The M.F.A. in writing for the screen and stage provides flexibility in degree design and completion. After an immersion into the principles of dramatic writing, students may select to focus their studies on:
The program will be taught by nationally recognized, award-winning screenwriters and playwrights, including:
- Nelson Chipman (chair of the cinema and digital arts department)
- Steve Cuden (assistant professor of screenwriting)
- Elise D'Haene (adjunct faculty member, screenwriter, novelist and editor)
- Rick Hawkins (artist in residence)
- Tammy Ryan (adjunct faculty member and playwright)
The Conservatory has a rich tradition of inviting distinguished guest artists to campus. Previous artists include:
- Jaime Byrd (writer of The Luck & the Virgin)
- David Caudle (playwright)
- Gab Cody (writer of Fat Beckett)
- Charley Dane (writer of Perception)
- Dana Goren (director and writer of Diplomat)
- Tim Griffin (writer for Entourage)
- Jason Grote (playwright and writer for Mad Men)
- Gordy Hoffman (writer of Love Liza)
- Rob Lieber (feature screenwriter)
- Kimberly Mercado (writer for Breakout Kings)
- Chris Moore (producer, Good Will Hunting, American Pie series, Promised Land)
- Julien Nitzberg (writer for Showtime and HBO)
- Alex Sabeti (feature screenwriter)
- Anthony Sparks (writer for Undercover, Lincoln Heights, The Sopranos: video game)
- Angieszka Wojtowics-Vosloo (director and writer of After Life)
- Screenwriting (film, television, digital, web): plunge into the arduous work of developing scripts;
- Playwriting: dive into creating plays;
- Or, choose to engage in both disciplines.
Regardless of focus, the rubrics of storytelling are the same: structure, characterization and story development. As you move through the program, progress and mastery of the following will be expected:
- Plot, structure and theme
- Story development
- Collaboration and rewrites
The balanced interplay of these fundamentals is essential to producing successful work.
Additional Area of Focus in Dramatic Writing
Writers in today's market need to be versatile, ready to anticipate future trends and prepared to write across various forms of media.
In addition to a focus on genre in screenwriting or playwriting, you will be required to produce a second area of dramatic writing such as:
- Digital media
- Narrative forms for social media
Over the course of two years, you will attend three dynamic residencies of one to two weeks on Point Park's Downtown Pittsburgh campus. The program includes temporary housing at no additional cost in close proximity to campus.
- Residency one: Aug. 4-10, 2014
- Residency two: July 28-Aug. 8, 2015
- Residency three: May 16-22, 2016
In the residencies, you will participate in the exhilarating and exhaustive process of workshopping scripts and plays, engage in table reads with actors, directors, fellow students and visiting artists, and incorporate and offer feedback in an intensive collaborative environment.
Workshops with industry professionals will explore topics such as creativity, storytelling, genre, style, engaging an audience, writing across media, as well as brass tacks topics in professional development.
Upon completion of the program, you will meet with faculty to discuss your professional next steps and goals with advice on internships, developmental programs, agents, interviews, teaching practicums and avenues for the future.
Screen and Stage Courses
Some of the courses offered in the writing for the screen and stage program include:
- Dramatic Storytelling
- Writing for the Screen and Stage
- Engaging the Audience
- Writing Landscapes
- Thesis I, II and Presentation
Students in the M.F.A. low-residency program will have the opportunity to study and analyze classic and contemporary films and plays. Learn more about the coursework in the writing for the screen and stage course descriptions.