University of Southern California

School of Cinematic Arts

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 new media field.

A minimum of 44 units of 500-level courses is required for the Peter Stark Producing Program leading to the MFA degree.

In CMPP 541ab, first-year students get hands-on filmmaking experience, working on collaborative projects in different roles. Projects are shot using digital cameras and edited on non-linear systems. Equipment is provided by the school.

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

An internship period between school years gives students an opportunity to gain valuable experience with participating entertainment companies. The internships last a minimum of eight weeks, and are paid and subject to availability, academic performance and good standing in the first year of studies.

The completion of a film/television industry internship, or combination of internships, of at least eight weeks, is a requirement for graduation.

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

Films must be produced by a Stark student or team of two Stark students. Scripts may be written by a Stark student or a student from the Cinematic Arts Writing Division. The director may be a Stark student or a student from the Cinematic Arts Production Division. Each Stark student may only perform one major task on the film, i.e., director or writer or producer. Each team has a professional adviser available as needed. Completed films are screened at the school’s “First Film” festival, and have also been selected for outside festivals.

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

Two-Year Requirements for the MFA in Producing for Film, Television, and New Media

Year One, First Semester Units
CNTV 501 Cinematic Arts Seminar 1
CMPP 541a Producing Workshop 4
CMPP 550 Script Analysis for the Producer 2
CMPP 563 Producing Symposium 2
CMPP 589a Graduate Film Business Seminar 3
Year One, Second Semester Units
CMPP 541b Producing Workshop 4
CMPP 560 Script Development 2
CMPP 568 Producing for Television 2
CMPP 589b Graduate Film Business Seminar 4
Year Two, First Semester Units
CMPP 561 Motion Picture and Television Marketing 2
CMPP 565 Scheduling and Budgeting 4
CMPP 566 Finance 2
CMPP 571 Producing the Screenplay 2
Year Two, Second Semester Units
CMPP 564 Digital Media and Entertainment 2
CMPP 569 Seminar on Non-Mainstream Producing 2
CMPP 570 Advanced Television 2
CMPP 592 Individual Project Seminar 4

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. 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.