I'm a lurker but new to posting. So I am almost 30 and I've had a successful career in the film/entertainment industry as a producer (first in NYC and now in LA) since graduating college 8 years ago. I still work full time in the business in a pretty high-up position for my age. I went to a top film school and graduated with a 3.0 GPA (I focused more on internships and working than grades, since I never thought I'd have to worry about grad school!)
A couple years ago, I began to realize that showbiz wasn't what I wanted to do forever. Fun in my 20s, but demoralizing and exhausting as a life choice. I started to look into landscape architecture - I have always been a plant/gardening/environmental nerd. For the last year, I've been in UCLA Extension's landscape arch certificate program taking 2 classes per quarter. It's been fun - before this year I never knew how to draw or design anything, and now I have some cool portfolio pieces that I can be proud of.
I took the GREs recently (720v, 750q) and have been gearing up to apply to MLA programs. However, with the end of year application deadlines looming, I've started to feel a little ambivalent. Though it's been fun sitting down to design, I still feel like I don't quite know what I'm doing while designing, or where the hell I should put that group of trees, or why I should care. Other people just seem to have so much more of a knack for the spatial and design skills.
My skills as a producer for the last 8 years have involved writing, schmoozing, managing teams, solving problems, and diplomatically dealing with difficult personalities. These are the things I KNOW I am good at and that I'd like to continue doing in whatever career. The idea has started to creep into my brain lately - should I be a planner instead of an LA? I never thought about it before now, but the things about landscape architecture that really excite me are urban parks and projects involving public transportation. Those really are the things I am interested in, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's more the hustle of getting these projects underway that I'm interested in than designing the hardscape and plant materials. The new Transbay Terminal project in SF? Makes me drool. But the plant materials and water features being designed for it? Okay, cool, I guess?
So I have 2 questions for you guys. One is - with a project like the Transbay Terminal, or the High Line in NYC, what is the planner's job, specifically? And who do they work for - the government? The design firm? Someone else?
And the other one is - do you think a 30 year old girl with good GRE scores, a meh GPA, great recommendations and a year of landscape architecture classes (but no social science, planning, econ or stats) has a chance in hell of getting into a planning program at a school like Berkeley? (I'm focusing on the Bay Area)
I've also thought about applying to Berkeley's MLA and then going for the MLA/MCP dual, but they probably wouldn't let me into that with an undergrad film degree... who knows. I could also take another year and keep taking classes before applying to a grad program. Any advice would be much appreciated!