MFA in Writing: Television, Film and Theatre

MFA in Writing in TV, Film and Theatre at Cal State LA

LA’s Triple Threat

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: 

The MFA in Television, Film and Theatre/Writing Option at Cal State LA is a noteworthy program. It is the only California State University campus to offer a three-pronged program in writing that offers training in television, film and theatre. It is the only program in Los Angeles, the hub of the entertainment industry, to offer affordable, professionally geared training that leads to a MFA degree.

Historically, screenwriters, TV writers, and playwrights have stayed in their lane.  But not anymore.  In the last several years, and with the explosion of television and streaming services, there has been enormous crossover of feature film writers and playwrights into television.  With over 450+ TV shows being produced each year, the medium needs great writing talent, wherever they can find it.  

The Writing Option, with its three-pronged approach, prepares students to navigate all three fields, seamlessly, and expands their possibilities for success once out in the professional world.

Sound StageINTENSIVE TRAINNG: 

  • A progression in writing skills from fundamentals to more advanced work: one-act play, full-length play, short film script(s), TV Spec - both drama and comedy, TV pilot, and feature-film screenplays.
  • An overview of the history of theater, film and television writing, as well as the development process, workflow, and business of each art form.
  • Opportunities to work on stage, set, and learn real-world skills.
  • An exploration of creative voice, vision, and artistic experimentation, with an emphasis on social justice.
  • An understanding of the politics of narrative, and the positioning of storytelling in the context of critical race theory, gender, and class.
  • Strong mentorship faculty, a diverse group of scholar and professionals, experienced writers working in multiple areas of theatre and the entertainment industry.

PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE:

  • On-going opportunities to create a professional writing portfolio
  • On-going opportunities to develop new work through workshops and productions
  • On-going opportunities to contribute to department sponsored productions directed/produced by faculty, guest artists, and other students
  • On-going opportunities to collaborate with the MFA students in the Acting and Production options, getting faculty guidance in real-world situations, gaining practical experience and building relationships with your future network    

FINANCIAL ASSITANCE: 

  • For new incoming MFA Production Option students: 3 awards of $2500 for the first semester from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA)
  • HFPA Academic Achievement awarded once for one semester
  • Scholarships: University awards available
  • Financial Aid available through the University

GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIPS & TEACHING ASSOCIATES POSITIONS AVAILABLE: 

  • Annual opportunities for paid positions as a Graduate Assistant to faculty for undergraduate courses.
  • Teaching Associate positions available to students who have an extensive background in areas such as cinematography, editing, sound, theater stage production and other specialties.
  • We offer a full year of guided teacher training that qualifies students for paid Teaching Associate positions in the undergraduate acting classes.
  • Paid Federal Work Study positions for qualified students.

The peak TV era has sparked a new love affair between playwrights and the small screen 

- LA Times article

Writers Guild of America Statistic regarding feature film writers
2008: 900 full-time feature film writers
2017: 400 full-time feature film writers (more than half now work in television as well

Learn more about Instructors and the courses they teach.  

Read descriptions of the courses.

See an overview of the 3-year program.

To Apply:

Applications for Fall 2018 are now closed. Please check back in Mid-October for applications for Fall 2019.  

CONTACT:

Ligiah Villalobos
Main Office:
323-343-4110