How to apply for Hollywood!
I finally arrived in Hollywood! I’m sooo excited =)
This Monday will be the beginning of my first semester at the AFI Conservatory! On that occasion, I want you to know how my application took place. Especially with personal statements, a lot of film school applicants are unsure about how to tackle the challenge and what is even more, every university has different requirements, so it is wise to stick to the instructions! In the following, I will describe how I approached my application.
Regarding AFI Conservatory, beside my short films “Silently Dumb” (2007) and “Moonlit Night” (2012), I only had to submit a “Narrative Statement”. That may sound pretty easy, but in fact, it is not easy at all. In this one statement, you are required to show that you can tell your own life-story in a style that is inherent to your film work – they don’t want to see any other writing sample after all. At the same time, it should cover an explanation why the American Film Institute Conservatory is the right school for you and what kind of interests you have, not to mention what kind of former experience and attitude about your chosen discipline you bring to the program. It took me about two months to write the Narrative Statement, showing it to friends and parents, in order to find out if it accurately reflects my character and my experience, if it contains all the important facts about me and last but not least, if the story is entertaining. Statements of Purpose for American universities tend to be rather emotional and self-promoting, so I had to find a good mixture of european reservation and american pathos. To stay authentic, it is wise to give examples or at least comparisons to all theses and claims which you are stating in your piece.
Apart from descriptions of my background and my experience on different film sets, I tried to find my main motivation in filmmaking. This is siomething that is important in EVERY Statement. Maybe you have never asked yourself why, or you can’t properly describe it. But for this piece of writing, you have to know exactly what you aim to – and I think, I didn’t find out until I was working on my statement, so I learned something for myself during this assignment. That’s what the Statement is for.
Last but not least, I’ll show you a short excerpt of my Statement:
Regarding my life and my artistic ambitions, I like to quote Lord Henry in the “Picture of Dorian Gray” from Oscar Wilde: “Good artists exist simply in what they make, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are.” My life may not have been the most interesting, challenging, or dazzling one – but I have lived any of those in my imagination. I came to realize that stories are mainly transported through emotions. It is the emotional journey in a bedtime story that is able to cure a terrified child if it is afraid to sleep. I think it doesn’t change when we are grown up. Stories do not have the immediate effect on adults that they have on children, but they still speak to our unconscious. We adults still find comfort in an emotional story. This is what I love about filmmaking: I can give people a story to hold on, be it scary, comforting, saddening or hilarious. Well-told stories always hit a nerve, whether you like it or not.