University of Southern California
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The Peter Stark Producing Program

Master of Fine Arts

The Peter Stark Producing Program is an innovative two-year (four semester) full-time graduate program designed to prepare a select group of highly motivated students for careers as independent film and television producers or as executives in motion picture and television companies.

Approximately 25 Peter Stark Program students are enrolled each fall (there are no spring admissions). The curriculum places equal emphasis on the creative and the managerial, to enhance and develop artistic skills and judgment while providing a sound background in business essentials. Each course is continually updated to ensure that the Stark program remains responsive to the needs of our students and the ever-changing motion picture, television and communications field.

A minimum of 44 units of 500-level courses is required for the Peter Stark Producing Program leading to the M.F.A. degree. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to take two production courses in their first semester, CTPR 519x and CTPR 521x. CTPR 519x and CTPR 521x cover the basics of visual communication. In CMPP 541L, second semester students work in teams, making two 8-10 minute 16mm non-synchronous sound films. Equipment is provided by the school.

In lieu of a thesis, the completion requirement is a fully-developed film project with an attendant budget and marketing/distribution plan.

An internship period between school years gives students an opportunity to observe actual producing and executive operations with participating independent producers and film companies. The internship period is of eight weeks' duration during the months of May, June and July. The internships are subject to availability, academic performance and good standing in the first year of studies.

During the second year, Peter Stark Producing Program students have an opportunity to initiate and produce a 20-minute synchronous sound film financed by the program. Projects to be produced are selected on a competitive basis.

Films must be produced by a Stark student or team of Stark students. Scripts may be written by a cinema-television student from the Division of Writing or a Stark student. The director must be a graduate student from the Cinema-Television Production Program or a Stark student. The Stark student may only perform one major task on the film, i.e., director or writer or producer. Each team has a professional advisor available as needed. Completed films are screened at "First Look."

Inquiries regarding the program should be addressed to: Kathy Fogg, Assistant Director, The Peter Stark Program, USC School of Cinema-Television, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211. Telephone (213) 740-3304, FAX (213) 745-6652 or email

Sample Two-Year Requirements for the M.F.A. in Motion Picture Producing

Year One, First SemesterUnits
CTPR 519xIntroduction to Cinema Technique2
CTPR 521xFilmic Communication2
CMPP 550Script Analysis for the Producer2
CMPP 563Producing Symposium2
CMPP 589aGraduate Film Business Seminar4

Year One, Second SemesterUnits
CMPP 541LProducing Workshop4
CMPP 560Script Development2
CMPP 568Producing for Television2
CMPP 589bGraduate Film Business Seminar4

Year Two, First SemesterUnits
CMPP 561Motion Picture Marketing2
CMPP 565Scheduling and Budgeting4
CMPP 566Finance2
CMPP 571Producing the Screenplay2

Year Two, Second SemesterUnits
CMPP 564Producing Business Procedures, or approved graduate-level cinema course2
CMPP 569Seminar on NonMainstream Producing2
CMPP 570Advanced Television2
CMPP 592Individual Project Seminar4

Grade Point Average Requirement

An overall GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) is required for graduation. Courses in which a grade of C- (1.7) or lower is earned will not apply toward a graduate course. Courses cannot be repeated. A grade of C-, D or F in any course may be cause for termination.

Time Limit

Students must maintain satisfactory progress toward their master's degrees at all times. The degree must be completed three years after the beginning of graduate work at USC. Course work more than seven years old is automatically invalidated and may not be applied toward the degree.