USC SCA Writing for Screen and Television MFA Fall 2024

Hey all, I'm excited to be applying this fall! For the past couple of months I've been slowly but surely putting together my application materials. Hoping to connect with others going down this scary path and hopefully help each other out with questions and encouragement!

A bit about me, got my BA in Film Production in 2014, worked in the industry but kind of strayed away in the past few years, while nevertheless honing a passion for writing and developing several scripts (pilots & features) with a few contest & festival placements. I'm hoping to benefit from both USC's teachings to make me a better writer, and the professional industry network they are known for. Anyone else in the same boat?
 
Good luck!

Here's our current stats for the program:

USC School of Cinematic Arts Acceptance Rate (All Programs/All Years)
28%
Admitted
226  out of   808   Admitted
16%
Waitlisted
126  out of   808   Waitlisted
56%
Not Admitted
456  out of   808  Not Admitted
Admitted
Waitlisted
Not Admitted


      Be sure to log your application when you apply. :)

      Also don't miss our interview with USC admissions:

      How to get Into USC SCA: Advice from an Admissions Committee Member

      How to get Into USC SCA: Advice from an Admissions Committee Member

      Considered by many to be the best film school in the world, it’s no wonder why the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) is so sought after by prospective undergraduate and graduate students alike. However, the film school’s prestige can often make the application process particularly stressful and...
       
      I got my BA at Emerson College!
      Nice! What did you think of the program?

      Please review the program at the link below when you can:

      Emerson College (BA/BFA)

      Emerson College (BA/BFA)

      At Emerson’s Department of Visual and Media Arts, the process of transforming your vision into reality is fast-paced, exciting, and rewarding. You’ll dive right in and start working with talented mentors, collaborators, and crew members from day one. We're all about learning by doing. Is your...

      It can be anonymous. :)
       
      Good luck! I'm applying for the Writing for Screen and TV BFA for fall 2024, and I think our application materials are mostly the same for both programs. Have you been able to get into the Slideroom application yet?
       
      Good luck! I'm applying for the Writing for Screen and TV BFA for fall 2024, and I think our application materials are mostly the same for both programs. Have you been able to get into the Slideroom application yet?
      That's awesome, best of luck to you as well! I don't believe the graduate application page is open until the end of August, therefore I don't have access to SlideRoom Application yet either.
       
      Hey all, I'm excited to be applying this fall! For the past couple of months I've been slowly but surely putting together my application materials. Hoping to connect with others going down this scary path and hopefully help each other out with questions and encouragement!

      A bit about me, got my BA in Film Production in 2014, worked in the industry but kind of strayed away in the past few years, while nevertheless honing a passion for writing and developing several scripts (pilots & features) with a few contest & festival placements. I'm hoping to benefit from both USC's teachings to make me a better writer, and the professional industry network they are known for. Anyone else in the same boat?
      What experience do you have?
       
      Our guide to applying has been updated for 2024:

      USC SCA: How to Apply for 2024, Acceptance Rate, and What To Expect as an SCA Film Student

      USC SCA: How to Apply for 2024, Acceptance Rate, and What To Expect as an SCA Film Student

      For more than 90 years, the University of Southern California has trained the next generation of prolific filmmakers. As the nation's first institution of higher learning to offer a bachelor's degree in film, the School of Cinematic Arts remains at the forefront of emerging filmmaking trends...

      USC's deadline is November 15th!​

       
      Hey all, I'm excited to be applying this fall! For the past couple of months I've been slowly but surely putting together my application materials. Hoping to connect with others going down this scary path and hopefully help each other out with questions and encouragement!

      A bit about me, got my BA in Film Production in 2014, worked in the industry but kind of strayed away in the past few years, while nevertheless honing a passion for writing and developing several scripts (pilots & features) with a few contest & festival placements. I'm hoping to benefit from both USC's teachings to make me a better writer, and the professional industry network they are known for. Anyone else in the same boat?
      Hi Mick, I'm also applying to SCA. What's your creative portfolio looking like? Have you been to an info session yet?
       
      Hi Mick, I'm also applying to SCA. What's your creative portfolio looking like? Have you been to an info session yet?
      Hey, awesome! I haven't been to an info session yet but I plan on attending an in-person one later this month. My creative portfolio document is complete I believe - that was the first and easiest part of the application for me! (I've pretty much just listed all the scripts I've written, any contest placements, etc). How about you, how are the creative challenges and everything else coming along?
       
      Good luck! I'm applying for the Writing for Screen and TV BFA for fall 2024, and I think our application materials are mostly the same for both programs. Have you been able to get into the Slideroom application yet?
      Hey sorry for the late reply, but yeah I've been able to access Slideroom, send my letter of rec request, etc :)

      Best of luck on your BFA application!
       
      Hey, awesome! I haven't been to an info session yet but I plan on attending an in-person one later this month. My creative portfolio document is complete I believe - that was the first and easiest part of the application for me! (I've pretty much just listed all the scripts I've written, any contest placements, etc). How about you, how are the creative challenges and everything else coming along?
      Those are the only parts of my application I have left. My plan is to make the scenes something I can use in an actual pilot, so I'm not just wasting pages. I have the outline done and all that. I just have to type it all up and play with it once it's on the page. Going to an in-person session this Friday (10/6). Let you know how it goes.

      EDIT: How are your pages for the creative challenges coming along?
       
      Last edited:
      Those are the only parts of my application I have left. My plan is to make the scenes something I can use in an actual pilot, so I'm not just wasting pages. I have the outline done and all that. I just have to type it all up and play with it once it's on the page. Going to an in-person session this Friday (10/6). Let you know how it goes.

      EDIT: How are your pages for the creative challenges coming along?
      I started the creative challenges early on so I'm pretty much done on that front - for me it's more stuff like CV/experiences/achievements prompts that are left. Hope the session is good, I'm going to the one on the 19th!
       
      I started the creative challenges early on so I'm pretty much done on that front - for me it's more stuff like CV/experiences/achievements prompts that are left. Hope the session is good, I'm going to the one on the 19th!
      The resume and essays are fairly straightforward. They didn't take me long. Making sure everything has a narrative throughline is the most complicated part. Not trying to be stuck near the 110 after 7 on a Thursday. You're a soldier for that!
       
      Reporting back from my Info session.

      TLDR. It's an hour. An admissions counselor goes over each program and gives you tips on filling out your application. In addition to the in-person sessions, every division except writing will also have a virtual session. There will also be a SCA Virtual Open House for all of SCA on November 8. The Writing Division will be present.

      Now for those who want to read more in-depth.

      You meet in the SCA courtyard by the Douglas Fairbanks statue and then go into one of the MANY theater spaces at SCA. Admissions Counselor Monique Bautista ran our session. The first 30 minutes were simply the laying out of the structures and education outcomes for each division. The majority of the attendees were there to hear about a program other than screenwriting. Only three of us were interested in that. But that could've had more to do with the session being in the middle of the day than interest level.

      There are only 32 slots for writers each year. According to Ms. Bautista, most classes happen in the evening because so many instructors are still working 9 to 5s in the industry. You must complete 44 credits to graduate with an MFA, 34 of which come from required coursework. Your first-year schedule has a lot of classes restricted specifically to your division so you can make a real dent in that total. You have one elective per semester available until year two. But check the writing program design for yourself to be certain about that. Electives can be taken in another division of SCA or somewhere else in the university.

      In terms of education outcomes, for the Writing for Screen and Television MFA program, by the time you graduate, it's expected that you'll have 2 to 3 feature scripts, either a one-hour drama spec or a 30-minute comedy spec, and 2 to 3 original pilots. So a decent-sized portfolio of samples.

      Application-wise, we were told that faculty are the ones who read the material, so it's important to make sure your autobiographical sketch and most challenging moment essays really reflect who you are as an individual. That will allow the faculty reading your material to make the most accurate determination about your application. You don't have to write a sob story, but you should try to dig deep and get as much of your personality on the page as you can.

      As far as the creative challenges, if you're re-using characters across A and B, try and find a way to slip that in. It shouldn't be hard, just like part of an action line or something. The goal with the challenges is to showcase your storytelling ability and screenwriting skill level.

      The Creative Portfolio should include ALL creative work, not just stuff you've done in film. Again, the faculty are trying to get a sense of who you are and how serious you are about honing your craft. So include books or whatever else if you've written them.

      Also, make sure you put your name on each page of your material. That kind of goes without saying, but I am doing it anyway. That was mostly it.
       
      Forgot to mention that once you're part of SCA, you have access to the school's private jobs board and a large database of professional actors (think they're SAG-AFTRA but I didn't ask) for whatever films you collab on while there. Also, the school strives to make sure the equipment you use is industry standard, so you're handling exactly what you'd be handling in the industry.
       
      Does anyone know if we should put our name anywhere on the files we're uploading or avoid it completely? I don't remember reading anything about that and I'm feeling paranoid...
       
      Does anyone know if we should put our name anywhere on the files we're uploading or avoid it completely? I don't remember reading anything about that and I'm feeling paranoid...
      Probably should put your name on the file name if that's what you're asking. Certainly couldn't hurt.
       
      Does anyone know if we should put our name anywhere on the files we're uploading or avoid it completely? I don't remember reading anything about that and I'm feeling paranoid...
      They said specifically at the information session I attended that you should put your name on all your submitted material. I'm putting in the header of everything: my name, my USC ID#, the title of the sample, and the page number.
       
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