Overview of our BFA in Screenwriting
Our three-year Bachelor's is for highly motivated students who would like to enter an intensive hands-on professional course of study. By completing the Bachelor's degree in three-years students:
The Academy makes this accelerated schedule possible by creating an extended academic year allowing students to complete three full-length semesters in each calendar year. Students may also choose to complete the program in a traditional four-year time frame.
- Save one year of expenses
- Enter the field of their choice a year early
New York Film Academy BFA in Screenwriting program is offered at our Los Angeles Campus.
Qualified students have the option of completing course work at the New York Film Academy in New York City in a one-year non-degree program and then applying their course work to be accepted for advanced standing in the BFA Screenwriting degree program.
Though film is an audio-visual medium, it all starts with the written word. Without the screenwriter, nothing goes up on the screen.
At its best, film is a means for people to reach out to each other, to form a connection, to explore some complicated aspect of human interaction. The screenwriter is the one who begins this journey. Great screenwriters have a natural curiosity about themselves and the world, a love of storytelling, and a mastery of storytelling techniques to do all this in a compelling and entertaining way.
A screenwriter has a lot of power-and a lot of responsibility. Seeing a cast and crew of dozens work tirelessly to bring one's words to life is one of the most exhilarating things a person can experience. All of those people are there to serve the script, so the writer must make every page of that script count.
To that end, the BFA in Screenwriting students learn how to create great stories, and to tell them with a confidence and clarity that befits a professional.
The core screenwriting courses of the BFA in Screenwriting are supported by a full complement of courses in the liberal arts and sciences designed to broaden the writers' education, feed their inquisitiveness, and give them the critical, analytical, and communication tools needed not just to be great writers, but also more fulfilled human beings.
The eight-semester BFA in Screenwriting offers a well-rounded collegiate education in the Arts and Humanities, and Social and Natural Sciences, with a comprehensive study of, and practice in, the art and craft of screenwriting and related filmmaking disciplines.
Overall, the first six semesters concentrate on developing the tools required to create believable characters and stories in the three major fields of Screenwriting (Film, Television, New Media). The final two semesters concentrate on using these tools to create compelling, professional-caliber scripts and films.
In the liberal arts and sciences, students complete the majority of the required Foundation Studies in the first two semesters. Courses taught in the area of Foundation Studies focus on communications, analysis and deductive reasoning. Students practice critical thinking, scholarly research, writing and reading. These courses build a foundation for more specialized subjects requiring advanced written and oral communication skills in later semesters. The skills mastered will prepare students for the advanced coursework of constructing an authentic voice in their writing projects. Coursework in Physical and Mental Wellness provides focus on the theory and practice of lifelong wellness in a stressful workplace.
Subsequent courses in the liberal arts and sciences bolster students' understanding of world history, political science, art history, social and natural sciences, mathematics, English composition, and literature.
SEMESTER ONE OBJECTIVES
During the first semester, students will develop a foundational understanding of cinematic storytelling and the tools required to create a story in Elements of Screenwriting. The students are introduced to film theory and begin writing in their first week of class. They will write an entire first draft of an original feature film screenplay (90-120 pages) by semester's end. Students will also support their screenwriting with Foundation Studies courses in English Composition and Computing.
SEMESTER TWO OBJECTIVES
In the second semester, students will build upon what they learned in semester one. Courses continue to develop screenwriting skills through continued writing, this time taking a more in-depth approach to generating a new idea for a second feature film project. Students will also be introduced to television as a medium and as an industry. They will write a sample episode of a current one-hour television drama. The liberal arts and sciences curriculum continues to round out the students' knowledge base and analytical skills through Critical Thinking, Public Speaking, and a Math course.
SEMESTER THREE OBJECTIVES
In semester three, students will refine their feature film writing skills by drafting a second original screenplay based on the treatment written in Story Generation class, and then revising one of the two screenplays they've written up to this point. This revision will allow the students to work more deeply and critically on their scripts than they have so far. In addition, Script to Screen class will allow students to gain an understanding of how the written word translates to action on screen as they learn traditional and contemporary acting and filmmaking techniques. Students will practice these techniques as they write original material, which they will film. Students will deepen their understanding of cinematic storytelling conventions in Genre and Storytelling, and will round out their Foundation Studies with courses in Physical and Mental Wellness and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
SEMESTER FOUR OBJECTIVES
In semester four, students will expand their television writing skills by writing a half-hour comedy teleplay of an existing television series. In Sequential Art Writing, they will learn and practice the unique storytelling forms of graphic novels, comic books, and Manga, as well as learn about the state of the sequential art industry today. In The Great Screenplays, students will deepen their knowledge and critical understanding of Academy Award-winning screenplays from the 20th century, analyzing the techniques used by the great screenwriters. Students will broaden their studies into the natural sciences and arts and humanities, allowing their writing to take on a more mature aspect.
SEMESTER FIVE OBJECTIVES
Semester five will afford students the opportunity to learn about the current New Media landscape, in which content is delivered through ever-evolving channels such as web series, mobisodes, and branded entertainment. Students will continue their practice of television writing, this time by creating original television series and writing the pilot episodes of these series. Adaptation class will introduce students to the unique opportunities—and challenges—of writing stories based on pre-existing material. Studies in the social and behavioral sciences will give more depth to students' scripts, and The History of the Entertainment Industry Seminar will give students an understanding of the historical context out of which filmic storytelling emerged.
SEMESTER SIX OBJECTIVES
During semester six, students will use the outlines they created in Adaptation I to write and revise screenplays in Adaptation II. They will also produce pilot episodes of their original web series in New Media II. In The Great Playwrights, students will study the works of master dramatists in order to gain an understanding of how a unifying theme in a stage play dictates the story, and how that technique can be used to great effect in generating a compelling screen story. A natural science course further rounds out the students' education, while History of the Entertainment Industry Seminar II completes the survey of filmed entertainment history up through contemporary times.
SEMESTER SEVEN OBJECTIVES
In semester seven students will begin their thesis projects—to develop, write, revise, and polish an original feature film screenplay or original television series and pilot episode script. During the thesis process, students will meet regularly with a thesis advisor, as well as their thesis committee, comprised of Screenwriting faculty and the Screenwriting Chair. Each thesis committee meeting will be an opportunity for faculty to determine if a student is progressing with his or her project according to a written plan submitted by the student at the beginning of the process. Students may not move forward with their projects unless and until they show positive forward movement toward the finished product. Weekly deadlines will guide the students through the process of creating their final project. Character Development class will help students create believable, compelling characters for their thesis projects using techniques drawn from psychoanalytic and behavioral therapy. Using study of trade publications and via a guest speaker series, The Business of Screenwriting introduces students to the practices, conventions, and players in today's entertainment industry, and the role of the screenwriter in it. Students will develop valuable skills such as script coverage, pitching, and researching industry trends in order to prepare them for professional life after graduation. Arts and humanities classes and art and design history classes will further enrich students' writing and analytic skills.
SEMESTER EIGHT OBJECTIVES
The eighth and final semester sees the students complete their revised and polished thesis projects. In Advanced Writing Seminar: Scene Writing, students work more deeply than ever before to perfect individual scenes from their scripts. Whereas the focus up until now is mostly on overall story structure and character arc, Advanced Scene Writing affords students the chance to gain skills and confidence in making the actual beats of their scenes resonate more than ever. Actors are brought in to this class for in-class exercises during which the writers get to see their scenes played out in real time as they make adjustments. In addition, the students take part in internships at production companies, studios, television networks, or talent agencies, gaining invaluable industry knowledge and contacts. In Screenwriting Discipline and Methodology, students learn and apply techniques of goal setting, project management, workflow, and creating and adhering to productive and creative work habits. Finally, Business of Screenwriting II focuses more and more on the art of the verbal pitch, a crucial selling tool for any screenwriter. Students will also participate in industry internships at production companies, agencies, management companies, or studios. In place of internships, students may opt to complete a scholarly paper on some aspect of the entertainment industry, past or present, using primary source research. The program culminates in a pitch event in which invited industry executives come hear the students present their thesis projects in a round-robin night of pitching, an opportunity for the students to further develop their professional skills and networks.