USC Cinematic Arts Personal Statement tips & advice?

cinebella

Member
What do you mean how it should be written? My advice to you is to just make your written statement sound like YOURS. An educator is going to be the one reviewing it and they like seeing and hearing from people with unique perspectives and special stories.

I’m going into my last year at USC in their grad program so if you have any questions feel free to shoot them over.
 
Hi,

I am an international student applying for the MFA in Film and Directing at USC and want to know if anyone on the forum has advice on how it should be written. Thank you.

Hey! I was admitted earlier this year and will be starting the program this fall so I wanted to offer some help! In terms of how it should be written, I'm not sure if there is any right way or wrong way to actually write it so take my advice with a grain of salt. For my personal statement, I started with an anecdote about an event in my life that I felt defined who I unfolded to be as a person. I took a very narrative approach to my writing style on my narrative, mainly due to the fact that I didn't want to focus my statement on my love of film but instead wanted to tell my story, in a fashion that still kept my love for story telling. All in all, I would say, focus on what makes you you, and by the end of your statement find a way to tie that back into filmmaking, instead of focusing on filmmaking for the entirety of it. The last thing you want is to sound like every other person who loves films. Be different, be unique, and most importantly, just be you. Good luck! I wish you all the best!
 
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Xylo

Member
Hi,

I am an international student applying for the MFA in Film and Directing at USC and want to know if anyone on the forum has advice on how it should be written. Thank you.

Howdy. Since you are international, this gives you a plus in that your story will be different from the many American applicants. I would focus on what makes you unique, avoid the stereotypical comments about Steven Spielberg or George Lucas (unless they REALLY made an impact on you that is super significant), and make it sound like a story. Being a filmmaker is about telling a great story, after all. Once you have a solid draft you're happy with, have a professor or friend look it over and see what feedback they give you. Also, make sure to customize your essay to USC. It's easy to spot a "one size fits all" essay and it's a turn off. What you want from the school should match what they offer. I notice they accept people from all different degrees and you don't need to have a background in film, so don't be concerned about that. I feel they are looking for people who are ambitious, have special ideas, and a charismatic vibe. Basically, submit an application that will make someone want to talk to you more. GOOD LUCK! And don't overthink it. :)
 
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MissSophie

Active Member
What do you mean how it should be written? My advice to you is to just make your written statement sound like YOURS. An educator is going to be the one reviewing it and they like seeing and hearing from people with unique perspectives and special stories.

I’m going into my last year at USC in their grad program so if you have any questions feel free to shoot them over.
Hi,

Thank you for your response.I am just nervous about it. Congratulations to you and do you mind sharing some more tips on what is expected for a successful application. I'm applying for Spring 2020 intake and I want to know if I am to submit the two portfolio questions.i already contacted the school’s admissions office but the lady I spoke with didn't sound sure.
 

MissSophie

Active Member
Hey! I was admitted earlier this year and will be starting the program this fall so I wanted to offer some help! In terms of how it should be written, I'm not sure if there is any right way or wrong way to actually write it so take my advice with a grain of salt. For my personal statement, I started with an anecdote about an event in my life that I felt defined who I unfolded to be as a person. I took a very narrative approach to my writing style on my narrative, mainly due to the fact that I didn't want to focus my statement on my love of film but instead wanted to tell my story, in a fashion that still kept my love for story telling. All in all, I would say, focus on what makes you you, and by the end of your statement find a way to tie that back into filmmaking, instead of focusing on filmmaking for the entirety of it. The last thing you want is to sound like every other person who loves films. Be different, be unique, and most importantly, just be you. Good luck! I wish you all the best!

Thanks a lot and congratulations to you on your admission. Your response is very helpful. Do you mind if I contact you privately so you could guide me on the process (if you don't mind)?
 

MissSophie

Active Member
Howdy. Since you are international, this gives you a plus in that your story will be different from the many American applicants. I would focus on what makes you unique, avoid the stereotypical comments about Steven Spielberg or George Lucas (unless they REALLY made an impact on you that is super significant), and make it sound like a story. Being a filmmaker is about telling a great story, after all. Once you have a solid draft you're happy with, have a professor or friend look it over and see what feedback they give you. Also, make sure to customize your essay to USC. It's easy to spot a "one size fits all" essay and it's a turn off. What you want from the school should match what they offer. I notice they accept people from all different degrees and you don't need to have a background in film, so don't be concerned about that. I feel they are looking for people who are ambitious, have special ideas, and a charismatic vibe. Basically, submit an application that will make someone want to talk to you more. GOOD LUCK! And don't overthink it. :)
Thank you so much. This is also helpful.
 

MissSophie

Active Member
Hey! I was admitted earlier this year and will be starting the program this fall so I wanted to offer some help! In terms of how it should be written, I'm not sure if there is any right way or wrong way to actually write it so take my advice with a grain of salt. For my personal statement, I started with an anecdote about an event in my life that I felt defined who I unfolded to be as a person. I took a very narrative approach to my writing style on my narrative, mainly due to the fact that I didn't want to focus my statement on my love of film but instead wanted to tell my story, in a fashion that still kept my love for story telling. All in all, I would say, focus on what makes you you, and by the end of your statement find a way to tie that back into filmmaking, instead of focusing on filmmaking for the entirety of it. The last thing you want is to sound like every other person who loves films. Be different, be unique, and most importantly, just be you. Good luck! I wish you all the best!
Also, what you the title read? Should it just be like this ”Cinematic Arts Statement by (my name)
 

Art1014

Member
Hi! I was also admitted this year and 100% agree with what people have said above. I’m coming from STEM, so I was used to writing in a really technical, overly academic way for personal statements, and initially tried that in my first few drafts. If super-formal is the way you write and the best way to express your narrative, go for that - but for me, it didn’t feel authentic or entertaining enough to read. My final submitted personal statement ended up much more relaxed (with some structure) and sounding like the way I tell stories to my friends. Essentially, hone in on some life experiences that have really driven you to pursue storytelling, and tell it in the way that is most comfortable and authentic to you. If you enjoy re-reading your statement after a couple drafts, you’re on the right track- good luck!
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Hi,
Thanks. What you the title read? Should it just be like this ”Cinematic Arts Statement by (my name)
You could do that but it might be better that the title of the statement could be less generic and something more personal that relates to what you wrote. The title would then be part of your statement.

It could be "personal title (Cinematic Arts Statement)"

But just to be sure that would be following the rules can you paste the instructions as written?
 
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MissSophie

Active Member
Hello,

This is the question.


  1. Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
    The Cinematic Arts Personal Statement will be read by the admissions committee as a measure of creativity, self-awareness and vision. We are looking for a sense of you as a unique individual and how your distinctive experiences, characteristics, background, values and/or views of the world have shaped who you are and what you want to say as a creative filmmaker. We want to know about the kind of stories you want to tell. Bear in mind that enthusiasm for watching films, descriptions of your favorite films and the involvement in the filmmaking process is common in most candidates. As a result, we encourage that you focus on your individuality. Note that there is no standard format or correct answer. (1,000 words or less).”
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
What you the title read? Should it just be like this ”Cinematic Arts Statement by (my name)

We want to know about the kind of stories you want to tell. Bear in mind that enthusiasm for watching films, descriptions of your favorite films and the involvement in the filmmaking process is common in most candidates. As a result, we encourage that you focus on your individuality. Note that there is no standard format or correct answer.

There's your answer. :) Title as you wish.
 
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