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Julie Lew

Julie Lew

MFA, Peter Stark Producing Program '21

What inspired you to want to study the cinematic arts?

Growing up a biracial and bisexual girl, I tried to erase the parts of my identity I couldn’t find in media. I ignored my Chinese heritage because it wasn’t compatible with the images I saw onscreen. I worked hard so my queerness couldn’t be discerned. I tried to learn how to be myself through how the media represented me. And then I had to unlearn all the toxicity I was fed. And so I am determined to tell stories that represent who I am authentically, as well as help support other diverse artists represent themselves so that another bisexual, biracial girl doesn’t have to deny what makes her unique.

What scholarship award(s) did you receive directly from SCA?

I received the National Association of Theater Owners of California/Nevada Fellowship in Film Award.

What has been the impact of receiving a scholarship from SCA?

Receiving a scholarship has helped alleviate a lot of stress and debt down the road. The price of the USC SCA experience, while worthwhile, is definitely a significant one that you commit to shouldering for years to come. So I'm super appreciative of the National Association of Theater Owners to help support me and my journey at SCA.

What has been your favorite class or project at SCA thus far?

Jeff Korchek's film business class! Jeff has an amazing ability to present dense information really clearly and in an engaging way. Plus, the class takes place in the first semester of Stark and Jeff goes out of his way to make sure everyone feels welcomed and part of the Stark family.

What is a meaningful experience you've had while at SCA?

Probably getting a chance to workshop a script last semester. When the pandemic forced us all to stay inside and off campus, I decided to take a crack at writing my thesis script and then workshopping it in our screenwriting class last semester. I had never written a feature before and was really nervous to get it critiqued every week (I'm an aspiring producer, not a writer!). But our teacher Stu was really encouraging and helped me get over myself and get my script into better shape. It was so valuable to get that experience I never would have pursued if it weren't for being at USC.

What are your career goals after graduation?

I'm currently working as a literary assistant at a management company and really enjoying it. My long term goal is to be a creative producer and manager.

What advice do you have for prospective students looking to apply to SCA?

I got two pieces of really good advice from mentors when I was working on my application. The first is to really focus on your why (why film, why USC, why now). The second is finding your own answer to the question: what about film makes you excited to get out of bed every morning? Answering this makes you not position yourself around only your accomplishments and skills, but instead frames everything around your passion for why you want to be in this crazy industry in the first place.