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Conservatory of Performing Arts

FAQs - Cinema Arts

How many people apply and are accepted into the cinema production, animation and visual effects and screenwriting programs each year?

The number of students who apply to the cinema, animation and visual effects and screenwriting programs fluctuates from year to year. On average, the cinema department receives approximately 275 applications for approximately 90 spaces.

Does the creative sample for the portfolio require a film-related sample (short film, screenplay, animated short, etc.)?

No. If you have a short film, animation project, digital arts piece or script that you want to submit, that's great. However, we are also interested in looking at anything you've done creatively. This could include poetry, a short story, a music CD, photographs, etc. We really want to see something that has come from you. Learn more about how to apply to the cinema arts program.

Once I submit my portfolio, what happens after that?

The cinema arts department contacts applicants within three to five working days of receipt of the portfolio. Please contact Bonnie Sampson at 412-392-6133 or via email if you have not received acknowledgement of receipt.

You will be contacted by the University to schedule a portfolio interview with a cinema arts department faculty member. The portfolio review may take four to six weeks. It is preferred that these interviews are in person on campus; however, phone or Skype interviews are also conducted.

If you are attending an open house at Point Park, you are eligible to schedule an interview during your time on campus. To schedule an interview during an open house, RSVP to an upcoming session and then email Bonnie Sampson to schedule the interview.

What do I need to do to prepare for the interview?

You do not need to bring additional materials to the interview unless requested to do so. The interviews are fairly relaxed and offer you a chance to ask questions about the program, and for the interviewer to ask questions of you, including questions about your creative work. The interviews usually cover your interest in filmmaking, animation and visual effects, and/or screenwriting; and your creative work.

After I go through the interview process, how long will it take before I hear a decision?

Candidates that have been academically accepted and interview during the fall semester (September-December) will be reviewed in December and can expect to receive a letter regarding their interview decision by January. Candidates that have been academically accepted and interview during the spring semester (January-March), will be reviewed in March and can expect to receive a letter regarding their interview decision by the end of March.

Does the cinema arts department offer scholarship and work-study money to students?

More than 75 percent of cinema arts students receive scholarship and apprenticeship money. (Please note: An apprenticeship offered to a student based on his or her interview is a job-related award. The student will be expected to work a set number of hours per week in exchange for a monthly stipend.) Further, the Department of Cinema Arts offers a number of additional scholarships to students as they progress throughout their programs. For more information on awards, refer to Scholarships and Apprenticeships.

Can I double major or declare a minor?

Due to the intensity and rigor of our program, a double major can be pursued but the student should expect to take more time complete both degrees — usually one or two additional semesters. Minors are available in many of the programs, and we encourage our students to pursue additional interests. Double majors within the cinema arts department cannot be pursued due to the integrated, overlapping nature of the degrees.

How much film, animation and visual effects and/or screenwriting experience/training should a prospective student have prior to attending Point Park?

You are not required to have any film, animation and visual effects and/or screenwriting experience prior to entering the cinema department. If you do have experience in one or more areas of cinema production, this will help you become acclimated to the cameras and software more quickly.

Do I need to bring a camera or editing software with me when I start at Point Park?

No. The cinema department provides all the HD cameras, lighting, equipment and computer labs you'll need while in the program. We also make some cameras and equipment available to students for independent projects outside of course work.

What is the average size of cinema production, animation and visual effects, and screenwriting classes at Point Park?

The average ratio for cinema production and screenwriting workshop classes is 15:1, and most advanced production, animation and writing classes have a class ratio of 10:1.

Does the cinema department provide budget money for student films?

The department does provide a production budget to the student for the third-year production project.

What are the advantages that Pittsburgh will add to my education?

Other than great locations to use for productions, whether it is an inner-city story or a quick escape to the rural surroundings, Pittsburgh has become a magnet for feature film and television production. The city has the largest sound stage on the East Coast and hosts many productions that students can work on in multiple production and post-production positions.

How does Point Park help graduating seniors with career employment?

From the beginning of freshman year, each cinema, animation and screenwriting student is assigned a career counselor in the Career Development Center to work with throughout his or her years at Point Park. In conjunction with the Career Development Center the cinema department helps students obtain internships and employment with production companies and productions in Pittsburgh, as well as in Los Angeles and New York. We also hold a number of public screenings of student work.

Have student films screened at film festivals?

Yes. Student work has been screened at national and international film festivals. Please see Student Work for more information.

Does the cinema department help facilitate entering films, animation projects and scripts into festivals and competitions?

While the cinema department doesn't submit work on behalf of the student, student work accepted into festivals in which students attend may submit a request to have expenses reimbursed from the school.