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Stony Brook Adds First MFA in Television Writing in the SUNY System

Kingsberg writers room

Stony Brook University announced today that the New York State Education Department has approved SUNY’s first-ever Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Television Writing. This stand-alone MFA is one of a handful in the country to offer in-depth graduate studies in the burgeoning field of TV writing.

Located at the Manhattan Center for Creative Writing and Film, and partnered with Killer Films, the Television Writing MFA is among the most comprehensive in the world. Students will graduate with a portfolio of three original pilot scripts; they will also write, direct and produce a micro pilot for an original web series. Additionally, students will learn how to work in collaborative writers rooms with working showrunners to break stories and build season arcs on both open-ended and limited series. Upon graduation, MFA students will be ready to break in and thrive in professional writers rooms as well as succeed as content creators.

Kingsberg writers room
MFA in TV Writing Director Alan Kingsberg in the writers room.

“When I started the TV Writing curriculum at Columbia University’s Film MFA 20 years ago, TV was considered an afterthought to film and I had to create a system for how to teach this serialized form of storytelling,” said Alan Kingsberg, Director of Stony Brook’s MFA in Television Writing. “Now, TV has become the preeminent form of storytelling around the world and demand for television writers has skyrocketed, but the number of programs offering dedicated, advanced study remains small, which is why we created this program.”

“It’s a rare institutional thrill to have a professor like Alan Kingsberg come in with a beautifully thought-through, stand-alone MFA degree in an exploding new field, complete with a curriculum honed through years of experience at esteemed institutions,” says Magdalene Brandeis, Executive Director of Film and TV Programs.

During the pandemic, the world is consuming episodic television at an accelerating and unprecedented rate, and Stony Brook is offering aspiring TV writers the opportunity to break into this growing field at affordable state school prices.

North fork awards
Alan Kingsberg with award-winning MFA students Kate Levitt and Noelle P. Wilson at the North Fork TV Festival.

Started three years ago as a TV track in the Film MFA, student scripts have already won a number of national contests including Best Pilot at the Nantucket Film Festival and First Prize at the Page International Screenwriters Awards. Recent industry guests include Michael Rauch (Instinct), Davita Scarlett (The Good Fight), Dan Futterman (The Looming Tower), Gary Lennon (Power), and Grace Edwards (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).

Kingsberg has written or produced more than 250 episodes of television for network, cable and streaming platforms and has founded TV writing programs in Brazil and the Czech Republic.

Scholarship applications are now being accepted until January 7, 2021. Rolling admissions follow.

To learn more about Stony Brook University’s MFA in Television Writing, please visit www.stonybrook.edu/tv.

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