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

OzymandiasVII

Member
Supporting Member
USC
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?
I think there is no way to predict smth. I read all previous threads and it looks like smth changes every year. It's painful but we just have to wait to find out
 

OzymandiasVII

Member
Supporting Member
USC
I wanted to ask you all guys. What's in your personal statements? I mean what did you focus on? Did you tell a story? It was structured more like a conventional personal statement or did you use some creative approaches? Every source with the tips for admission to USC focused on personal statement (looks like it's as important as visual sample) and I'm wondering how do you guys feel about this part of your application (confident?)?
 

addik

Active Member
Supporting Member+
USC
All? Back 17 years? Damn. :)
I didn't read all 17 years, but I also read the past few years because it was either that or reading all the bad news when I'm online so I gladly chose the former 🤣🤣🤣


I wanted to ask you all guys. What's in your personal statements? I mean what did you focus on? Did you tell a story? It was structured more like a conventional personal statement or did you use some creative approaches? Every source with the tips for admission to USC focused on personal statement (looks like it's as important as visual sample) and I'm wondering how do you guys feel about this part of your application?
Yeah, my faculty member only mentioned my personal statement and my visual portfolio during my interview so I'm thinking that carries a big weight in the application process.

For my personal statement, I put in a story from my childhood where I remember the first time I felt adventurous, and how I was punished for it--then connected it to my experiences in the film industry and why that feeling of adventure has always been what's guiding me through my passion and the pitfalls of the industry. I also put in a lot more humor in my statement this time, because I am actually more of a comedy writer than anything--which was something I completely forgot to factor in my personal statement the first time I applied.

I actually didn't have the time to do a separate short for my visual portfolio, so I submitted something I previously worked on but it was more experimental than narrative (to the point I re-edited it to make it appear there is some sort of narrative in the video), so I was really banking on my personal statement to carry my application so I knew when I read it, it had to be something that represented me.

I think the longest USC thread is from 2009. Over 1000 replies. You guys can beat that. ;)
(Ngl, that's part of the reason why I keep posting too lol)
 

OzymandiasVII

Member
Supporting Member
USC
I didn't read all 17 years, but I also read the past few years because it was either that or reading all the bad news when I'm online so I gladly chose the former 🤣🤣🤣




Yeah, my faculty member only mentioned my personal statement and my visual portfolio during my interview so I'm thinking that carries a big weight in the application process.

For my personal statement, I put in a story from my childhood where I remember the first time I felt adventurous, and how I was punished for it--then connected it to my experiences in the film industry and why that feeling of adventure has always been what's guiding me through my passion and the pitfalls of the industry. I also put in a lot more humor in my statement this time, because I am actually more of a comedy writer than anything--which was something I completely forgot to factor in my personal statement the first time I applied.

I actually didn't have the time to do a separate short for my visual portfolio, so I submitted something I previously worked on but it was more experimental than narrative (to the point I re-edited it to make it appear there is some sort of narrative in the video), so I was really banking on my personal statement to carry my application so I knew when I read it, it had to be something that represented me.



(Ngl, that's part of the reason why I keep posting too lol)
So you think it's better to focus on a single concept while working on your application? I mean you think that a film and a writing sample should match the tone of a personal statement?
I personally have a "dark" kind of statement (exactly the same reason - I want to make "dark" films) and my visual sample matches. As for my writing sample I chose a feature film concept and described a concept for an existential horror with a script full of brutal violence. After submission I started to think about wether it was better to show your passion for the particular genre I want to develop myself in or I should have rather show a versatility somehow through my portfolio.
 
So you think it's better to focus on a single concept while working on your application? I mean you think that a film and a writing sample should match the tone of a personal statement?
I personally have a "dark" kind of statement (exactly the same reason - I want to make "dark" films) and my visual sample matches. As for my writing sample I chose a feature film concept and described a concept for an existential horror with a script full of brutal violence. After submission I started to think about wether it was better to show your passion for the particular genre I want to develop myself in or I should have rather show a versatility somehow through my portfolio.

I think it's all a bit of a toss up. The most important thing we can do in the application is be authentic. If we've done this, then we've likely done 90% of all that we can do. That being said, one thing that bothers me about any application process is the idea of encapsulating or presenting the self. I hate to get head-ass about this sort of thing, but it just seems nigh impossible to sum yourself up at all, let alone in a brief portfolio short and a personal essay. It seems inevitable that you won't fully present who you are in such a short time, and that bugs me. But as long as you can get enough of yourself into the application, you'll likely be granted admission; then you can spend the next three years showing who you are at a more natural pace, and in a way that feels less like selling or reducing yourself to a sound bite.
 

addik

Active Member
Supporting Member+
USC
So you think it's better to focus on a single concept while working on your application? I mean you think that a film and a writing sample should match the tone of a personal statement?
I personally have a "dark" kind of statement (exactly the same reason - I want to make "dark" films) and my visual sample matches. As for my writing sample I chose a feature film concept and described a concept for an existential horror with a script full of brutal violence. After submission I started to think about wether it was better to show your passion for the particular genre I want to develop myself in or I should have rather show a versatility somehow through my portfolio.

Honestly, I can't say for sure if you should do one thing over the other, I did read an article that say you should show more versatility, but, in the end, I think the gist of it all is that you are able to show to the panel who you are and what kind of a storyteller you are. I think it's added points if you are able to tell a story about it and, like what USCSCAAlumni/Faculty said, you can show to the panel that you are not all film.

FWIW, my application showed some versatility. Light-hearted personal statement, a somewhat-dark-but-hopeful film pitch, and a visual sample that is between the two. I did make sure that the uniting factor is how my stories are influenced by social issues. But then again, I haven't gotten in yet so I can't vouch that as a tip.

I think it's all a bit of a toss up. The most important thing we can do in the application is be authentic. If we've done this, then we've likely done 90% of all that we can do. That being said, one thing that bothers me about any application process is the idea of encapsulating or presenting the self. I hate to get head-ass about this sort of thing, but it just seems nigh impossible to sum yourself up at all, let alone in a brief portfolio short and a personal essay. It seems inevitable that you won't fully present who you are in such a short time, and that bugs me. But as long as you can get enough of yourself into the application, you'll likely be granted admission; then you can spend the next three years showing who you are at a more natural pace, and in a way that feels less like selling or reducing yourself to a sound bite.
I completely understand this. It's really hard to encapsulate yourself in a 1,000-word essay and so many things about yourself get lost in the process of writing and rewriting. That said, the challenge of filmmaking (for me especially, with how small and unbalanced our industry here is) is creating something beautiful with all the limitations we encounter--and I think USC is also challenging us that way. It's like elevator-pitching yourself to admissions, I guess.
 

truffleshuffle

Active Member
NYU
USC
So when I interviewed on 1/6/20, my interviewer said decisions would come out in "6-8 weeks." Well 6 weeks from then is 2/17 on the dot, so let's hope this is the week (and not 3/2, which is on the 8 week end LOL).
 

sguilford

Member
I wanted to ask you all guys. What's in your personal statements? I mean what did you focus on? Did you tell a story? It was structured more like a conventional personal statement or did you use some creative approaches? Every source with the tips for admission to USC focused on personal statement (looks like it's as important as visual sample) and I'm wondering how do you guys feel about this part of your application (confident?)?
I'm actually really, really proud of the applications I submitted to both USC and LMU. Their applications allowed me to best represent myself. I have a very unique story of how I've come to be, one that deals with a family history of mental illness and my personal struggles coming from a marginalized and underprivileged background. The films I want to make are heavily influenced by my upbringing and identity. There was a lot to cover but after months of torturing myself over this statement I finally found a clever angle to clearly and efficiently cover the most important things in a conventional essay format. I'll be happy to private message anyone my essay.

So you think it's better to focus on a single concept while working on your application? I mean you think that a film and a writing sample should match the tone of a personal statement?
I personally have a "dark" kind of statement (exactly the same reason - I want to make "dark" films) and my visual sample matches. As for my writing sample I chose a feature film concept and described a concept for an existential horror with a script full of brutal violence. After submission I started to think about wether it was better to show your passion for the particular genre I want to develop myself in or I should have rather show a versatility somehow through my portfolio.
In my case at least, I personally think you can't go wrong showing versatility. But you also want to show a direction. The USC application emphasized what movies YOU want to make. So imo, best case scenario would be showing versatility in your work but with a common thread. Like in my case, my work is meant to be intimate, educational, and illustrative of underrepresented experiences. However, I showed that I'm able to achieve this when I tackle subjects of race, class, or mental health, etc, for instance. But that's just what works for me.

I think it's all a bit of a toss up. The most important thing we can do in the application is be authentic. If we've done this, then we've likely done 90% of all that we can do. That being said, one thing that bothers me about any application process is the idea of encapsulating or presenting the self. I hate to get head-ass about this sort of thing, but it just seems nigh impossible to sum yourself up at all, let alone in a brief portfolio short and a personal essay. It seems inevitable that you won't fully present who you are in such a short time, and that bugs me. But as long as you can get enough of yourself into the application, you'll likely be granted admission; then you can spend the next three years showing who you are at a more natural pace, and in a way that feels less like selling or reducing yourself to a sound bite.
^THIS. These applications stressed me out so much and the main reason is because they ask the impossible. You can't boil your passion and who you are into a few documents. The best you can do is just be you, really. And I think a lot of the time who they admit can come down to arbitrary decisions. My film studies prof was telling me that if I'm not accepted (and this goes for everyone else here), it is probably because they were trying to build a certain class for that year and they had too many of x applicants and needed more of y applicants. Who knows, this year there may be a bazillion applicants doing the exact same thing I am. So as much as we want it, there is no formula or predictor.
 

OzymandiasVII

Member
Supporting Member
USC
I'm actually really, really proud of the applications I submitted to both USC and LMU. Their applications allowed me to best represent myself. I have a very unique story of how I've come to be, one that deals with a family history of mental illness and my personal struggles coming from a marginalized and underprivileged background. The films I want to make are heavily influenced by my upbringing and identity. There was a lot to cover but after months of torturing myself over this statement I finally found a clever angle to clearly and efficiently cover the most important things in a conventional essay format. I'll be happy to private message anyone my essay.



In my case at least, I personally think you can't go wrong showing versatility. But you also want to show a direction. The USC application emphasized what movies YOU want to make. So imo, best case scenario would be showing versatility in your work but with a common thread. Like in my case, my work is meant to be intimate, educational, and illustrative of underrepresented experiences. However, I showed that I'm able to achieve this when I tackle subjects of race, class, or mental health, etc, for instance. But that's just what works for me.



^THIS. These applications stressed me out so much and the main reason is because they ask the impossible. You can't boil your passion and who you are into a few documents. The best you can do is just be you, really. And I think a lot of the time who they admit can come down to arbitrary decisions. My film studies prof was telling me that if I'm not accepted (and this goes for everyone else here), it is probably because they were trying to build a certain class for that year and they had too many of x applicants and needed more of y applicants. Who knows, this year there may be a bazillion applicants doing the exact same thing I am. So as much as we want it, there is no formula or predictor.
Can I please take a look on your essay if you don’t mind? It’s really interesting how you structured it.
 

addik

Active Member
Supporting Member+
USC
My interviewer said the same thing, so it could be just a case of her being cautious of giving out an early month/date and the results not being released then.
 

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