Screenwriting for Film and Television

Low-Residency Screenwriting MA / MFA for Film and Television

At Western, we give you a screenwriting education that rivals what you would find in Los Angeles or New York. Our motto is "We bring Hollywood to you," because our faculty are in Hollywood -- but you don't have to be. The low-residency screenwriting format, in which you do the majority of your work on-line and in phone and video class consultation with professors and peers, means that it doesn’t matter where you live during the academic year. Then, each summer in the second half of July, we all gather (along with the faculty and students in the other concentrations) on Western's beautiful campus in the heart of the Colorado Rockies for two weeks of intense workshops, seminars, lectures and more.

Concentration Director JS Mayank and Professor Bob Shayne are successful screenwriters working in both TV and film, actively developing projects with major networks, studios and production companies, and you will work with them every week, no matter where you are. The low-residency format enables aspiring screenwriters to live anywhere yet reap the benefits of Hollywood contact.

Our curriculum covers every aspect of the industry. It is practical, sophisticated and rigorous, teaching the craft of screenwriting in all the major genres (Action/Thriller/Sci-fi/Horror/Rom-com/Comedy). We also offer classes in the history and analysis of classical and contemporary screenwriting texts and the resulting films. The low-residency format uses of Blackboard, a powerful online platform that enables everything from live classes to text exchange, discussion boards, blogs, online peer editing, posting of clips and more.

Screenwriting Faculty
The program further includes broader technical instruction in screenwriting the visual narrative, three- and four-act structure, character development, thematic development, conflict, specific genres, story arc, and dialogue for both the feature-length screenplay and television. Students even take a pedagogy course to learn to apply strategies and techniques for the effective teaching of creative writing. We guide you through developing and writing your first feature and emphasize the basics of adaptation. Because this is the golden age of television, the curriculum covers writing both specs and original pilots for TV (one-hour drama & half-hour comedy). We also study the business -- how to get representation, the etiquette of pitching, how to take Hollywood meetings, and much more.

You will graduate knowing both the art and the craft of writing for the screen, and you will have a diverse portfolio of works which includes short scripts, features, TV spec episodes, pilots, and several original pitches — all created under the guidance of working professionals. 

If you want to be a screenwriter, but are not quite ready to make the leap to Los Angeles of New York, ours is the program to consider. You bring the talent: we’ll provide you with the skills, the confidence and the material to take on Hollywood.


MA/MFA Screenwriting Scholarships: The Screenwriting Concentration is currently offering one $10,000/yr. scholarships for a new full-time student who enrolls in summer 2017. The scholarship is for up to two years, at the same amount each year. Click here for the Scholarship Application and information.

Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information