NYU, Tisch School of the Arts

Those who’ve read this blog for a while will remember a post I did on whether or not to go to film school. Well, back then, I decided to apply.

I applied only to NYU. Since I live in NYC, NYU and Columbia are the main full-time options (The New School and SVA are also good options). Even if I had been able to move to California, the schools there never held any appeal for a whole bunch of reasons.

I liked NYU because it was focused on production. It is also focused on the independent film and not on the Hollywood system. It is very international (I’d say 40% of the current class). It is very diverse. And very importantly, every single student gets to make a thesis film. This is huge. One of the things that put me off some west coast schools is that they slot people early and only some get to be directors while others have to assist them. Experience has shown however, that some people take more time to bloom than others. And when everyone pays the same tuition how is that even close to fair?

Another critical positive of NYU is that the filmmaker owns the rights to the films he/she makes, not the school. I am not sure people understand how important this is. Not to belabor the point, but some west coast schools own your IP. Huh?? Why on earth should the school own your creativity when you pay tuition to learn and use the equipment?

Anyway, for all these reasons, NYU it was. The application process was draining. Statement of purpose, treatment of a feature film (narrative or documentary), a scene with dialog, a treatment for a four-minute silent short film. And visual submissions of either films or photographs. I submitted both the short films I made. By the time I was done, I had no energy to even think of applying to Columbia.

The next step was the interview. I prepared as much as I could. The interview was three people – John Tintori, chair of the program, Milcho Manchevski, directing professor, and David Atkins. Wow. They just hit me with question after question without time to breathe. Nothing about my background or my aspirations. Just creative and visual challenges the entire time. 30 minutes later, I walked out feeling it was the worst interview of my life.

The fact that I am writing this post means, of course, that things were not as grim as I had anticipated.

I was ready to start in the class entering 2007. But life has its own plans. Two years later, I started in the class entering 2009. September 1 was the first day of orientation. And things have been insanely hectic ever since.

This post is a bit late, but I’m hoping to reverse the trend and blog about my experiences at NYU. If anyone is interested in the school or in film school in general, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

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  • Eileen

    Welcome back Shri – glad to hear you're enjoying school so much.

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  • Nice Article NYU, Tisch School of the Arts

  • harminderghai

    hey, i'l keep it really short, I just got rejected from London film school, has more to do with my bio, but more importantly, I had zeroed in on Vancouver Film school as a second option. I'm am now in a dilemma mainly bcos, the LFS program was 2 yrs and the vfs one. now i can check wat tisch is offering, but from wat I know the schools I mentioned are supposedly the best. I however am in no state to state at all, I want your word on the Direction Master's course, Nyu has to offer. Also i checked out the CREATIVE PAckage thing, do I have to send all those things, I mean wat if i can only send all the written material? Rsvp

    P.s – really cool site

  • The NYU MFA is rated the #1 in the US along with USC.

    Re: the creative package, yes, you have to send everything. You can't only submit written stuff, you have to include the visual submission too. Columbia *may* only require a written submission (not sure, you'll have to check).

  • Read the whole post.
    Sigh. . . . . .wish there was something like this here in India.
    Am ready to go in for it even at this age !!

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  • Lavanya

    Can you please tell me what is the admission process into this university.

  • Lavanya, you can find all the details on the Tisch home page.

    High level – there is a visual portfolio (photos or films), a written section with many requirements, a statement of purpose, your old transcripts and recommendations.

  • Zoë

    Hi there! I graduate in two years, and I realllly wanna go to Tisch, for Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. Know anyone who is in the program or any information at all you have about getting in would be great,. Thanks! 😀

  • Don't currently know anyone at Clive Davis. Am sure there must be tons of info on their website. I find most of the Tisch grad programs have good sites with lots of information for prospective students.

  • chioma

    Hi Shripriya, how would you recommend preparing for the interview or is there no real way to prepare (i.e. be yourself)? Thanks.

  • Name

    hey i had my interview today and yeah they really do just put you on the spot. They asked me to invent a story and my mind went blank. I said the most boring thing ever.They didn't ask me at all about my background. The whole interview only lasted 20 minutes though…is that a bad sign?
    does the interview really determine on whether you get in or not?

  • Check out the latest post I did – I decided I might as well do a post rather than reply individually.

    I don't think the time matters. And you usually do better than you think you did. Who was in the room? Hope you had fun!

  • Chioma – yeah, there's really no way to prepare. I did a post on it since I've been getting so many questions.

  • Chioma

    Thanks for replying! Btw, I think you're kinda amazing: juggling twins, film school, and social media. Go you!

  • raghavanmurari

    Hey – I wanted to know how the 1 year diploma program on film making is @ NYFA. Thanks!

  • I don't know as I haven't done it. I am sure there's information online…

  • Mallika

    Hi! Thanks for sharing youru00a0experienceu00a0of applying to Tisch. It’s really helpful.u00a0nCould you please tell me how important it is to have a film making/theater background while applying to the film program? Lots of people I have heard about have had years and years of experience, starting to experiment with the medium at a very young age. So just how crucial a role does this play while applying to the school? Thanks! u00a0

  • Every class has a mix of experience. There are some students with lots of experience in film, theater or both and there are some with no experience in either. So clearly that is not the determining factor in admissions.

  • Mallika