• MFA in Film Production film set

    M.F.A. in Film Production

    Explore all creative aspects of cinematic storytelling

» M.F.A. in Film Production

Whether you’re currently working in the film industry or some other field, if film production is your calling, then Dodge College is your seminary.

Let’s be honest: Film production is a vocation. Whether your desire is to become a first-rate director, cinematographer, editor or sound designer, your calling requires total commitment, hands-on experience and advanced education for you to reach the highest echelons.

Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts can give you the education and experience; the commitment is up to you.

Whether you’re starting from scratch with no prior filmmaking experience, or you’ve been in the entertainment industry for a few years and want to develop an area of specialization, our MFA in Film Production can prepare you for success in ways that will challenge you beyond your expectations.

During your first year with us, you’ll explore all the creative aspects of cinematic storytelling under the tutelage of master storytellers who’ve honed their crafts over a lifetime of award-winning work and who have a combined filmography of more than 150 feature films, a record unmatched by any other film school in the country. Our location, just a heartbeat from Hollywood, enables internships with studios and production companies as well as visits from major Hollywood directors, cinematographers, editors, and screenwriters.

During your second year, you’ll delve headfirst into your chosen specialization. Every class is like a film workshop: you learn by doing. And the “doing” opportunities are endless: intense filmmaking activities — writing, directing, shooting, editing — are going on at all hours of the day and night in and around our facility, Marion Knott Studios, as well as on location. The technology available to you is beyond belief: two sound stages, insert stages for cinematography and television / broadcast journalism, a Foley stage, Dolby surround mixing, a motion capture stage, dedicated spaces for pre- and post-production. Basically, there’s nothing that can be done in Hollywood that you can’t do here at Dodge.

By your third year, you’ll be forming creative teams with your fellow students, employing the best writers, producers, editors, cinematographers, sound and production designers, all coming together to realize a unified vision — a final thesis project that will act as your calling card to the industry. 

+ - Degree Requirements

  1. Complete 72 credits at the 500 or 600 level.
  2. Successfully complete a thesis film.
  3. Pass an oral defense of the thesis project.

The following sequence of courses is intended to prepare the student for successful completion of the thesis project. Each area of study is comprised of specialized coursework which prepares students as cinematographers, directors, editors or sound designers. The courses must be taken in the following order, during the semesters indicated. Any deviation must be approved by the film division chair.

cinematographer area of study

first year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FP 504

Fundamentals of Visual Design and Production

3

FP 530

Story

3

FP 531

Production Workshop I

3

FP 537

Fundamentals of Cinematography I

3

spring requirements (15 credits)

FP 506

Overview of Post Production

3

FP 532

Production Workshop II

3

FP 542

Production and Set Protocol

3

SW 555

The Short Film Form

3

FP 578

Fundamentals of Cinematography II

3

second year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FP 501

Actor–Director Workshop

3

FS 502

Evolution of Narrative Film I

3

FP 577

Production Workshop III

3

FP 677

Intermediate Cinematography

3

spring requirements (9 credits)

FS 503

Evolution of Narrative Film II

3

FP 631

Production Workshop IV

3

FP 678

Advanced Cinematography

3

third year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

spring requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

total credits

 

72

director area of study

first year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FP 504

Fundamentals of Visual Design and Production

3

FP 531

Production Workshop I

3

SW 527

Fundamentals of Screenwriting

3

FP 538

Fundamentals of Directing I

3

spring requirements (15 credits)

FP 506

Overview of Post Production

3

FP 532

Production Workshop II

3

FP 539

Fundamentals of Directing II

3

FP 542

Production and Set Protocol

3

SW 555

The Short Film Form

3

second year

fall requirements (9 credits)

FS 502

Evolution of Narrative Film I

3

FP 577

Production Workshop III

3

FP 664

Intermediate Directing

3

spring requirements (12 credits)

FS 503

Evolution of Narrative Film II

3

FP 624

Thesis Film Development

3

FP 631

Production Workshop IV

3

FP 665

Advanced Directing

3

third year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

spring requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

total credits

 

72

editor area of study

first year

fall requirements (15 credits)

FP 504

Fundamentals of Visual Design and Production

3

FP 515

Editing I

3

FP 530

Story

3

FP 531

Production Workshop I

3

FP 533

Fundamentals of Audio Design

3

spring requirements (12 credits)

FP 506

Overview of Post Production

3

FP 541

Visual Effects for Editors

3

SW 555

The Short Film Form

3

FP 640

Editing II

3

second year

fall requirements (9 credits)

FP 501

Actor–Director Workshop

3

FS 502

Evolution of Narrative Film I

3

FP 660

Editing III

3

spring requirements (12 credits)

FS 503

Evolution of Narrative Film II

3

DOC 578

Documentary Storytelling: Editing

3

FP 641

Advanced Editing

3

 

*Elective

3

third year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

spring requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

total credits

 

72

*Electives suggested PD 556 Drawing and Storyboarding Studio, DOC 578 Documentary Storytelling: Editing.

sound design area of study

first year

fall requirements (15 credits)

FP 504

Fundamentals of Visual Design and Production

3

FP 515

Editing I

3

FP 530

Story

3

FP 531

Production Workshop I

3

FP 533

Fundamentals of Audio Design

3

spring requirements (12 credits)

FP 506

Overview of Post Production

3

FP 525

Art and Craft of Foley and ADR

3

FP 540

Production Audio

3

SW 555

The Short Film Form

3

second year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FS 502

Evolution of Narrative Film I

3

FP 582

Music Composition for Filmmakers

3

FP 633

Intermediate Audio Design

3

 

Elective

3

spring requirements (9 credits)

FS 503

Evolution of Narrative Film II

3

FP 634

Advanced Audio Design

3

 

Elective

3

third year

fall requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

spring requirements (12 credits)

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production

12

total credits

 

72

+ - Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes:
  • Exhibit an understanding of the fundamental components of visual storytelling, story structure and story analysis.
  • Articulate the various functions and roles on a film set, and work collaboratively within that structure.
  • Through closely-mentored projects, demonstrate technical proficiency in a specific filmmaking discipline (Directing, Editing, Cinematography, Sound Design, Producing, or Production Design).
  • Through critical essays, writing assignments, and visual production exercises, demonstrate an understanding of the development of film language, including aesthetic perspective.
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