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

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Awesome! Be sure to update your Applications with your interview notification dates. :)

EDIT - To do this, go to your application and choose edit in bottom left or from the top right three dot pulldown menu. Enter the notification date and be sure to select "post as update" when saving.
Everyone be sure to update your prefix in the tracker to "interview scheduled" as well.
 

truffleshuffle

Active Member
Just had my interview today. It was scheduled for 15 minutes but went longer (because of some very specific questions I had for him lol). He asked me the most questions about collaboration, some aspects of my life background, but very little about my creative submissions other than to say he was very impressed by my application overall. I'm wondering if he says that to everyone, but that's an unproductive thought to ponder lol...

Here's what I learned:
  • From now until the end of the month faculty will review applications and by the end of January they will forward their recommendations to the larger admissions committee, who will then issue their final decisions by email/youSC portal in 6-8 weeks-ish. (It sounded like today was one of the first days for interviews so don't fret if you haven't gotten one yet. Honestly, not all faculty even elect to do interviews as many are admitted without them.)
  • Collaboration is a BIG part of what SCA wants to instill in their students, which includes the good AND the bad that comes with it, and how to handle that.
  • There's no "thesis film" required per se, but the final year does require some kind of advanced production course. The options are:
    • CTPR 546, Production III - People apply with their proposals, and from those applications 10 directors and 10 producers will be brought in to pitch to the committee. From that group 3 or 4 films will be chosen to get made. Those who didn't get selected as directors or producers may crew for those films as cinematographers, editors, etc. I asked how potential directors are evaluated, and with the initial application for 546 most folks submit their 508 film (from your 2nd Semester).
    • Hour-long TV Pilot Class
    • CTPR 547, Documentary - A similar process to 546, but for documentary of course.
    • Animation Project
    • Petition to direct a thesis film:
      • More like an Independent Study - There is a class where you develop, work with a faculty adviser, and create a robust budget plan, script, shooting schedule, etc. that may or may not result in a film being made (not required).
      • Roughly 50% of students make a thesis film as a final requirement, whether as director/producer or editor or cinematographer or whatnot.
Hope that helps!
 
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sa96

Active Member
Just had my interview today. It was scheduled for 15 minutes but went longer (because of some very specific questions I had for him lol). He asked me the most questions about collaboration, some aspects of my life background, but very little about my creative submissions other than to say he was very impressed by my application overall. I'm wondering if he says that to everyone, but that's an unproductive thought to ponder lol...

Here's what I learned:
  • From now until the end of the month faculty will review applications and by the end of January they will forward their recommendations to the larger admissions committee, who will then issue their final decisions by email/youSC portal in 6-8 weeks-ish. (It sounded like today was one of the first days for interviews so don't fret if you haven't gotten one yet. Honestly, not all faculty even elect to do interviews as many are admitted without them.)
  • Collaboration is a BIG part of what SCA wants to instill in their students, which includes the good AND the bad that comes with it, and how to handle that.
  • There's no "thesis film" required per se, but the final year does require some kind of advanced production course. The options are:
    • CTPR 546, Production III - People apply with their proposals, and from those applications 10 directors and 10 producers will be brought in to pitch to the committee. From that group 3 or 4 films will be chosen to get made. Those who didn't get selected as directors or producers may crew for those films as cinematographers, editors, etc. I asked how potential directors are evaluated, and with the initial application for 546 most folks submit their 508 film (from your 2nd Semester).
    • Hour-long TV Pilot Class
    • CTPR 547, Documentary - A similar process to 546, but for documentary of course.
    • Animation Project
    • Petition to direct a thesis film:
      • More like an Independent Study - There is a class where you develop, work with a faculty adviser, and create a robust budget plan, script, shooting schedule, etc. that may or may not result in a film being made (not required).
      • Roughly 50% of students make a thesis film as a final requirement, whether as director/producer or editor or cinematographer or whatnot.
Hope that helps!
Really detailed, thank you for all of this information!!
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Just had my interview today. It was scheduled for 15 minutes but went longer (because of some very specific questions I had for him lol). He asked me the most questions about collaboration, some aspects of my life background, but very little about my creative submissions other than to say he was very impressed by my application overall. I'm wondering if he says that to everyone, but that's an unproductive thought to ponder lol...

Here's what I learned:
  • From now until the end of the month faculty will review applications and by the end of January they will forward their recommendations to the larger admissions committee, who will then issue their final decisions by email/youSC portal in 6-8 weeks-ish. (It sounded like today was one of the first days for interviews so don't fret if you haven't gotten one yet. Honestly, not all faculty even elect to do interviews as many are admitted without them.)
  • Collaboration is a BIG part of what SCA wants to instill in their students, which includes the good AND the bad that comes with it, and how to handle that.
  • There's no "thesis film" required per se, but the final year does require some kind of advanced production course. The options are:
    • CTPR 546, Production III - People apply with their proposals, and from those applications 10 directors and 10 producers will be brought in to pitch to the committee. From that group 3 or 4 films will be chosen to get made. Those who didn't get selected as directors or producers may crew for those films as cinematographers, editors, etc. I asked how potential directors are evaluated, and with the initial application for 546 most folks submit their 508 film (from your 2nd Semester).
    • Hour-long TV Pilot Class
    • CTPR 547, Documentary - A similar process to 546, but for documentary of course.
    • Animation Project
    • Petition to direct a thesis film:
      • More like an Independent Study - There is a class where you develop, work with a faculty adviser, and create a robust budget plan, script, shooting schedule, etc. that may or may not result in a film being made (not required).
      • Roughly 50% of students make a thesis film as a final requirement, whether as director/producer or editor or cinematographer or whatnot.
Hope that helps!
Awesome I'm glad it went well! And thanks for updating your application with the above info. :)
 

Tianmi

Member
Sadly, I just found out that my 60s introduce myself video is actually 1 mins and 2 seconds. It is not exactly 1mins, will they just directly filter me because this 2 seconds?
 

sa96

Active Member
Sadly, I just found out that my 60s introduce myself video is actually 1 mins and 2 seconds. It is not exactly 1mins, will they just directly filter me because this 2 seconds?
I honestly think you will be fine - worst case scenario, they just won’t watch past 60 seconds but I wouldn’t worry at all!
 

Lily Yang

New Member
Just had my interview this afternoon. Overall it is not bad. But not as good as I expected haha. The interview is not very formal, more like chatting. The person who interviewed me was really nice and welcoming. But since I am not a native English speaker, I was a little bit nervous when answering some questions that I did not expect to be asked. It is also my first time having a phone interview in English. For those of you who have interview experiences or are English native speakers, just relax and there is really no need to overthink and be anxious about it. Those questions are not tough at all. Most questions are about collaboration and future plan. He also asked me about my previous filmmaking experiences. He did not mention anything specific about my application materials and my portfolio at all. It makes me to wonder if he really look at my application or not. But he did say he was impressed about my application at the end. The interview ended up for about 20 minutes with some application related questions I asked. He answered them all with great patience. He also told me that the results of admission will be sent out during mid February. Good luck everyone! I hope we all get in and be classmates and make films together in fall! XD
 

Lily Yang

New Member
Sadly, I just found out that my 60s introduce myself video is actually 1 mins and 2 seconds. It is not exactly 1mins, will they just directly filter me because this 2 seconds?

Mine was about one second longer too. I don't think it will be a big deal, as long as you successfully uploaded it to your application.
 

Lily Yang

New Member
Just had my interview today. It was scheduled for 15 minutes but went longer (because of some very specific questions I had for him lol). He asked me the most questions about collaboration, some aspects of my life background, but very little about my creative submissions other than to say he was very impressed by my application overall. I'm wondering if he says that to everyone, but that's an unproductive thought to ponder lol...

Here's what I learned:
  • From now until the end of the month faculty will review applications and by the end of January they will forward their recommendations to the larger admissions committee, who will then issue their final decisions by email/youSC portal in 6-8 weeks-ish. (It sounded like today was one of the first days for interviews so don't fret if you haven't gotten one yet. Honestly, not all faculty even elect to do interviews as many are admitted without them.)
  • Collaboration is a BIG part of what SCA wants to instill in their students, which includes the good AND the bad that comes with it, and how to handle that.
  • There's no "thesis film" required per se, but the final year does require some kind of advanced production course. The options are:
    • CTPR 546, Production III - People apply with their proposals, and from those applications 10 directors and 10 producers will be brought in to pitch to the committee. From that group 3 or 4 films will be chosen to get made. Those who didn't get selected as directors or producers may crew for those films as cinematographers, editors, etc. I asked how potential directors are evaluated, and with the initial application for 546 most folks submit their 508 film (from your 2nd Semester).
    • Hour-long TV Pilot Class
    • CTPR 547, Documentary - A similar process to 546, but for documentary of course.
    • Animation Project
    • Petition to direct a thesis film:
      • More like an Independent Study - There is a class where you develop, work with a faculty adviser, and create a robust budget plan, script, shooting schedule, etc. that may or may not result in a film being made (not required).
      • Roughly 50% of students make a thesis film as a final requirement, whether as director/producer or editor or cinematographer or whatnot.
Hope that helps!
Thank you so much for all these information! I just had my interview today and tried to update it here and then I saw yours. According to your description, I was asked with basically the same questions as yours. Maybe we were interviewed by the same person. Anyways, good luck to you! I really need to stop worrying about the application and start to enjoy my post-application life now lol.
 

truffleshuffle

Active Member
Just had my interview this afternoon. Overall it is not bad. But not as good as I expected haha. The interview is not very formal, more like chatting. The person who interviewed me was really nice and welcoming. But since I am not a native English speaker, I was a little bit nervous when answering some questions that I did not expect to be asked. It is also my first time having a phone interview in English. For those of you who have interview experiences or are English native speakers, just relax and there is really no need to overthink and be anxious about it. Those questions are not tough at all. Most questions are about collaboration and future plan. He also asked me about my previous filmmaking experiences. He did not mention anything specific about my application materials and my portfolio at all. It makes me to wonder if he really look at my application or not. But he did say he was impressed about my application at the end. The interview ended up for about 20 minutes with some application related questions I asked. He answered them all with great patience. He also told me that the results of admission will be sent out during mid February. Good luck everyone! I hope we all get in and be classmates and make films together in fall! XD

Yes, the questions do seem similar. Was it David? And if it's any consolation, your written English is fantastic. Better than many native speakers. Best of luck to you and hope to see you this Fall. (Or Admitted Students Day in April!)
 

Lily Yang

New Member
Yes, the questions do seem similar. Was it David? And if it's any consolation, your written English is fantastic. Better than many native speakers. Best of luck to you and hope to see you this Fall. (Or Admitted Students Day in April!)
Awww thanks!! Yes it was David. I guess he is probably the earliest one who started interviewing the applicants. I hope to see you soon too!
 
My interview lasted about 22 minutes. It was tough!

My interviewer let me know right off the bat that my young age was a concern, since many of the people in the program have spent a few years in the industry before they apply for an MFA program. I responded that I thought my age was more of an asset than a liability, as it shows I'm ready and willing to learn without pretension or ego right out the gate. He asked me how I was going to pay for the program, about my upbringing, about films that inspire me, about how I would deal with a collaborator if they were disappointing the crew, what my post-grad plans were, if I had visited the school, and if I had any questions. I asked if students had access to parking/gym/food facilities, how intensive collaboration between the departments is as the program goes on, and if students are able to submit their thesis films to festivals right out of the gate.

The tone of my interviewer suggests to me that he doesn't believe I'm ready for the program. I did my best to answer with kindness, candor, and confidence. We will see what happens but I get the feeling that he wouldn't be interested in recommending my application to the rest of the faculty.
 

truffleshuffle

Active Member
My interview lasted about 22 minutes. It was tough!

My interviewer let me know right off the bat that my young age was a concern, since many of the people in the program have spent a few years in the industry before they apply for an MFA program. I responded that I thought my age was more of an asset than a liability, as it shows I'm ready and willing to learn without pretension or ego right out the gate. He asked me how I was going to pay for the program, about my upbringing, about films that inspire me, about how I would deal with a collaborator if they were disappointing the crew, what my post-grad plans were, if I had visited the school, and if I had any questions. I asked if students had access to parking/gym/food facilities, how intensive collaboration between the departments is as the program goes on, and if students are able to submit their thesis films to festivals right out of the gate.

The tone of my interviewer suggests to me that he doesn't believe I'm ready for the program. I did my best to answer with kindness, candor, and confidence. We will see what happens but I get the feeling that he wouldn't be interested in recommending my application to the rest of the faculty.

Keep your chin up, Crispy. You never quite know. He also may have been wanting to see how you respond to doubt, and you sound like you did a great job of that. Your interview sounded a lot more thorough than mine, too.
 

truffleshuffle

Active Member
Is USC still sending out the interview request email?

I think last year most people did not get their interview request until late January and early February. So far only 3 of us (on this forum) got notified early about interviews because the faculty member who got our applications assigned to them just happened to like doing theirs at the very beginning. You don't need to worry. You have plenty of time!
 

roma93

New Member
My interview lasted about 22 minutes. It was tough!

My interviewer let me know right off the bat that my young age was a concern, since many of the people in the program have spent a few years in the industry before they apply for an MFA program. I responded that I thought my age was more of an asset than a liability, as it shows I'm ready and willing to learn without pretension or ego right out the gate. He asked me how I was going to pay for the program, about my upbringing, about films that inspire me, about how I would deal with a collaborator if they were disappointing the crew, what my post-grad plans were, if I had visited the school, and if I had any questions. I asked if students had access to parking/gym/food facilities, how intensive collaboration between the departments is as the program goes on, and if students are able to submit their thesis films to festivals right out of the gate.

The tone of my interviewer suggests to me that he doesn't believe I'm ready for the program. I did my best to answer with kindness, candor, and confidence. We will see what happens but I get the feeling that he wouldn't be interested in recommending my application to the rest of the faculty.
Hey, I also had my interview with Mark earlier this week. Also felt like the interview was a bit tougher than I expected! But, it sounds like you explained yourself really well so don't fret. And like truffleshuffle mentioned, I think his tactic is to be a bit short but straightforward to see how we respond? That's my guess since he seemed that way during my interview.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
I also had my interview with Mark earlier this week. Also felt like the interview was a bit tougher than I expected!
Mark doesn't mess around! :)

NSyFrT5.gif
 
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