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Minor in TV Writing

Our Minor in TV Writing offers students a creative path toward enhanced engagement with subjects in their major field of studies. Students will explore creating stories for the world of episodic and narrative television, learn to analyze current trends, and engage in creative and intellectual exploration of the issues and emotions that excite them. The minor is designed for students who wish to develop their creativity and expand their writing abilities while pursuing other studies.

With our emphasis on VISUAL STORYTELLING and VISUAL COMPOSITION, a Minor in TV Writing provides the visual literacy skills necessary in today’s marketplace. This distinct minor is designed to empower the aspiring TV writer to break into this growing and dynamic field and to offer students the necessary background to pursue writing on a graduate level. TV Writing minors should graduate with a SPEC SCRIPT and a REVISED PILOT SCRIPT, building a strong portfolio of creative work. In addition, students will learn how to pitch themselves and their stories to producers and networks. Students will be guided in storytelling technique designed to harness their imagination as they create compelling, authentic, and original stories for today’s audiences.

Faculty and graduate teaching assistants come from Stony Brook University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Television Writing. This stand-alone MFA is one of a handful in the country to offer in-depth graduate studies in the burgeoning field of TV writing.

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 TV Writing
Melville Library N3022

  • Academics

    How Do I Earn a Minor in TV Writing?

    Your entryway to the 21-credit minor consists of three required courses: FLM 101, Introduction to Filmmaking and Television, FLM 102, Introduction to Film and Television Composi5on, and FLM 215, Scriptwriting for Film and TV. These three courses, open to everyone, invite you to participate hands-on in the experience of visual literacy and introduce you the nuts and bolts of visual storytelling.

    The heart of the television writing experience is two advanced seminars, chosen from TVW 220, TVW 221, FLM 302 or FLM 303. In TVW 220, Advanced Television Writing, students can delve deep into writing, choosing from topics such as Comedy Writing, Writing the Web Series, or Writing the Drama Script. In TVW 221, The Writers Room, students engage in a collaborate writing workshop designed to mimic a professional writers room. Students work together to develop and write a TV show or web series.

    Students can choose to enroll in FLM 302, Producing Practices for Film and TV, with topics such as Directing Actors for Film and Television and Understanding the Business of TV, or FLM 303, Podcasting, which explores audio podcasting as the essence of storytelling: listening to and communicating via the spoken word, person-to-person, and visualized exclusively through the imagery conjured via methods and choices specific to the oral tradi5on.

    Minors also take one upper-level advanced theory course, FLM 310 Topics in Film and TV or FLM 320, Story Analysis for Film and TV writers, or an equivalent course from another department. Our FLM and TVW courses are taught by working writers who approach visual storytelling from the ground up, as fellow practitioners.

    Our minor offers a cohesive approach to fulfilling Stony Brook's general education requirements, including SPK, ARTS, HUM, HFA+, and EXP. Even a single course in the art of television writing 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 enroll in the Capstone Project, offering an intensive pilot revision workshop, or complete an Internship, or can or enroll in an addi5onal advanced TV Writing workshop.

    Students should declare the Minor in TV Writing 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 TV writing 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 tvw_undergrad@stonybrook.

    The director of the TV writing minor is Karen Offitzer:

  • Courses

    Sample Course Offerings

    TOPIC: Exploring Visual Storytelling: A hands-on introduction to the art of narrative filmmaking and cinematic storytelling. Using smartphones or comparable devices, students will become familiar with the ideas, materials and technical skills needed for creative expression in this medium. Participants will learn how to use images in conjunction with sound, text and narrative structure as a basis for communicaitng ideas visually. Specific visual communication skills include: clarifying a subject, defining a goal, defining an audience, exploring the tools and resources available.

    TOPIC: Film and Television Across the World: During this semester, we will take a close look--and listen--to a
    survey of films and television shows from across the world and throughout history. Screenings will include
    short films, animated films, documentaries, TV shows, music videos, etc. We will attempt to break apart the
    different components of these selected works to better understand how they operate and how they combine with one another to impact us as viewers--to excite us, to move us, to frighten us, etc. – and how they inform us as practitioners.

    Topic: Introduction to Late Night, Sketch, and Joke Writing. This course covers the fundamentals of joke writing, late night comedy writing and sketch comedy writing in the style of SNL, Amber Ruffin, Full Frontal, and The Daily Show. Structured like a comedy writers' room, students learn to pitch jokes and sketches live in front of their peers.

    Topic: Writing the Television Pilot: Over the semester, students will work in a supportive, collaborative
    environment, learning how to analyze past and current television in a variety of genres, to hone their skills on
    the principles of story and the medium of television writing. Using this foundation, students will then pitch
    their own TV series ideas and develop stories for a pilot episode resul5ng in written outlines, beat sheets and scenes with dialogue to be read aloud in class. The goal of the class is to establish a foundation for television writing, emulate the professional writers room experience and teach students how to both give and receive constructive feedback on work presented. Students will finish the class with a completed outline, teaser and first act of their own half-hour or hour-long pilot.

    FLM 301 Story Analysis or Film and TV Writers
    TOPIC: This Show Sucks: A Study Of The Worst TV Shows In The World. While some series, The Simpsons or
    Law and Order for example, seem endlessly iterable others are canceled swilly -- their fans relegated to the
    swampy comment sections of b-tier, industry listicles. Take, for example, Cop Rock. The world's first -- and
    only? -- musical procedural. Think CSI meets Hannah Montana. WHO GREENLIT THAT?? Was he a genius or
    completely bananas? Both, maybe, because the show won several Emmys before landing on the butcher
    block after only 11 episodes. In this class, we’ll survey and read the pilot scripts of narrative shows which
    were canceled in one season or less, and discuss why they failed. We will take into account economics,
    cultural context, and story development. At the end of the semester, each student will pitch their own awful
    TV show, and justify why it could never succeed.

    FLM 303: Podcasting
    Topic: Audio Storytelling Skills: In this introductory course, students will learn how to conceptualize and craft
    their own podcasts—visualizing stories through audio only. Students will gain experience in developing and
    pitching ideas, writing specifically for sound, best practices in interviewing styles and techniques, recording and editing basics, marketing, branding, distribution and more. The focus is on learning and developing storytelling and entrepreneurial skills specific to audio, and strengthening oral communication and  presentation skills by researching, writing and proposal presentations as well as participating in the  evaluation of oral peer presentations and pitches.

  • Topics


    Spring 2023

  • 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.

    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

  • Contact Us

    Contact Us

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