Good part time programs in film directing, screenwriting, tv writing etc (1 Viewer)

Dev_paul

Member
Hello everyone! I'm a 42 year old financially stable management consultant who has made some short films in the past which have been selected in good film festivals and also got distribution. That was 5-6 years ago. I never went to film school, although took some workshops and read a lot on it. I need to keep my day job for obvious reasons, but still feel very strongly and passionate about films and making a career in the movies/tv.
I have been working on a feature length script and have also have plans to produce few short films/web series in the near future. Im currently based in NYC area, but open to move to LA as i feel its still the place where most working actors, directors, writers live and where most decisions by bigwigs are made (Studios, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc etc). I work in a field where I can be based anywhere (especially in the current Covid world), so moving is not an issue.
I feel that being part of a filmmaking program and school will help me give some structure to my ambitions- not to mention opportunity to meet like minded people and mentors in terms of faculty.
Im aware of UCLA extension program in LA and few other certificate programs here in NYU and New School, but ideally if I can find a graduate program which offers a part time degree that will be perfect. Any ideas, suggestions etc? Or if there is a possibility to enroll in a certificate program, but still possible to take some graduate level courses in the same school?
Also, apart from UCLA extension, are there any other good certificate programs/short term courses you guys may want to recommend?
Thanks in advance for your help.
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Hi Dev_paul,
When I was doing my Screenwriting MFA search (Excel spreadsheet and all), I was specifically seeking full-time programs, so unhelpfully, I don't have a list of part-time programs to give you, but I *can* recommend using the words "low residency" in your search. That's what MFA's that are part-time often use.

For example, Emerson College's screenwriting MFA runs this way: You go to campus only 6 days every semester, and otherwise take 2 online classes a semester from wherever you are based. Writing for Film and Television

DePaul may also fit the bill, but it's in Chicago. Not low-residency I think, but offerings are mostly evening classes, therefore structured to accommodate students who work full-time. MFA in Screenwriting

Similarly, UNC's Screenwriting & Producing MFA students take classes only after 3pm, I think so that people can work during the day. It sure isn't close to either NYC or LA, although there is a capstone trip to LA to make connections, if I remember correctly. Filmmaking Graduate Programs

Good luck in your search! Hope others can chime in with more options!
 

Dev_paul

Member
Hi Dev_paul,
When I was doing my Screenwriting MFA search (Excel spreadsheet and all), I was specifically seeking full-time programs, so unhelpfully, I don't have a list of part-time programs to give you, but I *can* recommend using the words "low residency" in your search. That's what MFA's that are part-time often use.

For example, Emerson College's screenwriting MFA runs this way: You go to campus only 6 days every semester, and otherwise take 2 online classes a semester from wherever you are based. Writing for Film and Television

DePaul may also fit the bill, but it's in Chicago. Not low-residency I think, but offerings are mostly evening classes, therefore structured to accommodate students who work full-time. MFA in Screenwriting

Similarly, UNC's Screenwriting & Producing MFA students take classes only after 3pm, I think so that people can work during the day. It sure isn't close to either NYC or LA, although there is a capstone trip to LA to make connections, if I remember correctly. Filmmaking Graduate Programs

Good luck in your search! Hope others can chime in with more options!
Thanks so much. That's really nice of you. I will check these and perhaps search by word 'low residency' as I was not getting anything when i searched using part time. Although couple of these might still not work as i can only be a part time student under my work visa.
Any other short term (max 1 year) course or school you might want to recommend, apart from UCLA extension?
 

Dev_paul

Member
Also, while im at it and seems your research was extensive, are there any programs which you can start in winter/spring? Thanks again.
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Any other short term (max 1 year) course or school you might want to recommend, apart from UCLA extension?
Does it have to be degree-granting?
Degree-granting meaning a school program that results in you receiving either a Master of Fine Arts degree or a Bachelor of Arts/Fine Arts degree.

If it doesn't need to be degree-granting, I know NYFA does short courses as does its LA-based sister school. I can't vouch for it personally, but I think there are reviews on this website about it.

I took TV Writing 1 at Gotham Writers Workshop and really liked it. I think who your teacher is probably shapes your experience quite a bit. Even after the class was over, I met a couple times with another student to write together, so it is possible to build community. Script Writing Class Catalogue - NYC and Online - Gotham Writers Workshop

You can also try searching for "Continuing Education" -- these will be usually be one-off classes at degree-granting schools like NYU, SVA, but that *do not contribute towards a degree*. Sometimes classes will be strung together to grant a certificate, which is like the UCLA Extension School program, I think.

That's all I know about!
 
Last edited:

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Also, while im at it and seems your research was extensive, are there any programs which you can start in winter/spring? Thanks again.
Yes. USC's Production MFA has two intake classes a year, one in the Fall and another in the Winter/Spring. But that's a full-time program.

NYFA has non-degree classes year-round and the LA school may have spring MFA? Not sure. But again, full-time.

And finally, NFTS in England runs its school year from January to December, so they start in the Winter. It is a full-time program and I assume that if you're here on a work visa right now, you're not exactly looking to dash off to the UK.

That's all that really popped up in my research, but since my focus was indeed Fall term full-time programs, I'm hoping someone else will have some good tips that are more in line with what you seek!
 

Dev_paul

Member
Sorry missed you reply earlier, didnt get the notification. Thanks so much again! Somehow NYFA always sounded fishy to me, i may be wrong though.
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Somehow NYFA always sounded fishy to me, i may be wrong though.
Yeah, to be honest, I share your feelings on this. But I haven't taken any of their classes or even gone to an open house, so I didn't want to push my opinions on you, since they're sort of based on, I don't know, gut feeling alone? On prejudice?

But yeah, I agree with you, I get a fishy, skeptical feeling towards NYFA as well. Would be happy to be proven wrong!
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Oh! One more thought! This would take more leg work, but if there are schools whose programs you are interested in despite being full-time MFAs, it may be worth reaching out to their Admissions Offices and asking, Is it possible to enroll in your program part-time? Maybe explain your visa situation.

Who knows, maybe some schools are more flexible than we think and could accommodate part-time enrollment. The degree would take longer to get, but maybe the school would be OK with that.
 

courteroy

Member
Hey There,

I just wanted to clarify that while UCLA does have an extension writing program that their Professional Program is not part of the extension program but is taught through the actual film school. You get full access to university programs such as the accessibility office etc. I have two friends that have gone through the Professional Program and both have nothing but praise to sing for it.

One is still enrolled and is loving every minute, it is graduate level work but you do only get a certificate not a degree.

The other actually found work through the program and is now a writer's assistant on a popular tv show that I guarantee everyone here has seen at least once.
 

Dev_paul

Member
Oh! One more thought! This would take more leg work, but if there are schools whose programs you are interested in despite being full-time MFAs, it may be worth reaching out to their Admissions Offices and asking, Is it possible to enroll in your program part-time? Maybe explain your visa situation.

Who knows, maybe some schools are more flexible than we think and could accommodate part-time enrollment. The degree would take longer to get, but maybe the school would be OK with that.
That's a good idea actually. Thanks so much for your thoughts. Regarding Gotham workshop, im aware of them. I will perhaps enroll in some program pretty soon there. Then, for winter, Im thinking of enrolling in couple of independent courses in NYU or UCLA or both. I have another question for you if you can offer your insight. Do you feel moving to LA from a long term perspective is a much better option or one should only move there once some kind of career movement happens? Ofcourse if one wants to go to a school there, its obvious step.
 

Dev_paul

Member
Hey There,

I just wanted to clarify that while UCLA does have an extension writing program that their Professional Program is not part of the extension program but is taught through the actual film school. You get full access to university programs such as the accessibility office etc. I have two friends that have gone through the Professional Program and both have nothing but praise to sing for it.

One is still enrolled and is loving every minute, it is graduate level work but you do only get a certificate not a degree.

The other actually found work through the program and is now a writer's assistant on a popular tv show that I guarantee everyone here has seen at least once.
Thanks. I believe someone else also told me this few years back. The issue currently is that I want to enroll soon and as far as i understand, professional screenwriting program only has a fall intake. Although no harm in inquiring from school directly.
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I have another question for you if you can offer your insight. Do you feel moving to LA from a long term perspective is a much better option or one should only move there once some kind of career movement happens? Ofcourse if one wants to go to a school there, its obvious step.
Hey Dev_paul,
This question I am not qualified to answer :/ I've done lots of program research but like you, I'm not a professional screenwriter yet, so I don't know.
Might be a good question to pose in a separate thread here. And I know the internet is full of advice on this particular question, so you can read up on various screenwriter blogs and see if their advice helps.
But me personally, no wisdom to offer on the subject, unfortunately!
 

Dev_paul

Member
Thanks and I understand its hard to offer an insight. Yes, there are lot of threads on internet asking the same question, but replies are all over the place. So i always ask people who are really serious about the career in this field as demonstrated by either enrolling in a good film program or making the move even before any career has started. You know since past few weeks i started making an excel sheet where i analyze movies played at Sundance in the past few years in terms of where the actors, writers, directors and producers of these movies currently live (I googled each one of those and got the info from wikipedia or their social media profiles or sometimes from their interviews). I was surprised looking at 15-20 movies till now that overwhelming number lives in LA. I mean i expected actors to live there but not as much as directors and producers as i thought indie film people are probably more in NYC. Ofcourse if i look at studio or big budget hollywood films, answer will be certainly LA.
You asked me earlier if the program i enroll in should be degree granting program? Not necessarily, what i ideally want is to be able to part of good program and school where I have access to resources and faculty and where i can do solid courses for my learning primarily. I dont care about getting a degree as such..i have enough degrees already. :). Thats why i mentioned earlier that if by enrolling in some certificate programs or continuing education courses, i can have access to taking few courses from a regular MFA program, it will be ideal.
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
I have friends that have graduated from Emerson's MFA Screenwriting program and Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting. Both programs are low residency so I'd take a look at those. My friend really enjoyed Emerson and spoke highly of it.

As for general screenwriting classes, Script Anatomy is great! Courses offered include TV Writing, Features, and one-on-one workshops.

Jen Grisanti is great, too. She does the NBC Writers on the Verge fellowships for TV Writers. If TV Writing is something you're interested in, Jen usually has an in-depth 8-week course that includes breaking down TV shows and understanding how successful TV shows works, which you can then apply to your own writing.

For comedy writing (sketch writing, and or the half-hour), check out the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre or Second City.

More comedy writing -- Brent Forrester (credits: The Office, Love, Final Space, Upload, Space Force) also teaches an online 8-week course. No notes, but you'll definitely learn a lot about writing 1/2 hour comedies.

Good luck : )
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
I have friends that have graduated from Emerson's MFA Screenwriting program and Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting. Both programs are low residency so I'd take a look at those. My friend really enjoyed Emerson and spoke highly of it.
Ooh! If you could get your friends to review those programs here on the site that would be awesome. (Can be anonymous)

Emerson College - MFA in Writing for Film and Television

Emerson College - MFA in Writing for Film and Television

To stay competitive in today’s market, film and television writers need to be able to work across platforms and genres.

Stony Brook University - MFA in TV Writing

Stony Brook University - MFA in TV Writing

Stony Brook’s MFA in Film and Television Writing takes a hands-on approach. While Stony Brook’s main campus is located in Long Island, this program takes place at the Stony Brook Manhattan Center for Creative Writing and Film in Manhattan, exposing students to New York’s bustling entertainment...
 

Dev_paul

Member
I have friends that have graduated from Emerson's MFA Screenwriting program and Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting. Both programs are low residency so I'd take a look at those. My friend really enjoyed Emerson and spoke highly of it.

As for general screenwriting classes, Script Anatomy is great! Courses offered include TV Writing, Features, and one-on-one workshops.

Jen Grisanti is great, too. She does the NBC Writers on the Verge fellowships for TV Writers. If TV Writing is something you're interested in, Jen usually has an in-depth 8-week course that includes breaking down TV shows and understanding how successful TV shows works, which you can then apply to your own writing.

For comedy writing (sketch writing, and or the half-hour), check out the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre or Second City.

More comedy writing -- Brent Forrester (credits: The Office, Love, Final Space, Upload, Space Force) also teaches an online 8-week course. No notes, but you'll definitely learn a lot about writing 1/2 hour comedies.

Good luck : )
That's awesome information, my friend. Yes, im very much interested in learning TV writing as web series and TV is indeed the future!
 

llueve

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Hey Dev_paul,
I was just back on this site to look at Stony Brook 's Screenwriting MFA when I noticed that the first reviewer explicitly says you can take their MFA part-time: Stony Brook Manhattan MFA in TV Writing

"If you hold a full-time job, this MFA is totally do-able with core classes held in the late afternoon / evening. You can also attend part-time"

And I thought, hey there was that one person looking for part-time programs! So they may be worth looking into. Also, classes are in Manhattan and it's one of the most affordable MFAs out there.
 

Dev_paul

Member
Hope everyone is doing well and thanks again for all the suggestions. I have decided to apply for UCLA Professional program in screenwriting. Im working on 1 page statement of purpose and was wondering if someone could give a look and feedback on it? Also, if there are any legit proofreading service you guys can recommend? Thanks
 
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