The primary goals of the Film & Television Production program are to develop the student’s ability to express original ideas and to instill a thorough understanding of the technical and aesthetic aspects of motion pictures and television. Students learn all aspects of the art of storytelling and develop the ability to take audiences on emotional journeys using a wide array of cinematic skills. Students learn to access this unique power by working in many forms - from traditional large-screen films to those designed for the smallest cell phone screens, to episodic content across multiple formats. Courses in production provide individual and group filmmaking experiences and the opportunity to learn all aspects of filmmaking in a collaborative environment.
The faculty admissions committee evaluates applications for originality, clarity, personal insight and artistic excellence. There are no admission interviews but applicants may be contacted for more information or clarification of submitted materials. The committee ensures that all applicants are judged equitably by limiting evaluation to the items listed.
*Note to transfer applicants: To be considered for admission, you must first obtain 48 transferable semester units (excluding AP & IB credits). This total may include units in progress during the fall or spring semester. As such, the average time for degree completion for transfer admits is 2.5 years at USC.
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
The Cinematic Arts Personal Statement will be read by the admissions committee as a measure of creativity, self-awareness and vision. We are looking for a sense of you as a unique individual and how your distinctive experiences, identities, values, and/or views of the world have shaped who you are and what you want to say as a creative filmmaker. We want to know about the kind of stories you want to tell. Bear in mind that enthusiasm for watching films, descriptions of your favorite films and the involvement in the filmmaking process is common in most candidates. As a result, we encourage that you focus on your individuality. Note that there is no standard format or correct answer. (1,000 words or less)
Writing Sample - Choose One (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- A description of a four-minute film that contains no dialogue. It can be fiction or non-fiction. The story has to be communicated visually. (No more than two pages)
- A dialogue scene between two people. Provide a one-paragraph introduction describing the two characters in screenplay format. (No more than three pages)
- Describe a concept for a feature-length movie, fiction or documentary, which you would like to develop. (No more than two pages)
Creative Portfolio List (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
The portfolio list is a written record of the applicant's creative materials. It should include a concise description of each project, the month and year the project was completed, the applicant's creative role and the purpose of the project. The material, which does not need to be film- or television-related, should give an idea of the range and depth of the applicant's creative ability. Formal recognition - such as awards, publications, jobs and exhibitions - should be noted. The name of the institution or publication should be included when listing creative materials prepared for a class or publication. An example of the portfolio list is below:
- July 2019, A Day in the Life, digital video, 12 minutes. Position: writer/director. A documentary on a homeless Iraq vet who has lived on the streets since his return from the military. Created for senior-year multimedia term project, San Raphael High School, Miami, Florida.
- March 2020, Doorways, a series of 5 black-and-white photographs. Position: photographer. "Second Prize Winner" in the Des Moines Sunday Journal photo contest.
- February 2021, Cellomorphosis, short story. Position: writer. A variation on the novella by Franz Kafka; published in Writing, vol. IV, 2021, at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Describe a project that you worked on with multiple collaborators that left you feeling proud and fulfilled. Discuss your role in the project and explain why this collaboration was successful. Then, describe another collaborative project that left you unsatisfied. Discuss your role in the project and explain why this collaboration frustrated you. Finally, summarize what you learned from each of these experiences and describe the lessons you learned that inspire your future collaborations. (No more than two pages)
- Video Introduction
Media Sample (choose one) (Upload in Portfolio Section)
- Video Option: Create a narrative video that is no longer than five minutes in which you had a major creative role. The video can be live-action or animation, fiction or documentary, but it should reflect your aesthetic tastes and intellectual and emotional interests. You must specify what role(s) you played. Submit only one video. Multiple submissions will cause your application to be rejected.
- Photo Option: Prepare a series of eight photographs you have taken which, when viewed in a specific sequence, portray a unique and original character or which tell a simple narrative story. Also include a one-page narrative about the character being portrayed in the photos. The images may either be black-and-white or in color. Please upload the photos in order of sequence. The one-page narrative must be uploaded in PDF format only.
Submit a 30-60 second video of yourself speaking directly to the camera, in a single take with no edits, introducing yourself and explaining what will make attending SCA a successful experience for you and others.
As part of the Film & Television Production program applicant review process, applicants may be selected to have a remote interview with faculty or staff. Not every applicant will be interviewed, and an interview is not required for admission. The window for the interview time may vary, so please keep an eye on the inbox of the email address used in your application for a request to schedule one. Please respond to such requests within 72 hours.