Jul 19, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Screenwriting and Development MA

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The Screenwriting and Development MA focuses on writing and developing compelling cinema screenplays, television pilots, series bibles, and narrative concepts for large and small screens on multiple platforms. This program will be a low-residency experience, with students taking online courses, taught by Columbia faculty and working writers in Hollywood and elsewhere, with options for in-person experiences in J-session.

Students in the program will write and develop original and adapted media properties in multiple genres and styles. The goal is to help students understand narrative structures and strategies, develop their own strong voice and style, explore genres of interest, and create a body of written work that can be used to develop into produced creative products or serve as a portfolio to gain entry into the film and television industry.  Students in the program will work individually and in writer's room scenarios to develop stand-alone ideas and concepts for episodic and serialized programs. The program will provide individual attention and input from Columbia's skilled writing faculty as well as from working industry professionals.

Courses will be largely online, with one cohort building session in Chicago.  Over the three semester course of study, students will write and develop multiple projects in forms including feature film screenplays, television pilots, series concepts, show bibles, adapted properties, web series, short narratives, and cross-platform story worlds.  There will be a strong emphasis on creating characters and narratives from diverse points of view. 

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Demonstrate understanding of narrative structure, character development, and dialogue and utilize this understanding in the writing of screenplays and teleplays.

  • Develop and demonstrate a personal voice.

  • Conceptualize screenplay or series ideas with complex characters, and pitch those ideas in a professional setting.

  • Demonstrate understanding of and facility with standard script formatting and professional presentation

  • Write and revise an original screenplay, teleplay, and / or series concept

  • Give constructive critical feedback to peers’ work and receive and utilize feedback in revisions

  • Create a portfolio of original screenplays

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