The Application – Part 2

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The application deadline for the Film & Video – Creative Producing MFA program is approaching, and for this week’s post I will continue to take a closer look at the application process.

I have two general suggestions that I think could likely significantly improve your application.  (As you take these into account, remember that I am a student in the program, not a member of the selection committee – so I can’t speak specifically to what they’re looking for in any way!)

My first suggestion is to think about how you can tailor your application in order to demonstrate that you have the potential to be a good Creative Producer.  Remember that a Creative Producer is able to take an idea for a media project from conception to completion, which requires many different kinds of skills and often takes years in the world of feature filmmaking.  Through this process, the creative producer must secure the rights to the story (if necessary), develop it into a format tailored for film, raise funding for the project (which often requires pitching it, sometimes over and over again), assemble a creative team to carry out production, keep the whole production organization afloat during the shoot, lead post production to the finish line, and then, with the film complete, market and distribute the final product.

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If this sounds like a tall order to you, then we’re in the same boat!  But to look on the bright side, with so many different responsibilities involved, it makes it that much easier to highlight your potential as a Creative Producer in the application.  Think about how the skills you’ve developed fit in with this process, and be sure to discuss how they would make you a better Creative Producer.  Remember too that applicants don’t need prior filmmaking experience to be considered (and in fact, several of the students currently in the program had never worked on a film set before coming to Columbia).

My second suggestion comes not from me, but from Wenwha Tsao, the head of the Creative Producing program: be sure to use the application materials to show the selection committee who you are.  Be professional, but it’s okay to be real.  They want to know what makes you tick, why you want to be a media-maker and storyteller.  Columbia is a school that embraces not only diversity but creative expression, so it’s okay to color outside the lines a bit.  A little personality, appropriately applied, should be helpful to your application.

Other than that, I do recommend starting on the application early, and being willing to put enough time into it to have it truly represent your caliber and potential as a student.  You won’t regret it if that acceptance letter comes!

Best of luck to you as you complete your application!