Screenwriting MFAs

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  • Screenwriting MFAs

    Anyone currently enrolled in or planning on pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting?

    I got into a few and was contemplating dropping the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans it takes to complete one.

    Any thoughts on a MFA's worth when it comes to getting a foot in the Hollywood door?

  • #2
    Re: Screenwriting MFAs

    Originally posted by RTrevino View Post
    Anyone currently enrolled in or planning on pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting?

    I got into a few and was contemplating dropping the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans it takes to complete one.

    Any thoughts on a MFA's worth when it comes to getting a foot in the Hollywood door?
    I'm two-thirds of my way through my MFA in Creative Writing. UBC insists that you do three genres for your MFA, but out of six two-semester classes, I've done one in writing for TV, one in writing for film, and a special projects class that gave me a chance to polish two screenplays. Plus, I could have done my thesis in screenwriting, too.

    As for the value of the courses, even after piling on all the screenwriting classes I could take while getting my BA I still found the MFA classes beneficial. However, the classes are only as good as the instructors. Luckily, I've really liked mine. The universities are like a first reader/agent for instructors. If they aren't qualified, they don't get the job, and they query students yearly to get feedback on them, too.

    Having someone who knows what they're doing working with you over a couple of years is really beneficial, and I can't see a week or weekend retreat giving you anywhere near as much. And writing on your own, without feedback, means you can continue repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

    However, my feeling is (but I don't know yet) that the biggest advantage to having an MFA is that it will open some doors for you (like winning a good contest), but after that, whether you sell will be entirely up to the script. It's also a way to make contacts, so doing your MFA somewhere like UCLA would probably work to your advantage.

    For me, it was worth the money.

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    • #3
      Re: Screenwriting MFAs

      I think it depends on where you're thinking of getting the MFA. USC / UCLA will get you some great contacts while you hone your craft. Northwestern might be good place as well. Like P-jay said - a lot will depend on the instructors you get.

      Aside from that, the only other benefit to an MFA is that should you ever want to enter the world of academia to teach screenwriting, you're set.

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