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Odysseus24601

MFA Directing 2019- Let's Connect

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On 1/3/2019 at 7:18 AM, Rlata84 said:

@handfulofdust thank you very much! Glad to hear good things about Ohio. I’m a little skeptical about it only because I am already well one Ted with their network and their partnering theatre as I live just 90 minutes away. Just thinking about whether or not it would allow me the growth I’m seeking. There is something very attractive about moving away to a city and state where I know no one and can truly unlock and engage without distraction —— I am interested to hear more about your attraction to East 15. What makes this program stand out to you? Is there much opportunity for practicum? I’m not finding as many details as I would like. 

From what I've heard, Ohio has a great network to other big cities - particularly NYC/Chicago - and they're intentional about prepping students to move directly to those cities after graduation. That being said, I completely understand wanting to move! That's a big part of the reason I didn't apply for any programs on the West Coast. 

East 15 was a tough nut to crack in terms of information - I applied last year and got an interview (but was subsequently wait-listed), so I was able to glean a lot from that that made me want to apply again this year. I also have a few friends-of-friends who did the program and were able to fill me in on what their experiences were like. Ultimately, what I have been told is that it is a bit mixed - the school definitely doesn't offer the same kind of budget for student shows as the Ivy Leagues do, but I tend to work (and almost prefer to work) in scrappier theaters anyway, so that doesn't bother me much.

The program tends to be more heavily based around physical/devised work, which as mentioned before, is my focus area. It's also almost 100% practicum, which is what I was looking for. My undergrad was much heavier on theory and written work, and of course it's much easier to put physical techniques into practice when you're learning them as you go rather than sitting around. I also like the way it's structured - you only take one (occasionally two) module per quarter, which basically entails 6-8 weeks of very intense study of one subject. I prefer learning by focusing heavily on one or two concepts at a time, then building from there, so this was more exciting for me than programs that involve taking multiple classes for a sustained period of time. 

The only big bummer is that I've heard there aren't many opportunities, if at all, for student teaching. Not my ultimate goal anyway, so not a huge loss, but it is disappointing as I've enjoyed teaching workshops/acting coaching so far. Also, not as much of a network in NYC as, say, Columbia would have access to, but the trade-off is a great network in London, which is what I'm looking for.

Edited by handfulofdust

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On 1/3/2019 at 9:27 AM, deirdrenyc said:

Hello everyone! 

It's been so lovely to read everyone's updates on this thread. Just wondering whether anyone knows anything about Columbia's audition weekend-- either from previous years or connections. I'll be at the audition this year and am trying to decide how to best prepare. Hope to see some of yall there! 

 

Does this mean Columbia has sent out interview requests already?

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Ok hivemind - this may seem a frivolous question, but I’m curious to know what you all are wearing to your interviews. I want to look professional and show some self expression, but I don’t want to be too overdressed or underdressed. Thoughts?

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6 hours ago, Rlata84 said:

Ok hivemind - this may seem a frivolous question, but I’m curious to know what you all are wearing to your interviews. I want to look professional and show some self expression, but I don’t want to be too overdressed or underdressed. Thoughts?

Yes, yes, a silly question but I have the same one! I'm leaning towards the casual end of the spectrum, personally. That's also my M.O. in my work too, if that makes sense. @Rlata84 when're your interviews?

Just to check: has anyone heard from CMU? 

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15 hours ago, 36Biscotti said:

Yes, yes, a silly question but I have the same one! I'm leaning towards the casual end of the spectrum, personally. That's also my M.O. in my work too, if that makes sense. @Rlata84 when're your interviews?

Just to check: has anyone heard from CMU? 

Interviewing in NYC tomorrow for Penn State. Rest of my interviews are at the Chicago URTAs. I’m leaning toward “dressy-casual” nice dark jeans, fun patterned button up shirt and a sport jacket. Good shoes. No tie. 

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It is like waiting for the water to boil over here...

Anyone have any updates on New School, Northwestern, or CalArts? Been reading the thread from last year and perhaps they reach out around this time? 

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Waiting sucks.

I think last year Northwestern sent them out around 1/30. And when I applied there a couple of years ago it looks like they contacted me early Feb with a phone call. No idea about CallArts or New School.

 

To shift focus a little bit, does anybody have any ideas on what questions they are asking the school representative at the interviews? I'm asking a few school specific questions about the program and asking if they teach a particular directing pedagogy, but I'm having trouble articulating some of my other thoughts into questions that make sense.  

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Hey everyone! Thanking the theatre gods I stumbled on this forum. Will anyone be at the Chicago URTAs this week? I'm interviewing with East 15 and Indiana. 

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21 hours ago, MorganLee said:

Hey everyone! Thanking the theatre gods I stumbled on this forum. Will anyone be at the Chicago URTAs this week? I'm interviewing with East 15 and Indiana. 

Hey @MorganLee! Goodluck/break a leg at your interviews. I went to the NYC URTAs and met both of those programs as well, they were super, super, super nice. I will say: be prepared to interview alongside a fellow applicant during the East 15 one. The interviewer likes to do group interviews! It wasn't at all bad, but someone told me before going in and I think I was mentally prepared for that. 

How has it been going for everyone? My experience at URTAs was actually pretty great, talking with some people who have done it in the past, it seems to have improved overall. There was a little hang out space for the directors, and it seemed pretty organized! During my Ohio interview the Women's March was happing outside the window and it was fun to hear, a little difficult to concentrate, but a cool atmospheric layer to the meeting! Every school I met with was pretty fantastic, they were all SUPER nice and made it feel like a conversation. UT definitely asked about King Lear but KJ was awesome and talked through some ideas, Brooklyn asked for a verbal pitch from a show I've done in the past on the spot (but i talked to someone and they brought up a different show and asked different questions.), Ohio was just brainstorming with me, Florida asked about some shows on my resume, Indiana wanted to get to know me and why I want to do this, East 15 wanted to know what type of work connects with me!

I personally hate the waiting. Anyone got some meditative advice for these next few weeks? 

P.S. I interviewed with CMU and they said by this coming weekend we should know if we're being invited to visit for a callback.

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Welcome @MorganLee!! I will be at URTA Chicago this weekend. I'm interviewing with Texas State, Florida State, UT Austin, Ohio and East 15. Hopefully we will meet one another! Meeting people going through this process has been amazing.

@36Biscotti thanks for the plethora of info! I'm relieved to hear that the program heads made it feel like a conversation. After my last interview, I am a bit nervous going forward. This is helpful information. 

@CalitoTexas18 and @Odysseus24601 I also applied to UCSD and haven't heard anything yet. 

HELP!! Does anyone have any tricks or things they recommend for anxiety before interviews? I feel mentally prepared - I know what I want to say, and I know that my experience makes me qualified. But my damn body seems to want to have involuntary responses of shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat and crippling shakes. I bombed my last interview as a result of it. I was mostly fine once I got in the room, but the minutes prior were hell enough to throw me off a bit. Any tips would be very appreciated.

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On 1/5/2019 at 10:25 PM, KingOfInsight said:

Hey @deirdrenyc, I know Columbia does not send a lot of info in advance by design. However, some tips I wish someone had told me last year are:

1) They say bring snacks but I recommend planning ahead and/or packing lunch and dinner on Saturday. There were no official breaks just for meals, there was always something additional to work on during breaks.

2) Bring a laptop/electronic device and charger or some books. There’s unstructured time for you to formulate ideas.

3) Sunday is an early morning, so plan your Saturday night accordingly.

4) There is a Q&A session at the end of the weekend first with faculty and then just with students.

Hope that helps!

@KingOfInsight Thank you so much for this info! I figured they were intentionally light on information but wanted to check in anyway. You're a lifesaver with the food & materials suggestions. Much appreciated!

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Hey there, I'm joining in the fray here.

I graduated with my BFA in Directing in 2017 from Southern Oregon University, gpa 3.9 overall. I applied to UC Davis, UCLA, UCSD, UC Irvine, and CalArts. Davis is an MFA in Dramatic Art, with an option for directing concentration. I am California based so it just makes sense to keep my network where I want to stay.

I'm so stoked to have landed interviews with both UCLA and Davis so far. Not entirely sure what to prepare for UCLA but the email I received said to prepare for it to last about 30 minutes. I feel like I remember reading an interview prep something-or-other in the application requirements but can't find it now-- could be thinking of another school though. 

 

Overall:

UC Davis: Interview in person Feb 1

 

UCLA: Interview via Zoom Jan 26

 

UC Irvine: Submitted (today, my last one woohoo!)

 

UCSD: Submitted, haven't heard

 

CalArts Submitted, haven't heard

 

Glad to have found you guys, anyone else going to the UC Davis interview day? The email makes it sound like a group day with a designated time for individual interviews.

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12 hours ago, patrickjnorris said:

Hey there, I'm joining in the fray here.

I graduated with my BFA in Directing in 2017 from Southern Oregon University, gpa 3.9 overall. I applied to UC Davis, UCLA, UCSD, UC Irvine, and CalArts. Davis is an MFA in Dramatic Art, with an option for directing concentration. I am California based so it just makes sense to keep my network where I want to stay.

I'm so stoked to have landed interviews with both UCLA and Davis so far. Not entirely sure what to prepare for UCLA but the email I received said to prepare for it to last about 30 minutes. I feel like I remember reading an interview prep something-or-other in the application requirements but can't find it now-- could be thinking of another school though. 

 

Overall:

UC Davis: Interview in person Feb 1

 

UCLA: Interview via Zoom Jan 26

 

UC Irvine: Submitted (today, my last one woohoo!)

 

UCSD: Submitted, haven't heard

 

CalArts Submitted, haven't heard

 

Glad to have found you guys, anyone else going to the UC Davis interview day? The email makes it sound like a group day with a designated time for individual interviews.

Welcome to the group @patrickjnorris! Glad to hear of your scheduled interviews! The only CA school I've applied to is Irvine and UCSD. I applied to Irvine through URTA and did not get invited to interview, and, like many on here, I am waiting to hear from UCSD. Not sure if anyone knows when they usually send out interview invitations.

Have you looked back through the threads from previous years? I feel like there were posts in the 2016 thread where people shared interview questions they've received. I've had one interview so far. Below are some of he questions they asked - I've paraphrased quite a bit:

1. Why are you here today? Why now and why this program? (Probably everyone will ask some form of this. Although it was all a blur, I think I regurgitated some semblance of my initial letter of interest. I made a note for myself to try to include answers that maybe were cut from my initial letter, or at least provide additional insight into who I am).

2. I don't say this to scare you, but three years is a long time, and much of it may feel redundant or 'back to the basics.' How are you prepared to handle this lengthy commitment? 

3. What type of work appeals to you and why?

4. How do you define the role of the director and their relationship and responsibility to collaborators and audience alike? (This one was very fuzzy to me. In all honesty, I struggled to understand what was being asked and should have requested the question to be repeated. Alas, my nerves got the best of me. So this is the question I answered, but not sure it is what was being asked. I've included it in the list to share my terror and remind everyone it's okay to ask for a question to be repeated.)

5. What are your thoughts on diverse or colorblind casting? 

6. How important is it to make considerations  of how an older story resonates with an audience.

 

I hope this info is helpful, and encourage others to share your experiences. We're all in this together!!

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Sharing my UCLA interview experience:

My interview was scheduled for 4:15pm PT via Zoom as the interviewers were in Chicago at the URTAs. I sat in the "meeting" video chat for about ten minutes before they joined, they seemed to be in a hotel room which would make sense for URTAs, and they were obviously in the middle of a long weekend. They seemed pretty fatigued and that kind of led to me feeling like they had heard every word coming out of my mouth for days. But regardless, I feel like I did a pretty decent job, especially considering this was my first interview throughout this process. 

 

Here were the questions they asked (in no particular order):

1. Why are you here/ Why do you want to embark on the difficult journey of becoming a director? (This was definitely the first question)

2. If we gave you two years, and money, what would you create? (This question was very vague, but definitely the biggest opportunity they gave me to show them all I have creatively. They prompted me to unpack my answer a bit while they asked follow up questions but I still felt like my answer was a bit undercooked)

3. (#2 Followed up with) What is the question you want to ask the world with this piece?

3. What are four plays you want to direct? [I listed The Humans, Spring Awakening, August Osage, and Rabbit Hole. One of the interviewers responded saying "I've directed almost all of those" with a chuckle]

4. (Follow up question to #3) What do you think all of those plays have in common/ why are you drawn to those plays?

 

I asked them four questions:

1. Q:  How many students are you accepting for Directing this year.  A: 2-3

2. Q: What is the size of the larger MFA cohort? A: 7-8 Acting Students, designers (they didn't specify the number there) and Directors all take courses together the first year and the Grad students have access to the undergrad students in all departmental projects. (Basically saying the groups are around 15ish but you interact with a much larger group of students)

3. Q: During my undergrad experience, my department was going through what they referred to as a "transitional period" with much turnover in the faculty, new curriculum, and a full renovation of the building that exceeded my time at the school; Would you say UCLA is in a similar transition, or is the curriculum this cohort would be exploring something that has been generally the same for a few years?  A: There have been a lot of new hires in the last few years, but the curriculum is something that has been in place for a very long time, the only thing that changes from time to time is the order of the curriculum sequence. We sometimes change the order for a particular student if they have an internship or project we'd like them to work on instead. 

4. Q: What does your ideal graduate look like? A: If we're doing our jobs correctly, it's someone who will  take about 15 years to make their mark. (Proceeded to say) we have graduates all over the place, but the ones who are involved in the most successful projects have been in the professional world for 15+ years. (The other interviewer said) Our ideal student thinks of theatre with a global perspective, not just the American theatre. We want someone who wants to ask the questions and tell the stories the world needs to have explored with Theatre as the medium.

 

They thanked me for making the time to interview and let me know the second round of interviews are being held on campus February 23 and 24 where the invited students will tour the facility, and direct a scene. I wouldn't be surprised if I don't make that cut, but I'll keep you posted. 

Thanks for contributing to this thread everyone, sharing the wealth will make us all better!

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Just got back into town from my Brown interview. I felt really, really good about it and after meeting with Brian Mertes, the head of the department at Brown, they are firmly my number one choice. 

It was not a long interview and they started it with three questions. None of which were too crazy.

1. What was I hoping to get out of my time at Brown/why grad school right now.

2. What kind of work was I interested in making and why?

3. What would I bring to the MFA program?

 

After those three questions we chatted for a bit and they asked me what kind of plays I wanted to work on and why. They also asked me what I was working on at the time. But those came organically from our chat.

They also said that they would send an e-mail out on Feb 8th inviting the 6 finalists. If I didn't hear by the 8th, that meant I wasn't selected to move on, and the Brown University would eventually officially update me about my application status. So...come on February 8th!

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Also...

Still no word from Northwestern, UCSD, or Boston U. Anyone else heard from them yet?

Also, by this point in time last year people had already begun interviewing at Yale for the 1st round.  Did no one hear back from them this year?

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Hey all ~

Just got word about callbacks from New School today. March 2&3, any going to these?

Still waiting to hear back from Northwestern and CalArts, and if I get a second interview at Yale-they said it should be late this week/early next. 

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@truebelieverx Hi! I heard from one asking for a second interview, it feels like it was a little premature since we aren't supposed to "receive official offers" (whatever that means) until the 4th. I'm taking that as most of the schools will offer second interviews or visitations after the 4th? Have you heard from anyone?

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