Monday, April 17, 2006

NYU MFA Dramatic Writing

Possibly Paranoid but Been There Before writes...

I have a dilemma. I got into the MFA Dramatic Writing program at NYU.

There, the final, dissertation play is presented as a reading before an external examiner drawn from the professional theatre community and not formally affiliated with NYU. This professional may specify corrections to the script that MUST be made before the dissertation passes.

I'm not a neophyte playwright: I have regular one-act productions in big cities in three countries; a full-length commission to be produced next year; two monetary awards; a fully-funded one-week residency a few years back; and a permanent lectureship from which I will be on leave whilst studying for the MFA, which I need for my department's profile.

If this examiner hates my play and I can't make the corrections on time, I will fail the dissertation.

Is this examination policy so risky that I should turn down my offer?

It sounds really strange to me, PPBBTB. Changes that you HAVE to make? My sense is this: perhaps it's like the creative dissertation in fiction or poetry etc.. Your advisor will not let you defend it until it's up to snuff. That doesn't mean that your changes will be his or her changes, they'll be your own. The advisor or this examiner in this case will simply say whether the work is the best it can be.

This is all speculation on my part. If I were you: I'd contact two current students and ask if this is really the case. Ask if this is a problem for current or past students. If it's a serious problem for others, then I'd consider saying no to the program. My guess though: this is overblown. The examiner is there for guidance. And, it sounds like you've had a lot of success already. My sense is that the chances are low that this will be a problem for you.


Anonymous said...

Hey: I graduated from DDW at NYU, and the thesis/dissertation is a breeze. Don't worry. Everyone passes. The "professional" usually comes in for an hour and pontificates. Then you get an A. NYU is all about making things sound scary, and then it's incredibly easy once you're there.

Anonymous said...

What's the general acceptance rate at NYU DDW? I'd imagine it would be astronomical odds to get in. Do most people who get in already have plays produced? I'd love to apply but not if it's a complete longshot. I haven't ever had a play produced.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tom and commenters.

Re: acceptance rate at NYU DDW, I am told that there are about 300 applications per year and that I'll be in a year group of 20, mixed playwrights, screenwriters, and both.

Another question for the NYU grad, please? Is there favoritism, or are tutors helpful to all students? How hard is it to get recommendations if you're hard-working and keep up a (non-NYU) production record?

susan said...

I'd also like to apply to the NYU dramatic writing program.
Is anyone in the program available for contact and questions/advice?

recentDDW said...

Hey, I'm in the need of some advice. I was recently offered admission to NYU DDW. I think it would be a great opportunity to improve my writing, but the financial burden is quite overwhelming. I am getting a small scholarship that will cover less than a third of the cost, the rest I'll have to take out in federal and private loans. I'm 22 years old, and I have just graduated in May. Let me know what you guys think. Thanks.

tdv109 said...

Sooo I'm applying early for the dramatic writing program, and I was just wondering... in the portfolio, do you happen to know if they like to see more than one play or screenplay excerpt? reason being, I got this solid 24 pg. play that is like going to get produced and all and i think it's quite solid, and the portfolio limits your pages amount to 25. Am I better off just keeping the one play, or just showcasing a variety of them?

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