"The great misconception among new and untested writers is that screenwriting is easy," says Professor and screenwriter Hal Ackerman, co-area head of the UCLA screenwriting program, "Trust me, it's harder than it looks. The beauty of a great artist, like a great athlete, is the ability to make something amazingly difficult and complex look easy."
Screenplay writing is a rigorous craft and, at its best, an art. In TFT's screenwriting program you learn all the key elements of creating scripts for feature film and television, including story structure, plot, scene development, characterization and dialogue. The goal is to prepare you to turn your stories into screenplays. A series of writing assignments guides you toward mastering the basics, which you use to conceptualize and begin work on your own scripts.
Established in 1965, the UCLA screenwriting program has provided a strong foundation for hundreds of alumni. Program graduates include Francis Ford Coppola (Patton), Dean Hargrove (Columbo), David Koepp (Spider Man), Josefina Lopez (Real Women Have Curves), Michael Miner (RoboCop), Brian Nelson (Hard Candy), Alexander Payne (Sideways), Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. (Norma Rae), Scott Rosenberg (High Fidelity), David S. Ward (The Sting), Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Caroline Williams (Miss/Guided).
The Screenwriting Program has the following time-to-degree requirement: a minimum of six quarters; maximum of ten quarters. The minimum total units required to graduate is 72 units (18 courses). Maintenance of a B average GPA.
A. Required Courses:
First Year Curriculum
- 130A INTRO TO SCREENWRITING FUNDAMENTALS
- 431 INTRODUCTION TO FILM AND TELEVISION SCREENWRITING
Second Year Curriculum
- 434 ADVANCED SCREENWRITING
B. FTVDM Required Courses:
Students must take a minimum of TWO graduate-level Cinema & Media Studies courses.
Please see list below for approved course numbers and titles.
Please note that not all courses are offered every quarter. Students should consult the registrar's schedule for available courses and class times. For courses in the 298 series, students should consult the graduate advisor first to check whether a course fulfills the CMS requirement.
Plus choose one course below:
- 203 FILM AND OTHER ARTS
- 204 VISUAL ANALYSIS
- 206A EUROPEAN FILM HISTORY
- 206B SELECTED TOPICS IN AMERICAN FILM HISTORY
- 206C AMERICAN FILM HISTORY**
- 207 EXPERIMENTAL FILM
- 209A DOCUMENTARY FILM
- 208B CLASSICAL FILM THEORY **
- 208C CONTEMPORARY FILM THEORY
- 209B FICTIONAL FILM
- 209D ANIMATED FILM
- 217 SELECTED TOPICS IN TELEVISION HISTORY **
- 217A AMERICAN TELEVISION HISTORY**
- 218 CULTURE, MEDIA AND SOCIETY
- 219 FILM AND SOCIETY
- 220 TELEVISION AND SOCIETY
- 221 FILM AUTHORS
- 222 FILM GENRES
- 223 VISUAL PERCEPTION
- 224 COMPUTER APPLICATIONS FOR FILM STUDY
- 225 VIDEOGAME THEORY
- 246 ELECTRONIC CULTURE
- 270 FILM CRITICISM
- 271 TELEVISION CRITICISM
- 276 NON WESTERN FILM
- 277 NARRATIVE STUDIES
- 298AB SPECIAL STUDIES (select classes must see Graduate Counselor)
**These courses are sometimes taught as a core course for M.A. students and may not be available that particular quarter for MFA students.
** courses are sometimes taught as a core course for MA students and may not be available that particular quarter to MFA students.
C. MFA Course Requirement:
Students have to take a minimum of ONE graduate-level course from the Directing/Production, Animation, and/or Producers Program area. Please see attached list for approved course numbers and titles.
- 188B INTRODUCTION TO THE ART AND TECHNIQUE OF FILMMAKING (Fall)
- 188D FILM EDITING; OVERVIEW OF HISTORY, TECHNIQUE AND PRACTICE (Fall)
- 400 FILM IMAGE DESIGN LAB (check registrars schedule)
- 403A ADVANCED DOCUMENTARY WORKSHOP (check registrars schedule)
- 181A INTRODUCTION TO ANIMATION (Fall & Spring, prerequisite for other animation courses)
- 181B WRITING FOR ANIMATION (Fall Only, no prerequisite required)
- 181C ANIMATION WORKSHOP (Winter & Spring)
- 208 FILM STRUCTURE
- 247 CREATIVE PRODUCING
- 288AB FEATURE FILM DEVELOPMENT 1-2 (limited enrollment)
- 291ABC FEATURE FILM PRODUCTION, MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION
- 292ABC NETWORK TELEVISION & EMERGING PLATFORMS
- 294AB CONTRACTS & NEGOTIATIONS
- 294C INTERNATIONAL FINANCING & DISTRIBUTION
- 298AB CURRENT BUSINESS PRACTICES IN FILM & TELEVISION: STRATEGY; INDEPENDENT SPIRIT
- 295ABC IDENTIFYING YOR ASSETS: ADVANCED PRODUCING 1 & 2 (limited enrollment)
- 296AB TALENT REPRESENTATION (limited enrollment)
A minimum of four feature length screenplays must be completed while enrolled in FTV 434 before advancing to candidacy. This writing is accepted as a body of work for the Masters Thesis requirement and must be approved by the Candidate's Thesis Chair.
All Theater, Film and Television degree programs are full-time only. We only accept students for the Fall Quarter. This admissions information is for Fall Quarter 2013.
THE GRE IS NOT REQUIRED FOR MFA APPLICANTS
Notice for applicants affected by Hurricane Sandy: If the storm and its resulting closures affected your ability to submit your application by the November 1st, 2012 deadline, please email email@example.com an explanation of your situation, including where you live. Deadline extensions will be provided based on your current situation.
- Apply online to UCLA Graduate Division by November 1, 2012.
- Departmental application instructions. Print and complete the Departmental application. Choose MFA – Screenwriting. Please submit by mail.
- Complete and submit the following supplemental information. All written Supporting Material must be typed and on 8-1/2 by 11 paper with at least a 12-point font. The lengths indicated are the maximum allowed. Make sure your name is on each page and that all pages of each section are stapled together.
- Samples of creative writing such as screenplays, short stories, plays, poetry, etc. Please submit online and by mail. While there is no page limitation to the creative writing, we recommend that you send no more than 200 pages of your best work.
- Two official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work are required. NOTE: Community college transcripts are not necessary, as the coursework will be reflected on your undergraduate transcript. Please have transcripts sent to address below or include sealed envelope in application packet.
- Statement of Purpose. Please submit a hard copy of the uploaded document by mail.
- Three Letters of Recommendation. Please enter the names and other information about your recommenders in the online Graduate Division Application. Letters may be submitted electronically or by mail.
- Whose first language is not English, official test results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) IS REQUIRED unless,
- the applicant who holds a bachelor's or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both the primary spoken language and the medium of instruction, or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, are exempted from both the TOEFL/IELTS requirement and the ESLPE. Please be sure to include such information in your application.
- TOEFL UCLA institution code – 4837 / Department code – 83. The overall minimum TOTAL score required is 87. For more information about UCLA TOEFL requirements, click here.
- Required Academic Records – Please click the link for UCLA Graduate Division requirements.http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/admissions/ACADRECS.HTM. ORIGINAL or CERTIFIED COPIES OF ALL ACADEMIC RECORDS IN ENGLISH AND NATIVE LANGUAGE ARE REQUIRED. This includes transcripts, diploma, and degree certificate. The degree conferral dates must be noted on the documents
Please send all items designated by mail to:
Graduate Film Counselor
UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media
103 E. Melnitz, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622
Application postmark deadline: November 1, 2012
For U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents interested in receiving financial aid, note that the Fellowship Application and Financial Aid Application (FAFSA) deadline for UCLA is March 2, 2013. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by this date if they want to be eligible for all awards, work-study, and fellowships that UCLA offers.
On April 22, 2013, UCLA became completely tobacco-free, with the use of cigarettes and all tobacco products no longer permitted on the main campus or other UCLA properties, as required by a UC plan requiring all 10 campuses to go tobacco-free. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and UCLA is proud to join the hundreds of universities already making tobacco-free the new normal nationwide.