USC School of Cinematic Arts SCA MFA Film & TV Production Fall 2020

I wouldn't read too much into this. They're probably very busy with teaching and interviewing.

First of all, don't worry about your interview. They typically aren't deciding factors and we never expect people to give great answers!

And Chris is right. If you don't get a response, don't read into it. Remember, we're not only incredibly busy with teaching and admissions (which both take up a ton of time), we're also working film professionals with careers of our own! Furthermore, all correspondences we have with applicants need to be highly limited and controlled for ethical reasons.
 

OzymandiasVII

Well-Known Member
Great question!

The most common missteps that I see tend to be found in the personal statement. It's the part of your application that is where we look to discover who you are - so make certain to show us! Here's what I can advise based on my experiences...

1) Don't write about what everyone else is writing about. Most of the personal statements resemble a cover letter. They focus on why the candidate wants to pursue film/what going to film school means to them/the internal debate and sacrifice of leaving their old life behind. Your application will pack a much more effective punch if it focuses on painting a detailed picture of you as an individual while displaying a unique approach to storytelling. It doesn't have to focus on film. It has to focus on you, and unless you're already an accomplished filmmaker (in which case you probably don't need filmschool) we don't expect film to be the crux of who you are!

2) Be "Personal." No topics are off bounds and no viewpoints are taboo. We want to know as much of the real you as possible. We're not trying to judge you as a person as much as we're trying to see if you know how to distinguish yourself and paint a well rounded character (that character being you).
- The admitted application I read when I was still applying was a story about the applicant discussing blowjob techniques with her gay friend. It was done in a way that showed she was open to being vulnerable, while telling a fantastic, ironic, and heartfelt story (in a very classy way believe it or not).

3) Make a "Statement." Be bold. Both in your content and the style to which you approach it. Don't just tell us how you see the world, Make us see the world how you see it. And there is no limit to the amount of creativity you should use in your approach!

4) Show us you're a story teller! Not every great essay is in the form of a story, but filmmaking is storytelling and showing us your capability doesn't hurt!
That’s very helpful and also gives me more hope.

I started my personal statement with the word “death” (“To create is my own way to "kill" death” is my point in the end.) so I was super afraid that it would look from the start like I'm super depressed and unable to work or smth. It's a very dark personal statement to be honest lol but I'm here to create dark films so I thought that's how it should be. Super unconventional beginning of my statement always seemed to be too risky.
 

OzymandiasVII

Well-Known Member
That’s very helpful and also gives me more hope.

I started my personal statement with the word “death” (“To create is my own way to "kill" death” is my point in the end.) so I was super afraid that it would look from the start like I'm super depressed and unable to work or smth. It's a very dark personal statement to be honest lol but I'm here to create dark films as well so I thought that's how it should be. Super unconventional beginning of my statement always seemed to be too risky.
 

OzymandiasVII

Well-Known Member
An interview is not a prerequisite for acceptance. When a committee member reviews your application, they may want to talk to you for a large variety of reasons. Typically it’s because something in an application has peaked our curiosity and we want to know more about it. An interview does not imply that your application is being given any special treatment or preference.
Also this site shows interesting statistics that more than 90% of all interviewed applicants were accepted in the end since 2017 and 90% of those who didn’t - received a rejection. There is no applications in 2019 on this site with the status “denied after interview” at all. Should those who were interviewed feel more optimistic having this data or it’s just this site somehow shows us picture that is far from true?
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Also this site shows interesting statistics that more than 90% of all interviewed applicants were accepted in the end since 2017 and 90% of those who didn’t - received a rejection. There is no applications in 2019 on this site with the status “denied after interview” at all. Should those who were interviewed feel more optimistic having this data or it’s just this site somehow shows us picture that is far from true?
TBH I think there's a little bit of survivorship bias in the data. People are less likely to add their applications after they were denied but are more likely to do so if they are accepted.
 

green-scarf

Well-Known Member
Hi @USCSCAAlumni/Faculty, hoping to ask another question! You mentioned that in your fourth try applying to USC you got admitted with scholarships. I was wondering if you had any advice you could offer on getting scholarships and standing out as an applicant? Thank you for your time and help!
 

OzymandiasVII

Well-Known Member
TBH I think there's a little bit of survivorship bias in the data. People are less likely to add their applications after they were denied but are more likely to do so if they are accepted.
But most of the people still adding their applications before the decisions so they might actually don’t know at first if they will be accepted or not? Yes, obviously adding application after rejection would seem unnecessary for the most and people would also less likely to be interested in updating their status from “interviewed” to “denied after interviewed” but there’s still not many “abandoned” applications with unknown fates. The proportion still remains significant
 
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Hi @USCSCAAlumni/Faculty, hoping to ask another question! You mentioned that in your fourth try applying to USC you got admitted with scholarships. I was wondering if you had any advice you could offer on getting scholarships and standing out as an applicant? Thank you for your time and help!
The scholarship committee is separate from the admissions committee and works in ways that I am unfamiliar with. If you are accepted and asked to be considered for a scholarship, your application will be sent to the scholarship committee for consideration.

As far as ways to stand out, there's no one fits all piece of advice I can offer. I think that in general though, you have to figure out what is unique to you as a person and a storyteller, and connect with us in a way that makes us feel like we not only know you, but want to get to know you more. After all, we are choosing our family for the next several years! We want people in our classes who we're excited to spend time with, and who we think will benefit from what we can offer them.
 
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Also this site shows interesting statistics that more than 90% of all interviewed applicants were accepted in the end since 2017 and 90% of those who didn’t - received a rejection. There is no applications in 2019 on this site with the status “denied after interview” at all. Should those who were interviewed feel more optimistic having this data or it’s just this site somehow shows us picture that is far from true?
I cannot comment on the self reported data of this site - nor do I recommend you concerning yourself with it. I can tell you again with 100% certainty that an interview is not a prerequisite for admission nor does recieving one mean you are a preffered candidate.

Instead of focusing on your chances/admissions patterns and systems (which change every semester)/reported interviews/etc... focus on your life! Start writing that script, read some classic ones, go volunteer on set! That way, if you do get an interview, you'll have things worth talking about.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
But most of the people still adding their applications before the decisions so they might actually don’t know at first if they will be accepted or not? Yes, obviously adding your application AFTER the denial could not be interesting and people would also less likely to be interested in updating your status from “interviewed” to “denied after interviewed” but there’s still not many “abandoned” applications with unknown fates. The proportion still remains significant
Yes that's why I said a little bit. :) I still obviously think the data is very useful for insight.
 

sguilford

Well-Known Member
It looks like people in 2018 heard back early march-ish? So it might just depend on the applicant pool or something how soon they get acceptances out.
 

addik

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
Do you think it's possible that they'd roll out results throughout the week? I know historically they've posted results on weekends, but last year I got my rejection letter on a Friday (Thursday in LA) so I was thinking we might hear something outside of weekends?
 
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