PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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glitched
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PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby glitched » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:17 pm

Hello all,

I wanted to submit my application either tonight or tomorrow unless there are any problems. I would love some feedback. :) be brutal - this is no time to be nice. thank you in advance everyone!

Here it is:

Jason Stillborn waits in a dimly lit room with nothing in it except a metal desk and two chairs, one on which he is sitting. There is a single door, reinforced by steel and protected by multiple locks, each on its own able to withstand a major blast. There are no windows, but Jason Stillborn knows that he is being watched very carefully – a camera is hidden on the left side of the wall. After waiting a few minutes, Jason Stillborn smiles and looks directly at the lens, asking politely if he can have a cigarette. He is so calm that it sounds as if he is talking to his best friend. No one would guess that this man was arrested tonight after being convicted for the murder of twenty five individuals committed over the past eight weeks. No one would guess that this man is as dangerous as he is brilliant. But most importantly, no one would guess that by the end of the night, this man will walk free.

This might sound like a scene from a movie or television program, but I assure you that it is not. Well, at least not yet. This is the ending to my screenplay, and Jason Stillborn is my antagonist. He is a medical doctor who has engineered a disease that has the power to kill a single individual without it becoming contagious. This gives him the ability to kill only those he wants to kill, almost eliminating the risk of being caught. Eventually, however, as anyone who has performed a task of ingenuity can attest, he wants credit from someone somewhere in the world, leaving a set of clues for my protagonist, a rookie detective named Michael Matthews, to catch him.

Ever since I graduated from UC Berkeley, I have been writing a movie concerning the powers of biotechnology. As a biologist, I have been able to see the how much the technology has advanced and how fast it is advancing today. Such innovations have been used for much good throughout the world: new treatments for AIDS, therapies for cancer, and even developments for engine fuel. But, as with any new power, there is the potential for biotechnology to be used to cause terror or destruction. With the right tools, a disease can be created in a lab to be as deadly as HIV yet as contagious as the common cold. And that is a frightening thought. My movie attempts to deal with such concerns while also hopefully providing an exciting, suspenseful adventure for the audience.

However, I am not looking for a career in entertainment. I simply enjoy screenwriting, spending any free time trying to tell a story people may or may not enjoy. I would rather use my knowledge and experience in science to help further any new research and the problems that biology laboratories are currently facing. Bioscience is advancing very quickly, and while working in an academic research laboratory, I have asked questions that need to be answered. For example, with new research such as stem cells, a patient can use his own cells to help create a new organ for a transplant, completely avoiding the risk of rejection. This will undoubtedly save thousands of lives who have been waiting years, if not decades, on a transplant list. And because of stem cell research, such lists will one day only be found in history books or medical records. But yet some questions still remain. Who owns the rights to such technology? Is it the researchers who discovered such a method, the institution that funded such research, or does it belong completely to the public who ultimately funded the institution? Without a firm foundation in the biological sciences, it may be difficult or perhaps impossible to find the right answer. And I want to take a part in finding such answers to ultimately benefit people in need.

Many people have told me that with my degree I am limited to either a career in medicine or research. And though there was a time when I felt the same way, I know now that I am not. As partially evidenced by my screenplay, I hope to use my knowledge of science to venture into new fields and industries that needs such expertise. Although there may be days where I will miss working in a laboratory to help make any new important discoveries, I am still as excited, if not more excited, for my future beyond it.
Last edited by glitched on Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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birdlaw117
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby birdlaw117 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:21 pm

I like it, and it is well-written. However, I'm not sure the topic is all that relevant for a law school PS. I'm no expert on the subject though, so maybe others will have a different opinion.

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3|ink
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby 3|ink » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:43 am

birdlaw117 wrote:I like it, and it is well-written. However, I'm not sure the topic is all that relevant for a law school PS. I'm no expert on the subject though, so maybe others will have a different opinion.


Agree on all points. I think you need to get rid of the description of the movie altogether. The first time I read this, I was trying to figure out how you were related to this guy in the interviewing room. I was thrown off when I found out it was a fictional character.

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glitched
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby glitched » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:30 am

i understand where you guys are coming from, and i tried an edit, but it's really hard for me to part with the drama of it all. the entire statement seems flat and non supportive without it. haha

as you have probably guessed from my statement, i am a biology major and the only reason i talk about screenwriting is because 1. it is actually one of my hobbies and i actually do enjoy it, but 2. that i can cut the mold of all other biology majors by attempting to show i have a creative writing side. I know personal statements have generally fit the mold of "i survived and conquered this adversity and therefore am prepared for the rigors of law school" or "i walked out of city hall knowing that I took a part in providing justice for the poor and my three years as an intern for obama helps me know that i will one day walk into city hall on my own in the future with the same fundamental ideals in mind" but i hate talking about my past suffering and i have never walked into city hall. loll i have my reasons to be a lawyer but i wrote that essay and it bore me to write it. this one was fun :)

I think i might know what the problem is - it's those first two sentence in my second paragraph. they are inherently deceitful. generally, i am happy to put that kind of deceit in my writing to keep my audience on it's toes, but i think adcoms would rather be sitting down comfortably in a chair. lol i dont know - i need help though! I'm listening to your suggestions, i really am - i just want to make sure i can give my reasoning for some of the writing i put in the statement to help clarify things.

Thanks for the responses though!

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downing
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby downing » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:32 am

This ps flies in the face of everything you should be doing. Sure, it's entertaining, that I grant you, but the first half of it is not a ps. The fact that you're writing a screenplay is great, but can you reveal or say you've actually published anything? After all, the screenplay is a large part of your statement. All they learn is that you intend to do something with an incomplete document. It sounds immature. I'm not going to tell you what to focus on, that's really up to you, but after reading a lot on this subject, your ps looks like it will hurt you.

WayBryson
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby WayBryson » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:05 am

This does fly in the face of everything that a Personal Statement "should be," which is a big part of why I liked it. However, it is also a part of why it might be hated. Fortune favors the bold (and talented), and should you have good letters of recommendation and respectable numbers, then I believe this might just do the trick. Moreover, I don't think it will sink your application if viewed in an unfavorable light unless you are already on the cusp--besides it might potentially work the other way.

In terms of improving it, your example of stem cell research is a bit bland. This topic is well played out, and the writing slows down a lot at this point. That whole paragraph is thematically good, but I would try to come across as a bit deeper and more nuanced to counterbalance the more artistic opening. In any event, good luck to you.

Also: "one on which he is sitting" = FAIL. Better: "on one of which he sits."
"that need to be answered" = meh. "that need answers."

Given that you are selling you hobby as a writer to round out your profile, I would definitely make sure that ALL the writing in the application is Ace.

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downing
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby downing » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:26 am

This line: "However, I am not looking for a career in entertainment. I simply enjoy screenwriting, " which you position immediately after explaining the important message your "movie" is trying to transmit, severely detracts from the impact it might otherwise have. You spent the majority of the space provided going over this hobby of yours, then you make it seem unimportant.

Another line that needs attention: "As partially evidenced by my screenplay," The excerpt from your screenplay does not offer evidence regarding your intentions.

Although there may be days where I will miss working in a laboratory to help make any new important discoveries, I am still as excited, if not more excited, for my future beyond it.
What important discoveries have you made? If you did make any important discoveries in a laboratory, you could discuss that finding and in the process relate it to law - just an idea.

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Flips88
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby Flips88 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:59 am

Is your film called The Stillborn Identity?

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glitched
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby glitched » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:16 pm

Lolll you know I didn't even realize I did that until my brother pointed it out to me. I was going to change the name but I couldn't think of one I liked. (The movie is titled endemic in case you actually care to know)

But more seriously, I think its time to cut some more of the movie stuff. A lot of people have told me that so far. Thanks for the suggestions so far! Keep em coming if you can (or only if? Quick Lsat joke) :)

Also on the whole immaturity thing - I am young and I am immature in a strict sense of the word. I just graduated last may and I couldn't spend time during school to write. So ive only had a few months to write this thing while looking for a job, taking the lsat, etc. lol and finishing a script in a few months when you actually devote all day to write is still, in my opinion, a superhuman task. But sadly I'm just a mere mortal...

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Mike12188
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby Mike12188 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:42 pm

Flips88 wrote:Is your film called The Stillborn Identity?


+1. You can try Jason Miscarriage instead or Jason Deadbaby or Jason Abortion. Just a few names on the same topic.

slg123
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby slg123 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:23 pm

Instead of inserting the abstract of your screenplay, you could write about the process of writing a screenplay. A picture into your aching hand, ideas popping in and out of your head, character play, etc. That way it is about you and not your character. Try writing this and just see how you feel about it.

Saltqjibo
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Re: PS - submitting tonight or tomorrow

Postby Saltqjibo » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:38 pm

Do you have a phd in biology? I'm not sure what the conventions are, but if you don't, I would hesitate before using the word 'biologist'. If you do then carry on.




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