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Professional Program in Writing for Television

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Applications are now being accepted for the 2017-2018 Professional Program in Writing for Television, the only graduate-level non-degree writing for television program that has oversight by the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Learn from renowned UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television MFA faculty and receive:

  • A world-class writing for television education in three quarters
  • An intimate classroom environment with a maximum of 10 students per workshop
  • Guidance from initial story concept through navigating the industry

Upon successfully finishing the program, students receive a certificate of completion from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television

The Professional Program in Writing for Television takes place over three academic quarters.

Students attend a lecture series and a writing for television workshop each week.

The Lecture Series

Monday nights, 7:30pm - 9:00pm

The lecture is taught by UCLA TFT MFA instructor Neil Landau, author of "The TV Showrunner's Roadmap” and covers every aspect of the process from initial concept though rewrite.

Guest speakers from the television industry, including current showrunners, producers and directors, as well as execs from ABC, CBS, NBC, A&E, FOX, Warner Bros TV, the CW and Amazon, will visit to discuss the state of the business, how to approach it as a new writer, and where the TV industry is headed.

Recent guests have included: Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Damon Lindeloff (LOST, The Leftovers), Peter Gould, Genny Hutchison, Gordon Smith (Better Call Saul), Mark Wilding and Jenna Bans (Scandal), Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (UnReal), Chris Brancato (Hannibal, Narcos), Noga Landau (The Magicians), Julia Fontana (Lucifer), Evan Shapiro (Head of Programming at Seeso), Ellen Kreamer (Friends, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and I Hate My Teenage Daughter), Janet Tamaro (Rizzoli and Isles), Laura McCreary (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Gaye Hirsch, Pamela Soper, Azie Tesfai, Brett Dier, Gary Pearl (Jane the Virgin), Sara Hess (Orange is the New Black), Bridget Bedard and Ali Liebegott (Transparent), Matthew Carnahan (House of Lies), Cameron Porsandeh (Helix), Jane Anderson (Olive Kitteridge), Sarah Watson (Parenthood, About A Boy), David Anaxagoras (Gortimer Gibbons' Life On Normal Street), Ken Lipman (Amazon Studios), Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs (Broad City), Josh Bycel (Scrubs, Happy Endings, American Dad!), and Emily Cutler (The Odd Couple, Suburgatory, Community, Entourage.)

The Workshop

The television writing workshop focuses on roundtable readings and analysis of each student's work.

The workshop takes place on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night, depending on a student's schedule, from 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Students have the option of choosing between the Drama Track (one-hour dramatic shows, including dramedies) and the Comedy Track (half-hour comedic shows, including dramedies) and are guided by an instructor with professional experience in that particular genre.

In Fall Quarter, students write a spec teleplay of an existing television show in their chosen track.

In Winter Quarter, students write their first original pilot.

In Spring Quarter, they write a second original pilot.



Students who successfully finish the program receive a certificate of completion from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Program Details, Deadlines and Application Procedures

Program dates: October 2, 2017 through June 7, 2018.

Tuition: $5,500

Class size:Workshops are limited to 8 students

International Student Application Deadline: July 5, 2017

US Student Application Deadline: August 28, 2017

Late Applications: It is possible that late applications may be considered after the posted deadlines, but only if a spot is still available in the program. Please call the Professional Programs office at 310.825.6124 if you would like to submit an application after the posted deadlines. Do not submit a late application without calling us first.


The Professional Program in Writing for Television features a competitive admissions process based on supporting application materials. The prerequisite is that applicants must possess an undergraduate Bachelor's degree, in any field. Once we have received a complete application, the applicant will be notified of admission status via email within 20 business days.

(It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide a working email address with the application. Please note that our replies to hotmail and msn email addresses tend to be sent to spam folders. Please create a mac or gmail address for your application.)

For an explanation of the application and payment process, please click on the appropriate link below.

Writing for Television application Procedure
Tuition Cost and Payment Process
Financial Aid
Refund Policy
International Students - Visa Information


WRITING FOR TELEVISION APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Please read the application instructions carefully. Consideration will be given to whether or not the applicant followed these instructions.

Applicants to the Professional Program in Writing for Television must submit a completed application form via fax or mail. Per University policy, applications will not be accepted via email.

Professional Program in Writing for Television -- Application Form

Along with the application form, applicants must submit the four items listed below. Please do not send your reel, head shot, or letters of recommendation. Those items will be disposed of upon receipt. Please be sure to proofread all of your work and correct any and all typographical errors.

5 page Writing Sample

Teleplay format is preferred, however we will accept any sample that demonstrates your narrative storytelling abilities, as well as character interaction and conflict. If you do not have a teleplay, we will accept screenplays, stage plays or short stories as alternatives. If you submit five pages from a teleplay, those pages may come from any point in the script as long as they are consecutive.

Examples of writing samples that we are not looking for are outlines, treatments, poems, articles, or journal/blog entries.

One-Page Statement of Purpose

Your Statement of Purpose is simply a short essay in which we'd like you to tell us a little about yourself, your writing experience and goals. Your Statement of Purpose should be one full page in length, single or double spaced.

Undergraduate Bachelor's Transcript or Copy of Degree Certificate or DegreeVerify Certificate from National Student Clearinghouse

Although we do not take college grades into consideration, we require proof that an undergraduate Bachelor's degree has been conferred. Please provide a copy of your transcript (an unofficial copy is okay), OR a copy of your degree certificate, OR a DegreeVerify Certificate from National Student Clearinghouse.. Alternatively, if you have an advanced degree such as an MFA, we will accept that transcript or certificate.

A Signed and Dated Copy of the Professional Programs Policies


TUITION COST AND PAYMENT PROCESS

The tuition cost for the Professional Program in Writing for Television is $5500. Payments are collected in two installments: $2000 is charged upon admission to the program, with the balance of $3,500 normally due a few weeks prior to the start of the program (please see the application form for specific dates).

Applicants must provide payment information with their application. The second page of the application form includes a spot for credit card information (we accept Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Discover).

For the initial deposit of $2,000, we will only accept credit cards. For the balance of $3,500, students may pay with either a credit card or with a cashier's check or money orders. We do not accept personal checks.

IMPORTANT:There is no application fee for our programs. If an applicant is not admitted, the applicant will not be charged.


FINANCIAL AID

At this time, financial aid is not available for any of our courses. However, some banks offer private loans specifically for non-degree programs and will send the money to you upon verification of enrollment. Applicants interested in a private loan must first be enrolled in one of our programs and make their tuition payments directly to the Professional Programs office as described above. Do not apply for a loan that requires the lender to send the money to the university. Once you make your payments to the Professional Programs office, the lending bank will request proof of enrollment and/or a receipt. We can provide those items for you.

Please be advised that because this program is not for academic credit Sallie Mae loans are not available. If you have questions about this, please call (310) 825-6124.


REFUND POLICY AND SCHEDULE

Applicants who would like to withdraw from any of our courses must do so in writing. Students may simply email us at professionalprograms@tft.ucla.edu.

The refund schedule is indicated on the application form. If you have questions about this policy, please call (310) 825-6124.


INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - VISA INFORMATION

International applicants must be at least 21 years old by the start of the program.

If you are a non-native English-speaking student, please be advised that our professional programs are intensive and that all work must be practiced in English. A sufficient command of the English language is necessary to participate in our courses. A TOEFL score of 560 (paperbased) or 87 (internet based iBT) will be necessary to participate in this course.

The only visas approved by the U.S. government and UCLA for the Professional Programs are the F-1 or J-1 visas. No other visas will be accepted.

If you are enrolled in the Professional Programs and need a F-1 or J-1 visa, you will first need to apply for a UCLA I-20 (F-1) or UCLA DS2019 (J-1). The I-20 or DS2019 is the document that you will bring to your local American consulate in order to obtain your visa. First, apply for the UCLA Professional Program of your choice per the admission instructions. If you are admitted, you may request an I-20 or DS2019 application from us. At that point, you will need to complete the I-20 or DS 2019 application and provide a number of supporting financial documents, as well as a copy of the photo page from your passport. (J-1 applicants will also need a letter from a non-personal sponsor stating that they will be covering at least 51% of your expenses while you are enrolled in your UCLA Professional Program.) We will send you instructions in an email.

Participation in TFT Professional Programs is prohibited under the B1/B2 visas/ESTA visa waiver program (WT/WB).

To allow enough time to obtain a visa, you must apply to our programs by the posted International Student Application Deadline. International students are encouraged to apply for the Professional Program as early as possible. The longer the wait, the less likely it will be that you will have enough time to secure your visa before the course begins. There is no discount for international students who arrive late to the program.

Please be advised that there is a non-refundable $340 I-20 or DS2019 processing fee payable to UCLA. You will be charged this fee once your I-20 or DS2019 is processed. In addition, please be aware that students entering the United States on a F-1 or J-1 visa must first pay a $180 SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

If you have questions, please send an email to professionalprograms@tft.ucla.edu.

KAREN BARNA is a television and film writer whose credits include "The Mountain" and "Step Up 2: The Streets". A graduate of the Warner Brothers Television Writers Workshop, Karen is currently developing a film adaptation of a historical travelogue, among several other projects. She was a Screenwriting Instructor for Dan Decker's The Screenwriters Group, is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and an active member of the Writers Education Committee and E-Publishing Committee at the WGA.

 

GEOFF GEIB received his MFA in 2009 from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where he won the Michael Minor and Robert Green award in screenwriting. After graduating, he worked as a staff writer on the final two seasons of the television show Medium and later sold an original drama pilot entitled Happy Accidents to CBS Paramount. The script was developed at TNT with Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator of Moonlighting.  He has taught in the graduate school at Hollins University since 2013 and in the Professional Programs at UCLA. Geoff's IMDb page also proudly lists the PA work he did on Gilda Radner's Greatest Moments from 2002 and his dramatic turn as the 'Lightswitch Guy' in the hopefully never seen independent film Ante Up.

 

DANIELLE WOLFF's credits include several series for Marvel Television, prime-time dramas for Fox, several web series, and Kyle XY Continuum, which received a nomination for an Interactive Media Programming Emmy. Her stage credits include Weightless, which has appeared at the Attic Theatre in Los Angeles and off-Broadway at the Producers Club in New York, as well as Eating Existentialism and Huntsville, a radio play broadcast on NPR. Her writing has also appeared in several publications, and her debut collection of short fiction, Mass Ave, was published in 2014. More information at www.daniellewolff.com.

 

JOHN STRAUSS's credits as a screenwriter include "There's Something About Mary", "Santa Clause II" , Santa Clause III", starring Tim Allen and "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" starring Hillary Duff  and "Freebirds", a computer animated feature, starring Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson.  Box office receipts of the aforementioned films total in excess of a billion dollars internationally. Additionally, with Free Birds partner David Stern, John is currently writing a computer animated feature, "Renaissance", for Prana Studios. He also produced  "You Again" for Touchstone Pictures, starring Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis at Disney.  He's currently producing a feature film comedy, The Brag, for 5x5 Media.  On the television side, John executive produced, the Golden Globe winning series, "Mozart in the Jungle" for Amazon Prime and has also executive produced , "In Plain Sight" for USA Network, as well as "The Client List", for Lifetime Network.  John is currently writing a television pilot, Over the Top, for the Freeform network, featuring several YouTube stars. He's also writing a pilot for truTV, called Playa del Sol, based on a Swedish format of the same name, and starring Rhys Darby.  He is also adapting "There's Something About Mary" as a Broadway musical. 

 

JILL GOLDSMITH is a television writer and producer with credits on Emmy-winning series including NYPD Blue, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Law & Order, Boston Legal, and Rizzoli & Isles, and was a finalist for the 2008 Humanitas Prize for an episode of Boston Legal. She has sold projects to ABC, NBC, and Universal, and currently has a pilot in development. She has also been a featured speaker at numerous conferences and writing programs, and has appeared as a panelist on C-Span Close Up, CBS News, and CNN. Prior to writing for television, Jill spent seven years as a Public Defender in the Juvenile and Felony Trial Divisions of the Cook County Public Defender's Office in Chicago. She received her J.D. from Washington University School of Law, and served an internship with U.S. Senator Paul Simon on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She also received an MFA in Screenwriting from the UCLA School of Film, Television, and Digital Media, and is a contributing author to the book, Lawyers In Your Living Room! Law On Television, in which she wrote the chapter entitled, Writing For Television: From Courtroom to Writer's Room.

 

ARI EISNER is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Film and Television Program.  A television, feature, video game and ezine writer, he's written for the CBS sitcom STILL STANDING and has had pilot deals with Warner Bros., Touchstone, MTV, Warner Horizons, Fox 21, MGM and NBC Universal.  He's taught writing and directing at the Inner City Filmmakers program and is a member of the Groundlings improv group, and a Second City graduate.  He co-created the trailer mash-ups "10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT COMMANDMENTS," "MUST LOVE JAWS," and "GLEN & GARY & GLEN & ROSS," which were featured on CNN and in ROLLING STONE and TIME MAGAZINE.  "10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT COMMANDMENTS" is on display at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. He's currently developing a pilot for IMGlobal television and Muse Entertainment.

 

STEPHEN ENGEL's weekend work of writing screenplays eventually led to his departure from being a lawyer to his success as a television creator, writer, director and producer on such hit series as "Dream On," "Mad About You," "Just Shoot Me" and "The Big Bang Theory."
A graduate of Tufts University, Engel continued his education at NYU and earned a law degree. He then joined a New York firm, and spent his weekends writing screenplays, leading to assignments for producers including Joel Silver and Steven Spielberg.

Ultimately, Stephen quit his law job and -- in the words of his parents -- "flushed thousands of dollars of education down the toilet" to write full-time for television and movies. In 1991, Engel moved to Los Angeles to write for the award-winning HBO comedy "Dream On." He spent four years on the series, serving as the showrunner the last two years. Engel went on to create and executive produce CBS's "Work With Me," starring Nancy Travis and Kevin Pollak; NBC's "Inside Schwartz," starring Breckin Meyer; and ABC's "The Big House," starring Kevin Hart.
Engel currently resides in Pacific Palisades, California with his wife and two children. 

 

The son of Korean immigrants, CHUCK KIM proved his geek cred by forgoing his acceptance to law school to be an editor at DC Comics.  After working several years on such characters as Batman, Superman, and Aquaman, Chuck moved to Los Angeles and worked for E! Online as a reporter. He got his big break when he was picked as a writing fellow in the Disney/ABC writing program.   Chuck wrote for several seasons on the NBC hit series Heroes, as well as comic books, with characters ranging from the Powerpuff Girls to the X-Men to Superman.  His animation work includes Ben 10 and Dexter's Laboratory. He still remains proud of designing the lower half of a short-lived version of Aquaman's costume. He lives with his husband David and mixed-breed labrador Lilly.

 

JULIE SAYRES is an award-winning screenwriter, whose credits include the film "Reaching for the Moon,"  for which she won the best adapted screenplay award by the Brazilian Academy of Letters and was also nominated for best adapted screenplay by the Brazilian Academy of Cinema.  She worked on the writing staff of the television series  "Midnight Caller," and wrote episodes for "Gabriel's Fire" and "Beggars and Choosers", among others."  She was a co-creator and supervising producer of the CBS one-hour drama, "Four Corners."  She has also written many movies for television, including  "A Walton Easter," "Dallas Reunion" and the mini-series "Knot's Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac."  She currently has two feature films in development, one in the U.S. and the other in Brazil.   Aside from her work as a screenwriter, she's also an adjunct professor of screenwriting at USC School of Cinematic Arts and Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television.  She has a B.A. from New York University and an MFA from Goddard College.

 

JASON GEORGE is a television writer, having recently worked on the staffs of SCANDAL (ABC) and THE BLACKLIST (NBC). He is a Writers Guild Award nominee with several projects in active development. Before moving to Los Angeles to make up stories, George wrote more than 1,000 real ones as a journalist for The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, reporting everywhere from the Arctic Circle to the African savannas. His postings included two years in the Middle East and two years on the presidential campaign trail. He has traveled to stories via camel, dogsled and too many military helicopters to count. Since moving to LA, he has consulted on feature film projects for Gary Sanchez Productions, Warner Bros. and Sony. George is a graduate of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication, UCLA's MFA screenwriting program and The American University in Cairo's Arabic Language Institute.

 

RICK WILLIAMS After receiving his certificate from the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting (where he won the Professional Programs Screenplay Award), Rick went on to earn his MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA as well.  As a Masters student, Rick won several awards including the William J. and Lee Phillip Bell Fellowship in Television, the Jack Nicholson Prize in Screenwriting, and Honorable Mention in the UCLA MFA Showcase.  Rick began his career as a paid Story Analyst for such companies as ABC Television, Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Television, Out of the Blue Entertainment (Sony Pictures), Hopscotch Entertainment, and The Gersh Agency.  As a feature writer, Rick developed a sci-fi action script for Josephson Entertainment/Fox Studios.  As a TV writer, his credits include STAR TREK: VOYAGER, JESSIE, KICKIN' IT, and the animated shows PACKAGES FROM PLANET X, MARVEL'S AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, and AMERICAN DAD! where he served as a staff writer.  Along with his writing partner, Rick recently served as a staff writer on the Nickelodeon show BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS, which just completed it's second season.  While working at Nickelodeon, Rick and his partner sold a pilot, which they are currently developing.  Rick's greatest love is writing and sharing his knowledge with students.  Just kidding -- it's bourbon and being sarcastic. 

 

NEIL LANDAU's credits include the cult comedy Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead starring Christina Applegate; Melrose Place, The Magnificent Seven, Doogie Howser, M.D., The Secret World of Alex Mack, Twice in a Lifetime, MTV's Undressed, The Young & the Restless, Monarch Cove, and one-hour drama pilots for CBS, ABC, ABC Family, Warner Bros., Disney, Lifetime, and Freemantle.  Neil also served for several years as Executive Script Consultant in the international divisions of Sony Pictures Television and Columbia Pictures. He currently facilitates a first-look writing the one-hour drama development workshop at UCLA for Sony Crackle. His animated movie projects include the animated feature Tad: The Lost Explorer (aka Las Adventuras de Tadeo Jones) for which he earned a Spanish Academy "Goya" Award and Cinema Writers' Circle Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2013). Tad2 is in production for a 2016 release, also from Paramount.  Neil co-wrote and served as Co-Executive Producer on the animated feature Capture the Flag for Paramount; and the animated movie, Sheep & Wolves, for Wizart Animation (The Snow Queen), 2016 release.  He's now working on a psychological thriller for Sony. Neil currently runs the MFA in Writing for Television Program in the Department of Film, Television & Digital Media at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (his alma mater). He's co-chair of the Time-Warner Foundation Curriculum Development Committee toward launching the UCLA MFA TV Institute in 2017-2018 with an emphasis on creating new opportunities for diverse voices.  He's the author of the bestselling books: 101 Things I Learned in Film School (Grand Central Publishing, 2010); The Screenwriter's Roadmap (Focal Press, 2012); and The TV Showrunner's Roadmap (Focal Press, 2014).  Neil gives lectures and hosts workshops around the world on the art and craft of screenwriting, including La Femis in Paris, Met Film School in London, University of the Andes in Santiago, and the Alexander Mitta Film School in Moscow. His new book, TV Outside the Box: Trailblazing in the Digital Television Revolution, was just published by Focal Press/Taylor & Francis, and is sponsored by NATPE as the premiere book in their new educational book series. 

 

KELLY FULLERTON was most recently executive story editor for ABC Family's critically-acclaimed show, The Fosters.  Previous credits include: the NBC show Next Caller  and  MTV's hit comedy Awkward.  Kelly received her M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA as part of the television showrunner track.  At UCLA, Kelly was the recipient of the Sidney Sheldon award for her feature script Always a Bridesmaid, and she won the Zaki Gordon Award for her feature Clarity.

 

JULIE CHAMBERS and DAVID CHAMBERS have worked extensively in primetime and cable television as executive producers, showrunners, writers, and consultants. Between them they have written and sold half-hour comedy pilots to ABC, CBS, Fox, Showtime, TVLand, and other cable companies.  They have also written books, screenplays, documentaries, and worked on the writing staff at over a dozen shows, including Emmy winners, The Wonder Years, Frank's Place, and The Simpsons, for which they earned a WGA Award nomination.  They have also been nominated for Golden Globe, Emmy, and Alma awards, as well as winning a Humanitas Prize.  Along the way they've written for many comic luminaries, from Mel Brooks to Tom Hanks.  They have taught for both graduate and undergraduate students at UCLA Film and Television, and helped launch and continue to teach for the Syracuse University in Los Angeles program.  They contributed two chapters to Inside the Room, a book about writing for television published by Gotham/Penguin.  They're writing their own book about creating the original comedy pilot, and continue to write for and pitch ideas to the industry, as well as consult on a variety of projects.  Their greatest collective achievement, however, is their creation of two highly rated children.  

 

GAIA VIOLO was born in Italy, moved to London as a teenager and graduated in Classics at an Ivy League University, UCL (University College, London). While in Europe, she worked on several Italian TV shows and British commercials. Gaia has attended USC for screenwriting and has just graduated from the UCLA MFA Screenwriting Program, where she won the UCLA Writers Showcase and was a recipient of the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award.  After receiving the awards, two of her TV pilots were sold to Sony Television and Sony Crackle. She has taught a series of lectures at UCLA for the Professional Program in Producing and is currently an in-house writer in the Disney live action program. She is repped by CAA, Madhouse and Myman Greenspan. 

  

MATTHEW THOMPSON is a television writer whose credits include "My Name is Earl" and "Raising Hope".  In addition to writing professionally for seven years, he's also worked as a script consultant, helping to improve dozens of pilots and spec scripts.  In his spare time he's an Emmy-nominated songwriter and a "Best Dad" nominated father.  He also often writes about himself in third person.

 

SUSAN HURWITZ ARNESON is a television writer who received her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA. Best known for her work as a writer on six seasons of SOUTH PARK, Susan is currently a writer for the new Fox animated series BORDERTOWN. In the past she has also been a Consulting Producer on NBC's MR. ROBINSON with Craig Robinson and a writer on ABC's MALIBU COUNTRY starring Reba McEntire and Lily Tomlin. Susan has developed several television series and sold pitches to Fox Television Animation, MTV and others.