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 400- and 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 a two-semester sequence of production courses, CMPP 541aL and 541bL Production Workshop, in their first year. CMPP 541aL covers the basics of visual communication and students produce two or three Super 8mm, non-synchronous sound films. In CMPP 541bL, second semester students work in teams, making two 8-10 minute 16mm non-synchronous sound films. Equipment for both courses is provided by the school. Students with sufficient production experience may, with departmental approval, opt to produce a film in conjunction with the Production Department instead of one semester of this class.

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 and academic performance 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, web page:

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

Year One, First Semester Units
CMPP 541aL Production Workshop 2
CMPP 550 Script Analysis for the Producer 4
CMPP 568 Producing for Television 2
CMPP 589a Graduate Film Business Seminar 4
Year One, Second Semester Units
CMPP 541bL Production Workshop 4
CMPP 560 Script Development 2
CMPP 567 Studio management 2
CMPP 589b Graduate Film Business Seminar 4
Year Two, First Semester Units
CMPP 561 Motion Picture Marketing 2
CMPP 562 Entertainment Law 2
CMPP 565 Production Budgeting 4
CMPP 566 Finance and Financing Films 2
Year Two, Second Semester Units
CMPP 563 Producing Symposium, or approved graduate-level CMPP course 2
CMPP 564 Producing Business Procedures 2
CMPP 569 Seminar on Non-Mainstream Producing 2
CMPP 592* Individual Project Seminar 4

*In lieu of a thesis, students are required to complete a fully-developed film project with a budget and marketing/distribution plan.

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.




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