UT Austin - MFA Screenwriting 2nd year student AMA!! (1 Viewer)

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
I’m a second year in the program. If you have questions, I’m more than happy to answer!
I'm thinking of putting together an article on the site on something like "Film School in the time of COVID" to help current applicants and people who may be attending schools in the fall. I'd love to be able to interview you (or one of the site's writers will) about how the pandemic is currently affecting you at the school and what the school's plans are for the fall if any. Would this be something that you're interested in?

Thanks! I think it'd be a great help for the people on the site.
 
I'm thinking of putting together an article on the site on something like "Film School in the time of COVID" to help current applicants and people who may be attending schools in the fall. I'd love to be able to interview you (or one of the site's writers will) about how the pandemic is currently affecting you at the school and what the school's plans are for the fall if any. Would this be something that you're interested in?

Thanks! I think it'd be a great help for the people on the site.

Sure! I'm happy to help.
 

sevs

Member
I’m a second year in the program. If you have questions, I’m more than happy to answer!
How good of a job do you feel UT Austin is doing to prepare you for life after graduate school? Do they have resources in place to assist you with landing job and internship opportunities in hubs like Los Angeles or New York?
 
How good of a job do you feel UT Austin is doing to prepare you for life after graduate school? Do they have resources in place to assist you with landing job and internship opportunities in hubs like Los Angeles or New York?

There are some resources in place. That is one part of the program I felt was a bit stronger, but I will say that the teachers, especially the area head, really do try to help. This summer, I'm doing two internships, one for a working LA writer and one on a writing project in Austin that I'm really excited about. And I know that past students have been helped with links to agents and managers. Each year at AFF, we've gone to brunch with a management team and gotten to broker connections.

Hope that helps.
 

LaceyT

Member
Hello! I'm applying to both UT programs for Fall '21 and it's my first time applying to any program. I'd love to hear more about your background before applying and how you used that to your advantage in the application process.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions -- there are so many parts to think about with the application and things like this are SO helpful.
🙏
 
Hello! I'm applying to both UT programs for Fall '21 and it's my first time applying to any program. I'd love to hear more about your background before applying and how you used that to your advantage in the application process.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions -- there are so many parts to think about with the application and things like this are SO helpful.
🙏

Lacey, I apologize for the delay in responding. I'm been busy with my thesis so I haven't been checking in.

My background....keep in mind I was one of the older students in my cohort. Prior to applying I had a BS in engineering, MS in Business, and a second BS in Film...I was kinda a professional student, lol. I had also worked for 12 years. Plus, I'd spent several years as a fiction writer.

I will be the first to admit that I am terrible with application essays and discussing myself, but I really just talked about my journey and why I was drawn to screenwriting. I talked a little bit about working full-time while completing my second bachelors and what intrigued me the most about my classes. I'm also a black woman and I'm passionate about telling stories that center around black women and increasing visibility in tv and film.

I hope that helps some. Let me know if you have other questions, I'll be better about checking in now that I'm finished.
 

cihejirika

New Member
Hello hope you're well! I am applying to the Film and Media Production UT Program but I am hoping that you might be able to still answer my questions. I was wondering your experience with UT's generosity concerning financial aid (particularly for international students)? I know there are fellowships and Texas resident rates potentially available later in the program. But do you find the program to be affordable and supportive in situations where one is unable to fully afford it (by themselves)? I was also wondering if UT owns the rights to any of the work you produce as a student? I know that's the case at USC and one of the reasons why I am not applying. How much creative freedom is given to students to explore their own artistry? Are there opportunities to go abroad? How diverse is the faculty and student body? How has your experience been as a black woman? I don't know a lot about Texas but I have heard Austin is quite progressive and open. Has that been your experience?

Thanks for your consideration and hope to hear from you soon.
 
I was wondering your experience with UT's generosity concerning financial aid (particularly for international students)?

Hello!

I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

I don't know about international students. I know that there are a lot of international students in RTF. There are funding opportunities. Also, in production, most students TA 2 sections/classes after the first year. For us, that meant I didn't have to pay any tuition. I don't know how that affects international students.

I know there are fellowships and Texas resident rates potentially available later in the program. But do you find the program to be affordable and supportive in situations where one is unable to fully afford it (by themselves)?

For me, I worked as a grad asst the first year and TA'd the second, so I only had to pay tuition in the first year. There are job announcements and postings, even in other departments. But I would talk to your advisor specifically about funding sources.

I was also wondering if UT owns the rights to any of the work you produce as a student?

As far as I know they don't, but I would ask a teacher specifically.

How much creative freedom is given to students to explore their own artistry?

From what I witnessed, students were given lots of freedom for their projects. I know one of my production friends shot her pre-thesis project in (I think) Brazil. I do really think they try to help you make the films that you want to make.

Are there opportunities to go abroad?

We didn't have them in screenwriting because of the nature of our program. I know some students traveled for festivals and conferences. I don't know if they would do a semester abroad (probably much different for undergrad).

How diverse is the faculty and student body?

Not terribly. There are a small number of black professors. As far as the classes, the production students in my year, there were only about 3. But there were also Latino and Asian students, so it's a bit of a mix. You an go on the RTF website and look at profiles.

How has your experience been as a black woman?

I had a really good experience. I loved my cohort and I really did feel very supportive. There are also student orgs like the black grad student association you can join. There aren't many of us at UT, I think like 4.8%, so yeah. But overall, I felt good.

I don't know a lot about Texas but I have heard Austin is quite progressive and open. Has that been your experience?

I ended up liking Austin more than I thought I would. HOWEVER. People love to say Austin is so liberal. It's liberal...for Texas. And Texas is a conservative state. So just adjust your expectations accordingly.

I hope that answered your questions! Please let me know if you have any more.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

lucychoi97

Korean Forum Moderator
Staff member
Hi! May I ask usually what route do the students take after graduating MFA? Do they go into production companies or internships? If so what kind?
 
What's the average day in the life like? and is it possible to live a normal social/personal life outside of class?

Hi!

I think that depends on what you consider a normal and social life, but I think it is and I think my cohort did. I did my program and I worked 20 hrs/week. I took swim lessons, had some time with friends. Others in my program were married, one had a baby our first year.

It's not like you have loads of free time, and obviously some weeks are busier than others, but you can absolutely have some balance.

For me, my first term was busiest. My days were school and/or work until about 4 and then home M-F. Most days, I only had one class a day and the rest of my time was mine to arrange.
 
Hi! May I ask usually what route do the students take after graduating MFA? Do they go into production companies or internships? If so what kind?

Hi!

So we are required to do an internship before graduating, so all students have that. From there, it really varies. A lot of students move to LA, but not all do. Some get staffed or find jobs in the industry. This year, it's a bit difficult bc of the pandemic...everyone is in a bit of a holding pattern.
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
Hi.

First off, thanks for doing this. A few questions:

1. Can you talk about the UT alum network? Have you had opportunities to meet with past UT Screenwriting alum via Zoom mixers?

2. Can you talk about the Screenplay Showcase? Is this similar to AFI's Screenwriter Showcase for the graduating class?

3. The website mentions the Robert Foshko Memorial Scholarship Script Competition, but has no information on it. Can you elaborate on this?

4. I know the incoming class is usually around 7 students. How much interaction do first year students have with second year students when it comes to classes and workshops? Is there an overlap?

5. How often do you have guest speakers via Zoom?

Thanks : )
 
Hi.

First off, thanks for doing this. A few questions:

1. Can you talk about the UT alum network? Have you had opportunities to meet with past UT Screenwriting alum via Zoom mixers?

2. Can you talk about the Screenplay Showcase? Is this similar to AFI's Screenwriter Showcase for the graduating class?

3. The website mentions the Robert Foshko Memorial Scholarship Script Competition, but has no information on it. Can you elaborate on this?

4. I know the incoming class is usually around 7 students. How much interaction do first year students have with second year students when it comes to classes and workshops? Is there an overlap?

5. How often do you have guest speakers via Zoom?

Thanks : )

You're welcome!

1) So i know there is a zoom network, I've happened to meet an alum by chance. I'll be honest, it's something that I wish was more coordinated. It might be more within chapters of the texas exes, which is what I'm exploring now. I know our Area Head has been working to try and garner more connections with alumni.

2 ) I think the screenplay showcase is where they show students who have won awards for their scripts...it seems to be UT awards. I'm not familiar with AFI's program to be able to tell. They also do try to highlight students on social media that win awards or place in contests.

3)The Foshko is the screenwriting award they do each year. You submit a script that you wrote over the last year in your classes. It's a small prize (about 1500 bucks) but it's a nice recognition. I won for my script. In the last couple years, they've also started setting us up with a few industry appointments so that's the really nice perk.

4) Honestly there isn't a ton of interaction and overlap in our coursework. I have had a few electives with first years, but I think I've been more likely to see Michener screenwriters in our classes. Now in my first year, they changed the curriculum and first and second years took pilots together. And then in my second year, we all did an internship together. But normally, I don't think there is a lot of overlap. We wanted to get to know them, so we decided as a cohort to have a bowling night to get to know the new first years. The second years when we were new didn't interact as much lol.

5) It all depends on the teacher. Usually, we're so busy with workshop that there isn't a lot of time for speakers in class, but they do arrange speakers via zoom and in person (pre covid) outside class time. There is a class, Business of Hollywood that has speakers each week from all areas of the industry. Also, sometimes we get creators coming to show their work. Bong Joon Ho came to give a talk about Parasite. I was lucky enough to see the film, but I had to TA the night he came to speak. Talk about a missed opportunity! It's probably hard to suss out now, but they always have some event happening between writing, production, and media studies.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions or if I need to clarify anything.
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
Thank you for answering all my questions! I really appreciate it. Kind of a bummer you missed out on Bong Joon Ho. Wishing you all the best!!!

Btw, congrats on winning the script competition!

Cheers : )
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Hi ladysaraii,
Thanks for doing this!
If you're still up for fielding questions, I have been wondering...
1. How would you characterize the 'personality' of the cohort / community / program / campus at UT Austin? ('What's the VIBE of the people there?' as the kids would say)
2. Does the program ever feel too small, or does it feel just right to you?
3. Now that you have experienced both learning on campus and Covid learning, if incoming students were told that no in-person classes will take place in 2021-2022, what's your personal opinion: would you recommend deferring/applying again another year, or would you say, "Forge ahead! Enroll!"
 
Hi ladysaraii,
Thanks for doing this!
If you're still up for fielding questions, I have been wondering...
1. How would you characterize the 'personality' of the cohort / community / program / campus at UT Austin? ('What's the VIBE of the people there?' as the kids would say)
2. Does the program ever feel too small, or does it feel just right to you?
3. Now that you have experienced both learning on campus and Covid learning, if incoming students were told that no in-person classes will take place in 2021-2022, what's your personal opinion: would you recommend deferring/applying again another year, or would you say, "Forge ahead! Enroll!"

Hi

Let's see how I can answer.

1. The personality of the cohort all depends on the students. The cohort the year ahead of us didn't really mesh, but the ones before loved each other. My cohort got a long great, the professor kept saying how chill we were. In general, I felt the campus and program felt relatively laid-back. It was a nice community.

2. The program felt like a good size. There are 7 in a cohort, but we also have classes with other students (usually 12 students for a workshop). It was a nice mix of students that we knew and worked with and new faces to mix it up. If I would change anything, I just wish I had more time to take some other classes.

3. So I graduated last summer, so I only had a portion of time via zoom. And that's a tough question. Part of the fun was being in person and getting to know my classmates outside of class. But I think it depends on your goals and what you want to achieve. I was a bit older so if I were applying now, I might make the plunge. But I will say that zoom fatigue is real....I definitely felt like workshops were more productive in person. I think ours worked over zoom but mainly bc we had built a rapport before leaving campus.

Hope that helps!
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Hi

Let's see how I can answer.

1. The personality of the cohort all depends on the students. The cohort the year ahead of us didn't really mesh, but the ones before loved each other. My cohort got a long great, the professor kept saying how chill we were. In general, I felt the campus and program felt relatively laid-back. It was a nice community.

2. The program felt like a good size. There are 7 in a cohort, but we also have classes with other students (usually 12 students for a workshop). It was a nice mix of students that we knew and worked with and new faces to mix it up. If I would change anything, I just wish I had more time to take some other classes.

3. So I graduated last summer, so I only had a portion of time via zoom. And that's a tough question. Part of the fun was being in person and getting to know my classmates outside of class. But I think it depends on your goals and what you want to achieve. I was a bit older so if I were applying now, I might make the plunge. But I will say that zoom fatigue is real....I definitely felt like workshops were more productive in person. I think ours worked over zoom but mainly bc we had built a rapport before leaving campus.

Hope that helps!
Yes it helps a lot! Thank you for taking the time. I hope your post-MFA life is shaping up OK (well, pandemic aside of course...)
 
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