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.

 

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. These prompts change every year. The prompts listed below correspond to the Fall 2018 application.
    • You may change the gender of any character in these prompts, but do not change ages or relationships.
      • EXT. STORE PARKING LOT - LATE AFTERNOON
        • A YOUNG WOMAN, early 20's, stands in the parking lot of a shabby-looking grocery store. She wears a work apron beneath her winter jacket and she’s clearly on a break. Just about to light up a cigarette, she suddenly freezes. Peering ahead she sees a BLACK LIMOUSINE coming toward her.
      • EXT. HOUSE - MIDNIGHT
        • Outside, on the dark street, we see the figures of the TWO MEN brawling. They’re throwing punches and staggering around, grunting and groaning. Suddenly, a LIGHT comes on in a nearby window and they pause for a moment.
      • INT. HOUSE - NIGHT
        • Making her way down the empty hallway, the TEENAGER can still hear the sounds of the party ringing from downstairs.  She approaches the bathroom door, but then pauses when she sees her HOST’S bedroom door ajar. After a beat, she heads over and slips inside.
  3. Dramatic writing sample: No more than 10 pages and must contain dialogue. 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, or direct. 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. This material should be uploaded to an online video service (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo). A link to the video must be included in the application along with any password necessary to view the work. Please be sure no download is required.

 

As a backup, send us two copies of the material on DVD (Region 1). With the DVDs, you must include a list of the contents and your contributions to each work.  DVDs can be mailed to:

 

Columbia University School of the Arts

Office of Admissions

2960 Broadway

305 Dodge Hall, MC 1808

New York, NY 10027

 

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 should be uploaded to an online video service (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo). A link to the video must be included in the application along with any password necessary to view the work. Please be sure no download is required.

 

As a backup, send us two copies of the material on DVD (Region 1). With the DVDs, you must include a list of the contents and your contributions to each work.  DVDs can be mailed to:

 

Columbia University School of the Arts

Office of Admissions

2960 Broadway

305 Dodge Hall, MC 1808

New York, NY 10027

 

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.