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motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Mar 21, 2008, 3:11 PM

Post #1 of 52 (14899 views)
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Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA Can't Post

This thread is for discussions of MFA playwriting, dramatic writing and screenwriting programs.

Weigh the pros and cons of the various programs and what schools you think might be overlooked. Tell us where you're applying, where you're going and why, and all in a topic of your own.


theotherlily


Mar 21, 2008, 4:10 PM

Post #2 of 52 (14870 views)
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Re: [motet] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hurray!

Anybody else here a playwright?


twoheadedboy


Mar 21, 2008, 5:20 PM

Post #3 of 52 (14849 views)
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Re: [motet] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Besides the Michener Center, are there any MFA programs where you can study screenwriting on a fellowship/with some kind of funding? From what I've gathered, it seems like most film schools don't fund their students the way creative writing programs do. What are some well-respected programs in screenwriting, and what kind of funding options are available? Are there any others like the Michener Center that are housed in the creative writing rather than film departments? There doesn't seem to be a comprehensive listing/ranking the way there are for fiction and poetry.

Besides the big film schools like USC and NYU, the schools I know of so far that have screenwriting are UT Austin, Northwestern, Hollins, and...? Anyone know how to find more information? Thanks!


kellieyraines


Mar 23, 2008, 8:32 PM

Post #4 of 52 (14793 views)
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Re: [theotherlily] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a playwright that is still waiting to hear from Iowa for their MFA in playwriting. Didn't get into Brown (who does?) and messed up my application to USC that resulted in a "thanks, but sorry" letter. I couldn't afford to apply to more schools, but UCSD was on my list as well as Austin, Northwestern and Yale.


theotherlily


Mar 24, 2008, 7:17 PM

Post #5 of 52 (14724 views)
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Re: [kellieyraines] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Kelliey-

I'm still waiting to hear back from Iowa too, along with Juilliard and NYU (I've heard some people got in, but they stagger notification.) Iowa drama seems to be lagging behind fiction.

And brown, whatever, w/o Paula Vogel, who cares!

-Lily


Chris Ketcham


Mar 24, 2008, 8:45 PM

Post #6 of 52 (14709 views)
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Re: [motet] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello!
I applied to Northwestern's MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage, and I had an interview on February 11th. Has anyone heard anything since then? Any idea when they'll be letting us know one way or the other? I keep logging in and checking the webpage, but there is no "View Decision" link yet.


theotherlily


Mar 25, 2008, 12:10 PM

Post #7 of 52 (14660 views)
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Re: [Chris Ketcham] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow- that's kind of a long time. I didn't apply to Northwestern (funding was a problem), but if it's been over a month since your interview maybe you should call. Of course, this depends on what they said to you during the interview. Was it like a final round thing, or was it fairly preliminary?

Also, I think someone else on the boards (or maybe elsewhere on the internet) said they did a creative writing program MA at Northwestern which was 80% paid for because they got a job at the university. I live in Chicago, on the North Side, so if NW wasn't so expensive I would totally have applied there. What do people know about this clever get-a-job at the U trick? Should I feel stupid that I didn't go for it?


Chris Ketcham


Mar 25, 2008, 12:25 PM

Post #8 of 52 (14651 views)
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Re: [theotherlily] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi The Other Lily,

I only had one interview, and it seemed to go pretty well. I don't know if there was more than one round of interviews, because I only had the one.

I had a friend make a call to NU because I was too chicken, and they said that they would be sending out notifications over the next month or so. That means it could be as late as the middle of April. You are right about it being a long time. If I don't hear from them by mid April, I'm just going to call and ask myself.

Regarding getting a University job to help with costs, yes, I hear the same thing you did. A good friend of mine got an administrative assistant job at DePaul (another expensive school), and they paid for her entire MBA. I think a lot of schools do this.


Gness7


Apr 6, 2008, 12:26 AM

Post #9 of 52 (14552 views)
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Re: [imariel] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so happy this thread came up. I've been wondering about film film and schools for a long time now. I'm the only one I know who went that route and my professors couldn't offer much insight either.

It looks like decisions are finally coming in and I'm looking for some advice. I got into the New York Film Academy but am still waiting for decisions from more "prestigious" programs like UCLA and USC. Being the enduring pessimist, I'm preparing for the need to settling for NYFA--but I don't know that much about it. It's a short-term film school (the kind that offers 4, 8, or 12-week programs for aspiring filmmakers who don't have the time to fully immerse themselves long term) that also offers an MFA like any other college or university.

The few reviews I found on the internet have not been the kindest. People tend to be intent on comparing it to the USC's, UCLA's, and NYU's of the world, and never in a complementary manner. I'm also discouraged that (according to wikipedia) most of the academy's faculty come from those programs but I'll be darned if I can find an NYFA grad teaching elsewhere. Considering that I've already been rejected by the AFI and Northwestern, I'm starting to wonder what their admission standards are and, by extension, what the true quality of the program is.

This will all be moot if I get in elsewhere, but, just in case, I'm hoping that any screenwriters who are familiar with NYFA can offer some insight. Does the MFA make it as intense as more traditional programs, is it just underrated, or am I being trapped? This was too long. Whoops.


bighark


Apr 6, 2008, 2:03 AM

Post #10 of 52 (14540 views)
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Re: [Gness7] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I suspect the reason why you haven't heard many positive things about the NYFA is because it's an open-enrollment (read: accepts anybody who can pay) and for-profit.

I'm sure you can learn a great deal while you're there, but you should know what you're getting into.


Gness7


Apr 6, 2008, 12:09 PM

Post #11 of 52 (14509 views)
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Re: [bighark] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I definitely was not aware of that. Although things are starting to make sense now. But if I'm learning something useful, I'm happy. Thanks for the info!


Chris Ketcham


Apr 6, 2008, 12:51 PM

Post #12 of 52 (14504 views)
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Re: [motet] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello,
I got accepted to the MFA at Northwestern in Writing for the Screen and Stage. The letter was dated April 3, 2008 and I got it on April 5th. Website notification was also April 5.


theotherlily


Apr 7, 2008, 1:32 PM

Post #13 of 52 (14458 views)
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Re: [Chris Ketcham] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats! Do you think you're going to go?


Chris Ketcham


Apr 7, 2008, 2:27 PM

Post #14 of 52 (14446 views)
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Re: [theotherlily] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi theotherlily,

Thanks so much for the congratulations.

I am really excited, and yes, I am going to go. Right now I'm just trying to get through funding freak out!


(This post was edited by Chris Ketcham on Apr 7, 2008, 2:28 PM)


luvrbuoy


Apr 9, 2008, 12:27 AM

Post #15 of 52 (14396 views)
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Re: [Chris Ketcham] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

IOWA Playwriting? Has anyone heard freaking ANYTHING. I've checked on-line boards for awhile. Last Friday, I called the Department and was told they did not even have a list yet (?). And, that there was to be a committee meeting that afternoon. What's the slow-ass deal here? My ISIS account says my application is "in decision". What the heck? Isn't this a bit late in the game? What's going on with their program in general? All feels questionable. Anyone?


didi


Apr 11, 2008, 1:24 AM

Post #16 of 52 (14331 views)
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Re: [motet] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a playwright who applied to both Yale and Brown. I have just learned that Paula Vogel is importing her current first- year class at Brown with her to Yale. In other words, they are dropping out of Brown and enrolling in Yale as first-year grad students. So all of us who applied to Yale, paid the hundred dollars, did so for nothing. Um.... seems a little unfair? And what about Brown? Have they named a head of the playwriting program? Considering they now have no second-year class, are they going to enroll a new MFA class or suspend the program? In any case, it's an additional waste of my money and more BULLSHIT. Thoughts? I feel like we deserve a refund.


pensive
Adam
e-mail user

Apr 11, 2008, 1:56 AM

Post #17 of 52 (14326 views)
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Re: [didi] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Are you kidding me? So, anyone who applied this year for the Yale playwriting program didn't have a chance of getting in?


100001011no


Apr 11, 2008, 11:21 AM

Post #18 of 52 (14299 views)
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Re: [didi] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Two other writers and myself are enrolling in the playwriting program at Brown. And while there is an uncertain future for us in terms of the program's leadership, there is also a consensus among the program's alumni that their experience was much more than studying with the departing chair. Also, for me, the greatest asset of what it offers is 2 years without financial burden and the time to write. There aren't too many programs like that for playwrights, but from I know Yale is now also fully funded and with an even larger stipend than Brown. The history of the creative writing department at Brown and its reputation ensure that ultimately the new chair is going to be someone fantastic. And the current plans for next year are really exciting: Bonnie Metzgar, who will still be there for at least one more year, is incredible, the faculty for the other genres is also phenomenal, and there are talks of bringing in some stellar writers and artists to study and collaborate with...

And yes, it's true that the three 1st year students at Brown were accepted as the new class at Yale, and how the department at Brown will handle that is uncertain as well. I know the three students completed applications like everyone else. I know that there were 3 additional finalists at Yale.


didi


Apr 11, 2008, 5:15 PM

Post #19 of 52 (14259 views)
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Re: [100001011] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats and I wish you the best of luck at Brown, as I wish the incoming students at Yale all the best. They have a wonderful opportunity right now during a resurgent time at Yale.

However, I don't believe, despite there being three finalists, that it was fair and open and that they should have accepted applications and fees, considering all three Brown students got in. Had two been accepted and one not, it would somehow seem more fair. But all three? It makes you wonder if the three finalists were her top choices at Brown before she jumped ship.

And I don't expect Ms. Vogel, who handpicks the top writers for her MFA program, to abandon them a year into the program. She already selected her cream of the crop, why undergo the process again? If I was in her shoes I would do the same thing. And... I would not have accepted applications and fees because it was a fixed outcome.

Am I supposed to believe that she can throw her former students' plays into the pile and judge objectively? Could you? I couldn't.

And we're talking about thousands of dollars. If Yale had two-hundred playwriting applicants that's $20,000. They probably had more. Despite what one might think, they need that money (probably to produce the Carlotta Festival) and no way could the Dean and the powers-at-be let the opportunity slide in the interest of fairness and integrity.

Unless someone can prove to me otherwise it was a fixed game and we deserve our money back.


luvrbuoy


Apr 11, 2008, 6:26 PM

Post #20 of 52 (14238 views)
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Re: [didi] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

OMG. I had a feeling. I just posted in the IOWA thread about how I didn't think Yale even read my script!! Didn't anyone else think it suspect how quickly Yale had sent rejection letters?! I made the deadline and I got a rejection within 4 weeks of submitting. There is NO WAY they could get through all the applications that quickly. I do think they owe us back our money for applying, and an apology. And, I think if there is a governing body that oversees the legitimacy of university admission procedures than Yale should definitely be reported. They held a "fake" and clearly biased admission process that only benefitted as a money making project. This is truly disgusting coming from one of the most well-endowed universities in the country. Pain, suffering and rage on this end. Who's with me?


luvrbuoy


Apr 11, 2008, 7:15 PM

Post #21 of 52 (14224 views)
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Re: [luvrbuoy] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

This is just to give an idea of how well Yale is doing at the moment in terms of their endowment and investments. From their website:

"Yale’s Endowment generated extraordinarily strong results in fiscal year 2007, as investment returns of 28.0 percent produced record-setting investment gains of $5.0 billion. For the third straight year, Yale enjoyed returns well in excess of 20 percent. Over the past ten years, the Endowment grew from $5.8 billion to $22.5 billion. With annual net investment returns of 17.8 percent, the Endowment’s performance exceeded its benchmark and outpaced institutional fund indices. The Yale Endowment’s twenty-year record of 15.6 percent per annumtimes that of 1987. "

If Yale can "enjoy" returns in excess of 20% on 22.5 billion dollars, they can damn well hold a legitimate admissions process or give us all our money back.


jal123


Apr 11, 2008, 8:51 PM

Post #22 of 52 (14202 views)
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Re: [luvrbuoy] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess I should feel a little less inadequate about not getting accepted into Yale. Because they won't directly tell us why we are not chosen, the playwriting chair has the opportunity to make unjust decisions like this one. But, it seems Vogel wants to build an army at Yale. Actually, the real reason is probably that she doesn't want anyone to say that they were her student and not get the full indoctrination. Regardless, Yale has certain responsibilities to its applicants, that admitted students have diverse academic backgrounds and the criteria of admission should not be that you have worked with or studied under the faculty head. I know I could not have competed with an applicant that Vogel has evaluated for a year and has confirmed the initial potential she saw in that applicant when she accepted them into Brown's program. How else can you define this except "unfair advantage"? Does anyone have a plan on how to get our money back. I could use a hundred bucks since I'll be going into loan repayment now that I'm not admitted.


luvrbuoy


Apr 11, 2008, 9:20 PM

Post #23 of 52 (14184 views)
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Re: [jal123] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I know the world isn't always fair. But, this is really pathetic. Yale is a accredited by these guys:

http://cihe.neasc.org/

The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Their guidelines for accreditation under Chapter 11( Integrity) state:
"11.5 The institution adheres to non-discriminatory policies and practices in recruitment, admissions, employment, evaluation, disciplinary action, and advancement. It fosters an atmosphere within the institutional community that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds."

If this is true about the incoming group of playwrights; they are all coming from Brown with Ms Vogel. And, moreover that the application cluster fuck we were all suckered into was a sham, you can best believe I will file a complaint with their accrediting body:

The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

And, at the very least, get my money back. I might even recruit my attorney friend to get my expenses and aggravation compensated. I busted my ass in good faith that my script would be reviewed and that my application would at least be considered.


didi


Apr 11, 2008, 9:36 PM

Post #24 of 52 (14180 views)
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Re: [jal123] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

In terms of a plan, a place to start is getting the word out, talking to people in your theatre community and posting your displeasure online wherever you can, specifically playwriting groups. The theatre world is small. Word will spread quickly and reputations are very precious.

It would be great if one of the theatre bloggers posted about this (Mr. Excitement News, Parabasis, The Playgoer). Given the money involved, and the high artistic stakes, it's newsworthy to our community. (I keep asking myself am I blowing this out of proportion and I don't think I am.)

I think a letter to Ms. Vogel or to Dean James Bundy are necessary first options. Both are intelligent, conscientious people who would absolutely listen and empathize (again, reputations at stake). However, I think what they would tell us is that all the scripts were read and the Brown applicants filled out an application and applied like everyone else. They simply were the best applicants. Which may even be true, but as jal123 points out, there is no way to compete with those writers.

I was also stunned to receive the rejection letter so quickly. I highly doubt my submission was read and carefully considered.

Also, I'd be interested to know what Yale School of Drama's legal obligations are and what the conditions would be for a mass refund. Perhaps there is a formal appeal process. It might even take a lawsuit. Again, Yale has a massive endowment, but the playwrights and the Drama School don't see that money. Yale will fight tooth and nail, I promise, to hold onto the twenty-plus grand.

So e-mail the bloggers, let them know you're angry, and spread the word. And I think it's important to make this about getting a refund and not a personal attack on Yale or Ms. Vogel.


didi


Apr 11, 2008, 9:39 PM

Post #25 of 52 (14177 views)
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Re: [luvrbuoy] Playwriting & Screenwriting MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Right on. Keep us posted.

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