Very short post from a 2nd year UCLA Screenwriting student's perspective but wait hold up it's not actually that short (1 Viewer)

BuddernScotch

Well-Known Member
Hi. Keeping this super short.

It has recently (within the hour) come to my attention that there has been a scathing (lol?) article written somewhere in the internet aether about UCLA's TFT department and their supposedly deteriorating performance in the last few years, even before xxxxx-19. This article also included an odd emphasis on the program and faculty's supposed "neglect".

Let me first just say, if anyone feels very influenced by this 2nd/3rd hand account of student experience. Here's my 1st-hand experience thus far, having unfortunately been virtually in this program for most of the - um - program.

Just... hey. Yeah. My hopes for "filmschool" have been exceeded thus far. It was a lil rocky at the beginning of #@%$*-19, but that's more a "world-ending" thing than a program/faculty thing in my opinion. So there you go, (yet) another side of the story.

That article just made me really sad because of how much effort, energy, and heart the faculty seem to have put in, trying to make the best of the world's current situation.

Note to self: I guess this is what happens when you don't have social media, you just kind of ramble on forums you used to visit obsessively.

Second note to self: Truly, stop rambling. Get back to work writing.

Third note to se-- : no, that's enough

EDIT: unaware, as I did not dig that deeply into the article, that there were, I apologize, first-hand accounts. This was just supposed to be a short post about my experience, and my confusion. My whole post is 10000% subjective, never meant it not to be.

I only have my own experiences to go off of, so that's the only part I really had any say in. Apologies if that wasn't apparent.
 
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JLWilco

Active Member
Except it wasn't a second- or third-hand account; I know because I helped report the story and I graduated from the program only a few months ago.


This story is an accurate account of what a plethora of students experienced under the program's new leadership. It contains irrefutable evidence that Phyllis Nagy's scheduling practices are a violation of UCLA's Faculty Code of Conduct; a letter from a faculty senate member on the University's Grievance Advisory Committee linked in the article explains why--Nagy denied access to writing workshops for several students in recent quarters.

Let me put this into perspective: the head of a writing program BARRED students from enrolling in writing courses.

And please believe me when I tell you that what was published in the article is but a FRACTION of what the Daily Bruin discovered as part of the investigation. There was so much evidence we couldn't publish due to anonymity concerns. If we had published it all you would not have felt compelled to write your post.

Nagy took what was once the best Screenwriting program in the country and twisted it into an ugly, nepotistic cabal. People on this site who want to know what the program is like need to know that.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Wow what a crazy read.

This is an egregious outtake to me as you guys are paying a ton of money to go there:

When screenwriting students at a 2018 town hall complained about lacking communication from administrators, film professor George Huang simply told the crowd to expect similarly poor treatment in the film industry.
“It’s completely unfair; you guys are getting screwed,” Huang said at the town hall. “But, and this is a horrible thing to say, get used to it. This is the industry you chose.”


I mean yes it's hard out there in the business. But that's in the business where people pay YOU. The arrangement is much different when you are paying THEM. You're paying them to learn while you don't have to deal with that crap.

I dealt with a similar thing in terms of not being allowed to take the production 3 class at BU because I "couldn't take production 3 class at the same time as the Avid editing class". But apparently that wasn't the case for someone else and they magically got permission. Unfortunately this type of favoritism has been around for a while. (This was when Avid systems were $60k)

Also like UCLA.... When I went to BU in 1999 I couldn't take production classes until junior year so that might be an outdated practice. The reasoning (which I somewhat agreed with) was that taking them later will give you more experience and knowledge to know what you want to film. Also back then everything was on film so it wasn't cheap to shoot and develop. Now it's all digital so you can film as much as you like so that's awesome. Although it sounds like UCLA is still using film? That's cool as in a side class but certainly shouldn't be the only thing they teach on.

As a side note I do miss the smell of film.
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
Having spoken to a number of UCLA TFT alum, the MFA Screenwriting program was kind of a sh*tshow the last 2-3 years.

Also, it appears Nagy is still head of the screenwriting program. Yes, she's a super talented writer. But I wonder if it's in the best interest for UCLA to keep her around despite the negative press.

Hopefully UCLA can bounce back from this.
 

wuzpoppin

Member
Supporter
hey @JLWilco just wondering, is this the reason why UCLA isn’t accepting MFA TFT students for fall 2021?
 

JLWilco

Active Member
hey @JLWilco just wondering, is this the reason why UCLA isn’t accepting MFA TFT students for fall 2021?

This is one reason among many. I encourage you to read the report of the department's 8-Year Review as cited in this article on Deadline from last August:


It doesn't get into specifics or name names, but it doesn't paint a pretty picture either.
 

BuddernScotch

Well-Known Member
Except it wasn't a second- or third-hand account; I know because I helped report the story and I graduated from the program only a few months ago.


This story is an accurate account of what a plethora of students experienced under the program's new leadership. It contains irrefutable evidence that Phyllis Nagy's scheduling practices are a violation of UCLA's Faculty Code of Conduct; a letter from a faculty senate member on the University's Grievance Advisory Committee linked in the article explains why--Nagy denied access to writing workshops for several students in recent quarters.

Let me put this into perspective: the head of a writing program BARRED students from enrolling in writing courses.

And please believe me when I tell you that what was published in the article is but a FRACTION of what the Daily Bruin discovered as part of the investigation. There was so much evidence we couldn't publish due to anonymity concerns. If we had published it all you would not have felt compelled to write your post.

Nagy took what was once the best Screenwriting program in the country and twisted it into an ugly, nepotistic cabal. People on this site who want to know what the program is like need to know that.
Thank you for the clarification! I did not know enough about the source(s) of the article.

But again, I have only my own experience to share. I know when I researched into MFA programs, I did like to know about as many people's experiences as possible.

And so if someone only knows about that one article, I just added a little tidbit about my experience into the mix too.
 

KeenanDK

Active Member
This is one reason among many. I encourage you to read the report of the department's 8-Year Review as cited in this article on Deadline from last August:


It doesn't get into specifics or name names, but it doesn't paint a pretty picture either.
I have read the report and if you aren't a screenwriter it's not THAT bad haha

My opinion of my program is very high and I can't see that changing. Even as these things were coming out, our faculty was responsive, transparent and candid with us.

The main issue seems to be contention between CMS and industry faculty and that just has not affected my time at UCLA thus far.

So, maybe the lesson is steer clear of the screenwriting program?

I've been blown away by how productive and educational my time at UCLA has been.
 

KeenanDK

Active Member
"Even so, the review found that the department “currently has three particularly strong areas of excellence that we see as the foundation for its programs and activities going forward: its outstanding recent faculty hires and a resolutely inclusive approach to faculty renewal; the dedication of its professional staff to the academic mission and UCLA’s high standards and expectations; and an exceptionally diverse, engaged, and committed student body.”

Those three things, along with professional mentorship, are the things I care about most and it is delivering. The Producer's Program has exceeded my expectations, with the exception of Zoom class, but that's hardly UCLA's fault lol
 

Cdemon

Well-Known Member
Except it wasn't a second- or third-hand account; I know because I helped report the story and I graduated from the program only a few months ago.


This story is an accurate account of what a plethora of students experienced under the program's new leadership. It contains irrefutable evidence that Phyllis Nagy's scheduling practices are a violation of UCLA's Faculty Code of Conduct; a letter from a faculty senate member on the University's Grievance Advisory Committee linked in the article explains why--Nagy denied access to writing workshops for several students in recent quarters.

Let me put this into perspective: the head of a writing program BARRED students from enrolling in writing courses.

And please believe me when I tell you that what was published in the article is but a FRACTION of what the Daily Bruin discovered as part of the investigation. There was so much evidence we couldn't publish due to anonymity concerns. If we had published it all you would not have felt compelled to write your post.

Nagy took what was once the best Screenwriting program in the country and twisted it into an ugly, nepotistic cabal. People on this site who want to know what the program is like need to know that.
Pretty random, but any chance you have a copy of this article? It seems they've pulled it.
Thanks!
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Pretty random, but any chance you have a copy of this article? It seems they've pulled it.
Thanks!

Someone posted text today.

Hope your are doing well haven't seen you on for a while. :)
 

Cdemon

Well-Known Member
I'm good. Keeping it real during the pandemic. Still waiting remotely. My 8 year old and 11 year old finally got their shots yesterday. 👍👍💉💉
Oh wow!! Congratulations on them getting their shots!!! That definitely helps. Yeah the pandemic is really cramping my style! 😂
Glad you’re doing well. Hopefully post pandemic l, or outside socially distanced, we can do another FilmSchool.org meet up.
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
Oh wow!! Congratulations on them getting their shots!!! That definitely helps. Yeah the pandemic is really cramping my style! 😂
Glad you’re doing well. Hopefully post pandemic l, or outside socially distanced, we can do another FilmSchool.org meet up.
That would be awesome. Maybe in the new year.

Are you working now or at a film program right now? Sorry if I've forgotten.
 
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