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.
The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Film & Television Production B.A. program.
- SCA Supplemental Application for Admission
- SlideRoom Application
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
- Writing Sample (Prompt A or B or C)
- Visual Sample (Video or Photo Option)
- Creative Portfolio List
- Project Question 1
- Project Question 2
- STARS Report
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Fall Admission: February 1st (Application will open on August 1st)
- Spring Admission - Current USC students only: September 1st (Application will open on June 15th)
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- 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)
- Visual 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.
- Creative Portfolio List (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- July 2008, 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 2008, Doorways, a series of 5 black-and-white photographs. Position: photographer. "Second Prize Winner" in the Des Moines Sunday Journal photo contest.
- February 2007, Cellomorphosis, short story. Position: writer. A variation on the novella by Franz Kafka; published in Writing, vol. IV, 2007, at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.
- Project Question 1 (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- Project Question 2 (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- Letters of Recommendation
In order to be considered for admission, all required applications and materials must be submitted by the deadline. Late applications will not be considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are submitted.
The School of Cinematic Arts cannot verify receipt of any application materials. Applicants may check their SlideRoom Application portal for the status of materials.
View all Application Deadlines.
*Note to Transfer students: To be considered for admission, you must first obtain 48 transferable semester units (excluding AP & IB). This total may include units in progress during the fall or spring semester.
All applicants wishing to be considered for admission must complete the following steps in the application process where applicable:
Step 1: Submit the SCA Supplemental Application for Admission
To begin the application process, you must submit the online SCA Supplemental Application.
Step 2: Submit Supplemental Materials via the SlideRoom Application
In addition to the Common Application and USC Writing Supplement, all applicants are required to submit supplemental materials via the SlideRoom Application. Please be sure to submit the SlideRoom Application titled: " Film & Television Production B.A. Program - Current USC Transfer Applicants". All materials must be submitted via the SlideRoom application and any materials sent by mail or email will not be considered.
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, characteristics, background, 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)
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:
Provide an example of a project that you have contributed to or led. Choose a project that left you feeling proud. Please describe the context of the project (e.g. the people involved the goals, etc.) and also describe your role in the project. Finally, state what about your role in the project gave you a feeling of pride. (No more than one page)
Describe a project that you have worked on that was a failure. Describe the situation in which the project took place, the objectives of the project and others (if any) who were part of the project team. Be clear about your role in the project. Describe how and why the project failed. Finally, summarize what you learned from the project and what you would do differently next time. (No more than one page)
Three letters of recommendation in particular format are required. At least one letter of recommendation must be an academic reference. All letters of recommendation must be submitted via the SlideRoom Application. Applicants are responsible for requesting letters of recommendation as well as confirming that they have been submitted by the deadline.
Step 3: Submit a Copy of Your STARS Report
Please submit a PDF copy of your STARS report in the SlideRoom application.
You can save any document as a PDF (for free). Once you have your STARS Report ready to save as a PDF, click to print and then choose “Save as PDF” instead of selecting a printer.
View the step-by-step instructions here: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/print-to-pdf.html. Note: You will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to do this; it is free download and available here: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.