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Getting Into a Top Film School
Film school is a difficult prospect for many people, both because its general cost and the difficulty of getting into one of the top programs. There have been the creation of top film schools outside of the older ones like NYU and USC, many of which are bringing not only a quality film education but also new benefits that would not be seen in some of the more traditional film schools. This is true of the University of Texas at Austin's film program whose parent program is referred to as Radio - Television - Film and in their School of Communication. Their program is a Master's of Fine Arts in Media and Film Production and has the ability to draw on the other represented disciplines in the school to a complete education that really allows aspiring filmmakers to find their own path. Like many of the top film schools, the University of Texas at Austin's graduate film program is competitive and here are some tips for applicants for the program.
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Unlike most of the top film schools you are forced to submit GREs, so you will have to prepare for this. Try taking a class to help you get ready for the GRE as it is a difficult test and will have to have a special study regiment for preparation. USC is also one of the major film graduate programs that requires GREs, so you may want to include that on your application list if you are already going to invest in the GREs.
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You may not want to apply to UT-Austin, or any of the top film schools, without having a film internship under your belt. Film internships are fairly invaluable before applying to a film graduate program, and these internships look better than you think. When you are sending in your letters of recommendation they ask that one be from an academic and one be from a former employer from a job or internship. If you have a good film internship under your belt this will show that you have professional experience and give you a person to fill out your professional letter of recommendation.
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Breaking Up the Sending
Another thing that is unique about the admissions process to the UT-Austin graduate film program is that you are able to email certain items to the Radio - Television - Film Graduate Coordinator and other things have to be sent in conventional mail. A copy of your complete resume and your Academic Writing Sample can be emailed in to the Graduate Coordinator, along with your GRE scores when you receive them. You should physically send in a copy of your portfolio on a DVD.
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Best of the Best
Make sure that your portfolio is really only your best work possible. This means that even if it is not complete film work, but instead other types of creative media work, you should send that also. The maximum amount of time you want this to be is twenty minutes, and it may look best if you actually go a minute or two under to show that you can prioritize.
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Film, like all art, can be uniquely personal, and the admissions department wants to know exactly who you are. Your Personal Statement should outline this clearly, but make sure to be as concise as possible. Do not go over three pages and make sure that you hit only the key points.