Paying for AFI? (And film school in general) (1 Viewer)

katiebonnie

Well-Known Member
Supporter
The fees are so expensive I don't think I'd have a hope in hell of going even if I somehow got in 🙃 😂
 
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katiebonnie

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I didn't get any scholarship funding from AFI. I have a few years of savings from work, but still will need to take out a lot in loans. I'd have nothing left but debt at the end of year two which is scary as I want to be able to support myself staying in LA. I have no idea where to find film school friendly scholarships. A lot seem to be reserved for undergrads, different career paths, specific diversity groups, etc. Any tips would be appreciated!
I'm a bit at a loss tbh! I have savings from work but I was a freelance performer so.... I got rona'd last year bigtime and my savings are probably worth about 10% of what I need haha.

In terms of the scholarships for afi, I got in touch with Robin Bailey-Chen and she sent me a pdf list of scholarships for international students so if you're domestic I'm sure they will have something similar? If you're international I would be happy to send it on to you.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
I know the ole take-out-loans-for-film-school vs don't is a common conundrum. I'd love to get in touch with a few recent grads who took out loans and a few who are a few years out, and interview them. @Chris W happy to help work on this if you can help find the contacts!
You could reach out to people in threads and applications from 2018 and earlier to find them probably?

It definitely would be interesting to hear what they say about debt.
 
What are people's thoughts on asking for a little more $$$? I got a small scholarship from AFI, which is AWESOME! But it's not the number I'd like it to be, I'm thinking about writing a very respectful, but still direct, letter to them advocating for a higher number. I've heard success stories of this in the past, but I don't want to put them off...
 

katiebonnie

Well-Known Member
Supporter
What are people's thoughts on asking for a little more $$$? I got a small scholarship from AFI, which is AWESOME! But it's not the number I'd like it to be, I'm thinking about writing a very respectful, but still direct, letter to them advocating for a higher number. I've heard success stories of this in the past, but I don't want to put them off...
I asked if I could write a letter appealing the decision (I was offered nothing and I won't lie, I earned less than $15k last year thanks to covid so was getting desperate haha!) and Robin Bailey-Chen straight up said no.

However, if you have already been offered some scholarship, it might be different and you might have some bargaining room? Asking can't hurt 🤷‍♀️
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
What are people's thoughts on asking for a little more $$$? I got a small scholarship from AFI, which is AWESOME! But it's not the number I'd like it to be, I'm thinking about writing a very respectful, but still direct, letter to them advocating for a higher number. I've heard success stories of this in the past, but I don't want to put them off...
Hey! Congrats on receiving ascholarship! Looks like you're in the directing track! As for the screenwriting folks, some of us recevied a big fat $0.00!!! If you do send them an email, can you also mention that screewriters are the MOST important aspect of filmmaking (FACT haha), and therefore we DESERVE more $$$?

Thanks : )
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
On a serious note, what are your thoughts on creating a GoFundMe campaign to help support grad school? I've been doing a little research and see that it's an option for grad students to help fund their education. I've never really asked for money before so this is all new to me.

Pros: money is money, so it does't hurt to try

Cons: GoFundMe has a processing fee of 1.9% + $0.30 per donation
 

KDonthescene

Member
Supporter+
On a serious note, what are your thoughts on creating a GoFundMe campaign to help support grad school? I've been doing a little research and see that it's an option for grad students to help fund their education. I've never really asked for money before so this is all new to me.

Pros: money is money, so it does't hurt to try

Cons: GoFundMe has a processing fee of 1.9% + $0.30 per donation
Do what you have to do if you think your friends and family will support you!
 

MilesofTrials

Member
Supporter+
On a serious note, what are your thoughts on creating a GoFundMe campaign to help support grad school? I've been doing a little research and see that it's an option for grad students to help fund their education. I've never really asked for money before so this is all new to me.

Pros: money is money, so it does't hurt to try

Cons: GoFundMe has a processing fee of 1.9% + $0.30 per donation

If you're a U.S. citizen, you will need to be cognizant of certain tax implications associated with crowdfunding. As long as you're not performing a service (or providing a good), the income is non-taxable (yay!). However, if you exceed $20,000 in donations, you hit the threshold for filling out a 1099K form with the IRS. You can choose to not file (which I do not advocate for), or you can file with offsetting incomes so that your taxable amount = 0. This is not financial advice.
 

bean

Member
I'm a bit at a loss tbh! I have savings from work but I was a freelance performer so.... I got rona'd last year bigtime and my savings are probably worth about 10% of what I need haha.

In terms of the scholarships for afi, I got in touch with Robin Bailey-Chen and she sent me a pdf list of scholarships for international students so if you're domestic I'm sure they will have something similar? If you're international I would be happy to send it on to you.
I'm domestic. The suggestions from AFI's website haven't been applicable so far but I'll keep looking. Thx!
 

MilesofTrials

Member
Supporter+
Okay maybe this sounds crazy but is anyone else considering withdrawing their 401(k) funds for grad school? I believe there's no penalty right now because of COVID.
The applicability of the penalty-free 401k withdrawal under the CARES Act (the first US Covid relief bill) is: up to 100k can be withdrawn for those individuals “affected by Covid.”

This includes those who’ve fallen ill/spouses of those who’ve have fallen ill, those furloughed or laid off, work hours cut. You have to go through an affirmative qualification process with whoever runs your 401k.
 

runningupthathill

Well-Known Member
The applicability of the penalty-free 401k withdrawal under the CARES Act (the first US Covid relief bill) is: up to 100k can be withdrawn for those individuals “affected by Covid.”

This includes those who’ve fallen ill/spouses of those who’ve have fallen ill, those furloughed or laid off, work hours cut. You have to go through an affirmative qualification process with whoever runs your 401k.
I've also read that 401(k) funds can be withdrawn for educational costs with little to no penalty so I'm going to explore that route too but I wonder how realistic that is? Haven't been able to find much info on it.
 

MilesofTrials

Member
Supporter+
I've also read that 401(k) funds can be withdrawn for educational costs with little to no penalty so I'm going to explore that route too but I wonder how realistic that is? Haven't been able to find much info on it.
Look into whether you qualify for a hardship withdrawal for your tuition. You can also borrow from your 401k account (essentially your future self is loaning your current self money).
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
I'm domestic. The suggestions from AFI's website haven't been applicable so far but I'll keep looking. Thx!
Domestic, too. I qualify for 2 of the Non-AFI scholarships, but surely there has to be more. And these aren't guaranteed. So I have to take that into consideration.

I also love how they listed the Nicholl Fellowship, which is insanely hard to get. Like crazy insane!!! On average they receive about 7,500+ submissions and only reward 5 writers haha. The odds aren't great. But I have faith in us Screenwriting Fellows! 😁
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
I also love how they listed the Nicholl Fellowship, which is insanely hard to get. Like crazy insane!!! On average they receive about 7,500+ submissions and only reward 5 writers haha. The odds aren't great.
Go big or go home!! But...
Ill Be Back Jim Carrey GIF
 

bean

Member
Domestic, too. I qualify for 2 of the Non-AFI scholarships, but surely there has to be more. And these aren't guaranteed. So I have to take that into consideration.

I also love how they listed the Nicholl Fellowship, which is insanely hard to get. Like crazy insane!!! On average they receive about 7,500+ submissions and only reward 5 writers haha. The odds aren't great. But I have faith in us Screenwriting Fellows! 😁
There's not much for Producing fellows sadly. I was told in one of my interviews (not AFI, thankfully) to "be a good producer" and find the money like they assume there's big money just sitting around. Even if you win a private scholarship or two they're usually small. Felt out of touch.
 

Zijman

New Member
Oh I didn't know that
Hello, editing fellow here. Just wanted to chime in. I'm not a financial advisor but I am speaking from experience. You'll need to be working for your employer that is providing the 401K to get a loan. While working you can pay back the loan in 5 years. Once you stop working you'll have to pay back the loan usually within the year and if you end up defaulting they basically just take it out of your 401K as if you took it out with the 10% penalty and taxes. The CARES act does have something on loans which allows you to pay the taxes over a 3 year period but again you have to be working.

I would go on reddit and read up on people asking the question about 401Ks and college tuition. I've learned a lot from there. There is a way to avoid 10% by doing a direct rollover to a traditional IRA for educational expenses. However, I've decided like another member to see it as an emergency fund and not touch it.
 
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