Interviewing for your MFA in Playwriting/Screenwriting

I am a complete anxiety ball these days. I’ve been checking my email about every 5 minutes waiting for news to come in, checking grad school message boards like a freak, and obsessively thinking about the many different paths my life may take. Will I be moving to a new state or will I have to do this grad school application process all over again next year? (Which I really hope doesn’t happen, because I feel like I’ve paid my application dues long enough – that’s a note to you MFA Gods.)

So far, I’ve interviewed for two MFA programs, got wait listed at one, and have yet to hear back from the other programs. There’s one program that’s an absolute dream program, in fact, I was shocked that I got an interview offer. I felt like the interview went great, but I hear they have to pick 1 out of every 4 candidate.

This is that time of year for applicants when everything feels up in the air. Every day feels like the day it could happen – that I could hear some news and get excited about what my Fall holds.

I thought I’d share some tips for those of you interviewing for your MFA in playwriting or screenwriting. It’s a little less scary when you have some idea of what to expect.

  • Know what you’ve seen lately that’s blown your mind – be it a film, play, or even some outstanding television series. Have an articulate answer about why you loved it so much ready for your interviewer. If you can someone tie this into how it fits into your own work, even better. 
  • Be ready for the question, “What would you do if you didn’t get into this program?”
  • The DUH question, but WHY an MFA? You don’t need an MFA to write, so why is it so important to you and why NOW?
  • Have samples of your new work ready. I’ve been asked on interviews if I could send “what I’m working on now” to my interviewer. I think this is especially true for those television fellowships, like Nickelodeon Writing Fellowhsip or the ABC Writing Program. Granted, this is not technically an MFA program but because of the educational nature of the program, I’m grouping it here. They will surely ask you if you have another spec script to send their way. So, be forewarned.
  • And lastly, while this has never happened to me, I’ve heard that at the screenwriting programs – you may be asked to pitch a new movie idea. Now, I’m terrified of the idea of pitching – in fact, it is my least favorite aspect to the idea of being a working screenwriter. So, watch some YouTube videos, and record yourself on your laptop pitching. Go in prepared and confident.

One thought on “Interviewing for your MFA in Playwriting/Screenwriting

  1. These are really great tips. Thank you. Sometimes on interviews it’s easy to forget the most vital things. It’s also easy to hit panics when applying for something big. This reminded me to keep going.

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