Master of Fine Arts - Writing for Dramatic Media

This terminal degree focuses specifically on the art and craft of writing for performance. This is a three-year long creative writing discipline housed in a film department. The focus of the program is on developing feature screenplays but the candidate will also produce television screenplays, stage plays, and various type of work for digital media as it evolves. The program is based on a “conservatory” approach of practice and repetition and includes a significant amount of “pitching,” or working aloud with the cohort, as part of the process. Students completing the program will have a significant portfolio of feature motion picture, television, and other scripts that have been honed to a degree of professional expectation. In addition to faculty with professional experience, the students are exposed to a variety of professional guests.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Dramatic Media (changed from Screenwriting) the student should be able to:

  • Use professional on-page formatting technique.
  • Explain why the various formatting choices are put to use.
  • Execute a verbal “pitch”.
  • Collaborate on a verbal “pitch”.
  • Identify story elements in the “pitch” and distinguish their effectiveness.
  • Revise all of the work presented, in response to critical analysis.
  • Recognize the structural strengths and weaknesses of completed written drafts of scripts.
  • Communicate, in a collegial environment, their critical analysis of work presented by the cohort.
  • Analysis of traditionally accepted “classic” screenplays in both written and verbal response.
  • Be able to create a work of dramatic media from inception, pitch, first draft and subsequent drafts in the most professional manner possible.
  • Create a personal collection of written works for various dramatic media (plays, screenplays, teleplays, webisodes, mobisodes, etc.). Each candidate should have a minimum of three feature screenplays, two teleplays and two samples from other media.

Career Info

Although there is not a specific formal path to a career in writing for dramatic media, whether it is in feature screenplays, television, theatrical presentation, or digital entertainment, there are certainly opportunities in screenwriting, and it can be very lucrative and rewarding. It is an industry, however, where less than 10 percent of the workforce is actually employed at any given time. This program prepares the writer for the challenges that will meet the individual as he or she enters the massive entertainment industry. Studios and networks do not have “placement” services for writers, actors and directors – the “above the line personnel.” If one chooses a path in academia, the candidate will be well-versed in how to approach the teaching of creative writing for performance as a career.

Graduate Catalog

This is the official repository of graduate program requirements, graduate program handbooks, and Graduate College policies.

Representative Syllabi

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