Despite having years of experience reviewing films in print and on the Internet, not to mention having garnered a few awards along the way, in July 1996, I received my official rejection from UCLA film school. With a photocopy of my application with "DENIED" stamped in the "For official use only" area on the form came a letter of encouragement, saying that the film department receives far more "qualified" applicants than there are available slots in the program, yada, yada, yada... What was missing, however, was any official reason as to why my application was, to use their terminology, "denied." Citing "the confidentiality of the application process," the letter stated that reasons for denial are never given to applicants--yet the school encourages students to reapply the following year. So how does one expect to know what to do in their application the next year when one is not told what was wrong the first time?
Nonetheless, I reapplied for the following school year. And in July 1997, I once again received an official denial. This time, the film department's response was rather curt. There was no letter to cushion the blow, only the photocopy of my application, but with one difference this time--"DENIED" was stamped not only once, but twice, as if I couldn't take the hint.
Why do I think I was rejected? I don't really have an opinion as far as the first time goes. Some people have told me that maybe I was a bit too qualified, and that the department wanted students more inexperienced in film--the easier to mold them into whatever they want, as opposed to a more independent-minded film afficionado. As far as my second ill-fated application goes, I think it could have been possible blacklisting. After my first rejection, I was so angry and bitter that I launched a massive campaign in protest, having friends, Movie Report subscribers, and various other supporters flood the office of the admissions officer, Steven Moore, with e-mail and snail mail. This, of course, did not get me anywhere; in fact, in a month's time I received a letter from Moore urging me to call off the dogs, so to speak, saying that the letters would not make a difference and were, in fact, making a negative impression. Although it had been said that the admissions committee pays no attention to names when reviewing applications, but I think that, in light of my little stunt, the sight of my name spelled an instant veto. I may just have a delusion of grandeur, but I find it hard to believe that they are able to not pay attention to names. One cannot honestly believe that Jaleel White's status as television's infamous Urkel in Family Matters did not factor in the department's decision to accept him (yes, he was one of the people who got one of the spots instead of me).
In any event, thanks to everyone who has supported me through this whole debacle. It is greatly appreciated.
[Special thanks to the following for their kind words of support: Lisa Amsell, John Arfwedson, Nate Atcheson, Roger Avary, Trace Beaulieu, Jami Bernard, Jet Black, Shane Black, Bruce Campbell, Joe Castille, Wes Craven, Kevin Dobies, Roger Ebert, Jon Favreau, Rob Fitz, Blaine Greenfield, John Hardin, Dennis Humbert, Linda Kaye, Jim Kendrick, Tom Laffont, Cynthia Lumaban, Michelle Mandel, Rick McCaffrey, Brian O'Halloran, Chris Oxley, Jamie Peck, Andrew Rausch, Mitch Richmond, Sam Rubin, Mike Shapiro, Bryan Singer, John Singleton, Kevin Smith, Lester Spence, Quentin Tarantino, Bettina Thornton, Jim Westby, Kale Whorton, and Tom Zerkowski]
R E J E C T E D !/© Michael Dequina