Storytelling skills and entrepreneurial expertise align to make the successful creative producer. Our students are self-starting, critical thinkers with something to say, and the passion and focus needed to say it. Over the two-year M.F.A. curriculum, you will develop practical collaboration skills and learn to communicate effectively with screenwriters, directors and financiers.
Balancing artistic instincts with the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace can be challenging, but for our graduates, it becomes second nature, as you conceive, develop and present projects through production-oriented exercises aimed at crafting a comprehensive creative experience. Small class size and one-on-one mentoring allow us to personalize the program to suit individual voices, backgrounds and learning styles.
In your first year, the focus is story and collaboration. Screenwriters and creative producers take core classes together. Here you forge the relationships that you carry forward into the specialized second year and the industry. The experience culminates in the presentation of your 3-project slate, complete with financing, production, marketing and distribution plans, to industry leaders.
Designed to fit the schedules of working professionals who can make a substantial time commitment to a master's program, most of our 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 leave our program with the confidence earned through mastering the skills, language and experience necessary for success in the entertainment industry.
In Fundamentals of Cinematic Storytelling and Intro to Creative Producing, you learn about the broad spectrum of the story development process, from concept to draft, with production exercises aimed at developing familiarity with the script-to-screen process. You also work one-on-one with your faculty mentor to identify and develop material for your eventual thesis portfolio. Two Cinema Studies courses cover the styles and evolution of both film and television. Screenings series, workshops and seminars with prominent guest artists provide invaluable opportunities to discuss the film and television industry and its ever-changing landscape, with ample opportunity to ask questions and share your ideas.
In the second year, your focus is on developing a slate of film projects of your choosing, from full-length features to television series, webisodes, documentaries and podcasts. The two-semester Business of Production track emphasizes the logistic side of filmmaking, covering topics such as copyright law as it relates to acquiring, protecting and controlling intellectual property. In separate Marketing and Marketing Practicum classes, you are expected to apply this knowledge in the creation of an effective business plan for your projects. You'll gain an understanding of distribution pipelines and the evolving exhibition ecosystem and acquiring rights to the material, as well as the ways to independently finance and distribute your projects. Your marketing materials will range from full-length trailers to posters.
The series of screenings, workshops and seminars with guest artists will also be available in your second year, as will 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.
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.”
Five members of the class of 2020 are recipients of Student Artpreneur Grants of $2,500 each to support their creative work or creative enterprise: Tramaine Raphael Gray, Miles McKeller-Smith, Mayra Rodas, Lauren Blair Smith and Kayana Waller.
As the senior manager of grants and awards at Film Independent, Producing alumna Setu Raval helps to make sure that stories that aren't often told or seen have the opportunity to make it to wider audiences.