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This Area of Concentration includes intensive workshops led by award-winning screenwriters and television writers, centered on analyzing and polishing original narratives. You will create and strengthen your writing portfolio as you design, draft, and polish your feature-length screenplays, television spec scripts, and television pilots. Master classes are offered by guest executives, agents, and executive producers, providing you with excellent opportunities to network within the industry.
Area of Concentration Courses
Four courses are required to earn this Area of Concentration within the MA in Film and Media program.
An intensive writing class exploring and applying the fundamentals of screenwriting for narrative features. We will go from basic story idea through the development of a three-act outline, full treatment, and a polished first act for a feature-length screenplay. Students will learn how to move from a compelling idea to a solid narrative structure, develop and sustain a central theme, build believable characters and craft authentic dialogue, all while satisfying the technical requirements of a modern screenplay. There will be weekly writing assignments designed to build toward a polished first act by the end of the semester, and each class meeting will serve as a workshop for student work. The course will also include weekly script analysis, examining one feature-length script per week for its style, structure, thematic coherence, character development and scene work.
This course will expose students to the mechanics and realities of writing an original pilot for a television series, from concept through beat sheet to draft. Each student will finish the semester with a mini-series bible, a detailed outline and the first half the draft of the pilot. Dramatic goals, character arcs, operational themes will be a few of the many subjects covered.
Imagine your one hour dramatic pilot script has just been picked up to series, congratulations. Find out what really happens in the writers room to turn one pilot into many episodes. Learn how to add depth to your original characters, create new ones and develop future storylines. Having already completed or substantially completed a one hour dramatic pilot script is a plus, but not required. Taught by Tammy Ader Green, a writers room veteran and the creator/showrunner of the long-running Sony series “Strong Medicine.”
Successfully pitching your prospective film, video game, pilot script or web-series is a key factor in making your dream a reality. A strong pitch can attract financing, distribution and star cast attachments. How do you craft a pitch that is compelling and engaging, while also concise and leaves them wanting more? Over the course of the semester, you will pitch multiple projects in different mediums and learn from observing your colleagues pitch their projects. You will create look-books, pitch-decks and sizzle reels. We’ll consider the use of visuals, music and props, and hear from successful writers, directors and producers about their techniques and insights from the front lines of professional pitching.