Corporate Law vs MFA/SCA


New Member
I am currently in my second year at a top fourteen law school. I want to pursue a career in entertainment. My ideal job would to be a writer or show runner but I also am interested in the business side (I have an undergrad degree in economics from an ivy league) and would gladly pursue producing if writing doesn’t work out.

I have to decide what I’m going to do after law school soon and right now I am considering two paths

1. Corporate law specializing in entertainment law
I would try to use that as a spring board to working for a studio or producer and do writing in my free time (which wouldn’t be much)

2. Apply to USC for grad school in either
A) MFA writing for screen and television; or
B) Peter Stark Producing program

I’m extremely conflicted about which path will put me in the best position to become a writer or producer. I am willing to put the hard work in I just need to know where to devote my time and energy. I wouldn’t need to take out loans for grad school so that isn’t a factor. I could really use some advice. Thank you so much.


Well-Known Member
I received an MFA from USC's screenwriting program. One of my classmates previously received a law degree through Yale and had been working as a lawyer in New York before moving to LA. If you're trying to become a writer/producer, you have to at some point choose to pursue writing/treat that more as a full-time commitment. The Stark program's great, too.


Well-Known Member
Hi Lvr23, I'd be curious to know if you've had any experience yet working in film -- be it helping a friend on set of a short film, writing something that a friend has shot, or PAing on a big feature -- any kind of experience. I ask this because I transitioned into film work after 5 years in another field and I am deciding to stick with it, but I've seen people come in, realize they don't like the industry (even if they like the art or medium of film) and choose a different life path. And I myself did that with my theater career -- I love theater itself, but did not like the way the industry is set up, so I explored film.

Having some experience in the industry might help you settle on whether you would prefer to write or produce, or mayb even remain in entertainment law or clearance! Or find that you like Post Production more, or Production Accounting, or Art Dept, or Production Office work.

In my work on narrative TV shows, I haven't met anyone yet who was a corporate entertainment lawyer and then switched over to working show-side. The Production and Post crew have very limited contact with the people working Studio-side (again, in my experience), so I don't know if you could find a path into Studio work via law work -- maybe yes!

On the indie feature side of things, you'll find that people need manpower help and people need financing, and if you can provide either or both, then you can find an in to producing, where you would be (probably, hopefully, ideally) working alongside other producer(s) who have done the work before and can show you the ropes, help you make your way up.

If you do that, is there a clear path from indie producing into TV producing? Hmm, not sure if there is.
Does indie producing pay? Hmm, it depends on what kind of indie budget. Indie feature producing seems like it is a lot of work, lots of hours, for not as much money.

Does any of this help?

I myself work in Post, have been for 5 years, and am applying to Screenwriting MFAs so I can learn those skills and make a lateral move into that department. So that's my strategy, for what it's worth.
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