. Not only would it be a waste of an application fee if the program and classes weren't what I wanted to focus on, but also the massive price tag of tuition were I to get into a program I wasn't in love with.

But everyone has their own strategies and priorities based on their goals and past experiences. I know a lot of people, other focuses included, see grad school applications as a lottery game where they buy as many tickets as possible and don't research the programs as throughly as I have over the years.
Honestly, all three of the programs I applied to this year have been on my radar for two years. I'm still sorta ticked that Austin required GRE scores when the other two did not require them. Ironically, at the time I was applying, that was the one I wanted admittance to the most but the past few weeks have steered me elsewhere.
 

MacAndEs

Member
Yeah, that's one of the reasons I haven't applied to more than USC. The prices are crazy for something that might not lead to anything concrete. I can barely scrap together the $100+ for the one school, let alone multiple! But, like I said, will try to save money so I can do it next year, of course based on the principle I won't be accepted to USC THIS year...
I do hope you get into USC! I applied there too because a friend of mine who went there for their BFA (in another discipline) recommended the school to me. I loved the vibe there when I came to visit!
 

IndecisiveElle

Active Member
Supporting Member
Contributor
Honestly, all three of the programs I applied to this year have been on my radar for two years. I'm still sorta ticked that Austin required GRE scores when the other two did not require them. Ironically, at the time I was applying, that was the one I wanted admittance to the most but the past few weeks have steered me elsewhere.
I took the GRE last year. I did well except the math portion. I used to be good at math, but 12 years since I took a class had a big effect. That test is not cheap either. UT is an amazing program and I love Austin. I went down there for Austin Film Fest in the fall and had a great time. Unfortunately for me, the production program is a terrible fit. I have a friend in the screenwriting track that says it's incredible too.
 

MacAndEs

Member
I took the GRE last year. I did well except the math portion. I used to be good at math, but 12 years since I took a class had a big effect. That test is not cheap either. UT is an amazing program and I love Austin. I went down there for Austin Film Fest in the fall and had a great time. Unfortunately for me, the production program is a terrible fit. I have a friend in the screenwriting track that says it's incredible too.
I hate hate hate math that doesn't involve like money lol. That test cost like $200-something and like I actually contemplated passing on Austin just because of that but then I remembered my mentor's stories from the days they taught there.

It's cool though that you know what your fits and needs are. I'm such a newbie to this. I just went for the standard two LA schools and the school my professor kept plugging.
 

MFAman

Member
Septopus7 is back! Remember the fun we had last year on the MFA screenwriting board? I'm looking forward to dying inside all over again. Hope you get in. I'll be posting on the MFA production board frequently. Expect positivity that's just a tad more embittered. :)
 

IndecisiveElle

Active Member
Supporting Member
Contributor
Everything went well with my interview so now I'm going to try to wait as patiently as I can. If you're looking for advice check out the post by @Patrick Clement from two years ago.


""So , i wanted to write about my experience interviewing for the AFI Grad Directing Program

I interviewed last Friday, in LA. I won't spend alot of time on my submitted materials, but i will say that i have a fairly strong film as the centerpiece of my portfolio. you can watch it in the "portfolio forum."
I am also not a strong academic student (3.0-ish) but i have a fairly well rounded resume.

I was interviewed by Peter Markham; Directing Faculty and Chamille; a former directing fellow. The AFI campus, atleast whatI saw, was nice. the view from the main building is awesome, you can see all of downtown. I arrived early and found parking along the main drive. There were lots of current fellows coming and going.

I met Jill, the person with the best job on campus; she calls all the applicants to schedule the interviews. The staff in the admissions office were really friendly. I wasnt very nervous, but If i had been I suspect the staff would have done what they could have to make me feel comfortable. There were other applicants in the office, but i did not run into any other directing applicants. that is probably by design. I met a Cinematography applicant and a writing applicant in the waiting room.

I didn't wait very long and was brought up to an office. Jill asked me to check in with them before leaving. She said sometimes people are crying when they get out and they want to make sure everyone is OK before they leave. Not sure if this is true, but it was a fun story. Maybe people cry and throw up all the time. I guess it can be overwhelming for some people.

The opening of the interview was a little rough. I think I was settling in and I think my interviewers were trying to adjust to how I look. I am covered in tattoos. Not just arms, but my neck and hands are covered in tattoos. See, they don't have pictures of applicants. My film is a drama about a smalltown Kansas girl, so when a 6'6" tattooed guy with an awesome mustache walks through the door, they may have been a bit surprised.

Being a large tattooed man, I have to work twice as hard to make good first impressions. I'm overcoming not just being a stranger, but also overcoming the expectation I'm going to be an asshole, an idiot and/or steal their wallet. I could tell that after about 5-10mins all of us got more comfortable.

The interview lasted about an hour. I got all of the expected questions. Why do I want to go to AFI? Filmmakers I like; books I've been reading; what other schools I applied to; ect. We disagreed on some things. Some people might think this is a good cop/bad cop thing (as I've read elsewhere) but I didn't get that impression at all. Simply disagreeing doesn't mean "bad cop," it just means that Peter and I are not the same person. Although my head almost exploded when he said he didn't like Breaking Bad.

If you are not used to having conversations with people who disagree with you, you might have trouble. I go out of my way to have conversations with people who disagree with me, not to convince them, but to share ideas. If you are this type of person, it won't trip you up. Also Peter is an interrupter. It might throw some people off. I'm originally from Boston so interrupting each other is part of the "war of conversation." I never interrupted him, but he interrupted me plenty; it didn't really bother me.

When they asked me what directors I liked , I called an audible. The alumnus is French and although Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a big influence on me (along with Aronofsky, Terry Gilliam and German Impressionist Dir. like Lang, Wiene and Mourneau) I thought It might have sounded like pandering so I didn't mention it. I kind of regret it because I would liked to have heard her impressions of his work.

They had very very kind things to say about my film. They really understood the processes and themes in the film. We talked at length about it, things they liked, things I thought could have been better. We had a conversation about the pace of the film. I talked about the struggle I had over executing and weaving rural pace into the film while still making it watchable.

I lived and worked in LA for 5 years, so I know an "LA compliment" when I hear one. It seemed their compliments were genuine and I was really flattered by it. It makes me feel good to hear real compliments, with depth, from people I admire. So, that was nice.

We also talked about my music choices and I was VERY pleased that they had taken an interest in my choices. I care deeply for music in my films and they seemed equally as passionate about music choices in films.

I felt both my interviewers were genuinely interested and engaged in the conversation. It didn't feel like they were phoning the interview in. They seemed as present as I was.

Near the end of the interview I asked a couple of questions about what was expected of thesis films and what would be considered a "successful" thesis. I got two different, but honest answers from a faculty member and an alumnus. These answers will really sway me when making my final choice.

They asked me about other schools where I am interviewing (NYU, Columbia), finances and explained the timeline for decisions. Peter recommended an author he thought I would like so naturally I ordered one of her books from Amazon right away.

The interview ended on a high note and I left feeling like I accomplished everything I wanted to:
To be myself; to be relaxed; to be engaged; to listen; and to try to make a genuine connection with the other people in the room. Although, this is not a unique list by any means, as these are the same things I work to accomplish in EVERY conversation with every person, not just decision makers.

Some final thoughts:
1. Don't try to be someone you are not. These people can smell bullshit a mile away. Even if you think they won't like the answer, my philosophy is, I'd rather be honest and cause a disagreement than lie to avoid a disagreement.
2. Don't try to be the person you think they want. (See #1)
3. Research your interviewers. I actually didn't need to use any of the info I had, but I felt More prepared.
4. I take my work very seriously, but I don't take myself too seriously.
5. Don't travel on a weekend when a storm cancels like, 1000 flights and you get stuck in the airport all day
6. Don't ignore your superstitions. I had my good luck meal for lunch that day.

If anyone has questions, please reply here so I can share with the board.
Good luck everyone!"

Link to OP: 2015 Interviews - Acceptances - Rejections
 
Thank you for sharing your experience @IndecisiveElle. This is super helpful :). Hopefully AFI sends out more invites.
 

IndecisiveElle

Active Member
Supporting Member
Contributor
Received an interview invitation for Chapman directing today! Looks like we can expect to hear from them this week.
 

snoopdog

Member
I received an interview invite today as well! For the Directing program and will be going this Thursday, Feb 8th.
Sounds like Chapman applicants should keep an eye on their mailbox today/this week!
 

Anja

Member
@IndecisiveElle @snoopdog Thats awesome - good luck! :)

I applied for Chapman as well (different program though) and haven’t heard anything yet:(
 

zinala

Member
I had my interview for AFI's Screenwriting program last week. I think it went well, but I'm worried regardless.
 

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