What are graduate level courses like? (Screenwriting)

Dan

Member
Going to be entering a program this fall, not sure which one, but all I know is that I want to dedicate myself to writing and learning as much as possible. Can anyone give me an idea of what these progams are actually like to participate in? Am i going to be crushed and have my dreams shattered? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.
 

Operator

Active Member
I've sat in on a few graduate classes during my undergrad time. Be preparred to have your work ripped apart, over and over again. But instead of just telling you it's trash, they'll actually give you constructive feedback which will make you a better writer.
 
You're a lot more independent. Most of our classes are workshops so we write a lot and read a lot for critique and conversation.
 

Kira

MFA TV Writer @UCLA
I can only share my experience at UCLA.

Our workshops are small (6-8 students) and are typically 3 hours once a week led by a professional screenwriter. Either you turn in beat sheets / outlines (at the beginning of the term) and then about 10-20 pages every week after that.

Some workshops read pages aloud, others expect you to read all of the pages beforehand. Your prof and peers give you notes and typically spend about 20-40 minutes per student.

Professors should give you constructive notes. How these comments are given depend on each prof. Some don't sugar coat, others do. If your pages are crap, they'll tell you... but also how to fix it.

If you want to be a professional screenwriter, you will lean into these notes and seek out criticism. I'm not paying thousands of dollars to be told my work is great when it's not - I can ask my friends and family for that! Constant feedback is the only way to improve quickly.
 

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