Skip Navigation

MFA in Film

Fall 2017 Film Courses - Manhattan

Location: 535 Eighth Avenue

FLM 500.S60 (#96650) Master Class in Independent Film Production

Tuesdays, 5:20-8:10 pm, 4 credits
Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler, and Simone Pero

Master Classes focus on the filmmaking as an art form and an industry. Creative and business sectors are at an intersection of unlimited potential, and students will learn how to tap into and exploit the shifting paradigms of filmmaking – or content-making -- as practiced today. Students study script development, screenwriting, directing, and producing, and learn the realities of the independent film business from top industry professionals, including producers, casting agents, designers, actors, and lawyers, as well as distinguished filmmakers. This class is a core requirement for the MFA in Film.


FLM 525.S60 (#96386) Topics in Film: Screenwriting: The Short
Wednesdays, 5:20-8:10 pm, 3 credits
Jennie Allen

The aim of this workshop is to approach short form screenwriting through exercises, experimentation, providing and receiving feedback, and reflection. Students will study different short forms and dramatic theory but the focus of the class is on practice; students will learn through writing, critique, discussion, and reflection. The main fuel for each class will be student work. Students will leave with at least two polished short film scripts, including the short film they will pitch in the Master Class and shoot in Spring. 


CWL 530.S60 (#96402) Forms of Scriptwriting – Writing for TV
5:20-8:10 p.m., 3 credits
Scott Burkhardt

Writing the Spec Script. Students learn how to write a spec script for a TV show that is currently on the air. A "spec" is a script where the writer creates original stories for a show's existing characters.  A great spec is a key part of the portfolio needed to get a job as a television writer. Students will learn how to brainstorm story ideas, structure an outline and write scenes with dialogue, all in a constructive, supportive workshop atmosphere. The class covers both half-hour comedies and one-hour dramas. In addition, the class will watch, deconstruct and discuss a wide variety of TV shows in order to better understand how a successful episode is built. All the basics of TV writing are covered and the workshop is designed to closely mirror a professional writers room on a prime-time series.


FLM 550.S60 (#96961) Teaching Practicum
Thursdays, 5:15-7:45 p.m., 3 credits
Karen Offitzer

Required course for those seeking future employment as an instructor at the undergraduate level. This course plunges into the basics of pedagogy, including designing assignments, sequencing them, grading them, and creating syllabi for writing, directing, film analysis and producing courses. You'll get hands-on experience creating lesson plans and conducting lectures, seminars and filmmaking workshops, and will gain a preliminary overview of pedagogy on your way to devising your own. Most importantly, you'll ask and ask again, "What is teachable about filmmaking, and who am I to teach it?" (You need permission of the director and at least 6 program credits under your belt to take this class.) Please note that additional class time will be arranged with instructor.


FLM 638.S60 (#96657), Directing I: Principles of Directing
Mondays, 5:20-8:10 p.m., 3 credits
Branislav Bala

How do directors decide where to put the camera? How do shots tell a story, create meaning, and make an audience feel something? Students will study and practice script analysis, shot progression, composition, and staging. There will be several assigned directing exercises shot outside of class and workshopped in class; students must shoot and edit their own exercises. The focus is on narrative storytelling but there will be room for interpretation and experimentation. The final exercise will be a three minute short film. 


FLM 505.S60 (#96651) Film Workshop: Safety, Shooting & Splicing
5:20-8:10 pm, 3 credits
Jordan Roberts
 (Listed as Film Management I: Prod Seminar)

This introductory course will focus on the fundamentals of production; covering safety, production equipment and editing. You'll be introduced to the tools that you will have at your disposal to shoot your film projects. We will spend time in the classroom and on set, shooting various exercises. We will cover set safety, proper handling of the gear, the ins and outs of a selection of cameras, sound equipment and lighting. In addition we will cover the basics of cinematography and framing, audio techniques and basic set protocol. This is the first step to help you properly capture the stories you want to tell.

Once we shoot for a weeks we will move into the edit lab. Whether you are a seasoned editor just looking for a few new tips, or a novice who has never made an edit in your life, this section of the course will provide the instruction that you need. Working with Adobe Premiere Pro, the course will cover the basics of non-linear editing; including: creating new projects, media management, sequence settings, importing, transcoding, sound, JKL cuts, titling, mixed file format editing, export settings and delivery. Not only will we discuss the tools of editing, we will discuss the theory of it, and how each and every cut should have a purpose. Through film examples, articles, books and hands on lessons, we will dive into the craft and explore this often-underappreciated process. You can test out of this class if you possess the skillsets.


FLM 510.S60 (#96718) Film History I: European Auteurs Film Survey
8:20-11:10 pm, 3 credits
Lenny Crooks

There is an identifiable European way of filmmaking. It has nothing to do with style or genre (although action films are few and far between). Rather it is about process and priority. Regarding process, there are so many sources of public funding for development that for most distributed films have the writer will have been paid for several drafts. As regards priorities, the director is considered the most important element in a film's creation. So much so that many films are financed on artistic merit without undue consideration of the box office potential of lead cast members. Regardless of who has written the script, a director who has achieved distinction is considered the author or 'Auteur'. At two-week intervals we will screen and discuss a film followed by an analysis of the director's body of work.


FLM 680.S60 (#96712) Art Direction Workshop: Advanced Tools of Production
8 Saturday intensives, 10 am to 4 pm, 3 credits
Jordan Roberts and various

Cinematography (4x5 hours) Script Supervision (1x5 hours), line producing (1x5 hours), production design (1x5 hours), sound design (1x5 hours).


FLM 650.S60 (#96391) Find Your Story, Write Your Script
5:20-8:10p.m., 3 credits
Annette Handley Chandler

This course will offer intensive study of the screenwriting craft with a focus on character development, structure, scene construction, scene sequence/juxtaposition, dialogue and theme. Viewing films, film clips as well as analyzing and deconstructing more complex screenplays will be required. Rigorous class sessions will consist of group readings and open critiques. The objective of this course will be to create a three-act outline and to write or rewrite a full-length feature screenplay. All levels.


FLM 639.S60 (Class #96390) Directing II – Advanced Directing
8:20-11:10 pm, 3 credits
Jennie Allen

Students will practice using more complicated staging, camera movement, and working with time in this workshop. They will practice their craft by directing several exercises. Experimentation will be encouraged. Advanced Directing will give students the skills they need for the Spring Advanced Production course, and students may begin working out ideas for the films they will make in that course. Prerequisite: Directing I.


FLM 651.S61 (Class #96710) Screenwriting Workshop II: Dogme
, 5:20-8:10 PM, 3 credits
Lenny Crooks

With the guidance of Lenny Crooks, Magdalene Brandeis and Jennie Allen, writer/directors will follow in the tradition of the Stony Brook/Killer 20/20/20 boot camp and borrow from the Dogme manifesto drawn up by Danish filmmakers Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. This course offers a unique writing/directing/learning opportunity. Working from pre-existing characters -- either a main character or a subsidiary character from a short film you have written or made - and inclusive of your classmates' characters, the group collaborates to create a digital series, filmed in December. Episodes add up to a cohesive series. This course will give participants writers' room experience, show-runner experience, and prepare feature film directors for trans-media promotions, etc. Course Prerequisite: first year production.


FLM 690.T60 (Class #96713) Professional Internship
1-3 credits
Magdalene Brandeis, Pamela Koffler

Students work on Killer Films NYC-based production.


FLM 691.S60 (Class #96714) Thesis Project
3 credits
David Hinajosa

FLM 692.S60 (Class #96715) Thesis Paper
3 credits
David Hinajosa


POSSIBLE Additional TV Course for those who've completed Dir I and Dogme and with instructors permission

Mondays, 6-9 p.m., 2 credits
Alan Kingsberg