USC Film and TV production MFA Spring 2021 Applications

soybean

Member
@Chris W

Exactly my point 😀

And another heads-up, for your production classes, they don't even teach and/or ask you to make a treatment.

Imagine how diabolical the films are that go on shooting in this school without any single proper education on making a treatment for your films.

What kind of film school doesn't teach a single thing about treatment? Especially when you don't come from a film background.

Moreover, they also don't teach you how to pitch, which for a school so boasting on their industrial standard, is completely misinforming. If you want to learn how to pitch, you have to take another class for this, which I think is 2 credits, and that's another $4,000.

So the production classes really teach you, and I'm being very generous when I wrote this, absolutely nothing.
 

MildTabasco

Active Member
Let’s not even start with the lack of diversity in the faculty or even the movie choices that teachers are familiar with. Looking for a school well versed in non-American film? Look elsewhere.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Remember to post reviews of the program on the page linked below when you can to help others make their decision in the future. Otherwise these comments will be hard to find in a 2021 application thread in the coming years.

USC Cinematic Arts - Film and Television Production (MFA)

USC Cinematic Arts - Film and Television Production (MFA)

MFA students learn in the most state of the art facilities rivaling the most advanced production companies in the world. You'll hone your talent...
 

soybean

Member
The only Asian films they show my class the whole year I'm in USC are In the Mood for Love (just the dinner scene even) and Parasite (in screenwriting class).

Two semesters.
One whole academic year.

One of the cinematography professors showed us Moonlight's iconic 360 shot and said, "This is reaching."
Then proceeded with: "But 1917 on the other hand..."

Interesting times.
 

green-scarf

Well-Known Member
The only Asian films they show my class the whole year I'm in USC are In the Mood for Love (just the dinner scene even) and Parasite (in screenwriting class).

Two semesters.
One whole academic year.

One of the cinematography professors showed us Moonlight's iconic 360 shot and said, "This is reaching."
Then proceeded with: "But 1917 on the other hand..."

Interesting times.
Thank you for sharing this valuable and insightful perspective. I’m wondering what your reason is for continuing on in the program. Are there any redeeming qualities or is it that it just makes sense to finish now that you’ve started?
 

soybean

Member
I'm not continuing hahaha

Oh and talking about money, still:

Scholarship application is only available after your first semester, every Spring. So if you're in the fall, fall and spring is on you but you can apply in the spring semester for 'merit' scholarship. If you're in the spring, then you pay for spring and fall, then spring the next year is when you can apply.

When you apply, they seem like they have a lot list of scholarships but it's mostly given to second and third year grad students who have better portfolio. The head of scholarship actually said to me personally, first year just don't stand a chance.

And if you happen to be put in a shitty trio, then your portfolio might be bad. If you try to save the film and for example DP yourself, then you can get expelled because it's considered plagiarizing your supposed trio mate's work.

So either getting expelled for trying to save your portfolio, or having terrible portfolio that stands no chance with second/third year students with more projects under their belt.

It's a lose-lose.
 
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green-scarf

Well-Known Member
Hi! I wanted to chime in again to offer some additional viewpoints on USC.

Based on the reviews on this thread and the alumni I have talked to, it really seems like USC is a hit or miss. The two alumni I talked to (both PoC who graduated within the past five years) spoke highly of the program and give it credit for where they are now (one is a screenwriter and one is a producer).

Highlights of their experiences were USC’s mentorship program, internship opportunities, industry reputation, alumni and faculty network, and the friendships/connections they made with their peers. One of the alumni did talk about how some of the mandatory classes weren’t great and how certain faculty members could be more harmful than helpful at times but they said the pros definitely outweighed the cons in their experience.

This is of course a very personal decision and everyone who attends USC will have a different experience. I just wanted to add some more reviews for those considering applying.
 

soybean

Member
Hi! I wanted to chime in again to offer some additional viewpoints on USC.

Based on the reviews on this thread and the alumni I have talked to, it really seems like USC is a hit or miss. The two alumni I talked to (both PoC who graduated within the past five years) spoke highly of the program and give it credit for where they are now (one is a screenwriter and one is a producer).

Highlights of their experiences were USC’s mentorship program, internship opportunities, industry reputation, alumni and faculty network, and the friendships/connections they made with their peers. One of the alumni did talk about how some of the mandatory classes weren’t great and how certain faculty members could be more harmful than helpful at times but they said the pros definitely outweighed the cons in their experience.

This is of course a very personal decision and everyone who attends USC will have a different experience. I just wanted to add some more reviews for those considering applying.

Many people think that internship opportunities guarantee a job after graduation. Well sure, if you want to work in a production company, doing script coverage. Does USC give connection? Yes sure, to some extent. Now connection doesn't guarantee you a career in this very competitive industry, unless you are, I don't know, someone with a Coppola last name. No matter what the connection is, if your work is shit, it's shit. You won't get a spot. That's just how it works.
Does USC sharpen you as a filmmaker to make use of that connection (e.g. selling script or pitching properly, or even the most basic: writing a decent script)? Absolutely not.

USC nurtures you into thinking you are lucky they want you that it goes all up in your head. Next thing you know, you're sitting in an intermediate production class wondering why your friend is making a bootleg version of Twilight.

So really, pay attention to the 'network' thing they're selling and use some logic.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member

Saw this article pop up. Any experience with "First Jobs"?

"As stay-at-home orders were put in place across the county, Brandon Hall’s March took some unexpected turns. He was working in a temp job for Paramount Pictures, a common job for workers trying to break into the film industry, when his wife had a baby. About a week later, he was laid off from his job as employees had to start working from home.

With a new child and now no job three years after graduating with a master’s degree in film and television production, the 37-year-old Pennsylvania native would have had to start looking for yet another temp position. Instead, he quickly landed a coveted spot as a writer and producer at Los Angeles-based Stone & Company Entertainment, thanks to a program, First Jobs, run by his alma mater.

“I found First Jobs really to be an oasis, in the desert of job applications,” Hall said. “Otherwise, there’d be nothing to separate my resume from a pile of other resumes.”

The USC School of Cinematic Arts launched the program First Jobs in 2017, aiming to connect its recently graduated film students to potential employers. The idea is to help those up to five years after graduation get their “first job” in the industry."
 

AK006

Member
Hi, Can anyone here help me understand how 3 years USC (MFA-Film & Television Production) tuition is calculated? (International student)
 

TheVirtualFilmmaker

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Hi, does anyone know if they are asking for a film treatment when they ask us to write a film concept in the 3rd option for the writing sample? Are they looking for a specific format?
 
Hi, my name is Angela, I’m applying for the USC Spring 2021 film & television production. I got an interview invitation from them today and asking me to provide some available time slots for them to choose from. I’m wondering does anyone receive an interview invitation? What kind of question they most likely asked? I thought the interview would occur around October. Hope everyone’s applications is going well! Soooo nervous! Thank you!
 

Anhdn

Member
Hi, my name is Angela, I’m applying for the USC Spring 2021 film & television production. I got an interview invitation from them today and asking me to provide some available time slots for them to choose from. I’m wondering does anyone receive an interview invitation? What kind of question they most likely asked? I thought the interview would occur around October. Hope everyone’s applications is going well! Soooo nervous! Thank you!

Hey! Congrats on the invitation, Angela! I'm surprised they already started making moves this early. I haven't received mine yet, but I got an interview once in the last cycle and talked to others who had interviewed as well. I didn't get in, but I could shed some light on the kind of questions they asked and the advice I received from those who got in.

It depends on your interviewer, but they tend to ask around these topics that I thought might warrant some preparations before:

1/ Your portfolio and reasons for choosing USC.
2/ Your financial plan
3/ Your favorite filmmakers and films
4/ Your future professional goals

Other than that, the questions might occur organically depended on how the conversation goes. And that's really what the interview is - a casual conversation. You should prepare but always come in being as open and authentic as you can be. You would never know what the interviewer will ultimately ask. Therefore, state what is really true to yourself, and as long as it's appropriate, I think the interviewer will appreciate that much more than a scripted, prepared answer. While you do have to be yourself, I personally think you should come in with 200% energy, even if you are an introvert. Some of these interviewers might have talked with 20 different people before you, so you gonna have to keep them engaged. I think being very enthusiastic and excited about yourself, your projects and goals are the way to do so.

Keep us updated on how it goes :)! DM me if you need more info or specific questions.
 
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