Writing for Film & Television (New!)

For many years Columbia has been known as the “Story School.” Our emphasis on teaching students to find their voices and construct compelling and well-structured character-based narratives of all different styles and for a variety of markets has differentiated us from other film programs. The new three-year Writing Program at Columbia will build on this tradition and is designed to help talented young writers learn to tell their stories in the strongest ways to prepare them for real world careers in screenplay and teleplay writing. Many of our writing students go on to quickly get representation and find work in the industry – in diverse jobs from the writers rooms of hit TV shows, to original features for the studios, to independent feature writing, to international writing careers all over the world.  

The unique strength of our program is its classical approach to storytelling, distilled by a core group of full-time faculty members who are all working writers, and grounded in a basic understanding of long-form structure and the ability to create complex characters. Over time, that focus on the crucial elements of storytelling – on voice, structure, dialogue, conflict, and characters – has proven to be the best training for the constantly evolving professional writing landscape. At Columbia we do not try to change your voice or give you one “commercial” way of telling a story. The strength of our program is its diversity – we welcome writers with strong voices from all over the world with different styles, who all have stories to tell.  

It is our mission to help our diverse and talented pool of students learn to use their voices to tell their stories in the best possible ways. We are aware that Film School is expensive and that there are no guarantees of breaking into the industry, so we make sure our graduates leave the program with a portfolio of professional-quality screenplays, significant exposure to the industry while in the program, mentors in the industry after graduation, an understanding of how to find representation and break in, a support system of fellow students who have graduated in the past few years, and a devoted faculty that never stops answering calls or trying to help. Our core faculty is supplemented by a nourishing stream of adjuncts and guest lecturers who are at the forefront of different areas of TV and movie making. 

If you are a strong writer with an original voice and stories to tell, join us at Columbia and bring your voices and stories to the best visual storytelling program in the world.

"During my time at Columbia, I learned how to craft narratives by putting characters first. Now, I'm confident that I can walk into any room in Hollywood and create stories in a way that will resonate with industry executives and viewers alike. Columbia empowered me to do that."

- Sherman Payne '10

"The professors I had the privilege of learning from at Columbia were pivotal in shaping who I am as a screenwriter. Many from my cohort are the people I work with today."

- Alies Sluiter '20