• M.F.A. TV Writing and Producing

Dodge College of Film & Media Arts


M.F.A in Television Writing and Producing

» Acquire the skills needed to pursue a career as a television writer/producer

The small screen has become big—in fact, it’s huge, in terms of the opportunities open to the next generation of television writers and producers. From multi-episode shows available for streaming/binge watching, to innovative “concept” shows that vary from season-to-season around a theme or brand (think True Detective or Fargo), the world of television is wide open for innovation. And so the door is wide open for creative storytellers who see no limit to what “television” means today.

Our two-year M.F.A. in Television Writing and Producing will help you acquire the broad spectrum of skills needed to pursue a career as a television writer/producer. Not only will you strengthen and polish your writing, but you will also learn about how the business works—how content is developed, pitched and sold. And, just as important, you will learn the fundamentals of production, developing an understanding of what it takes to actually produce a show, from working with actors to knowing the logistics, costs and timing of all the phases of production.

In the first year, you’ll dig deep into the fundamentals of story form, learn about what’s happening in the business in real time from a steady stream of industry guests who will screen their work and share their experiences, and you’ll study what it takes to be an effective leader, which, as showrunner, you will be called upon to be.

In the second year, you’ll be challenged to master the planning and logistics of series creation: from writing a pilot to casting and production. You will also work in a “writer’s room” developing and writing subsequent episodes of a pilot as if you were on a professional writing staff.  Learning how to develop a story arc and develop characters over time is vital to moving from an idea to an multi-episode actual show.

When you graduate, you’ll leave with a portfolio that showcases your talent as a writer, with spec scripts for current series and an original pilot script, as well as your understanding of the work of a producer, based on your direct involvement in production, working on set and learning what the producer needs to know to bring a show to the screen.

+ - Degree Requirements

This is a sample of the proposed curriculum for the M.F.A. Television Writing and Producing program:

*** denotes new course

51 units total (plus 3 optional for summer travel course) 

First Year: Fall (12 units)
SW 527 Fundamentals of Screenwriting (3) 
TWP 502 The Narrative Form (3) ***
TWP 550 Global Media Market (3) ***
TWP 510 New Era of Television (3)

First Year: Spring (12 units)
SW 628 Seminar in TV Writing Drama (3) 
SW 630 Seminar in TV Writing Comedy (3) 
TWP 540 Business of Television (3)
LEAD 505 Foundations of Effective Leadership Development (3)

Summer (optional)
Travel Course to explore TV production at an international site.

Second Year: Fall (12 units)
TWP 697 Thesis in Television Writing I (6 UNITS) ***
TWP 501 Actor-Producer Workshop (3) ***
TWP 514 TV Series Development (3) ***

Interterm (3 Units)
FTP 534A Production and Set Management for Film Production (Producers) (3)

Second Year: Spring (12 units)
TWP 695 The Writer as Showrunner (3) *** 
FTV 690 Independent Internship (3)
TWP 698 Thesis in Television Writing II (3) ***
TWP 696 The Writer’s Room (3) ***

+ - Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the mastery of narrative television storytelling skills including construction of an original, clear and cogent central dramatic concept, employment of effective dramatic structure, and creation of authentic characters vividly drawn through their dialogue and action.
  • Demonstrate mastery of producing and leadership skills including effective oral and written communication, strong ability to organize and prioritize tasks, and collaborative skills.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze current TV market conditions and business models and then evaluate the marketability and viability of their skills and creative work within the available markets.
  • Experience close, mentoring relationships with faculty delivered via coursework in and out of the classroom. This personalized learning experience will help enable students to demonstrate their ability to work in a professional, collaborative environment appropriate to narrative television.

+ - Faculty

+ - Application Requirements

In order to apply to the MFA Film and Television Producing program, you must submit all required application materials, including a Creative Supplement. You can click here to create an account and begin the application.

Application Requirements:

  • Statement of Intent
  • Resume
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Creative Supplement

 Other Required Materials:

  • Official copy of your undergraduate transcript from your degree granting institution

No additional information should be sent to Dodge College or the Office of Admissions outside of what is required on the application. Any outside work sent to either office will not be reviewed as part of the admission process.

View additional application details

Questions?

Contact Us

(714) 628-2764

ftvgrad@chapman.edu

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