USC Screenwriting MFA Fall 2014 Applicant Unite!

I'm here too! I applied to UCLA, AFI, and two schools in Europe.

I have an interview with UCLA in early March, though waiting on confirmation of the exact date. No word yet from AFI.

I had a Skype interview with one of the European schools this week, and got my acceptance letter today. Crazy! Won't decide until I hear from UCLA. :)

Good luck to all of us!
 
The program is great in the sense that you get out of it what you put in. My main goal was to get as many writing samples as I could, so I took the spec and pilot classes various times with different teachers. Other people I know prefer to take different classes, like sketch ones, how to produce, etc.

You could always take a class to see if you like it, and if you decide you do, you can sign up for the certificate at any time . The only reason I did the 'certificate' was because I wanted to take around 6 classes anyways, and the certificate made me eligible to use their gym :D
That's actually really great advice. There were a few classes on the UCLA extension program website that seemed amazing.
Wait, wait, wait. If you are eligible for the certificate, you get to use the UCLA gym? That is pretty awesome.
 

NickLondon

New Member
I've found lots of useful information on these threads. So first of all, thank you!

I have a question I was hoping you might be able to help with...

I applied for the MFA in Screenwriting, and received a response yesterday, asking me for proof of financial support. If I am offered a place, I will be applying for funding from trusts and foundations in the UK. I doubt I will be able to raise anything near the amount I need. I was kinda hoping there's a chance of a scholarship from USC.

The information they sent me seems to suggest I need to prove I have $53,682 on my bank account. This is not the case. Definitely, definitely not the case. Will this affect my chances of acceptance? An earlier post stated it is unlikely anyone would be awarded any funding for the first semester, and I also read internatonal students are even less likely to receive funding. Do you think this means if I can't raise $53,682, I won't get in?

And do you think this means they have only just taken a first look at my application now?? Or do you think it might be positive news?

I'd be very grateful for any thoughts you might have!

And good luck to all of us indeed!!!

$53,682. Wow.
$53,682
 
Hey Nick,

Just out of curiosity, have you applied to the London Film School? It is one of the best film programs in the world, and probably would be a lot less pain in the buncakes for you to go to - minus the fact it is extrmely competitive :/

I don't think they 'actually' need to see $50,000+ in your bank account - they just need to see you have funding available upon the tuition deadline. Like, if you you won several scholarships you could forward them the letters showing you have scholarship money coming in, or if you've applied for student loans you could have the bank send them a letter indicating you have been granted X dollars in loans.

'Generally' speaking most scholarships, fellowships etc do not award to first year grad students, unless you are in some sort of science or engineering field, but I'd like to think USC is in a unique position with the endowment money it has been granted to help the students out. That always depends on the deans and chairs though, and I have no idea what they are doing with the money.

I was asking one of the professors in my department how she paid for her Masters and PhD at UCLA, and she said she just applied for as many scholarships as possible, and supplemented the rest with loans. So there ya go.

Idk, it's tough. We are all kind of in the same boat, I think. This shiz ain't cheep.
 
It sounds like I'm in the same boat as a lot of you. I applied to USC and UCLA for the screenwriting MFA. I've heard back good news from UCLA that they want to see me for an interview, but I haven't heard anything from USC yet. Now we wait...
that is amazing btw. Can you please let us know how the UCLA interview goes? I'm very interested in hearing about the process.
 

NickLondon

New Member
Hey Jennifer,

Thanks for your response! I'm not applying to London Film School, mainly because I heard they take on loads of students and they have poor links with the industry. And actors who work on their student films tend to be not-so-positive. Basically, pure hearsay. I will take another look!!

I am also applying for the National Film and Television School, and for London College of Communications.

I'll start looking at scholarships, but find it a bit hard to motivate myself before I have been offered a place. I am aware this is silly... I will start looking now... :)
 

NickLondon

New Member
So hardly any of the students starting in Fall will have their fees covered by USC itself?

Sorry if this is really basic information I should already know!!
 
You are preaching to the choir, buddy. It is a little overwhelming, and USC is really expensive. I'm trying not to put all my eggs in the USC basket. I did that with NYU last year(because I KNEW I was going to get in - and didn't)

I guess we all have to remember that it's not the end all be all of your filmmaking/writing career if you aren't accepted or can't afford to go to a particular University. I feel like when that huge stress factor is elevated, it makes it a little more easy to focus on applying for scholarships and grants - and pressing on if it doesn't work out.

IDK, I'm just slapping the keys right now. That's my 2 cents.
 

hkrieger

Member
You are preaching to the choir, buddy. It is a little overwhelming, and USC is really expensive. I'm trying not to put all my eggs in the USC basket. I did that with NYU last year(because I KNEW I was going to get in - and didn't)

I guess we all have to remember that it's not the end all be all of your filmmaking/writing career if you aren't accepted or can't afford to go to a particular University. I feel like when that huge stress factor is elevated, it makes it a little more easy to focus on applying for scholarships and grants - and pressing on if it doesn't work out.

IDK, I'm just slapping the keys right now. That's my 2 cents.
So, speaking of the price tag, I got an email from USC reminding me that the scholarship application is due today. I'll be working on that this morning, and just wanted to remind y'all too!
 

drkish525

New Member
You guys, I was doing so well with keeping my cool. Up until this last week I was hoping that I would be so busy that I would completely side-step all the stress and message board checking right up until notifications went out.

Based on previous threads it seems we should maybe know something in the next two or three weeks. Ah!

In the meantime, I was wondering if any of you (or perhaps some current or former USC MFA readers) know any statistics about where the graduating class ends up? I ask this because I met someone the other day who graduated from the MFA screenwriting program at USC and he has a job that I would say is on a similar level as my own. Basically, my concern is that, if accepted, I would go through the program and end up right where I was before. Does anyone know if people from the program leave with writing gigs (TV staff writer or script deal, etc.)? I would be interested to hear those statistics because I wouldn't want to go back to being an assistant.

Thoughts?
 

hkrieger

Member
You guys, I was doing so well with keeping my cool. Up until this last week I was hoping that I would be so busy that I would completely side-step all the stress and message board checking right up until notifications went out.

Based on previous threads it seems we should maybe know something in the next two or three weeks. Ah!

In the meantime, I was wondering if any of you (or perhaps some current or former USC MFA readers) know any statistics about where the graduating class ends up? I ask this because I met someone the other day who graduated from the MFA screenwriting program at USC and he has a job that I would say is on a similar level as my own. Basically, my concern is that, if accepted, I would go through the program and end up right where I was before. Does anyone know if people from the program leave with writing gigs (TV staff writer or script deal, etc.)? I would be interested to hear those statistics because I wouldn't want to go back to being an assistant.

Thoughts?
I really don't know what I'm talking about, so I probably shouldn't be answering this, but I've gotta do something instead of keep checking my email, so here goes!

I don't think going through the USC program is a guarantee of anything. I think like anything else it's a matter of work, luck and talent. Going through the program gives you a lot of contacts in the field, and I'm particularly interested in internship opportunities if I'd get in. I'm interested in TV writing, and I think internships through the school can be a great way to break into that world, but I think it's still a hustle. For me it's a matter of getting as close to the writing room in whatever capacity I can, and then when the opportunity strikes, having the writing samples and writing skills to get myself in the door.

So what are we paying for? The contacts and the education from people who are actually working in the field.
 

drkish525

New Member
I really don't know what I'm talking about, so I probably shouldn't be answering this, but I've gotta do something instead of keep checking my email, so here goes!

I don't think going through the USC program is a guarantee of anything. I think like anything else it's a matter of work, luck and talent. Going through the program gives you a lot of contacts in the field, and I'm particularly interested in internship opportunities if I'd get in. I'm interested in TV writing, and I think internships through the school can be a great way to break into that world, but I think it's still a hustle. For me it's a matter of getting as close to the writing room in whatever capacity I can, and then when the opportunity strikes, having the writing samples and writing skills to get myself in the door.

So what are we paying for? The contacts and the education from people who are actually working in the field.
I'd say you're exactly right in that it is a matter of work, luck, and talent. Also: hustling.

I want to do TV writing too, by the way. You do more drama or comedy?

Also, I had some time today and looked at some calendars and the last two years people started hearing back on Friday of this week.
 

hkrieger

Member
I'd say you're exactly right in that it is a matter of work, luck, and talent. Also: hustling.

I want to do TV writing too, by the way. You do more drama or comedy?

Also, I had some time today and looked at some calendars and the last two years people started hearing back on Friday of this week.
Okay, so we should hear soon! My computer refresh button is going to get worn out... I'm mainly interested in comedy, though there are a lot of dramas that I watch and love. But, essentially, if it's between Veep or House of Cards, I go Veep every time.

Do you ever apply for the TV writing diversity programs? Those are coming up in May. The Nickelodeon one is at the end of this month, but I'm never ready in time for that!
 

drkish525

New Member
Okay, so we should hear soon! My computer refresh button is going to get worn out... I'm mainly interested in comedy, though there are a lot of dramas that I watch and love. But, essentially, if it's between Veep or House of Cards, I go Veep every time.

Do you ever apply for the TV writing diversity programs? Those are coming up in May. The Nickelodeon one is at the end of this month, but I'm never ready in time for that!
I'm more of a drama man, myself. Though I honestly prefer the dramedy stuff like Enlightened or Nurse Jackie.

And I have applied to them! Only NBC and WB for the past two years and plan on applying to them again this year (plus ABC too). Working on the spec for that is what's keeping me sane (in addition to working and stuff).

Last year I was in the top 10% for WB, which was pretty snazzy, just for the special seminar I got to attend with the other 10 per cent-ers . Haven't applied to Nickelodeon before as I've never really written comedy stuff before, but it looks pretty legit (paid!). They're all pretty great opportunities.
 

LaurenS

New Member
Hi all!

I'm a little late to the party, but I applied as well. Just sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, and mashing the refresh button :). I'm pretty nervous, because my application status still says that it's in phase 1 of processing. Anyone else in the same boat? When I called admissions, they told me that applications are all processed at different rates and not to worry, but theoretically we should be hearing back within the next week or two, no?
 

ThePerk

New Member
Hello Lauren!!

I was wondering the same thing. My application still says it is being reviewed, but it has not yet been forwarded to the department.

My friend just got his acceptance letter today in the mail, so I was getting kind of antsy. hahah I'm glad they told you that the applications are being processed at different rates.

By the way, how do you know what phase your application is in?

Best,
Perk
 

LaurenS

New Member
Hi Perk -

Thank goodness! I was beginning to feel like I was the only one! I know what stage it's in because, when I log into the application system (where we originally applied),the starting screen says that it's in "stage one of evaluation".

I'm going to try calling again today and I'll let you know what they say!

Lauren
 

hkrieger

Member
Woah! I just got an acceptance letter in the mail this morning. I'm so excited! Now I need to get in touch with financial aid and start that next process! FYI, my application page isn't updated. It still just says that my application has been submitted.
 

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