A Q&A With Rick Hawkins, Senior Teaching Artist and Emmy-Winning Screenwriter
"As an Emmy-winning screenwriter with three decades of writing and executive producing successful TV series, I helped to create a screenwriting program at Point Park that included all the practical and artistic opportunities that I wish had been available to me when I was a student. I consider it a joy and a privilege to be able to mentor and share with young writers their artistic journeys toward professionalism."
Senior Teaching Artist Rick Hawkins is an Emmy-winning screenwriter whose career in Hollywood includes successes as a producer, studio executive and international media consultant.
What makes Point Park University’s screenwriting program stand apart from other universities with similar programs?
Point Park University's Department of Cinema Arts offers comparable B.A., B.F.A. and M.F.A. screenwriting degrees to top universities like University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), New York University (NYU) and Emerson. Our degrees provide courses in virtually every form of writing for screens, large and small — from feature films, film shorts, documentaries, live action and animation to writing half-hour comedy and hour drama for TV, video gaming and web series.
Like other universities, our faculty is composed of award-winning screenwriters with decades of professional experience. It is our highly selective acceptance process that separates us from other programs. Being a conservatory, we purposefully keep our classes small to ensure that students in intermediate and advanced classes can often enjoy an eight-to-one student/professor ratio, providing focused, one-on-one mentoring from our faculty.
What opportunities are available for screenwriting majors at Point Park?
In an effort to assemble engaged, motivated, and talented students, Point Park offers an abundance of artistic and merit-based scholarships to our young screenwriters. As well, each year a $2,000 scholarship is awarded to the student who wins our Best Screenplay Short contest. Within our program students have the opportunity to have their screenplays filmed and we offer an extensive variety of professional internships.
How will this program make me career-ready?
The mission of the Cinema Arts Department is to teach young artists the skills and discipline they will need to succeed in the professional world. In addition, within the screenwriting discipline, professors inspire young writers to discover and embrace their artistic voices, the unique aspect of their writing that sets them apart. By graduation, screenwriting majors will have the opportunity to have amassed a professional portfolio of feature films, television spec scripts, original pilots, as well as examples of filmed versions of their screenplays, from which they can obtain representation to pursue a career.
What should prospective students and their parents know about this program?
Our program recognizes that screenwriting is an ongoing craft, that a young artist can and will pursue for a lifetime. Not only do our professors continue to engage and mentor our young writers after graduation, but our program also offers studies in writing for advertising, public relations and communications — professions in which young graduates can alternatively find employment as they continue pursuing their screenwriting careers.
As an Emmy-winning screenwriter with three decades of writing and executive producing successful TV series, I helped to create a screenwriting program at Point Park that included all the practical and artistic opportunities that I wish had been available to me when I was a student. I consider it a joy and a privilege to be able to mentor and share with young writers their artistic journeys toward professionalism.