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SOP for MFA in Visual Communication

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Hi all,


I am applying for MFA in Visual Communication at Rochester Institute of Technology, Fall 2014. Please review my SOP and let me know your thoughts :D


Sarat Kollimarla

Personal Statement


In November 2013, I called curtains on what was a very brief yet fulfilling career at Deloitte U.S. India arm. As part of the Corporate Communications team, I got a chance to produce over a 100 corporate and employee engagement videos, end-to-end. I have not had a formal education in film and video production. Two years ago, you would find me working in the graveyard shift at Deloitte’s healthcare call center. Then I took a leap of faith, simply following my instinct around filmmaking – how to get behind the camera, how to script to perfection, how to make those fine edits ,and how to delight my clients with a “moving” story. I left behind at Deloitte some great friends and some effective videos that captured the company’s vision, as retold by the leaders and employees.


While I was pursuing my Bachelor’s in Computer Science in India, I developed a hobby for filmmaking. I used to shoot films with my small digital camera and used to follow online tutorials for video editing. Since I come from a conservative society where fine arts is not considered to be a great career option, nobody encouraged my ‘quirky’ hobby. My father is an Actuary, who was hence very keen on me doing a Master’s in Actuarial Science. I tried to buy some time and told him that I wanted to see how the insides of a work place were before I dug into books once again. In my final year, I was placed in Deloitte through campus placement. I was working with one of the biggest firms in the world. Meanwhile, my father made me attempt all the necessary entrance exams required for MS in Actuarial Science. I cleared the exam and also secured an admission at Kent University for MS in Actuarial Science. I could not accept it as my true passion did not lie there. Meanwhile, I participated in the Deloitte's Global Film Festival called People Quest. The competition required the participants to create a video about their personal experience at the firm, the impact we had on our clients or how we helped Deloitte give back to the community. I was one of the top 5 finalists and the honor gave me an opportunity to showcase my work at an all hands meeting in San Francisco. Among many talented people, I won the people quest competition. Unfortunately, I could not attend it in person to receive the award. But the achievement was real!


Soon, I started getting noticed and finally I got a place in the Corporate Communication division of the firm, handling their multimedia requirements. I had turned my passion into my profession and that’s when I realized how passionate I was about filmmaking.


I have in me the restlessness of an artist and the thirst of a lifelong learner. At 23, I knew the world was my stage, and Deloitte was just an awesome Act 1. It was time to give shape to my talent, to realize my potential and discover my capabilities. I started looking for the right exposure and the apt platforms that would give me the opportunity to immerse myself and my faculties in visual storytelling.

It was also time to move out of my comfort zones- my hometown, my cozy family nest. I needed to venture out in order to discover my own voice, and then translate that voice into world class visuals. Thus began my quest.


I understood that neither a generic film making course will serve my purpose nor would a specialized post-production program suffice. I began to look at other courses that would augment my understanding across the spectrum of all available visual media and found Rochester’s MFA in Visual Communication to be the right match. This program will enhance my skills as a film maker by helping me innovate with different media. Moreover, the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology will give me the opportunity to learn about the design's cultural heritage. In addition to that, the RIT Graphic Design Archive and also the Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection is sure to hold my passion intact.


Furthermore, the curriculum of MFA Visual Communication in Motion and 3D digital design specialization is exactly what I was looking for. After going through a very inspiring work by Professor Chris Jackson, the graduate program Director and Associate Professor, I cannot be happier with my decision to be a part of this abode of knowledge. Mr. Jackson, with over 20 years of computer graphics design experience, numerous interesting publications and exceptional achievements, I believe, is by far the best faculty member I can get. I would love to collaborate with him and understand the craft of graphic design. As he graduated from RIT in MFA Computer Graphics Design, Professor Jackson will literally know the challenges faced by a student and his experience and advice will serve as a guiding light on my path to reach the next level.


After completing my Master’s, I would like to work with the top creative heads to explore my creativity to the fullest, and establish an enterprise that would foster the development of ideas in the Indian Digital Media industry.


The only thing that has kept me going is my passion for visual story telling. However, my own story needs this final twist to reach its climax. RIT is that swirl!





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