School of Motion Pictures & Television Graduate Degrees

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Master of Arts (MA) Degree

The MA program Writing & Directing for Film guides aspiring writer-directors in directing an original and engaging short film. Students also learn to develop a social media marketing campaign and a promotional strategy for their film. Students are also trained to develop a marketable idea and outline for a feature film. Students will practice and apply visual storytelling skills as a film director and learn to work effectively with actors to realize their stories.

MA Writing & Directing for Film Unit Requirements
Major 33 units
Graduate Liberal Arts 3 units
TOTAL 36 units

MA Writing & Directing for Film Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Portfolio Review
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 36 units

Additional Information

MA Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Writer-Director Skills

  • Direct a short film that showcases their abilities as a writer-director.
  • Develop compelling ideas for short and feature film screenplays.
  • Create defined and engaging characters.
  • Write a well-structured short film script and feature outline.
  • Elicit engaging and believable performances from actors.

Professional Readiness

  • Make well-organized and effective choices that serve the story during the preproduction, production and postproduction process.
  • Apply film marketing research to develop an effective social media marketing campaign and articulate a promotional strategy for their film.

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree

The School of Motion Pictures & Television's MFA program offers advanced, multifaceted study of the film arts. Areas of emphasis include story structure, cinematography, directing, editing, and various producing aspects. Students produce a reel of work that reflects their refined talent and professional readiness.

MFA Motion Pictures & Television Unit Requirements

Major 30 units
Directed Study 18 units
Graduate Liberal Arts 9 units
Electives 6 units
TOTAL 63 units

MFA Motion Pictures & Television Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and the following Academic Study requirement:
    1 Art Historical Awareness & Aesthetic Sensitivity course
    1 Cross Cultural Understanding course

Additional Information

MFA Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Editing

  • Demonstrate advanced– level achievement in editing through both thesis films and various other projects
  • Demonstrate proficiency in post-production technology and techniques
  • Demonstrate proficiency in at least three different editing programs
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Screenwriting

  • Propose a story that is marketable and/or appealing to a general audience for development into a thesis film (Midpoint Review only)
  • Write shorts that are of sufficient quality to be approved for thesis production (Final Review only)
  • Deliver a feature script or original TV pilot demonstrating command of story structure, character development, and dialogue and principles
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Cinematography

  • Demonstrate advanced-level achievement in cinematography through thesis films and various other projects (Final Review only)
  • Work effectively with various cameras, lenses and accessories
  • Design and execute creative lighting schemes
  • Effectively manage a scene for coverage
  • Apply principles of composition and camera movements to enhance the story
  • Collaborate effectively with grip, camera, and electric teams
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website

Directing

  • Propose a story that is marketable and/or appealing to a general audience for development into a thesis film (Midpoint Review only)
  • Demonstrate advanced-level achievement in directing through completion of an approved thesis project (Final Review only)
  • Guide a crew in preproduction, production, and postproduction to execute effective choices that serve the story
  • Elicit engaging and believable performances from actors
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Producing

  • Propose a story that is marketable and/or appealing to a general audience for development into a thesis film (Midpoint Review only)
  • Demonstrate advanced-level achievement by producing two or more thesis films (Final Review only)
  • Acquire or originate and develop material for a project that can be pitched in a professional setting
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel or website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Production Design

  • Design the look of at least two thesis films based on the director’s vision, including: chosing locations, creating settings, selecting props, and dressing sets. (Final Review only)
  • Communicate design concepts through basic drawing skills and visual presentations
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Classes

Please see Degree Breakdown for requirements for the program. Explore our course catalog and take classes based on your interests, either online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Graduate Degree Breakdowns

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The MFA degree provides advanced study for students pursuing a career in Motion Pictures & Television. Studio courses focus on the techniques necessary to develop and master technical skills. Graduate Liberal Arts courses promote the expression of ideas and effective communication utilizing visual, oral and written presentation skills. The program culminates with an independent final project. Students will graduate from the program equipped with a portfolio of work and prepared for professional opportunities in the field of Motion Pictures & Television.

Master of Arts (MA)

The MA program Writing & Directing for Film guides aspiring writer-directors in directing an original and engaging short film. Students also learn to develop a social media marketing campaign and a promotional strategy for their film. Students are also trained to develop a marketable idea and outline for a feature film. Students will practice and apply visual storytelling skills as a film director and learn to work effectively with actors to realize their stories.

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