Screenwriting for Film & Television

Faculty & Staff


Trai Cartwright, MFA headshot
Screenwriting Concentration Faculty
Phone: 970.943.2298
Office Location: Taylor Hall
J S Mayank, MFA headshot
Director, Screenwriting Concentration
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts



Film and TV are the most impactful modern storytelling mediums, and the demand for new voices is greater than ever. Western’s MFA and M.A. in Screenwriting are low-residency programs that equip our students with Hollywood standard writing methodology and insight into how this exciting business works. We believe in teaching our students how to find their place in this industry, elevate the norms, invite in the unexpected, and use this highly visual and theme-driven medium to shake up the world with their stories.

The Program

Western’s MFA and M.A. in Screenwriting is a low-residency program, meaning faculty and students interact online and through conference calls during the academic year and then gather for two weeks in July on the Gunnison campus for classes, lectures, readings, discussions, and of course, writing.

  • MFA students attend three summer residencies: one prior to the first semester, one between years one and two, and one in the third summer.
  • During the academic year, full-time MFA students take two courses each semester. These 6-credit courses make use of videoconferencing and the Blackboard platform for online work.
  • To complete the MFA, students work on a thesis throughout their final year. Completed theses are bound, registered, and placed on the shelves of Western’s Leslie J. Savage Library.
  • M.A. students pursue an identical curriculum to MFA students, but only come for two summers and one academic year. M.A. students do not write a thesis.

Opportunities and Partnerships

  • Portfolio built of two feature films, a TV pilot (Network/Cable/Streaming), a TV Spec and multiple shorts (in various Genres)
  • Intense focus on crucial development elements, structure and character build
  • Business and career plan coaching
  • Critical analysis and script coverage training
  • Instruction on cutting edge business, legal and getting into production 
  • One-on-one mentorship and class workshops, online and in person
  • Intimate workshops with visiting artists during the summer residency
  • Robust alumni association and support
  • Ability to take a course from the program’s other concentrations: Genre Fiction, Poetry, Nature Writing, and Publishing.
  • Ability to add a second concentration to their degrees, allowing for unique combination degrees, such as Screenwriting and Genre Fiction or Screenwriting and Publishing.

Learn More

Reach out to Michelle Wilk for more information.