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Reapplying to MFA programs & wrestling with new versus revised materials. What are your experiences?

Discussion in 'Graduate Film School Discussions' started by Zeno, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. Zeno

    Zeno Member

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    Reapplying this year! This after interviews at Columbia, UCLA, and AFI last year. Have found that coming in fresh on this go round has been tougher. That said, have completely rewritten my statement of purpose and have a brand new short film. But, for instance, reused and revised my pitch from UCLA's interview last year for my treatment for UCLA this year. Would rather submit my best material revised than submit new, lessor material. However, majority of my application materials will be brand new. What do you guys think about these or other issues when reapplying for the various programs? Are you revising anything or submitting all new? Thanks for the thoughts!
     
    #1 Zeno, Nov 7, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  2. louweaver

    louweaver Member

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    hey man! glad to hear you're re-applying this year. are you doing screenwriting or directing at UCLA? i'm considering nyu dramatic writing, but my heart's really not in it. just ambivalent about the whole thing - last year i was excited. i can't stop thinking about the money it'll cost to attend (if i do get in) other than that, i'm always revising my scripts, so they'll be slightly different (hopefully better) i think the personal statement is one of the most painfully useless exercises i've ever done, so i'll probably try to reuse it this year. i am tempted to try and customize the margins on it - try to shape the whole text into a big middle finger. we'll see.
    rant aside, best of luck! your short was amazing, and if they can't see that, then shame on them.
     
  3. Zeno

    Zeno Member

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    I'm doing directing. Was struggling at first but I'm moving right along. Deadlines do that to you. And it's a real catalyzer to attend one of these programs. I'd say stop worrying about the money it costs. Frankly, UCLA is one of the cheapest and if you really want to save money, you should apply to UT Austin. Great screenwriting and directing MFA programs at half the price of others. Good to at least revise but better to show new, course. And I recommend completely revising your statement. Think of it as an update and addendum to last year's. After all, they want to know what you've been up to plus you giving them more about you. Sure that's plenty. But, you could shape the text into a middle finger too. Ha. It's a bear to do this for so many reasons but chalk it up to opportunity costs. Your kind words are much appreciated and encouraging. My new short this year is a big step forward from last year. Excited to show it to them.
     
  4. louweaver

    louweaver Member

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    hey glad to hear your applications are moving along nicely. and yeah, you're right about ucla. i thought it was affordable (comparatively, of course) to most other programs. especially after getting california residency and becoming in-state. and thanks for the heads up about texas. i would love to, but with the kids, i kind of have to stay in the ny area. i was complaining mostly about columbia and nyu price tags. one thing i learned last spring about ucla was the 10,000 dollar fee that is tacked onto the tuition. for both years. just something to be aware of. but there also seems to be a good amount of TA opportunities, etc to help with tuition.
    anyway, best of luck with your applications! please keep me apprised - would love to hear how it all goes. all the best!
     
  5. Septopus7

    Septopus7 Writer

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    That's the question of the hour for us reapplicants, isn't it? In fact, I posted a thread about the very topic just a few weeks ago:

    The Re-Application Situation: What Should You Keep?

    At this point, I've landed on the following: recreating everything, but keeping the personal statement. I did this for two reasons: I really like the statement I have and what it says about me, and I simply don't have the time to think of something better. To the latter point, I am still knee deep in work on finishing off the creative samples and the like - I don't have time to fuss around with a bunch of creative essays that could potentially go nowhere. Which makes my decision to fuss around on these forums A VERY SMART MOVE, by the way.

    As to the former, I think my Personal Statement from my first year is an accurate picture of the writer and person that I am. I definitely intend to revise it and change a few things here and there (no way will it be 100% the same thing), but the base scenario and what I am writing about will remain the same.

    Of course I'm applying to USC, so the Personal Statement thing there seems somewhat different than the norm. The "Autobiographical Character Sketch" to me seemed to be more of a story that you can relate to the type of person you are, so changing it would require coming up with another story entirely. If your Personal Statement is supposed to be more of a trip through your entire life and the experiences you have led, I would agree with you @Zeno. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's what I'm supposed to be doing with my Personal Statement to begin with. But with the schools you applied for, your mileage may vary. Not sure what prompt they used to describe their Personal Statements, and what they were looking for from the students.

    As is the case with these silly little things, there is no right answer I get. Guess we all just have to stick with our guts on this one.
     
  6. Manwitch

    Manwitch New Member

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    Glad there's a forum on this one. I'm reapplying to Northwestern after having been waitlisted 2 years ago. I decided to rewrite everything except for one required comparative essay on two different scripts. The only reason I didn't reapply last year was because I tried to rewrite the essays and it just felt really forced and inorganic which made the light bulb go off that I wasn't actually a different applicant whereas I genuinely feel like I can write new pieces from a fresh vantage point this year. I'm keeping the comparative essay I wrote because its f-ing spectacular and it doesn't necessarily reflect my growth over time to change it. They're gonna be able to tell if your rewrite is stale and belabored so I recommend submitting pieces you're truly proud of, but if you're the exact same applicant on paper who got waitlisted or rejected before it's kinda like... what's the point?
     
  7. ash_ketchum

    ash_ketchum New Member

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    I'm re-applying to Columbia and Im so nervous lol..
     
  8. Septopus7

    Septopus7 Writer

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    To your last point, I dunno - I would still reapply regardless. As easy as it is to think the only reason you didn't get into your program of choice is your own personal performance, there's always a billion factors that affect these things. Maybe they just had too many people they liked, or too many of "the same type" of applicants, or a bunch of other things that have nothing to do with you and your work. Hell, you were waitlisted -- that alone shows they liked you enough to potentially admit you to the program. They just liked a few more people better. That may not be the case the next year in.

    Ultimately I see your point and can empathize but, if I was waitlisted into a program that I really wanted, I would reapply as soon as I could, even if my materials were largely similar. You never know how these things are going to shake up, of course, and just going through the effort of applying shows the department you are driven and, more importantly, passionate about their program. That's just my two sense, though. Your mileage may vary.
     
  9. Manwitch

    Manwitch New Member

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    To clarify, I think the point that was revealed to me through my struggle to reapply last year was that I didn't actually want it as badly as I had the year before. It wasn't that I let my disinterest in rewriting the material dissuade me from reapplying but that my disinterest in reapplying informed my reluctance to rewrite, if that makes sense. I actually enjoy the application process because I love essaying (especially about myself, lol) so when it became tedious last year I had to sit in some hard truths.

    That being said, I feel more energized this year and am approaching the Northwestern application from much stronger footing than I had even when I was waitlisted so I don't regret last years decision at all. I think we can become so consumed by winning or beating the process sometimes that we forget to listen to our instincts. It's emotionally and financially expensive so I personally need to know that I'm applying from a healthy, organic space.
     

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