UCLA - Professional Programs Reviews & Admissions Statistics

4.75 star(s) 4.75 Stars (4 Reviews)
School Website
https://professionalprograms.tft.ucla.edu/
Degrees Offered
  1. Certificate Program
  2. Summer Programs
  3. Short Term Courses
Concentrations
  1. Acting
  2. Directing
  3. Producing
  4. Screenwriting
  5. Writing and Producing for Television
  6. Writing for Screen & Television
Tuition Range
$5k to $10k
Graduate Deadlines
Producing Online: March 4, 2024
Writing for Late Night Comedy Online: March 18, 2024
Directing: May 6, 2024 (International Student) May 20, 2024 (US Student)
Acting: May 13, 2024 (International Student) June 17, 2024 (US Student)
Screenwriting: June 17, 2024 (International Student) August 19, 2024 (US Student)
Writing for Television: June 17, 2024 (International Student) August 19, 2024 (US Student)
Screenwriting Online: August 19, 2024
Writing for Television Online: August 19, 2024

Film School details

Nonprofit/For-Profit?
Nonprofit
Copyrights
  1. Student owns all scripts written
Application Fee
$0
GRE Required?
  1. No
SAT or ACT Required?
  1. No
Portfolio Required?
  1. Yes
Letters of Rec Required
  1. None
UCLA's graduate-level, non-credit Professional Program has filmmaking courses taught by UCLA TFT staff. This film certificate program is more competitive than UCLA Extension.

Directing: Learn the art of directing by exploring emerging film industry technologies and current narrative techniques in small seminar-style classes. In 38 sessions across 10 weeks, train under industry professionals and attend lectures led by more than two dozen guest directors offering demonstrations and in-depth Q&A sessions. Master the pre-production, production, and post-production phases by taking courses in topics such as Director’s Workflow and Set Etiquette. Note: This is a knowledge-based certificate program, so you will NOT do hands-on directing work. Classes are held from 7-10 p.m. PST. The first half of the course is online, and the second half is on campus. To apply, submit your portfolio, a link to a 2-5 minute directing sample, a professional resume, and a one-page statement of purpose. Reels, short films, and web series are accepted. –$6,750

Screenwriting (Online/In Person): Learn to write engaging screenplays in classes taught by screenwriting faculty at UCLA TFT. In workshops of only 10 students taught across three quarters, learn the phases of the screenplay lifecycle in three-hour-long workshops. In fall, explore story concept development; in winter, apply your knowledge by writing a full-length screenplay; and in spring, work with a new workshop instructor to write a second full-length screenplay. Recorded lectures and live Q&A sessions help support your studies. Classes are held from 7-10 p.m. PST. To apply, submit a five-page original writing sample (written independently and in consecutive order) and a one-page statement of purpose. Original TV pilots and feature screenplay samples are accepted. –$6,750

Writing for Television (Online/Person): Prepare for a career in writing for television or expand on your portfolio in drama or comedy. In workshops of 10 students taught across three quarters, practice roundtable reading and script analysis while writing compelling original work. In fall, write a spec teleplay of an existing television series; in winter, write your original pilot; in spring, write a second original pilot. Recorded lectures and live Q&A sessions help support your studies. Classes are held from 7-10 p.m. PST. To apply, submit a five-page writing sample and a one-page statement of purpose. You must also declare the Drama or Comedy track. Original TV pilots, original TV spec scripts, and feature screenplay samples are accepted. –$6,750

Writing for Late Night Comedy (Online): Led by Emmy-nominated actress-writer-producer-director Holly Wortell, this unique Professional Program teaches joke and sketch writing of the highest caliber. In online workshops limited to 12 students, learn how to transform everyday observations and breaking news into hilarious writing material. You’ll leave the program with a complete talkshow packet and sketch portfolio that reflect your professional and creative goals. To apply, submit three “Thank You” notes inspired by The Jimmy Fallon Show (with the first two matching the tone of the show) and a one-page statement of purpose. This film certificate program is exclusive to students 21 and older. –$1,200

Producing (Online): Production techniques for independent and major motion pictures are constantly shifting, and the UCLA Professional Producing Program helps prepare you to weather ups and downs in the industry. In online workshops held on 38 weeknights across 10 weeks, learn skills critical to a successful producing career. The film certificate course is based on UCLA MFA Producers Program and taught by faculty at the UCLA TFT. Recent guest lecturers include Keith David (Nope, Armageddon) and Nate Moore (Black Panther, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever). No additional course materials are required. –$6,750

Acting for the Camera: Enhance your acting skills by attending the only non-degree acting program overseen by staff at the UCLA TFT. In workshops of 16 students across 10 weeks, attend guest lectures by world-famous actors, from Jennifer Anniston (Friends, The Morning Show) to Jason Bateman (Ozark, Arrested Development) and take scene Study workshops to deliver compelling performances across different mediums. Acting for the Camera workshops learn set etiquette and tips to win casting calls. Career Development connects you to respected casting directors and talent managers who help you understand your role in the industry. Learn self-marketing strategies culminating in a personal project pitched to an industry panel. Scene Study workshops vary by quarter. Spring explores acting in niche genres such as horror and sci-fi, winter explores acting in film and single and multi-camera comedies, and fall explores acting and audition development. Workshops are conducted three days each week, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. PST.

Advanced Workshops: If you successfully completed the Screenwriting or Writing for Television Professional Programs but aim to continue growing your skillset, consider the Advanced Workshop for high-level screenwriter and television writers. In workshops limited to eight students taught across 10 weeks, rewrite your feature screenplays or original television pilots. All genres are welcome. For the application, provide proof of successful completion of a prior Professional Program. –$1,750

International students must prepare to attend courses exclusively taught in English. For admission, they must show proof of a TOEFL score of 560 or better ( equivalent to 87 in the online version of the test) or an IELTS score of 7 or better. They must also apply for the F-1 visa.

Note: The UCLA Professional Program does not provide government financial aid, student loans, grants, scholarships, GI Bill/military waivers, and internship credit.

Graduate Application Requirements

It requires a no-fee application with the following materials:
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college (in any field)
    • If you don't have a bachelor's degree, you may write a letter to the Program Director explaining how your life and professional experiences are equivalent. The program accepts 2-3 non-degree holding students each application cycle.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • Supporting creative materials that vary upon program (e.g., reel, writing sample)
Late applications are accepted if your UCLA Professional Program has the additional space. Writing samples must be in industry-standard format. Many applicants have a film background, while others work in creative and technical fields. Waitlisted applicants are eligible to enroll in their program the following year. Graduates receive a certificate from the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time it was last updated. PLEASE verify with the school ALL due dates and requirements as they may have changed since our last update. If any info on this page is incorrect please let us know and we will update it. We are not responsible for missed deadlines or rejected applications due to out of date information on this page. Please do your due diligence.

Latest Film School Reviews

A Little Taste of an MFA Program at a Much Lower Price
Reviewed by: Alumni
Degree: Certificate
Concentration: Writing for Television
Pros
  • Informative lectures & professors
  • Interesting and diverse (i.e experience, perspective) classmates and workshop members
Cons
  • Not eligible for loans or scholarships, since you aren't reaaaallly a student.
  • Your mileage may vary when it comes to instructors
I took this virtually due to the Virus That Shall Not Be Named, so your experience might be a bit different if you're in person. I like to ramble, so feel free to skip to whatever title seems interesting.

Course Structure:
Overall, I enjoyed the program. You have a 3hr workshop once a week and a 1.5hr Q&A session with a professor. The Q&A session is for questions regarding the pre-recorded lecture of the week. Sometimes there are guests in both courses. The guests will depend somewhat on what instructor you have; one professor had guests every week or so, others not at all.

Your courses are as follows: Autumn Quarter - Writing the TV Spec, Winter Quarter - Writing the Original Pilot, Spring Quarter - Writing the Original Pilot. You'll leave with three pilots that should have gone through multiple rounds of feedback and revisions.

There's a variety of experience levels in each class -- some people have never written anything before applying, others write prose or poetry, and others have agents or managers and have been in rooms before.

The Experience:
Not to hammer too much on this, but it being a good experience primarily depends on the professor you have each quarter. I don't think there's a set curriculum for each course. What ends up happening is one instructor might want you to jump right into writing, and you'll need to turn in 5ish pages a week. Another may want to focus on outlining, beat sheets, character write-ups, and so on for a while before writing an act and a half a week. When the entire program met up for those Q&A sessions, it was clear some groups were learning things others didn't learn about until the second or final quarter.

Being a workshop-based program means that if your cohort isn't talkative, feedback may not be as easy to come by. You're in class with the same 5-10 students for the entire program. It was a helpful program for me because it fits with how I typically learn.

Virtual or In Person:
If you're attending virtually, it's super important you keep up with the recorded lectures. If not, finding a free online writer's workshop would be more cost-efficient. Most of the most helpful knowledge I gained all year was from those lectures and one professor who went out of their way to ensure we all got our money's worth.

If you're already in the area or have the funds to be in the area for the length of the course, I'd suggest you take it in person. I know they more frequently had industry guests among other things. In general, workshopping (especially for comedic pieces) is more cohesive when you're all together in one room.

If you're looking for something that would go on a college transcript for academic credit or something that may grade a bit more than simply "Did you turn in a full script at the end of the quarter? Pass," maybe look into the UCLA Extension courses.

Cost:
Since the program isn't for academic credit, you're ineligible for private and federal educational loans, scholarships, and grants. I think the course is just under 7000 dollars now.

Job Outcomes:
They don't offer any career or internship placement during or after the program. There's a big program-wide contest at the end of the year. For this program, you can submit a drama or comedy script, and they will pick one of each to award. I believe the winner got about 1000 dollars, and their name and script logline was published on Deadline. Personally, I think that having it on my resume helped me get a nice coverage position that I might not have been offered otherwise. Outside of that, the primary value was in learning. I'm sure there are more opportunities for networking and the like if you go in person.
Affordability
3.00 star(s)
Alumni Network
4.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
1.00 star(s)
Coursework
4.00 star(s)
Professors
5.00 star(s)
Scholarships
1.00 star(s)
Anonymous recommends this film school
One member found this helpful.
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Great liaison program between undergrad and grad school
Reviewed by: Alumni
Degree: Certificate
Concentration: Screenwriting
Pros
  • Affordability
  • Instructors are working professionals
  • Workshop/writing group experience
  • Q&A's with industry guests
  • Insightful recorded lectures to watch at your convenience
  • Graduate with first drafts of 2 screenplays
  • Instructor availability
  • Online program available
Cons
  • Experience heavy on instructor roulette
  • Competitive acceptance is questionable
  • Graduate with only first drafts
Having done the online version of the program, I appreciated how available the instructors made themselves and that the scheduling of the program could be structured around my availability. The online program brought students from all over the world into the program and people from all sorts of industries. As such, the student body was varied -- those considering screenwriting professionally and those considering it a hobby. Applied basic screenwriting knowledge seems to be the minimal requirement for the program -- as in, some peers were writing their first feature. This type of inclusivity is great for the spirit of the program and the caliber of encouraging instructors. It's a great opportunity for a variety of people to learn screenwriting and try their hand at it. But it may be a surprise for some with more extensive screenwriting experience. However, no matter someone's experience, there is something to learn and the workshops are helpful. It fulfills its purpose as a program between undergrad and grad schools.

We were told it is a professional program because it is for those who are already professionals, or who already have a day job. The workload allows for a full-time job, but can be very busy, as well. During the 2021-22 program, passing and earning your CERTIFICATE for the program consisted of attending 8/10 of the weekly workshops for each of the 3 quarters; finishing a first act by the end of the first quarter; finishing a feature first draft by the end of the second quarter; and finishing another feature first draft by the end of the third quarter. The program also consisted of pre-recorded lectures and a Zoom Q&A with instructors, screenwriters, agents, and other industry professionals. Q&A's were recorded to be rewatched at your convenience.

Much of the program's experience comes from the workshop instructors -- keeping the same instructor through the first two quarters and receiving a new one for the third quarter. Each instructor will run their workshop differently and each has their own unique insight to add to your work and about the industry and craft. Different instructor styles will work for different students and will influence the finished product of your drafts.

I was a self-taught screenwriter with four completed (unproduced) features under my belt. This was my first experience of formal instruction. My biggest takeaways were knowledge of screenwriting structure and the workshop experience. It's exciting to see others' insights affect your work and for your own insights to affect their work.

If you are curious about screenwriting or want more practice, this program is a strong RECOMMEND from me. The instructors and students it generally attracts are supportive and kind and the instruction is helpful. I used a screenplay I wrote in the program as my application to grad schools and one of my instructors was a recommender. The program is a great stepping stone towards grad school.
Affordability
4.00 star(s)
Alumni Network
4.00 star(s)
Campus
5.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
2.00 star(s)
Coursework
5.00 star(s)
Professors
4.00 star(s)
GimmeCroissants recommends this film school
One member found this helpful.
Last edited by a moderator:
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Reactions: Chris W
I loved my time at the UCLA PP in Producing!
Reviewed by: Alumni
Degree: Certificate
Concentration: Producing
Pros
  • amazing lecturers
  • great network
  • great community
Cons
  • no assignments or film projects
  • no financial aid
I loved my time at the UCLA PP in Producing! Each night, a different lecturer from a different part of the industry comes in and gives a talk. If you have just moved to LA and want a thorough understanding of the industry, as well as some connections, this is a great program at a not too steep price (not cheap though!). This program offers some amazing guest lecturers. I got to meet and participate in Q&As with the VP of Current at NBC and an exec at Marvel, among countless others.

One of the lecturers of the program while I attended was a former exec at a network (and Academy Award winner), who became a great mentor to everyone in the class. He took the time to set up individual meetings with all of us so he could learn about who we are and what we wanted from the program. Even now, months after finishing the program, I still email him and ask him for advice.

You're told right away that the most valuable takeaway from the program is the community you build with your fellow students. We hung out regularly, touring movie studios and throwing parties together. We even participated as a team together at the LA 48 Hour Film Festival. I still am close with several people from the program. It's nice to not feel alone as you try to find you way into the industry.

Also, I am currently interning at the production company of one of the lecturers who came and spoke with us. I definitely wouldn't have gotten this opportunity if I hadn't been a student at the UCLA PP.

If you can afford the program (when I went it was $5500 for the ten week course), I highly recommend it!

(I rated the equipment as one star because there is no equipment for the program. It's all lecture based, with no film assignments.)
Alumni Network
4.00 star(s)
Campus
5.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
3.00 star(s)
Coursework
5.00 star(s)
Facilities & Equipment
1.00 star(s)
Professors
5.00 star(s)
Scholarships
1.00 star(s)
One member found this helpful.
Last edited by a moderator:
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Reactions: Chris W

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Film School information

Category
California
Added by
FilmSchool.org
Views
29,008
Watchers
6
Reviews
4
Last update
Rating
4.75 star(s) 4 ratings

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