To everyone reading this, I was once just like you. (Current USC SCA student)

Average Alex

To everyone reading this, I was once just like you.

Got waitlisted by USC back in March 2022 and finally got in during the spring of 2023. Yesterday, I wrapped up shooting the most notorious, hardest class at USC, CTPR 508. In this class, a trio rotates between being director, producer, and cinematographer, churning out three films in a semester. To this day, nobody knows who first had the insane idea to create this class, but clearly, they must've seen hell and decided to bring a slice of that to USC.

Now, putting the boring stuff aside. Two years ago, I was probably just like you, trying to piece all this shit together for the application two hours before the deadline, suffering from tremendous anxiety and self-doubt about this uncertain journey. Not just questioning whether I could get into film school but also stressing about the journey after getting accepted, if I was lucky enough.

So, what is the USC committee looking for in new students? I have to say, from all the people I've met at USC, whether they are already seasoned filmmakers or those who don't know you need to charge a camera before using it, they are ALL VERY INTERESTING and HAVE STORIES to tell. Well, you don’t need to have gone through fucking hellfire, survived a nuke attack, or jumped off an airplane while giving birth: that kind of crazy story to impress the faculty (but not joking we do have people been through that). It's about knowing what's special in you and telling that to everyone else in an interesting, personal way. We’ve got a guy here from Wisconsin, the most boring state according to some Americans, who grew up on a farm. His everyday life is boring and predictable, but he found a way to tell his personal stories in the most unpredictable and funny way, and all the professors love him. We love him. So, find what's special in you. Everyone is special; you probably just don't realize it yet.

Collaboration. Now this word can make the whole faculty cum in an instant. You HAVE TO BE COLLABORATIVE at USC and be fucking good at it. USC doesn’t really dig students with a film background because they think storytellers with diverse backgrounds bring more fresh perspectives. The same rule applies to AFI directors. You need to be collaborative because most are new to film, so it's all about helping each other figure shit out. Be patient and humble if you learned all that shit from YouTube. They want people who are helpful to each other, not just technical geniuses. So don’t fucking tell them how much you love shooting with ALEXA or always carry a black-pro-mist in your hat. Tell them you're collaborative. Tell them you’re mysterious, tell them how much you enjoy working with others, even though they might have just fucked your wife two cigarettes ago (actually, no, don't say that).

Lastly, don’t lose your shit when you don’t get an interview. Loads of people I know got in without one.

LASTLY, LASTLY, submit your shit before the deadline.
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