The Open-ended Graduate School Application

**Here are some samples of some writing requirements/questions asked in various graduate school applications I experienced**

  1. What is an idea for a screenplay that you might like to produce into a film?

Last year I began writing my first screenplay for a feature-length film. The story entails two generations of society, one black and the other white, separated by about forty years. In the earlier generation, set in the Old South of the early twentieth century, a prominent black man is condemned to a chain gang, wrongly accused of a heinous crime. The first act is very much inspired by Cool Hand Luke and the ideological state panopticon that surrounds the story, except with a quite racist slant given the period. The second act connects two additional groups, again black and white, but forty years later in the midwestern United States. This act follows a hack attorney who cheats to make a living but redeems himself when he witnesses his client, a fundamentalist church, conducting violent and detestable acts towards the local black community while purporting to be a shining example of goodness and altruism in the area. I want to make the film not only because I want to continue shedding light upon the contentious nature of race in our society, but because of the challenges of being a filmmaker producing a film that in my mind would likely be full of controversy. The physical and mental violence of hatred has long been one of the most disturbing aspects of humanity (at least in my opinion), and while there are also controversial viewpoints on the church and religion as a whole in this story, my focus has always been to put generational racism at the forefront. The story connects not only separate ethnicities and heritages, but connects them through decades, much like how post-colonial racism exists today as it becomes ostracized, fighting against the liberal ideologies of modern society while exuberantly denying that racism even exists.

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