Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

General

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Please refer to the What to pack for Graduate Students page.

Yes. With permission from faculty of record, creative producing and screenwriting students may take electives or audit classes in any discipline at the undergraduate level including directing, production design, cinematography and editing.

Film Music Composition students may enroll in or audit Music classes. Some examples include courses on music theory, ear training/musicianship, keyboard skills, counterpoint, jazz improvisation and various ensembles such as symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, etc.

Over the past few years, students have met with guest artists like Ava Duvernay, Danny McBride, Deniese Davis, Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Hedges, Ted Hope, Rebecca Green and Seed&Spark.

UNCSA provides connections to the film industry in the following ways:

  • Meeting industry professionals in the form of guest artists that visit campus or chat with students via Skype or Zoom
  • Through our alumni network, which includes filmmakers in all fields working in Los Angeles and all over the world
  • A week-long trip to Los Angeles just after graduation, which includes tours of studios, sit-ins and meet and greets with industry leaders of diverse specialties
  • Placement in academic internships, which ideally leads to full-time employment. When entering the industry after graduation, you'll be ready to pursue your career and have a realistic expectation of exactly what the work is that you'll be expected to do, and where to find it.

Creative Producing

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Creative Producing applicants are not required to hold an undergraduate degree in filmmaking. Preferred primary applicants for the Creative Producing concentration should have a minimum of two (2) years of progressively responsible work experience demonstrating skills in collaboration and project execution.

Yes.

No.

Yes. Most students hold jobs and work anywhere from two to five days per week. Classes meet from late August through early May and are held primarily in late afternoon and evenings. In the summers, students prepare their creative projects for the upcoming term.

Creative producers have a primarily two-day/week schedule, with class starting at 3 p.m. Classes can run late into the evening.

Creative Producing students focus on both episodic and feature filmmaking projects.

M.F.A. producing and screenwriting students collaborate early and often, on everything from pitches to scripts to proofs-of-concept and web series. They leave with relationships that will fuel their careers. Our students graduate knowing directors, cinematographers, animators, composers, editors and others who will be part of their ongoing professional networks.

Courses are currently offered as online or hybrid courses. Since most of the industry is operating online right now, we feel it’s advantageous to students to be building the skills to pitch their projects remotely and form collaborations through Zoom.

Each year, several M.F.A. students make web series or proofs of concept. While short film production is not part of the M.F.A. curriculum, there are numerous opportunities to participate in undergraduate productions. Some students utilize school resources to make a short film as a side-project.

Film Music Composition

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The most important part of the application is the composition portfolio. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a unique passion for storytelling through original music to convey a message or idea, and/or to portray an emotion or feeling with sound.

Students in our program often come from diverse musical backgrounds, and in some cases may hold undergraduate degrees in fields of study other than music. Film Music Composition preferred applications have an undergraduate degree with a concentration or major in music or music composition. The interview process will determine if such an applicant demonstrates the skills necessary for success in the Film Music Composition program.

Applicants must, at a minimum, possess functional use of the somatic senses, have adequate motor capabilities to manage situations in which these senses would be employed and be able to integrate data acquired via these senses.

We award one graduate assistantship per class year, available only for out-of-state students. The award reduces out-of-state tuition to in-state tuition (worth approximately $14,000), and additionally includes a yearly stipend of $2,000. All out-of-state and international applicants are automatically considered for this award upon admission.

Additional details may be requested from the applicant as part of the award consideration process. The award is often given to the student who demonstrates the highest combination of technical skill and experience, along with financial need.

Year one in our program focuses on producing scores with few or no live musicians. Instead, the focus is placed heavily on realistic mock-up creation through use of sample libraries and synths.

Year two provides potential opportunities to record with large ensembles including symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, choir or various chamber groups and individual instrumentalists, depending on the specific needs of the projects being scored.

The Film Music Composition program at UNCSA is part of the School of Filmmaking, making it one of the most uniquely designed programs of its kind in the world. You'll have opportunities to collaborate with other students to create original music for live action film, animation, commercials, documentaries, video games and virtual reality.

Similar to the professional industry, composers at UNCSA are required to read scripts, take meetings with filmmakers, pitch ideas and concepts and compose demos in order to be assigned to any School of Filmmaking project. Social skills and networking skills are essential traits necessary for a career as a film composer, perhaps as important as the craft and technique of music composition itself.

Screenwriting

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Creative Producing applicants are not required to hold an undergraduate degree in filmmaking. Preferred primary applicants for the Creative Producing concentration should have a minimum of two (2) years of progressively responsible work experience demonstrating skills in collaboration and project execution.

Yes.

No.

Yes. Most students hold jobs and work anywhere from two to five days per week. Classes meet from late August through early May and are held primarily in late afternoon and evenings. In the summers, students prepare their creative projects for the upcoming term.

Screenwriters have a primarily two-day/week schedule, with class starting at 3 p.m. Classes can run late into the evening.

Each screenwriting student will complete both an episodic and a feature project during the first year. In the second year, students choose whether to write a feature or a pilot for their thesis.

M.F.A. producing and screenwriting students collaborate early and often, on everything from pitches to scripts to proofs-of-concept and web series. They leave with relationships that will fuel their careers. Our students graduate knowing directors, cinematographers, animators, composers, editors and others who will be part of their ongoing professional networks.

Courses are currently offered as online or hybrid courses. Since most of the industry is operating online right now, we feel it’s advantageous to students to be building the skills to pitch their projects remotely and form collaborations through Zoom.

Each year, several M.F.A. students make web series or proofs of concept. While short film production is not part of the M.F.A. curriculum, there are numerous opportunities to participate in undergraduate productions. Some students utilize school resources to make a short film as a side-project.