Fall 2021 Courses in Film, TV Writing and Creative Writing
Manhattan Location: 535 8th Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Fall semester begins Monday, August 23rd. Classes are not in session on Monday, September 6 th , Labor Day. Fall break is Monday, October 11 th – 12 th . Thanksgiving break is: Wednesday, November 24 th – Sunday, November 8 th . Last day of Saturday classes is Saturday, December 4 th . Last day of M-F classes is Monday, December 6 th . Official end of term is Thursday, December 16 th .
Fulltime First Year = 12 credits per semester
Fulltime Second Year = 9 credits per semester
FLM 500.S60 (# 93437 ) MASTER CLASS IN INDEPENDENT FILM PRODUCTION (4 cr) Tuesdays, 5:20-8:10pm - Christine Vachon and Simone Pero
Master Classes focus on 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 the craft of script development, directing, and producing, and learn the realities of the independent film business from top industry professionals, including producers, casting agents, cinematographers, designers, actors, distributors, and lawyers, as well as distinguished filmmakers. This class is a core requirement for the MFA in Film.
FLM 501.S60 (# 93439 ) Film Tools (3 cr) SAFETY, SHOOTING & SPLICING] Thurs, 5:20-8:10pm, Jordan Roberts
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 first semester 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 natural 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 few 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 skill sets.
FLM 576.S60 (#93459) The Art of Line Producing- Breaking a Feature Script-(3 cr) Wednesdays, 5:20-8:10
In this course we will use Movie Magic or Gorilla and break down a feature screenplay for budget and schedule. We will learn how to put together a presentation for a director and how to produce a screening series .
FLM 525.S60 (#93441)
TOPICS IN FLM: WRITING IN FILM: The Short (3 cr)
Mon, 5:20-8:10pm Jennie Allen
Students will study short film forms and dramatic storytelling principles but the focus of this class is on practice. The main fuel for each class will be student work. Students write and revise short film scripts, provide and receive peer feedback, and reflect upon the process. Students leave with three scripts, two of which have been through at least one revision. For FLM students, this includes the film they will shoot in Spring. TV Writers may take this course.
FLM 526.S60 (#94606) Topics in TV Writing (3 cr) – Scott Burkhardt
Students learn how to write a spec script or pilot. A “spec” is a script for a TV show that is currently on the air where the writer creates original stories for a show’s existing characters. 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 (#93443) Teaching Practicum (3 cr) Thurs, 2:20-5:10pm, 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 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 writing/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 591.T01 (#93431) Independent Project (Flex time), Magdalene Brandeis
FLM 638.S60 (#93445), Directing I: Principles of Directing (3 cr) Perry Blackshear Wednesdays, 5:20-8:10pm
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 four-minute short film.
FLM 639.S60 (#93448) Directing II – Advanced Directing (3 cr)
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 652.S60 (#93456), Screenwriting III (3cr) – Jennie Allen-8 Saturdays, 9/4, 9/18, 10/2, 10/16, 10/30, 11/13, 11/20, 12/4
This is an intensive writing workshop designed to help students as they finish or revise feature length screenplays. Classes will be devoted to workshopping student ideas and scripts. Students must come in with clear goals for the semester. These goals must be approved by the instructor. In workshop we will consider emotional impact, visual storytelling force, dramatic structure, character, story arcs, scene construction, pacing, embedded values, the creation of meaning - or “What are we left with at the end?,” and all other aspects of screenwriting. You must present your work in class and be engaged with the work of your classmates. We may read produced screenplays to support and deepen our understanding of how these stories work on us.
FLM 650.S60 (#94607) THE ADVANCE PARTY (3 cr) Crooks-Tues , 8:20-11:10pm
The Advance Party challenges all you know about screenwriting as you progress from a blank page to a short form screenplay. We start with a character - each student creates a single character and learns how to describe their character in an authentic way. If the class size is 10 then there will emerge 10 characters and you will choose which of these characters will interact with your own.We then focus on the natural story as an essential element in this organic approach to screenwriting. As we progress, each of your stories will evolve, not out of traditional plot driven characterization but out of the characters' authentic actions and reactions to situations created by you.
The Advance Party process was first utilized by Andrea Arnold to write her Cannes prize winning feature ‘Red Road’.
FLM 651.S60 (#93446) Screenwriting Workshop II (3 cr) –Crooks – Thursday 5:20-8:10pm
This course will build on introductory screenwriting skills and elements. It will offer a more intensive study of the screenwriting craft especially character, scene construction, scene sequence/juxtaposition and dialogue. Rigorous class sessions will consist of group readings and open critiques. The objective of this course will be to structure and write or rewrite a full-length feature screenplay. Intermediate to Advanced Screenwriters. Prerequisite: Screenwriting Workshop I, the first act of a screenplay, or instructor’s permission.
FLM 660.S60-61 (#95756) Acting for Directors-Shira-Lee Shalit, Magdalene Brandeis (3cr)
For those students who have completed their first and second years in Film and TV Writing. The first part of this course is a 2-day weekend intensive in Southampton. Students will study the basics of acting techniques and directing actors. In the following Manhattan sessions, students will study casting, directing and working with professional actors on scenes that they choose. Each student will act, direct and support their classmates’ scenes. Southampton: August 21/22 or 28/29, and 5 hour Saturdays or Evening classes as follows.
Tentatively - as this is all SAG dependent:
COHORT 1 Fall '21 2nd years: please request 660.S60 (#96293)
COHORT 2 Fall '21 3rd years: please request 660.S61 (#96294)
FLM 690.T01 (#93427) Professional Internship (1-3cr.)Brandeis/Koffler
Students work on Killer Films NYC-based production. Administered through Southampton
FLM 691.V01 (#93428) THESIS PROJECT – (1-3cr) Magdalene Brandeis
FLM 692.V01 (#93429) THESIS PAPER – (1-3cr) Magdalene Brandeis
Your thesis is both a calling card for your creative work and a practical dry-run for the complicated process of production. This is a safe space to fail and learn from the multitude of changes, compromises and setbacks you will undoubtedly incur. We will develop your story and find the best possible path toward a polished screenplay or production. The semester will be spent designing plan A, but preparing for plan B, C and D.
FLM 500.S65 (# 93438 ) Intro. Grad Studies (The Spec)Alan Kingsberg – Thurs, 5:20-8:10 pm, (4 cr)
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 in learning to create 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. This class is paired with one-on-one advisement every other week.
FLM 536.S66 (#93442) Forms of TV – Spec Writ Conf – Alan Kingsberg / Wed, 2:00-4:30pm, (1 cr)
Students meet individually with the professor to advance their spec scripts, first focusing on story then outline and finally scenes. Assignments due at each conference. Paired with #96621.
FLM 525.S65 (#93430) Topics in Film: TV Guest Series - Alan Kingsberg , Mon, 7:30-9:20 pm (1 cr)
A moderated guest series featuring in-depth discussions with TV writers and producers about their scripts, series and careers. Meets four times during the Fall semester.
FLM 526.S65 (#93423) Topics in TV Writing: Showrunner Michael Rauch, (1 cr) Date and Time TBD.
In a writers room environment, students form teams to pitch and break stories under the supervision of a showrunner. Working as a cohesive group, the class builds a complete episode for an ongoing series.
536.S65 (#94608) Forms of TV Writing: Short Form/Sketch Comedy
Ethan T. Berlin 9 Wednesdays, 6:30-9:20 pm, (2 cr)
Taught by a veteran comedy writer, this workshop covers the fundamentals of late night and sketch writing in the style of SNL, The Late Show, Full Frontal, and The Daily Show . Structured like a comedy writers' room, students learn to pitch jokes and sketches live in front of other writers. Students also gain experience working on a sketch or late night packet.
FLM 591.T60 (#93462) Independent project - Flex time, Magdalene Brandeis
FLM 660.S65 (#95756) Acting for Directors-Shira-Lee Shalit, Magdalene Brandeis (3cr)
For those students who have completed their first and second years in Film and TV Writing. The first part of this course is a 2-day weekend intensive in Southampton. Students will study the basics of acting techniques and directing actors. In the following Manhattan sessions, students will study casting, directing and working with professional actors on scenes that they choose. Each student will act, direct and support their classmates’ scenes. Southampton: September 11/12, and 5 hour Saturdays as follows.
Tentatively - as this is all SAG dependent:
Second years: please register for 660.S65 (#95756)
Third years: please request 660.S66 (#96295)
FLM 651.S65 (#93447) Screenwriting Workshop II - Advanced Pilot-Jim Jennwein – Wed, (3 cr) 5:20-8:10pm
Students build on the skills developed in their first year to create a new series concept that has a strong story engine and a powerful emotional or comedic core – a concept that can generate compelling episodes over multiple seasons. Next, students create stories for their pilot episode, outline and write scenes working toward finishing at least one pilot script. 3 Credits. Prerequisite classes: Spec and Pilot.
FLM 576.S65 (#93444) Topics in TV - Prod Management - Limited Series – Business of TV – Adam Yaffe, Stephen Gates (4 cr) Thursday 5:20-8:10pm
During the first half of the semester, the class works as a group to plot out a season of a limited series based on a true event. This includes building story and character arcs across a season, breaking individual episodes and writing scenes. Led by Adam Yaffe.
During the second half of the semester, this workshop, taught by professional manager Stephen Gates, covers the business of TV including how pilots are sold and TV series set up. How do you get hired in a writers room? Learn about agents and managers, pitching and pitch documents. Design a strategy to launch your career and manage your brand.
FLM 638.S65 (# 96292 ) Directing for TV Writers – Perry Blackshear, (3 cr), Mondays 5:20-8:10pm
Students will learn the foundational theory, skills, and practical experience to take a leadership role on set. Key focuses will be on the intersection of writing and directing, script analysis, directing actors, cinematography for directors, blocking and pacing, and mastery of on-set dynamics. While practicing their craft, students will continue to develop their own vision for what kind of storyteller they want to be and apply this to filmed exercises. These include directing scenes from a student’s own script and scenes from scripts written by others.
FLM 501.S65 (#93440) TV Skills – FILM TOOLS - Jordan Roberts –Tues 5:20-8:10 (3 cr)
For second year TV students, in conjunction with TV Directing.
Learning the fundamentals of how to create shot lists, block a scene and production protocol is invaluable in helping you become better writers. This course will introduce you to the tools that are integral to bringing your vision to life. Working with top of the line camera and sound equipment, you will acquire the skills necessary to navigate the rocky waters of production. Sync sound will be introduced, along with how to properly fill out camera reports, script supervisor duties, the roles of different crew members on set and how to properly break a script down beat by beat to create a well thought out shot list. We will then spend several weeks in the edit lab cutting different scenes to create different emotional impacts and points of view.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 skill sets.
FLM 526.S66 – Forms of TV Writing (#93424) - Web series-Mon 5:20-8:10 (3 cr), Kris Lefcoe
Capstone class. Each student writes, directs and produces a micro pilot for a webseries. The goal of the class is to shepherd students through the creation of a fully realized, screenable 5-minute story/concept-launching pilot for their own original digital series. Modeled after the tight schedule of real-life film and television production, students will be expected to meet strict deadlines in each phase of pitching, writing, scheduling, prep, shoot and post-production.
652.S65 (#93457) Screenwriting III - ADVANCED REVISION (3 cr) – Scott Burkhardt
Open to students who have completed all pilot classes and a revision class. This class can be linked to thesis or will be offered to those who want to postpone thesis until the Spring semester.
FLM 692.V05 (#93449) Thesis for TV (3cr) – For TV Writers who have fulfilled all class reqs - Kingsberg/Burkhardt
Each student polishes one pilot script, preferably their “showpiece” or best script, the one that will be the jewel in their writing portfolio. In addition, each student prepares a pitch for a new series, including series concept, and primary stories. This pitch becomes the project they can develop after graduation. At semesters end, there will be with a thesis review panel to critique and discuss the final work.
CWL 510.S60 #93422, Forms of Fiction: Short Story, Susan Minot (4 cr.)
Mondays, 6:05 – 9:00 pm (Hybrid.)
As our 2013 Nobel Laureate Alice Munro recently said, the short story is “an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel.” Focus in this workshop will be on the building blocks of the short story. In class discussions of student fiction, we will focus on style, structure, and content, with an eye to finding the subject best suited to each writer. Strong editorial feedback on the text will impress upon students the necessity of rewriting, both through editing of their fellow students, as well as their own work.in both practicing editing on their fellow students, as well as learning the value of doing draft after draft in order to strengthen and focus the material of his or her concern. Mastery of a good sentence, the first building block in writing, is one of our goals. Suggested outside reading will direct students to the masters, choosing from among: Anton Chekhov, Raymond Carver, Lydia Davis, Amy Hempel, Franz Kafka, Flannery O'Conner, John Cheever, Katherine Mansfield, Ernest Hemingway, Lorrie Moore, and James Salter.
CWL 582.S01 #93421: Practicum in Publishing & Editing, Lou Ann Walker & Scott Sullivan (1 – 4 cr.)
NB: One instructor will be in Manhattan and the other in Southampton.
Tuesdays, 11:30 – 2:20 pm
(NB: Hybrid. This course will be taught jointly by the instructors. You may take this class in-person in one of the locations, or remotely.)
Under the guidance of editors and advisors, students will be exposed to the hands-on process of editing and publishing TSR: The Southampton Review. Yes, the P& E Practicum is designed to give you experience in editing a literary and arts review. But here’s the secret: This practicum also provides an excellent means for you to build your skills as a writer. For example, as you read submissions in Submittable, you’ll be seeing what works and doesn’t work in cover letters. You’ll be examining successful structures in fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and poetry. You’ll be acquiring editing diagnostic tools. And you’ll be drilling down to what works line by line throughout a creative piece. We’ll discuss word choices, juxtapositions, imagery, symbolism, all that good stuff.
CWL 500.S01 #93452, Introduction to Graduate Writing, Carla Caglioti and Paul Harding (4 cr.)
Wednesdays, 6:05 – 9:00 pm (Hybrid. In-person in Southampton.)
A seminar that introduces students to one another, the faculty, the program in Creative Writing and Literature, and to issues in contemporary writing. Offered in conjunction with the “Writers Speak” lecture series. Students will attend the regular series of readings sponsored by the Writing program and meet at weekly intervals under the direction of a faculty advisor to discuss and write about topics raised in lecture series, as well as issues generated from seminar discussions and assigned readings.
Please note: CWL 500 is a requirement and we encourage you to take this course in your first year.
Writers Speak Wednesdays, Wednesday evenings, 7:00 – 8:00
(Presented on 6 – 7 Wednesday evenings during the Fall.)
Please tune in to the YouTube Channel to participate in these exciting events.
CWL 560.S60 #94568: Topics in Literature for Writers: Whose Life is it Anyway? The Memoir Considered in Full, Patricia McCormick (4 cr.)
Tuesdays, 5:40 – 8:30 pm (Hybrid.)
In this class, we'll focus on you as the main character, but also take a look at how the supporting characters are portrayed. We'll talk about the practicalities and ethics of writing about the lives of others as you write about your own life. We'll read work by AM Homes, Jeannette Winterson, Claudia Rankine, Amy Tan, David Carr, Gregory Pardlo and others to see how they handled these questions. And we'll workshop your memoirs-in-progress in a helpful, constructive manner.
CWL 565.S60 # 96263: Special Topics in Writing: Plot Development—The Intriguing Beginning Pulled Through to the Impactful Ending, Robert Lopez (4 cr.)
Wednesdays, 2:40 - 5:30 pm (In-person—Social Distancing Pattern)
How stories begin is always a critical element of a short fiction, perhaps the most critical. How they end is always as important, as well. In this class we’ll examine various entry points into a story, finding the unexpected way in, through a back or side door and how this sets us on the path toward the end. The beginning of a story makes certain promises and sets expectations. We’ll discuss various beginnings and find strategies to fulfill these expectations and confound them by what we’ve established in the opening. We’ll read stories each week that accomplish this and use these as models for our own short fiction. Let’s pay attention to how writers arrest our attention and create conflict right from the opening line and how they use this narrative strategy as the way out of a story.
CWL 510.S01 #93416 Forms of Fiction: The Novel, De’Shawn Winslow (4 cr.)
Thursdays, 6:05 – 9:00 pm (Online.)
During our semester together we'll discuss ways in which we can keep our reader engaged on every page, looking closely at ways to construct lively dialogue, surprising plot points, and fascinating characterizations. Our goal will be to never give our readers a reason to put our work back on the shelf "for later."
We’ll do short writing exercises to further develop our muscle for enticing our readers to follow us to the next paragraph. Students will have the opportunity to workshop two pieces (up to 25 pages per submission). I welcome short stories and/or the first pages of a novel. Writers who take this course will leave with the skills and strategies to write fiction readers can’t put down.
CWL 540.S60 #93419, Forms of Nonfiction: The Ways of the Essay—Transforming Your Personal Material, Hugh Ryan (4 cr.)
Saturdays, 2:00 – 4:40 pm
No kind of creative nonfiction is as versatile in form or content as the essay, where the narrative “I” can tackle any topic the author’s eye alights on. This versatility, however, is undergirded by a silent promise, guaranteeing our readers that we have some measure of topical authority—a foundation from which to launch our flights of insight. However, “write what you know” shouldn’t be a limitation on the essayist, rather, it should be an injunction for us to learn more.
In this workshop, we will examine a range of essay forms (personal, braided, and lyric) to see what fits your style and material best. We will explore different research techniques and how to incorporate them into a finished piece—without boring our audience to tears. Our reading will be a mixture of essays and craft-focused works, which may or may not include Namwali Serpell, Jo Ann Beard, Roxane Gay, Darnell Moore, Susan Sontag, Jonathan Lethem, Italo Calvino, Annie Dillard, Joan Didion, Alexander Chee, Natalie Angiers, Ben Ehrenreich, Amy Sohn, Hilton Als, Brandon Taylor, Claudia Rankine, David Sedaris, Geoff Dyer, Meredith Talusan, Brian Blanchfield, and more.