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UCLA MFA Screenwriting 2018 (Fall 2018)

Discussion in 'Graduate Film School Discussions' started by Ele, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. ALFQin

    ALFQin New Member

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    Well, have u ever seen any threads about Directing? I didnt find anyone else applied for the same program...hope we all get results in this weeeeeeko_O
     
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  2. EclecticMel21

    EclecticMel21 Member

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    I'm also still waiting to hear back about interviews for the Production/Directing program. Looks like we don't have a separate thread for our cohort. Does anybody know if interviews are required? Does anyone get in without being interviewed?
     
  3. Michel Lichand

    Michel Lichand Member

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    Don't look at me. Still holding out some hope I might hear something about my Screenwriting application.
     
  4. Anja

    Anja Member

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    I just wanted to make sure that they do actually contact you via email right?
    Thanks! :)
     
  5. Kira

    Kira MFA Screenwriter @UCLA

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    That was my experience last year
     
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  6. Anja

    Anja Member

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    @Kira Thank you! I just wanted to make sure :confused::)
     
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  7. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    I just want to say Elle that I'm using these questions to prepare, thank you so much for putting them in!!
     
  8. Ele

    Ele Member

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    Aw, thanks, @DamienA ! Best of luck today to you and @luckypig :D
     
  9. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    I would say my interview went extremely well. I was told I was the best interview of the year and that "anything I said now would just count against me you've done so well". I'm shocked, happy, and excited. I interviewed with Richard Walter, who I was expecting, and it turned out incredibly well.

    For those who need details, you need to go in and just expect to have a conversation. The one canned question he asked was "Where are you from?" and that was about it. Our conversation took off very quickly to the point that we were both laughing our asses off and the girl waiting outside the door (her name was Carrie I believe and I feel really bad for her having to go after me in my honest, not-trying-to-be-a-douchebag opinion) had to wait ten minutes longer because we kept talking on and on. I do feel bad because she looked nervous and I think it didn't help that she had to walk in on us laughing a lot, but that essentially was the key to it: you have to have a conversation with him, not a canned review.

    If you plan on applying next year and get Richard specifically as your interviewer as most people do here is what I have to say: dress as if you were going to a job interview (no tie, Richard said no tie in one of his interviews and I went with that), treat him as a co-worker superior who likes to have fun with his co-workers. This means you DON'T say anything inappropriate but you take advantage of the fact that he likes to laugh with you--ever had a really cool boss who you had fun with? Can that experience and bring it in.

    I can say in all honesty he liked the way I went in, and although I did prepare for a canned interview, I dropped it at the door and took command of the conversation by steering the conversation into traps that would reveal how entertaining and knowledgeable I was capable of being simultaneously. I was told repeatedly "You're doing well, you're doing well" throughout the interview, got a verbatim "I'm so impressed, I'm so impressed," and was told "I can't say that you're in, but I would be very shocked if you weren't". At two points I actually imitated him right in front of him and he laughed his ass off (I'm not saying you should do this and I don't recommend it because I did it after naturally feeling him out, but the detail should give you an idea of how laid back he is).

    What I think the takeaway of 'what he's looking for that I provided' is similar to what I saw in an interview of his: he's looking for "flow" in the conversation (that is an exact quote from an interview in response to a question about how to interview for him for the screenwriting MFA) and to see that you can work well with people. I believe, through self analysis of my stranger than fiction encounter with him, that by being EASY and LIGHT in conversation (not to be confused with being lazy or not hard working in how you come across) is what makes him think you would work well with writers--if you get interviewed your work should be considered already STRONG at this point, you don't need to beat him over the head with it any further.

    Again, I don't recommend imitating him the way I did given that I pre-determined naturally that he would be the type of guy who would find that hilarious, and went in with a strong amount of confidence, but I do strongly recommend that you come in LIGHT. This does NOT MEAN not serious like you're not going to do work. This means your TONE and your ENERGY need to be light.

    I was the 80th to 90th person he interviewed on the final day of his interviews and he found me super fresh which means that the 80 to 90 people that interviewed before me had been too rigid. Don't be that if you plan on applying to the program in the future and end up interviewing with him (which is most likely). I honestly would be super surprised if I didn't get an acceptance letter because he did say, albeit very casually, that I was the best interview of the year and verbatim "anything you say now will actually go against you because you've done so well".

    Good luck, and hit me if you have any more questions.

    A TLDR tip: Go in as if he was a COOL BOSS. This means you don't want your boss to see or get a hint that you're lazy. But you are free to make him laugh if the subject does not stray away from the field you are there for: screenwriting, school, films. I didn't make jokes that had nothing to do with the conversation: I made him laugh through the way I related my knowledge back to him about what I had learned from him in interviews and about the screenwriting process in general, as well as the brief discussion of films we addressed. 90% of the interview was jokes, but they were jokes which REVEALED how much I knew on top of being entertaining. I didn't go in to entertain him off-subject. I entertained with my knowledge of his background and my knowledge of screenwriting delivered in a very light and fun way.
     
    #89 DamienA, Feb 16, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
  10. Michel Lichand

    Michel Lichand Member

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    That sounds great @DamienA, congrats!

    Though your mention of him having interviewed 80-ish people makes me think my only chances are if there's such a thing as a "interview these if our first choices didn't do well".

    But I am glad you did great! Congratulations again.
     
  11. Anon

    Anon New Member

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    I had an interview in LA and the woman interviewing me was acted causal and was very informative. She asked me questions and then spent a little bit talking about the program. She didn't tell me if I was doing good or bad in the interview, but it was super casual and I felt comfortable. To everyone else interviewing, be yourself and don't worry :)
     
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  12. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    I had three other MFA interviews and they were all like this. If you got Richard, who interviews the main amount of people, I would advise otherwise.

    You could ignore/look at me like a douchebag: but that's on you if you haven't actually interviewed with him. What I know from my experience having interviewed with every MFA program that I applied to and got interview requests with is to follow the typical interview forumla. HOWEVER, I studied close to 6 hours of interviews with Richard, felt him out in person, went with the incident described and it worked out very well. He's a nice guy and a cool guy and if you actually watch his interviews he says he doesn't want to be bored IN THE INTERVIEWS. I went with my route and he enjoyed the experience immensely.

    I can say that this worked out for me, and I can say that I went with what he said he was looking for in an interview from two one hour and thirty minute interviews easily available on YouTube. I don't know how much you've researched Richard and how many times you've interviewed with him. I can say it worked out for me, and I can say I would like people who wanted help specifically for the UCLA MFA interview with Richard to get as much help out of the experience as they can as we've all been on these boards for over 5 months now.

    Richard is a GREAT guy who doesn't want to be bored--not just from my experience but from the two Film Courage interviews readily available on YouTube which he says VERBATIM in these videos that he wants "flow" and "not to be bored" in the interviews. If you can cite otherwise with your experience with the initial MFA interview with Richard or from an interview of his, please, do so. I on the other hand would like to give an honest in to the people who are seeking the information, are more likely to interview with Richard than anyone else, and weren't able to put in the research that I put in.
     
    #92 DamienA, Feb 18, 2018 at 2:29 AM
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018 at 3:37 AM
  13. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    TLDR: "Anon" has either lied about her interview or misrepresented her perspective as a means to contrast mine. Below is the proof.

    This person's line "She didn't tell me if I was doing good or bad in the interview, but it was super casual and I felt comfortable" comes across to me as "Yeah, doubtful this happened because my interviewer didn't do so." I'd like to point out that Anon interviewed on the 13th according to her first post which reads "My interview is on the 13th and I am feeling pretty nervous! Does anyone know what the odds are of getting in once you've been accepted for an interview?" found here: UCLA MFA Screenwriting 2018 (Fall 2018) or better yet here: Anon 13th
    "Anon" has also related that the interview was "in LA" according to her second post.

    Yet, according to the schedule sheet, this is a physical impossibility/misrepresentation of this person's perspective as the 13th was a Skype only interview which I will post the image of here: 13th

    So either "Anon" is lying/related information incorrectly/is not from the Screenwriting program (as 13th interviews were only on Skype to begin with) OR "Anon" interviewed via Skype and did NOT go in person in LA as otherwise stated. I've posted my interview letter, and in previous posts I've cited time stamps (one actually in direct response to "Anon") on two videos of where Richard talks about anything from what he wants to see in the interview to what the acceptance rate is like (according to him). So you can take this person's perspective and my perspective and decide which one to believe.

    At worst Anon has lied about her interview on some level as the 13th only had one interview available and it was on SKYPE so "an interview in LA" would seem strange? At best Anon had simply sugarcoated the fact that the interview wasn't in person which presents the scenarios 1) It may have been a different energy altogether and 2) Someone other than the main interviewer may be responsible for giving the Skype interviews out (and my evidence is for... the main interviewer?... not the SKYPE interviewer?...).

    As tall of a tale as my story sounds, at least I have cited my interview letter/time stamps of where Richard talks about the interview/scheduler image of the interviews on the 13th NOT BEING IN PERSON for Screenwriting.

    Best of luck to you however, "Anon", and I will await your response if this is all a mistake. Again guys, I know my posts sound douchebaggy but: I want everyone who has taken the time to comb through these boards to get as much accurate information as possible as I've suffered over these boards with you for the last 5 months. Forgive my douchebagginess, but everything I have presented I've backed up and cited. I would like everyone who wants the information to get in and that's why I'm glad to get the accurate information out there to whoever wants it.

    I would gladly take a debate to the style I have presented, but I don't think it is wise for anyone to take a perspective from someone who has either lied outright about being interviewed or misrepresented themselves (i.e. person says they interviewed "in LA" on the "13th", yet based upon the scheduler the 13th was only for SKYPE, which would invalidate a lot of this person's perspective in contrast to mine).
     
    #93 DamienA, Feb 18, 2018 at 3:02 AM
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018 at 3:54 AM
  14. Kira

    Kira MFA Screenwriter @UCLA

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    There seems to be some miscommunication or misunderstanding floating around, as Anon's post seemed pretty harmless to me. Anon was merely expressing their experience to the UCLA MFA Screenwriting thread.

    As a current MFA in screenwriting student at UCLA, my peers and I discussed our interviews at length with one another. There were a wide range of experiences and various professors who conducted the interview. Only a few were interviewed by Richard.

    There were only one or two shining interviews, saying they would be surprised if the student wasn't accepted. A student said that the professor said that the year before and was rejected, but accepted the 2nd time around. Many interviews went so-so, with the student seeing it could go either way. One friend was interviewed by Richard, thought it went horribly and cried afterward, and was accepted.

    There is a lot of room for variety regarding the interview. No need in trying to poke holes in another's story - everyone's experience is different.

    Good luck! I know the waiting game can be hard. I found it best to focus my energies on writing another script and prepping a new one. Once you are in the program, you'll wish for more time!
     
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  15. Anon

    Anon New Member

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    My interview was the 12th, sorry I got the date wrong. I wasn't trying to invalidate you at all. My interview just went really differently and I wanted people to know that so they wouldn't feel stressed or overwhelmed. I found the questions that were posted on here to be really helpful, and I was just trying to contribute what I could. I'm sure someone found your post helpful as well, but now at least they know there's different ways the interview process could go.
     
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  16. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    If your interview was on the 12th I apologize. After reading Kira's post I'll say I was clearly too harsh, and for that I am truly sorry and will take the time to re-post my timestamps because I owe it to you. Everything I have spoken was as truthful to my recollection as possible, and I did it by watching these two videos (on top of reading 3 of his books) which I'll repost here and try to timestamp.

    These are the two videos:



    Below, in this excerpt in particular which I was lucky enough to see is cropped by the channel covers pretty much half of what I've said, and I will do my best to find the timestamps about "Don't be boring" for you because I feel bad about the misunderstanding and I apologize again "Anon".



    @4:55 He talks about it's possible to come in dressed too formal. This leads to a stream of thoughts about formality in general, wherein the conversation evolves into the area of the interview itself. One can be too formal in the interview according to him. (He writes the same thing in one of his screenwriting books).

    @5:42 He says that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in the interview is to come in too prepared and to have a clear agenda.

    @6:15 He acknowledges that the interview is all about flow. "Without question I think it's all about flow." I don't remember if I mentioned this line to him, but I straight up told him "I watched your interviews" and he loved it. I cannot remember the details entirely because so much craziness went on, but he told me there was a student who studied him before and got accepted into the program because he studied him. Here is the three minute video of the very student he talked about (I believe, maybe there were two? I apologize if it was another person)



    From this video he relates "You can bet we will admit this guy" for putting in the effort to thoroughly research him. I apologize if this is not the guy he was talking about when he spoke to me, as Kira put it, there are one or two shining applicants from time to time, however he relayed a similar story to me in regards to my research on him which leads me to believe the path I went down was the best choice given the research I'd done--such as this presumably accepted applicant--and the verbal communication from Richard in the interview.

    I will look for the "Don't be boring" time stamp when I have the chance because I owe it to you. Apologies for the way I came across, truly. The 13th made me very skeptical because I had tried to schedule for the 13th as there was a death in the family that prevented me from taking other days but it was only a SKYPE interview.
     
    #96 DamienA, Feb 18, 2018 at 1:26 PM
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018 at 1:59 PM
  17. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    With that in mind, I had three other MFA interviews and one on SKYPE, and I agree with everything you have said "Anon", and conducted all four interviews in the same vein that you have described and I think that was the correct formality to take. I do believe you should not take the same approach with Richard if you are interviewed by him based upon my experience and my research. Apologies again.

    @Kira "As a current MFA in screenwriting student at UCLA, my peers and I discussed our interviews at length with one another. There were a wide range of experiences and various professors who conducted the interview. Only a few were interviewed by Richard."

    What is sad to me is that is not the information I had been told when I came in person and asked. I believe your information as you are a student. What I was told was that Richard was likely to interview most of the people. My insight is next to meaningless if this is not the case, and he only interviews a few people. Apologies. I truly believed he interviewed the majority of them given the information I was told in person by a student services associate.

    Edit: It was actually not even a student services associate, it was a staffer's name I wrote down in my notebook. I feel that that is very strange that this person would relate the wrong information, and perhaps I should address it if I'm there in person for whatever reason.
     
    #97 DamienA, Feb 18, 2018 at 1:34 PM
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018 at 1:55 PM
  18. KTrent2

    KTrent2 New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    Just wanted to share my own experience with the UCLA interview as well as there is no "one right way" to interview and I'm sure every single person who had an interview came out of it with a different perspective. I know a few people in the program now and I was able to have discussions with them prior to my own interview, and just as Kira said above, there is a wide range of experiences. Main point that was hammered over and over again though was this: be yourself. I want to share what happened when I went in for mine so that people can get another POV:

    Mine was on Feb 12 (like Anon). The interviewer was the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the film Carol, Phyllis Nagy. It was an extremely casual, laid-back conversation. She asked the usual questions like "Why the MFA? Why UCLA? Feature or TV? What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?" but we also talked about other things like our common interest in horror film/shows. I asked her quite a bit about "genre writing" and themes, and then we touched on what to expect in the UCLA 434 style workshops. At the end, she asked if I wanted her to add anything to my application that I felt was left out or that I forgot and I said "I don't think so," to which she replied, "Yeah you're good." I spent about 25-30 min in there and came out of it feeling like I had a good personal, 1:1, human-to-human conversation with her and if I get accepted on top of that, then great. Like Anon, Phyllis never mentioned anything about my chances of getting into the program. In fact, she didn't mention anything about interview numbers or how I did or how our interview went, which DamienA got. This only tells me that there are many different types of conversations depending on you, the interviewer, and probably your application and/or writing materials. Again, this is not meant to invalidate anybody else's experience; I just wanted to share mine as well so that other people in the future can draw what they will about it. I'm happy to answer any questions if you have any. Good luck to everyone out there :)
     
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  19. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    Again, 100% agree with this post and 100% agree with Anon's post if you are interviewed with other people. I had made it explicitly clear that I don't recommend that style with Richard as I've watched his videos, relayed to him in almost META fashion that I watched his videos, and my experience turned out very great. According to Kira Richard does not interview most people, which before my post, I did not know: I had spoken to a staffer in person who told me they imagined Richard interviewed most people so I wanted to relay my experience in this interviewer specifically because I was under the impression that he was the primary interviewer.

    With that said. I have interviewed with 4 other MFA programs, 2 for screenwriting, 1 for writing, 1 for a different category altogether, and I will have to say I completely agree with "Anon" and yourself with how the interviews went!! There's no argument here. My experiences are pretty similar to what you have both reported.

    I will stand by what I said and what I have cited about my particular interviewer. I am very upset though that the conversation I had with a staffer led me to believe Richard interviewed most of the applicants. This led me to decide to give the best edge possible to anyone on these boards because he said it works in his interviews, he seemed to have indicated it was working with me, and he indicated that an applicant in the past had had a similar experience with him and it worked out (I seemed to have phased out this moment in the interview because the experience was altogether surreal so I don't know the exact words but I have cited a video with a timestamp above).

    There's no reason to think that I disagree if you get a different person. I don't! I've made that clear. I stand by what I said about Richard who I had a lovely time with.

    Edit: "In fact, she didn't mention anything about interview numbers or how I did or how our interview went, which DamienA got"

    Actually, I didn't get interview numbers. I looked at the spreadsheet and counted I was close to the 87th interviewer and I assumed he had done the majority of those as I was told (incorrectly) that Richard handled the majority of the interviews. Unfortunately all of my posts prior to today were under this assumption, hence my vigilante attitude on preparing for Richard. I would like to say I am very upset that I had gotten the wrong piece of information (and it wasn't from a new associate as the name I looked up seems pretty credible) and I do apologize.
     
    #99 DamienA, Feb 18, 2018 at 2:24 PM
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018 at 2:31 PM
  20. DamienA

    DamienA Member

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    Truly though "Anon" I am sorry as I have treated you very harsh and incorrectly so. I spend a lot of time monitoring the boards of the 3 MFA programs to which I have had interviews for that have active threads and I did feel like this was one experience that was quite different and I wanted to relate that if, in fact, my interviewer was the "main guy". He wasn't, and so deeply, I really do feel bad.
     

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