The MFA Program in Cinema and Television Directing is dedicated to developing cinema and television storytellers by cultivating the role of the director and fostering the individual director's personal style and voice. Directors need equal mastery of leadership, storytelling, and production skills which our students develop by making several short films in the first year of the program, with series production and their thesis film in the second year. Columbia's MFA Program in Cinema and Television Directing focuses on working collaboratively with producers to create character-driven narratives that are diverse, authentic, invoke the human experience and connect with an audience. Directing students take 9 hours of elective classes and are encouraged to develop marketable skills in their area of interests, such as screenwriting, editing, teaching, script supervising, and more. This program immerses the student in rigorous coursework in directing, writing, and production as preparation for their short thesis film, which they may complete during or after their coursework. Students complete written long-form projects, either a feature screenplay or a series show bible, and create a career plan to launch themselves professionally after graduation.
As a result of successfully completing program requirements, students should be able to:
- demonstrate character-based narrative skills including: the establishment of motive, dimensionality, importance, risk, conflict, and subtext; use of established filmmaking styles that express these elements; effective utilization of beats in both writing and directing;
- adapt their understanding of the human experience into dramatic material for cinema and television;
- collaborate in meaningful and effective ways with producers, production department heads, other writers and directors, and executives and/or administrators;
- identify and communicate with a chosen audience; and
- develop and articulate a personal vision of cinematic storytelling through collaborative processes.