Applicant rules & eligibility


Any USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate is eligible to apply to First Team. Students and nongraduates are not eligible. We vet each selectee with the school to verify graduation status.

Title vs. degree

You may apply for any position title regardless of the division from which you received your degree. For example, we had several Peter Stark Producing grads get into the program as directors. We accepted several Production grads as writers. We had Writing Division grads who were directors. We had Critical Studies grads as directors, writers, and producers. We also accepted grads from Animation and Interactive Media.

If you’re selected, you cannot switch titles. For example, if you apply as a writer and are accepted as a writer, you will be considered a First Team writer for this entire cycle.

Graduation year

We accept applications from every graduating class. Our participants vary in age. We accepted brand new graduates and alumni from the 1970s. Seasoned veterans teaming with enthusiastic recent grads can be a powerful combination.


Our official First Teams consist of three people – one writer, one director, and one producer. Each applicant must choose one title – writer, producer, or director.

We do NOT accept co-writers, co-directors, or co-producers – even if both are USC SCA grads.

We do NOT accept hyphenates – writer-directors, writer-producers, producer-directors, etc.

If you have been a hyphenate in the past but are eager to work on a team with two other talented filmmakers, we encourage you to apply.

Last year’s participants

If you were selected to participate in our first cycle, you are NOT automatically accepted into the second cycle. No one is grandfathered into the second cycle. We encourage our first year participants to apply.

Application process

Each participant must to agree to the program’s terms and agreement, then fill out the online application form. Applying to the program does NOT guarantee acceptance.

Filling out an application

Please fill out your application completely. We only consider the information provided your application. We do not link to other websites for credits, awards, bio, etc. We only look at the information you submit on your application.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is May 21st. Applications received after May 21st will not be considered. Check out the program at-a-glance for more deadline information.

Limited Slots

We have limited slots for each title. Once we have reached capacity for a title, we’ll put applicants on a waiting list.

Selection Process

We will select a writer, director, and producer participants based on application information, applicant idea/genre, interests of our industry affiliates, the dynamics of the applicant pool, and the program size.

We will notify selectees via email in mid-June. Once notified, all selectees must pay a participant fee by the participant fee deadline. See the program at-a-glance page for more info on deadlines.

Participant Fee

After an applicant is selected for the program, he or she must pay a First Team program participation fee of $35 and join the SCA Network, which costs $25. If the participant is already an SCA Network member, he or she only needs to pay the First Team participant fee.

Waiting List

If a participant fails to pay the program participation fee by the deadline, he or she will be disqualified. We will go to the waiting list and fill slots appropriately.