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Minor in Filmmaking

Our filmmaking courses invite students from all disciplines to engage in the power of the cinematic image and its relationship to storytelling. The undergraduate filmmaking program at Stony Brook immerses students, hands-on, in the art of narrative filmmaking.

Students who want to tell stories on film need a firm understanding of the power of images and sounds, a solid grasp on how to develop a compelling storyline and the technical know-how to manipulate and transform these images in a way that can inform, educate and persuade audiences of the 21st century.

Created in the spirit of the innovative MFA in Film, a program with a “roll up your sleeves and dive in” approach, the undergraduate filmmaking courses help students develop the narrative, analytical and technical skills needed to make films that tell the stories they want to tell.

We begin with harnessing what students already know – their smartphones and their everyday interaction with social media and movies – and build their understanding of filmmaking through workshops that immerse them in screenwriting, film analysis, cinematography, editing and production.

As visual literacy becomes increasingly necessary in a world of moving images, workshops in the craft of filmmaking enable students to develop their capacity for creative and critical thinking as well as the technical acuity necessary to create compelling stories and images as filmmakers.

Learn more about the minor in the undergraduate bulletin >

The minor can bedeclared online from within SOLAR. Please refer to the Academic Calendar regarding the deadline for submission of the Minor Declaration form. 

For questions about  the minor, or to set up an appointment to meet with an advisor,  please contact us at

Program Director: Karen Offitzer

karen offitzerKaren Offitzer received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and a Masters from NYU.  She is the Founder and former Program Director of the MFA in Creative Writing at National University, and has received grants and awards for her short documentary work, most notably for her short, I Am Not Who You Think I Am, exploring the effect of a year-long free humanities education program on the lives of those who were homeless and working poor. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Phoebe, and Sonora Review and her book, Diners, is a pictorial chronicle of America’s roadside eateries. 

Karen Offitzer, Director
Minor in Filmmaking
Melville Library N3022

  • Academics

    How Do I Earn a Minor in Filmmaking?

    sbu cameraYour entryway to the 21-credit minor consists of two required courses: FLM 101, Introduction to Filmmaking, and FLM 102, Introduction to Film Composition. These two courses, open to everyone, invite you to participate hands-on in the experience of filmmaking and introduces you the nuts and bolts of filmmaking as viewed through the lens of the working filmmaker.

    The heart of the filmmaking experience is three advanced seminars, chosen from FLM 215, FLM 220, FLM 221, FLM 301, FLM 302 or FLM 303. Students can delve deep into one particular area such as screenwriting, documentary filmmaking or fiction filmmaking, or can experience a broad range of filmmaking endeavors. Minors also take one upper-level "study film like a filmmaker" course, FLM 310 or FLM 320, or an equivalent course from another department.  Our FLM courses are taught by working filmmakers who approach filmmaking from the ground up, as fellow practitioners. Many of these courses are organized around a topic, such as Podcasting, or Writing for Television, or the Social Documentary.

    Our minor offers a cohesive approach to fulfilling Stony Brook's general education requirements, including SPK, TECH, ARTS, HUM, HFA+, and EXP. Even a single course in the art of filmmaking presents a rich complex of learning opportunities, not only for those in the arts and humanities, but those in any field: hands-on immersion in the narrative, analytical and technical skills required for cinematic expression will enable students to create visual stories about the issues at the core of their own studies, whatever they may be.  

    At the conclusion of their studies, students will have the opportunity to choose a final course that best serves their interest. Students can complete a capstone project in which they create an independent film or full length screenplay, they may choose the take an advanced filmmaking workshop, or they may choose to participate in an Internship to complete the minor.

    Students should declare the Minor in Filmmaking sometime during their sophomore year, at which time they should consult with advisors of both their major and minor to plan their course of study. The objective is to fulfill the filmmaking minor's requirements in a way that is coherent and complementary to the major.

    The minor can be declared online from within SOLAR.  Please refer to the Academic Calendar regarding the deadline for submission of the Minor Declaration form. 

    For questions about  the minor, or to set up an appointment to meet with an advisor,  please contact us at

    The director of the filmmaking minor is Karen Offitzer:

  • Courses

    Sample Course Offerings


    So you want to make movies? This a great place to start! Film 101 is an intensive but accessible introduction to making films using a device we all have -a smartphone. Students will learn to make short films from the first draft of the script to final edit of the video. Each week we will watch short films and work on exercises focusing on specific film departments such as camera or production design. By working together on multiple projects outside of class each student will have written and directed a short film, had experience in many other on-set roles and have a better grasp on how film sets work in general! If you’ve ever been curious as to where you may fit on a film set -this is a good place to begin.



    An Introduction to the nuts and bolts of filmmaking as viewed through the lens of the working filmmaker. By examining the creative aspects of films, the tools, the language and the choices of filmmakers, participants learn to interpret the creative elements of a film from a practitioner’s perspective.



    This TV writing workshop will cover the differences required between a spec (an episode for an existing television show that is “speculative”) versus an original concept pilot. Participants will be guided on what shows are valid to spec given the current television climate. Important script writing themes that will be explored are: character’s want, internal and external obstacles, tone, POV, character folly, action, and repeatable story engine. Participants will get the chance to write in a tone and genre of their own personal preference. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the emotional trajectory of a character’s journey that will guide the exciting process from teaser to the final act.



    All great screenplays share a compelling, well-told story. In this course, students will analyze films and read contemporary screenplays, deconstructing them in order to learn why they work so well. Students will leave understanding the construction of story, the value of juxtaposing scenes, the power of the visual image, the importance of underlying theme, the need for conflict and the development of compelling, layered characters and their dialogue. Students will be guided through the process of developing their own stories and will leave with a screenplay.


    film minor topicsFLM 220: DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING

    Study and practice of documentary filmmaking from concept to production and post-production, through readings, screenings, discussion and regular submissions of original documentary filmmaking projects. Topics include Creating the Documentary Short, Ethics and Documentary Film, Social Documentary, The Film Essay. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 credits as the topic changes.



    Study and practice of fiction filmmaking from story to production and post-production, through readings, screenings, discussion and regular submission of original fiction filmmaking projects. Topics include: Short Fiction, Film Animation, American Hollywood Film, Genre Filmmaking, Indie Filmmaking. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 credits as the topic changes.



    Explores the connections between technology and storytelling, examining the tools and resources available to create compelling images and stories. Course explores the principals, tools and techniques of digital technologies: cinematography, art direction, sound design and editing in shaping a film, and how these choices interact with the art of visual storytelling.


    Podcasting is the next step in the technological liberation of storytelling via digital means. It is a companion and complement to video and filmmaking. In this class you will learn how to craft your own podcast visualizing your stories with audio only and present it to the world. You’ll gain experience in writing for sound, interviewing styles and techniques, recording & editing basics, pitching ideas, marketing, branding, distribution, monetization and more. The focus is on learning and developing new storytelling and entrepreneurial skills, and strengthening oral communication and presenting skills by researching, writing and presenting proposals and pitches and participating in the evaluation of peer oral presentations of researched proposals and pitches.



    A critical survey of the screenplay through the lens of the filmmaker. Emphasis will be on exploring the construction of story in film from a practitioner's perspective. Critical analysis will be transferred into practice through hands-on exercises in filmmaking. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 credits as the topic changes.


    From gangster movies to the urban underworld, from musical and romantic comedies to dystopian post-urban settings, from megacities populated by superheroes, to stories of moving to the big city or leaving one behind and hitting the open road, movies and the cities/suburbs they inhabit will be critically examined through readings, in-class screenings, active discussion, independent film study, and reflective writing, culminating in the completion of a final project: short film, short screenplay, TV pilot, short story or essay that reflects careful observation and thinking, interpretation, and discussion of urban representation in film.


    A weekly seminar in planning and executing an independent, interdisciplinary project, the culmination of the minor, to be taken while completing a short film or full-length project. The nature and genre of the film project is up to the individual, though the concept must be approved by the program director before the student can enroll in this course. Weekly class meetings give structure to the independent filmmaking process, helping minors to plan, research and locate the resources they need. 

    Offers students a personalized experiential learning opportunity designed to build on classroom knowledge and skills by exploring filmmaking in real world settings. The work must involve skills related to the educational goals of the department. 

  • Topics







  • CREATE Series

    CREATE Series - Student Showcases


    create wednesdaysCREATE Wednesdays
    1-2:20 p.m., N3045 Melville Library

    Create Wednesdays is a series of talks and presentations by industry professionals, faculty and guests hosted by Stony Brook Filmmaking and TV Writing; providing insight and opportunity as you begin your creative path.

    Current CREATE Events

    Event Archive

    capstone festivalCapstone Festival

    Student filmmakers, screenwriters and TV writers celebrate the culmination of their minor coursework by presenting a special project at the Wang Center for their peers and the SBU community.

    Event Archive

    student showcaseStudent Showcase

    Student filmmakers and screenwriters from the inception of the program in FLM 101, 102, 215 and 301 were nominated and presented work at the Wang Center Theatre for their peers and SBU community.

    Event Archive

  • Learn More

    Learn More

    Learn more about the minor in the Undergraduate Bulletin

  • Minor Declaration

    Minor Declaration

    The minor can be declared online from within SOLAR. Please refer to the Academic Calendar regarding the deadline for submission of the Minor Declaration Form.

    For questions about the minor, or to set up an appointment to meet with an advisor, please contact us at

    The director of the filmmaking minor is Karen Offitzer:

  • Career Opportunities

    Below are  job and internship opportunites that filmmaking students may be interested in. Please log into your Handshake account for a full list of opportunities. 


  • Contact Us

    Contact Us

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