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.