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Is it to hard to get in to AFI in cinematography discipline? I have applied for fall 2005 and I am already asked for an intervew. What happens after intervie? Am I too close to get in or?

Isn't is the best program for cinematography? Are there any other applicants here, who got any response or know what is going on in AFI this year? I think they are short in editing and production design applicants. I wish that was for cinematography!


Thank you.

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I'm applying to AFI for fall 2005 as well, in cinematography of course. My interview is coming up next Monday, so I'm on my way out to LA this evening to stay with some friends for a few days. Besides getting in, I'm concerned about the financial aspects of it, not cheap...


I talked with current fellow Jayson Crothers who posts on this board and he was kind enough to talk with me about the program, perhaps he'll chime in here. There have been a number of discussions about AFI in the archives, so you could do search on this forum also. Good luck with your interview!

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"Not cheap" would be the under statement of the year....


2005-2006 AFI Costs.


First year cost of attendance: $56,764


The cost of attendance is made up of the following items:

Tuition Deposit: $ 1,000

Regular Tuition: $ 28,500

EPMF (fees): $ 2,000

Room & Board allowance: $ 13,050

Supplies Allowance: $ 4,400

Transportation allowance: $ 2,250

Miscellaneous/ Personal Expenses: $3,564

*Thesis Tuition (Second Year only): $6,050

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Mike Williamson has you applied to AFI before or this is your first time? And after your interview can you please talk about it, so we can know what is it like?

If we are asked for interviews does it mean that we have already advantage over other applicants or everybody asked for interviews?


Thank you and good luck with your interview!

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There are several AFI students and alumni kicking around the boards here. In answer to some of your questions:


It is a difficult program to get in to. They don't seem to like publishing numbers, but Entertainment Weekly has some from 2000 (~1,200 applicants for ~125 total slots in the school. 28 are cinematography). Most applicants are for the directing discipline, but cinematography is also very popular.


I believe the interview is the last step. After that they either accept or reject you. They should have a published date in the application for when they inform you of their final decision. Getting an interview is definitely a good thing. I don't think they accept anyone without one. I'm sure you can contact the admissions office with any concerns and they'll help you out.


It is insanely expensive to attend. There is a fairly large tuition hike starting next year (I think the numbers Richard Boddington posted are correct for 2005-6).


Hope that helps and good luck!


Rob Kraetsch

AFI Cinematography Fellow

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So Rob,


The big question is, "Do you feel you got value for your money?"


I can stomach the 56k, if there is real value for that 56k. It's a bit like what the Ivy League schools charge for MBAs. They know their grads will most likely earn huge salaries, so they don't apologize for the massive costs.


How did AFI help you? Training? Contacts? All of the above?



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By the time you've got to the interview process, you should take a breath and relax a bit - the tough part is over. By interviewing you, they're essentially saying that from all of the applicants, they saw something in both your work and your narrative statement that showed them you were serious and dedicated to the art and craft. It's an insanely intensive program (look in the archives, I posted a little while back on what the first year is like), so the interview is largely to get a feel about how serious you really are, because it's not a program for people who are uncertain about thie field. My interview was mostly chatting about what they expected from me, what I should expect, what did I expect, etc; very informal and conversational - they're around 20-30 minutes.


As for the cost - the tuition hike for next year is considerable, and I have no idea why.


For me, I would have gladly payed twice that for what I gained from the first year - a total rebirth in terms of viewing the world and my work..............etc, etc, etc. However, it's different strokes for different folks and that's why you should really do the interview in person rather than via phone because you should also be interviewing AFI. In my interview, after they'd asked me why I wanted to attend AFI, I asked them why THEY wanted ME to attend - you need to make sure it's a good fit and will be worth the money.


I gained insight, appreciation, management skills, contacts, etc................I'm a supporter of AFI because of MY experience, but I'm positive others on this board who have gone/are going can tell you a very different version. In my case, I photographed a 16mm feature last summer that was successful as a direct result of my education from AFI, and I'm shooting another feature right after graduation this summer with a director I met in the program, and not a 10K mini-DV film on weekends (not that there's anything wrong with those), but a film with a decent budget and wages that aren't a total insult for crew.


It was a tough call for me because my family is most certainly not wealthy (my mother is a special education teacher in a state notorious for low-balling teacher wages), so I'm here entirely through loans and lots and lots and LOTS of scholarships (hint, you can never start too early for scholarship applications and apply for EVERYTHING! - I got a $200 scholarship from some random organization simply because I'm taller than 6'3"!).


The point is that AFI is like ANY educational institution in the simple fact that it's what you make of it - if you come in ready to take the place by storm, make use of your time, learn on your own so you can ask tough and informed questions, etc...............you'll do well. If you expect to sit back and be told and lectured and not actively participate in your own life and career........well, you get back what you put in.


Feel free to contact me via email if you want to chat on the phone, or if you have any other questions I can answer, please let me know.

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"As for the cost - the tuition hike for next year is considerable, and I have no idea why."


I think it's pretty clear. AFI is a private for profit business, not a state funded public university. If UCLA came up with a tuition hike of the same degree imagine the screaming at Arnold what's his name.


Since the free market rules all, AFI figures they can get the money. Although at this rate I highly doubt there will be as many buy, beg, borrow, and steal, folks attending next year.


The question I would have is: AFI has applicant "a" who is very talented but very poor, then there's applicant "b" with little talent but a huge bank account. Which would they choose a or b? The rules of profit and money making would dictate b. I don't think state schools work under the same principal to such a degree.


Again, that's fine, AFI is a business and any business has a right to make a profit.


Of course they are profiting to a large degree from people's dreams, ie if I attend AFI I could be the next big Hollywood director. People should go in with their eyes open knowing this.



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  • 2 weeks later...

To follow up for Karen and anyone else interested, I had my interview last Monday and it seemed to go well. I interviewed with the head of the cinematography dept. and the head of admissions, both were very nice and easy going, as promised it was casual and informal.


They asked me about my narrative statement (which they liked), my background and what I was doing currently, what the program was like emphasizing the intense schedule of the first year, did I have a plan to pay for it?, what sort of books do I read?, favorite films and cinematographers, etc.


I asked them what they liked about my reel (which I think they liked, but maybe not as much as my narrative statement), what did they expect would be the career path of a graduate from the program and so forth.


Overall, I came away with a good feeling about the program. I got a chance to watch a few of the AFI thesis films which were quite good, very high production value. Jayson was kind enough to meet with me before my interview and share his wisdom with me, so my thanks to him for giving me a clearer picturer of AFI than I would've had without his help. Anyhow, this is my first time applying to the program, so we'll see what happens in a month or so.

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Is it to hard to get in to AFI in cinematography discipline? I have applied for fall 2005 and I am already asked for an intervew. What happens after intervie? Am I too close to get in or?

Isn't is the best program for cinematography? Are there any other applicants here, who got any response or know what is going on in AFI this year? I think they are short in editing and production design applicants. I wish that was for cinematography!


Thank you.


I applied for fall 2005 and the guy told me they only take like 70 DP per year. But don't give up if they don't take you this year just apply for 2006 and do some work in the mean time.... Are you from Texas by any chance???

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Did you study under Bill Dill?  What is he like?  I will be attending Chapman MFA Cinematography next year where he is the professor.  Thanks.



Bill Dill, ASC is a warm and friendly gentleman, an excellent cinematographer and IMO one of the best cinematography instructors teaching today. If you get you learn from him, consider yourself most fortunate.


He will challenge and motivate you to learn to see things through your own eyes and experience and not to rely on the tried and true, or to accept things at face value. However, if you're lazy, and refuse to move beyond your comfort zone, you'll wonder what the fuss is all about. Conversely, if you work hard and apply yourself [like I think you will] you'll find yourself on set or location one day, smiling to yourself and recalling one or more of his "Dill-isms" :)


The speed of the film is defined by.....

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I applied to AFI for fall of 04 and was not accepted and will be applying again for fall of 06.


I had a chance to visit the school a couple of weeks ago and sit in on one of Steven Lighthill's 2nd year classes as well as a first year editing class and it made me realize that AFI is the perfect place for me. I was also able to meet with Jayson briefly though the class was already started by the time I arrived so I unfortunately did not get a chance to speak with him at any length. But thanks Jayson for the hospitality.


The convservatory nature of the school is part of what appeals to me so much. The hands on nature of it all seems to really prepare you for the rigours and the joys of being a working DP.


I am spending a lot more time on my application for fall of 06 and I realize that i was probably not ready to attend a year ago. Hopefully I will have better results this time and the very best of luck to those of you who are going through the interview process right now.

Edited by Matt Frank
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Guest Dwight Reynols
That's what I thought, but I got a call this morning and I'm interviewing in-person next Monday!  Did you interview?

Maybe they're short on applicants? I don't know, jamerikaner. How exactly does AFI do their admissions, anyway? Some schools start at the top, I hear, then work their way down the list of applicants. How far down they go depends on how many of those at the top reject their offer.


Does AFI work this way? Or do they inform everyone of their status at once?

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