Film MFA Creative Materials

ALL Film MFA Applicants

All elements of the application will be examined carefully for talent in narrative filmmaking. All written submissions must be written solely by the applicant.


Applicants may only submit one (1) Film MFA application per year.


ALL applicants MUST submit the following in 12-point Courier font:

  1. Autobiographical essay: Four to six double-spaced pages. (Tell us something about yourself and your background, artistic experiences, creative influences, and professional objectives.)
  2. Film prompt: Read the following openings, choose one and imagine the scene that might follow it. The scene you write must include both dialogue and description. It should be no less than two and no more than three pages long. It should be written in screenplay format. These prompts change every year. The prompts listed below correspond to the Fall 2021 application. 
    You may change the gender of any character in these prompts, but do not change ages or relationships.​
      • The TWO WOMEN, 50’s, burst through the library doors and race into the shelves. Scanning the titles of books, they stop short when they spot the exact one they’ve been searching for. One of them grabs for it, but the other stops her before she can open it up.
      • A TEENAGER sits on a bus staring intently at something at the front of the vehicle. After a moment, he gets up and makes his way over to the empty seat right behind the BUS DRIVER. Making a decision, he leans in close and begins speaking to the DRIVER.
      • Hastily leaving the noise and drunken chaos of the party, the YOUNG GUY, exits into the empty hallway of the old apartment building.  Finally in private, he covers his eyes with his hands and looks like he might cry – then realizes he is not alone.
  3. Dramatic writing sample: No more than 10 pages and must contain dialogue. A log line must be included. This can be a complete short screenplay, or the first ten pages of a longer screenplay (please indicate which you've chosen). It must be original; it may not be an adaptation, except of your own work in another form. The submission should be in screenplay format. No theatre plays, please. The story cannot be the same as the one in your feature film treatment or your optional video submission.
  4. Feature film treatment: On one double-spaced page for a film you might wish to write, direct or produce (depending upon the concentration you will be applying to). The treatment must concisely relate a complete dramatic story sufficient to sustain a feature-length film, including major characters and plot developments and a clear statement of the resolution. The story cannot be the same as the one in your dramatic writing sample or your optional video submission. You must state the genre of your treatment and a log line. A log line is one or two sentences that describe the protagonist(s) and the story of the film.

Creative Producing Applicants

Creative Producing applicants must ALSO submit a current resumé.

Visual Submission

Not required, but strongly suggested for Directing applicants.


1. Film/Video Work


All Film MFA applicants may submit up to 30 minutes of film/video work and must include a list of their contribution(s) to each work on a separate document. This material must be uploaded directly to the online application system and cannot be linked to a third-party such as YouTube or Vimeo. 


It is advisable to put the best work at the beginning of your visual submission. Video submissions cannot be the same work used in the dramatic writing sample.


2. Visual Exercise


Applicants for Directing who have not shot prior visual material are encouraged to shoot and submit the following OPTIONAL VISUAL EXERCISE:


Write and shoot a 2-person SILENT SCENE (no dialogue), between one and two minutes long, which deals with the idea of "COMING TOGETHER".  It could be two strangers who make a connection, a fighting couple who then make amends, or two people who 'come together' in anger, physicality or any other dramatic situation you choose.


You may use subjects of any genders or ages, and any locations and props, etc. that you have available to you.  Elaborate production expense is NOT the goal of this part of the application.  You may shoot on any format.


This Silent Scene must be uploaded directly to the online application system and cannot be linked to a third-party such as YouTube or Vimeo.


An interview may be scheduled at the discretion of the Program.


The above is only a list of Creative Material requirements. You must also submit your Application, Undergraduate Transcript, three Letters of Recommendation and Application Fee. Please see the Admissions page for all information.