The Application

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Since the application deadline is approaching, this week I thought I’d focus my post on answering some common questions that I’ve been getting from applicants about the application process.

I’ll start with the Visualization Project, which has been by far the most asked-about portion of the application.  The prompt asks for you to construct a story in 8 to 12 frames, and gives you a variety of different options as to how to create them: you can draw them by hand, take photographs, copy them from the internet, or even use stills from a video.  The prompt says that what is important is that you use these pictures to “tell a clear, cohesive story with a beginning, middle, and end.”  And there’s one final caveat: you can’t use words or text to help tell your story.

I’m not a photographer.  I’m even worse at drawing pictures by hand.  I am a videographer, and when I started working on this portion of the application I experimented with pulling out stills from a video that already told a complete story.  But that didn’t work so well for me: I had very little control of the image, and the narrative didn’t turn out clear enough for my liking.

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I decided, in the end, to draw a story by hand using stick figures.  My thinking was that they were probably just looking to see that I could tell a story: it didn’t have to be the most beautiful story ever told.  I turned out to be right: in my interview, I was told that I did an excellent job on this portion of the application.

My advice on the Visualization Project would be to focus more on the strength of the story you’re telling than on the beauty or look you create in telling it.  As always, creativity is a bonus, but if you don’t have a strong narrative starting out, this portion of the application could suffer.  Remember, a producer’s job involves developing stories and making them better (and the task of having them be beautifully told often lies in the hands of the cinematographer or director, not the producer!).

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Another piece of advice I can offer: I chose to tell a story with my Visualization Project that I had experienced myself, that meant something to me.  It isn’t a requirement to do this by any means, but I found that working with material that I understood and cared about made it easier for me to come up with those creative ideas that made it a better experience to read.

Read on next week, as I continue to discuss the process of applying to the Creative Producing program!