UT Austin - MFA Screenwriting 2nd year student AMA!!

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

New 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.
 
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