»M.F.A. in Film Production

Whether you’re currently working in the film industry or some other field, if film production is your calling, then Dodge College is your seminary.

Let’s be honest: Film production is a vocation. Whether your desire is to become a first-rate director, cinematographer, editor or sound designer, your calling requires total commitment, hands-on experience and advanced education for you to reach the highest echelons.

Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts can give you the education and experience; the commitment is up to you.

Whether you’re starting from scratch with no prior filmmaking experience, or you’ve been in the entertainment industry for a few years and want to develop an area of specialization, our MFA in Film Production can prepare you for success in ways that will challenge you beyond your expectations.

During your first year with us, you’ll explore all the creative aspects of cinematic storytelling under the tutelage of master storytellers who’ve honed their crafts over a lifetime of award-winning work and who have a combined filmography of more than 150 feature films, a record unmatched by any other film school in the country. Our location, just a heartbeat from Hollywood, enables internships with studios and production companies as well as visits from major Hollywood directors, cinematographers, editors, and screenwriters.

During your second year, you’ll delve headfirst into your chosen specialization. Every class is like a film workshop: you learn by doing. And the “doing” opportunities are endless: intense filmmaking activities — writing, directing, shooting, editing — are going on at all hours of the day and night in and around our facility, Marion Knott Studios, as well as on location. The technology available to you is beyond belief: two sound stages, insert stages for cinematography and television / broadcast journalism, a Foley stage, Dolby surround mixing, a motion capture stage, dedicated spaces for pre- and post-production. Basically, there’s nothing that can be done in Hollywood that you can’t do here at Dodge.

By your third year, you’ll be forming creative teams with your fellow students, employing the best writers, producers, editors, cinematographers, sound and production designers, all coming together to realize a unified vision — a final thesis project that will act as your calling card to the industry. And if it’s really good, it’ll be showcased in our yearly “First Cut” screening for invited professionals in the film and television community. It doesn’t get any more Hollywood than that!

+-Degree Requirements

1. Complete 72 credits at the 500 or 600 level.

2. Successfully complete a thesis film.

3. Pass an oral defense of the thesis project.

First Year

Fall Semester

Fundamentals of Visual Design and Production

Production Workshop I

The Short Film Form

choose one Specialization Workshop (according to emphasis)

Actor-Director Workshop

Fundamentals of Editing

Fundamentals of Cinematography I

Spring Semester

Overview of Post Production

Fundamentals of Screenwriting

Production Workshop II

Production and Set Management for Film Production

choose one Specialization Workshop (according to emphasis)

Fundamentals of Audio Design

Fundamentals of Directing

Fundamentals of Cinematography II


Second Year

Fall Semester

Evolution of Narrative Film I

Production Workshop III

choose one Intermediate Specialization Workshop

Intermediate Audio Design

Intermediate Editing

Intermediate Directing

Intermediate Cinematography

Spring Semester

Evolution of Narrative Film II

Thesis Film Development

Production Workshop IV

choose one Advanced Specialization Workshop

Advanced Audio Design

Advanced Editing

Advanced Directing

Advanced Cinematography

Third Year

Fall Semester

Thesis in Film Production

Spring Semester

Thesis in Film Production


+-Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes:
  • Exhibit an understanding of the fundamental components of visual storytelling, story structure and story analysis.
  • Articulate the various functions and roles on a film set, and work collaboratively within that structure.
  • Through closely-mentored projects, demonstrate technical proficiency in a specific filmmaking discipline (Directing, Editing, Cinematography, Sound Design, Producing, or Production Design).
  • Through critical essays, writing assignments, and visual production exercises, demonstrate an understanding of the development of film language, including aesthetic perspective.
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