Graduate Creative Producing

Graduate Creative Producing

Storytelling skills and entrepreneurial expertise align to make the successful creative producer. Our students are self-starting, critical thinkers with distinct perspectives. Over the two-year M.F.A. curriculum, you will learn the vital steps necessary to spearhead productions and how to collaborate effectively with screenwriters, directors, studios and financiers. 

Balancing artistic instincts with the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace can be challenging, but it becomes second nature for our students as they conceive, develop and present projects to industry professionals. Small class size and one-on-one mentoring allow us to personalize the program to suit individual voices, backgrounds and learning styles with a comprehensive creative experience.

Designed to fit the schedules of working professionals who can make a substantial time commitment to a master's program, most students can work while earning their degrees. Core classes are scheduled over three days, and students spend an average of 25 hours per week on coursework, including class time and out-of-class assignments, exercises and events. You will leave with confidence earned by mastering the skills, language and experience necessary to succeed in the entertainment industry.

[The UNCSA program] may be perfect for those seeking to specialize in the logistics of moviemaking without sacrificing their artistic instincts.

MovieMaker magazine

In the first year of the program, creative producers and screenwriters take core classes together. Here, you will forge the relationships that you carry forward into the specialized second year and the industry. The program focuses attention on the pre-production development process in which creative producers establish relationships with screenwriters to usher projects from an idea into marketable intellectual property. The experience culminates in presenting your three-project slate—complete with financing, production, marketing and distribution plans—to industry leaders.

As part of your curriculum, you will meet weekly with your faculty mentor to develop projects and discuss your transition into the industry. Screenings series, workshops and seminars with prominent guest artists provide invaluable opportunities to discuss the film and television industries and their ever-changing landscape, with ample opportunity to ask questions and share your ideas.

M.F.A. students also have opportunities to collaborate with other departments and schools on campus through coursework or enrichment activities. Collaborations may include directing actors, creating storyboards, crewing on undergraduate films and teaching with Artistcorps.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Master of Fine Arts

First Year
In Fundamentals of Cinematic Storytelling and Intro to Creative Producing, you will learn about the broad spectrum of the story development process, from concept to draft, with workshops to develop familiarity with the script-to-screen process. You will learn tangible skills from writing script coverage and script notes, to pitching projects to peers and industry guests. Two cinema studies courses cover the styles and evolution of both film and television. You will also work one-on-one with your faculty mentor to identify and develop material for your thesis portfolio.

Second Year
In the second year, your focus will be on developing a slate of film projects of your choosing, from full-length features to television series, webisodes, documentaries or podcasts. In the Business of Producing course, you’ll learn the logistical side of filmmaking, diving deep into topics such as copyright law as it relates to acquiring, protecting and controlling intellectual property. In Marketing and Marketing Practicum classes, you will apply this knowledge to create an effective business plan for your projects. You'll gain an understanding of distribution pipelines, the evolving exhibition ecosystem and acquiring rights to the material, as well as strategies to independently finance and distribute your projects. Your marketing materials will range from full-length trailers to sizzle reels or proofs of concept.

Screenings, workshops and seminars with guest artists will also be available in your second year, as are various cinema studies electives from which to choose. For your thesis project, you will work with your faculty mentor through all stages of development and pre-production, creating the necessary business plan to aid in the fundraising of your projects.

You cap your education with the opportunity to participate in UNCSA’s Los Angeles trip, where faculty take you behind the scenes to meet with leaders in the industry.

Careers

Graduates of our producing program have roles such as producer, co-producer, production manager and creative executive. They have contributed to television series like “The Closer” and movies like “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Argo,” “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl,” “It Follows,” “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” “Manglehorn” and “Compliance.”

Alumni have recently taken jobs with Paramount Pictures, ABC and Intellectual Property Group. Others are working with international film festivals. Some alumni work in development and distribution for major studios abroad in their home country’s industry.

Related Program

UNDERGRADUATE PRODUCING