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Advice for aspiring USC film production student?

singeorginasingeorgina Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
I'm a sophomore in high school, and I'm starting to worry about college. I plan to go to film school in the future, with emphasis on either directing or cinematography, USC SCA being my top choice (of course). I have straight As, 4.0 un weighted GPA, 4.3 weighted. My PSAT score is 175, which is really bad, so I'm working hard to improve it.

I've been looking at the application requirements, and I'm very worried about the visual sample. I hear it's the most important, but I have no film experience whatsoever. I've got pages of ideas, storyboards, etc. But I have never actually filmed anything with a camera. This is mostly because I don't have many resources (actors, cameras, etc) or technical knowledge.

Aside from that, I do have a screenwriting tutor outside of school, but seeing as I plan to major in production, I don't know how much that will help. Most of my "film experience" is pre-production stuff. I get the script written, storyboard everything, and I can't really go farther than that. I kind of live in development hell.

I also have a sister currently attending USC Roski, but she isn't exactly a star student (mostly Bs), so I don't know if that will hurt or improve my chances.

I would really appreciate some advice on what to do at this point. I'm mostly worried about the visual sample. Is it possible for me to get in even though I don't have much hands on experience? Which part of the application is most important? What should I do to improve? My goodness, I'm freaking out.

Replies to: Advice for aspiring USC film production student?

  • veritasrmcveritasrmc Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Hello anxious sophomore! Firstly I feel compelled to tell you to take a nice deep breath. The visual sample for USC is very important, you are correct, but not in the way you think it is. What the Film Production program is looking for are people who can tell a story, which is something you apparently excel in. They know that most high school students (especially ones with your impressive stats) won't general have the time to shoot top-notch features. It's fine. They get it. So in filming your visual sample, give the cinematography aspect your best and your all, but remember that it is the merit of the storytelling that counts the most.

    I was just accepted to the Film Production program for Fall 2014 as a full-scholarship finalist. I did very extensive research on what the school is looking for in their applicants and that's the best advice I can give you.
  • singeorginasingeorgina Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    Oh my god, congratulations!! That's amazing! Thank you so much for the advice, really. I'm so relieved to hear that from someone who got in! Is there anything in particular I should work on right now?
  • veritasrmcveritasrmc Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Keep doing what you're doing with your writing for now. When it comes time to find yourself a camera to film a visual sample, you'll had dozens of well-crafted pieces to choose to bring to life. I would say for now, work on that SAT score. Even though the SCA is very concerned with the film portfolio, USC itself cares quite a bit about test scores. Aim for that 2000 mark! A prospective student must first get into USC, then into the film school. It's a lot to juggle, but you have drive, focus, and ability. Good luck and fight on!
  • singeorginasingeorgina Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    Thank you so much!
  • laplatinumlaplatinum Registered User Posts: 529 Member
    Although USC may be your top choice, lots of students with amazing stats do not get accepted in their first choice film school because admissions are crazy-competitive since they take so few students. (Think about it: nearly every university has economics as a major; not so for the PROD major.) I recommend that you find other, great film schools and create a list so you have viable back-ups. In Southern CA alone, there are really good programs at UCLA, Chapman (Dodge), and Loyola Marymount (SFTV), to name but a few. Visit, talk with the students, meet with professors, and learn what access (or not) that you have to all the cool equipment from freshman year on, find out how good the program is at getting you internships and a job at the end of the game. Dodge offers a summer program and they say the admit rates are higher amongst those who attend it. If you were to go this coming summer, you would actually have a real film to submit for your portfolio. You should also take a practice SAT and ACT this spring, summer, or early next fall and choose your poison. Then, get prepping so that you have test scores to match that great GPA!
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