American Film Interview

Griffith Observatory as seen from the AFI campus.

The American Film Institute Conservatory Campus


It was about this time last year that I received a letter of rejection from the American Film Institute Conservatory where I had applied for their graduate directing program. I’m no stranger to rejection letters, but this one smarted because I felt stupid for moving across the country to purse higher education only to be rejected.

After a few months I decided to apply again. Recently I was invited to interview at the school. This isn’t an acceptance by any means, but I feel like I have just balanced a deficit on my internal spreadsheet. Now, however, I am faced with a new dilemma: how will this affect the decision I make about where I will do my graduate studies? Because this year I didn’t apply to only one school and I will have to make The Choice between several equally good options.

The thing about perseverance is that it is an admirable quality made up of the sharp peaks of less savory characteristics: determination is only a few degrees away from stubbornness, persistence is only a few degrees away from foolishness (or even madness: don’t they say that madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?) and commitment to a goal even in the face of failure is only a few degrees away from obsession for a something unattainable.

I sometimes give up on things too soon because I worry about being thought stubborn, foolish, or obsessed and so I am a little bit proud of myself for getting back up on the proverbial horse to re-apply to AFI. At the same time I haven’t quite forgotten the fact that my first attempt failed. So as I am weighing the pros and cons of each school I am not sure how to factor this into my decision. Is it a pro because I was perseverant? Is it a con because I didn’t get in on the first try? Is it a con for the other schools because I did get in on the first try and I should reach higher?

Could I possibly be over thinking this?


At any rate I had the privilege of going to the AFI conservatory campus yesterday to do an interview so I am grateful for that. I feel I did well, but I won’t presume to say that I know what their decision will be. And while AFI was interviewing me to assess whether I would be a good fit for them I was taking a look around to see if AFI would be a good fit for me. I feel that the school showed well, but I can’t say what my decision will be either.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 14, 2013.

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