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candygirl


Mar 1, 2008, 8:41 PM

Post #626 of 1632 (9053 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

I havenít received either Michigan or Wisconsin snail mail rejections.. But I know I will get them sooner then Iíd like to...


Glyph


Mar 1, 2008, 9:20 PM

Post #627 of 1632 (9018 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yeah... I have also told everyone I know and everyone I've met in the last few months that I applied to MFA programs. I even wrote a letter to the administration of the school where I teach and basically said I wouldn't be back next year because I'd be pursuing a degree in creative writing.


I did the same thing - I told my boss that I would be leaving. He even wrote one of my rec letters for me. I'm going to feel really stupid if/when I have to go back to him and ask if I can keep my job after all. All my friends and family know, too. I guess I didn't realize how hard it is to get into the programs I applied to...


mccrary

e-mail user

Mar 2, 2008, 1:20 AM

Post #628 of 1632 (8928 views)
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Re: [Rambler] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

hey, i did the same thing for my safety - a MA in Lit, and I'm already accepted for that too.
its a good strategy.


ejdifili
Emily

Mar 2, 2008, 12:23 PM

Post #629 of 1632 (8794 views)
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Re: [Glyph] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


I guess I didn't realize how hard it is to get into the programs I applied to...


Yeah, no kidding. Here would be my biggest piece of advice for anyone contemplating MFA applications:

No matter what your previous academic or literary success has been, don't just assume top programs will accept you. Definitely apply to several little-known, less competitive schools as well. And to places that accept more than 5 or 6 students each year. That's my lesson.


looking4


Mar 2, 2008, 2:54 PM

Post #630 of 1632 (8680 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

I THINK I did that.

People, may I rant?

I was rejected from UT Austin's RTF (film school) for SW via email on 2/29. It stung. I don't think I've really had time to mourn over it but it really stung. It is my dream school and I think the only reason I don't feel half devastated is because I didn't expect to be admitted. That just would've been something too wonderful to happen to me.

I'm still waiting to hear from others but I think 75% of me has already made the decision to reapply next year. I hate to say this but I really only applied to other schools out of desperation and for "safety" or "filler" reasons. I have no real investment/interest in going any place else and I wasted my time and money on them because I was so freaked out when everyone said it's hard as hell getting in anywhere. After a lot of soul searching I've realized I either go to the place that I want for me or I don't go at all.

To all of the invisible screenwriters applying for this and the so-called "
many well-qualified applicants" that were accepted into UT, congratulations. You get to live my dream.

I want to close with something that may or may not be of consolation to you. It's similar to the story someone else posted about the successful author being rejected from Iowa.

Paul Thomas Anderson was admitted into NYU film school. His first assignment was to write a drama. He xeroxed material by David Mamet and handed it in. When he got his paper back he saw that he had gotten a C+. He left NYU, got his tuition money back and made a short film that was officially selected for Sundance. Today, Paul Thomas Anderson has been nominated three times for a Screenwriting Oscar and his latest film, There Will Be Blood, was nominated for 7 of them. He is 38 years old.

:)



bennyprof


Mar 2, 2008, 3:23 PM

Post #631 of 1632 (8648 views)
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Re: [looking4] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
After a lot of soul searching I've realized I either go to the place that I want for me or I don't go at all.



Might I offer an alternative perspective?

A friend of mine just finished his PhD in fiction. Five years ago, he applied to all the top MFA programs (Iowa, Michigan, UT, UMass, etc... the usual suspects) along with a few safeties. He was flat-out rejected (no waitlists) by all but one of his safety schools, a no-name program in the midwest without any notable faculty. He swallowed his pride and accepted their offer.

He has since had dozens of short stories published, two of them in highly reputable magazines (Tin House and One Story).

Point being, it's not nearly as important where you go as it is what you do when you get there. Resolving to hold out for nothing short of your personal writing utopia is a huge mistake, in my opinion. You're pinning a lot of hope on a long-shot that, for any number of reasons not necessarily related to your talent, might never happen for you.

I, for one, am kicking myself for not applying to a few more realistic places in case my "dream programs" don't work out.

Now, that said, if you're satisfied with pursuing a screenwriting career regardless of whether or not you go to film school, period... well, hold out as long as you want. Who knows, you might be the next PTA.

I just think you're placing far too much weight on the importance of attending this program.


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Mar 2, 2008, 3:26 PM)


RaoulDuke
Cobra Cobachi

Mar 2, 2008, 3:26 PM

Post #632 of 1632 (8639 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Benny-
Thanks for the encouraging, realistic viewpoint on the situation. Might I ask which no-name school your friend succumbed to?

Thanks,
Richard


ejdifili
Emily

Mar 2, 2008, 3:28 PM

Post #633 of 1632 (8627 views)
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Re: [looking4] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

I'm still waiting to hear from others but I think 75% of me has already made the decision to reapply next year. I hate to say this but I really only applied to other schools out of desperation and for "safety" or "filler" reasons. I have no real investment/interest in going any place else and I wasted my time and money on them because I was so freaked out when everyone said it's hard as hell getting in anywhere. After a lot of soul searching I've realized I either go to the place that I want for me or I don't go at all.



That's a really good point, looking4. Personally, I only applied to schools I originally considered "worth" attending. As I've mentioned before on the Speakeasy, I have a BA and an MA from Wash U in St. Louis, so I admit that I've always been kind of an academic snob; i.e., if it's not a top 10 school, then it's not worth your time.

I did apply to one program that's somewhat lesser-known, and I think that may be the place where I have the best chance of acceptance. Too bad it's a 3-year MFA that's like a thousand miles away from my family, friends and boyfriend. Still, if I get accepted with good funding, I'll be elated and most likely will attend. Even though it will probably cost me my relationship.

When I applied, I thought there was almost no chance I'd end up at that school because I was so sure I'd get into Iowa, Michigan or Wisconsin. I just wish I had applied to some less competitive programs closer to home.


looking4


Mar 2, 2008, 3:29 PM

Post #634 of 1632 (8619 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the insight. I really should clarify. It's not that I care about the degree for my career per se, it's that if I'm going to do an MFA I'd want to do it where I want to do it. John August, another notable screenwriter (Big Fish, etc) has constantly warned against going someplace just because they accept you. He did his MFA at the famed USC in producing. I think it's great that your friend was able to find success at an unexpected place but I'm not so hardcore about the MFA to the point where I'd go anywhere just to do it.


looking4


Mar 2, 2008, 3:31 PM

Post #635 of 1632 (8612 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

Ejdifili,

Did you get rejected from all 3 of those?


bennyprof


Mar 2, 2008, 3:37 PM

Post #636 of 1632 (8602 views)
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Re: [richardkae] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hey Benny-
Thanks for the encouraging, realistic viewpoint on the situation. Might I ask which no-name school your friend succumbed to?

Thanks,
Richard



I'm not certain, but I seem to remember it being somewhere in Illinois. And I'm pretty sure it was only an MA.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that he was also selected for Best New American Voices a few years back.

-B


froggoddess


Mar 2, 2008, 3:37 PM

Post #637 of 1632 (8601 views)
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Re: [looking4] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this is a highly personal call to make and that there's no handy rule of thumb -- for some people it makes a lot of sense to be able and willing to go anywhere and make the most out of a program. I'm one of the ones who is rooted where I already am, which unfortunately for this process is in the backyard of one of the big-name schools. But living here is one of the main reasons I am able to write, so I'd be foolish to leave. If that means I take two or three or four or ten years to actually get into the program here, then that's how long it takes. It's not like the program or my desire to write are going anywhere -- it's just a matter of who gives in first. I'm betting they'll get tired of my repeat applications before I get tired of applying. :)


ejdifili
Emily

Mar 2, 2008, 3:38 PM

Post #638 of 1632 (8600 views)
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Re: [looking4] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

I have official rejections from Wisconsin, Wash U and Cornell. I basically expect one from Michigan since I haven't heard anything from them and it sounds like they accepted and waitlisted people a long time ago. Same deal with Indiana.

If I've failed to get into these schools, I think it's rather unlikely that Iowa will magically accept me with any kind of decent funding, though I guess not impossible.


bennyprof


Mar 2, 2008, 3:39 PM

Post #639 of 1632 (8595 views)
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Re: [looking4] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for the insight. I really should clarify. It's not that I care about the degree for my career per se, it's that if I'm going to do an MFA I'd want to do it where I want to do it. John August, another notable screenwriter (Big Fish, etc) has constantly warned against going someplace just because they accept you. He did his MFA at the famed USC in producing. I think it's great that your friend was able to find success at an unexpected place but I'm not so hardcore about the MFA to the point where I'd go anywhere just to do it.



Ah, I see. Allow me to wish you the best of luck, then.


looking4


Mar 2, 2008, 3:42 PM

Post #640 of 1632 (8588 views)
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Re: [froggoddess] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Frog.

I concur that it is a personal decision although I do appreciate the feedback and input. You know, I can get an MBA, an MA, a JD, an MS and I don't think it will alter the course of what my career is going to look like. As you said, the intent, the interest, and my passion for writing film will never change, regardless of the rejections from an MFA or elsewhere.


looking4


Mar 2, 2008, 3:43 PM

Post #641 of 1632 (8585 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Benny. It's always good to hear a different perspective.


looking4


Mar 2, 2008, 3:45 PM

Post #642 of 1632 (8583 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish you luck. I believe it isn't over until it's over, like Paul Hamm said after getting his unlikely gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. :)


aiyamei

e-mail user

Mar 2, 2008, 5:59 PM

Post #643 of 1632 (8487 views)
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Re: [looking4] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


Paul Thomas Anderson was admitted into NYU film school. His first assignment was to write a drama. He xeroxed material by David Mamet and handed it in. When he got his paper back he saw that he had gotten a C+. He left NYU, got his tuition money back and made a short film that was officially selected for Sundance. Today, Paul Thomas Anderson has been nominated three times for a Screenwriting Oscar and his latest film, There Will Be Blood, was nominated for 7 of them. He is 38 years old.

:)


That's the most hair-brained anecdote I've ever heard. If it's true, then all it proves is that Paul Thomas Anderson is a) a cheat, b) that his professors at NYU had the good sense to evaluate the reality of Mamet as they saw it, and c) that PT Anderson had better luck getting tuition refunded after semester-begin than most mere mortals.

(There Will Be Blood was incoherent, morbidly sermonizing, lacking in both structure and intrinsic (rather than imposed) meaning. It is praised almost entirely because as a film, it plays on the cynicism and hopelessness of the American left in the face of the country's apparent capitulation to the twin powers of corporate greed and hypocritical, brainless religiosity. But it _played on_ those fears in a ragged, superficial, pompous way rather than addressing them. If you want to grow up to be Paul Thomas Anderson, I pity you.)

That said, I agree with your basic point: there's not a great deal of evidence that an MFA is even remotely essential to success in the literary arts. Pour your energy and attention into your screenplay/novel/collection. That's where real success lies.


looking4


Mar 2, 2008, 6:08 PM

Post #644 of 1632 (8470 views)
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Re: [aiyamei] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

That's the most hair-brained anecdote I've ever heard. If it's true, then all it proves is that Paul Thomas Anderson is a) a cheat, b) that his professors at NYU had the good sense to evaluate the reality of Mamet as they saw it, and c) that PT Anderson had better luck getting tuition refunded after semester-begin than most mere mortals.

(There Will Be Blood was incoherent, morbidly sermonizing, lacking in both structure and intrinsic (rather than imposed) meaning. It is praised almost entirely because as a film, it plays on the cynicism and hopelessness of the American left in the face of the country's apparent capitulation to the twin powers of corporate greed and hypocritical, brainless religiosity. But it _played on_ those fears in a ragged, superficial, pompous way rather than addressing them. If you want to grow up to be Paul Thomas Anderson, I pity you.)


Ok, I don't think that was necessary but whatever.


(This post was edited by looking4 on Mar 2, 2008, 6:09 PM)


bennyprof


Mar 2, 2008, 6:20 PM

Post #645 of 1632 (8449 views)
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Re: [aiyamei] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you on the first point (PTA's prema donna-ish stomp-out at NYU) and wholeheartedly disagree with you on the second. I thought TWBB was amazing in just about every respect. I'm not sure what was ragged, superficial or pompous about it, though I've heard similar arguments before.

As I see it, the movie isn't trying to make any particular point regarding corporate greed or religion. Although these sociopolitical themes are certainly present, they're window dressing to the central thrust of the narrative. It's much more about Plainview's descent into madness, fueled by an obsession not necessarily having anything to do with greed, but with confirming the validity of his hatred of human kind, and his becoming, in the end, a personification of wrath.

That's what I think, anyway. We're probably getting off-topic, though.


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Mar 2, 2008, 6:21 PM)


mpagan


Mar 2, 2008, 6:23 PM

Post #646 of 1632 (8445 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

way off topic and not really that helpful or insighful in regards to the thread


aiyamei

e-mail user

Mar 2, 2008, 6:51 PM

Post #647 of 1632 (8395 views)
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Re: [mpagan] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry! Totally off topic. Hope no one is terribly offended. Respect to all views.


bennyprof


Mar 2, 2008, 6:54 PM

Post #648 of 1632 (8390 views)
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Re: [mpagan] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

Yep, you're right. Sorry for fanning the flames.


liamolly


Mar 2, 2008, 8:37 PM

Post #649 of 1632 (8292 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

I too am kicking myself for not applying to smaller programs (programs that I didn't even know existed until I started reading this Speakeasy last week) of the non-Iowa/Michigan/Cornell etc. standard! When school success came easier I used to spout that old adage of shooting for the stars, and I tricked myself into believing that reaching high and dreaming big would result in success. That is not the case at all with the MFA.
(I really did believe the words below... I think the key word is "often," meaning "not when applying to graduate programs in creative writing.)
"It's a funny thing about life; if your refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."
-W. Somerset Maugham


__________



Mar 2, 2008, 10:01 PM

Post #650 of 1632 (8207 views)
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Re: [looking4] March Madness [In reply to] Can't Post

looking4, don't let UT film school get you down. It's like the hardest place to get into ever, not to mention screenwriting is even more subjective than fiction! I think your PTA anecdote is spot-on. The key is not to let it get you down. I have two friends from UT who were rejected by their film school; the first took it as a sign that he didn't have any talent, and gave up. The second will have a movie in theaters this year.


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