Applicants to the Media Production major within Emerson’s Visual and Media Arts Department, both freshman and transfer, are encouraged to submit a creative sample as a part of their application. Creative samples can be submitted in the Application Portal after the application has been submitted and may include:

  • a film or video submission up to 5 minutes in length (up to 5 GB per file);
  • a 5- to 10-page script or screenplay;
  • an audio or sound clip; or
  • digital photography.

To upload your creative sample, you will need to submit your Common Application with Emerson Supplement or Emerson Application, and application fee payment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Emerson College looking for from a creative sample?

We look at creative samples to see your current skills and to assess your potential. Your creative sample should showcase your creativity, feature meaningful content, and demonstrate your artistic sensibility and technical sophistication. Keep in mind, though, that your creative sample should also stand on its own. How you achieve these sometimes competing goals is ultimately up to you. For example, sometimes your artistic sensibility will require you to abandon complex craftsmanship. Do not be afraid to be brave or bold in your choices.

How much money should I spend in making the content for my creative sample?

We do not judge applicants based on their resources. We’ve accepted applicants who submit a film in which there is a single shot of someone talking to the camera as well as projects that included a cast of dozens.

If I choose to submit a film or video, what style does Emerson College want?

There is no formula for a sure-fire creative sample. It can be narrative, documentary, or experimental. It can be a music video for a band, a clip tape set to music, a dance, or lip-synched scene. We’ve seen everything from a documentary on colony collapse disorder to an ad for jeans. It can be an anti-war video or two guys on a trampoline. Personal confessions and homages to great directors have caught our interest, as have well-choreographed fight scenes. It can use a 35mm camera, a camcorder, a cell phone, still photos, a typewriter, or a video game’s 3-D graphics rendering engine. Anything goes.

How do I upload a script?

To upload a script, follow the instructions for uploading a film, but choose PDF as your upload format. To convert a Word document to PDF, choose File>Save As>PDF.

Do you have practical advice on putting together the creative sample?

Take the time to do quality control. Review the whole submission in the Digital Portfolio. Is the compression rate right? Is sound distorted? Are images using the entire frame? You put a great deal of effort into making your submission look and sound good on your screen. Make sure it comes across well on our side.

Make your hook count. Whether you’re providing an audio sample, several short videos, or a collection of photos, make a good first impression by presenting your best work to your audience early on. After all, hundreds of people submit creative samples to Emerson College. Make yours stand out from the crowd.

Get someone with a critical eye to look over your work. Can you set up your narrative more efficiently? Are you better off submitting your best 90 seconds of content rather than stretching it out to 5 minutes? Do not waste time. Editing is about more than just stitching together shots, sounds, or scenes; it’s also about creating a cohesive piece. Show that you know how to make hard decisions about your work. You do not have to use the full page limit or time allotment; it would not be held against you.

If your work is not in English, please either subtitle it or provide a written translation with your creative sample.