The mission of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA) is to instill in students the knowledge, expertise and creative skills that will help them to achieve their goals in the fields of television, film and new media. Our curriculum promotes the creative, analytical and conceptual thinking that will enrich their lives. The department is affiliated with the University Film and Video Association, the Broadcast Education Association and the National Association of Broadcasters. It administers the CSUN Cinematheque and the Gallery of Film Poster Art, both housed in Manzanita Hall.
The Cinema and Television Arts major provides students with academic and professional training for careers in the entertainment industry and related fields. The program is strongly committed to a balance between theoretical and practical education. The undergraduate CTVA major prepares students in academic and creative aspects of the media disciplines through study in one of seven Options: Electronic Media Management, Film Production, Media Theory and Criticism, Multimedia Production, Radio Production, Screenwriting and Television Production. The department also offers a Master of Fine Arts program in Screenwriting.
Advisement is mandatory for CTVA majors prior to each semester’s course registration period. Only after receiving advisement will a student receive departmental permission to register for classes online. Incoming freshmen and freshmen in their first semesters must receive advisement at the Mike Curb College Student Resource Center/EOP office. Freshmen in their second semesters and incoming transfers must receive advisement from the CTVA Undergraduate Advisor, Kathleen McWilliams. Students are encouraged to email her for an appointment and to include their student ID numbers in the message. All other CTVA majors must receive advisement from CTVA faculty. Most of the Options hold scheduled, mass advisement sessions, but students may also seek individual advisement meetings with faculty in their options as follows: Electronic Media Management—Robert Gustafson (Option head); Film Production and Film Production-Provisional—Nate Thomas (Option head), Karen Dee Carpenter, Michael Hoggan, Joel Krantz, Temma Willey; Media Theory and Criticism—John Schultheiss (Option head), Frances Gateward, Dianah Wynter; Multimedia Production—Jacob Enfield (Option head), Mary C. Schaffer; Screenwriting— Jon Stahl (Option head), Eric Edson, Alexis Krasilovsky, Ken Portnoy, Jared Rappaport, Scott Sturgeon; Television Production—Quinn Saunders (Option head), Thelma Vickroy. The graduate program coordinator is Eric Edson.
The Department of Cinema and Television Arts encourages students to investigate opportunities for overseas study. Certain courses taken at CSU International Program Study Centers in foreign countries may be used to fulfill some of the requirements for degree Options offered by the department.
Some specific career choices for graduates of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts include the following:
Those involved in television, film or new media production create, supervise or assist in the entire range of activities in developing and executing projects. Creative occupations in this area include the selection of stories, talent and materials; art, set and lighting design; directing; cinematography and camera operation; audio recording and mixing; live television switching or editing; film editing; and other production and post-production technical functions. Positions are available in commercial film studios, independent production houses and studios, broadcast stations and networks, cable operations, video game companies, government agencies, hospitals, business corporations, educational institutions and other organizations with audiovisual and multimedia facilities.
Screenwriters create scripts for motion pictures, television or new media (including video games, webisodes and other web content); for commercials; for promotional and public service announcements; for continuity material used to introduce and connect various segments of musical, variety, reality and sports programs; and for film, video and new media productions for corporate or nonprofit clients. They may work directly for a studio, station or network; work on a freelance basis; or may be under contract to independent production companies.
Multimedia specialists are involved in the research, design, production and execution of interactive projects for websites, video games, streaming media, DVDs, webisodes and mobile services and applications.
Electronic media management positions include virtually all forms of digital media: streamed/downloaded/broadcast/cable/satellite/online networks. The electronic media management option focuses on programming, research, operations, development and sales. The opportunities most open to recent graduates include audience research, media research, entertainment program development, and international distribution of electronic content.
Management, production and writing careers also can lead to studio and independent producing of any entertainment or noncommercial media product. This includes development and fundraising, securing broadcast and film rights for a project, hiring of talent for the project, overseeing writing and production, arranging for distribution and exhibition.
Media theory and criticism graduates find positions as teachers, critics and researchers. Students often go on to graduate school to prepare for teaching careers or advanced research positions. These include marketing and audience research, ratings, media buying, assessing programming strategies and evolving media and technology strategies and expansion plans.
Requirements for Admission to the Major
All incoming freshmen and transfer students from other institutions may declare themselves as CTVA majors by selecting one of the following seven option tracks: Electronic Media Management, Film Production-Provisional, Media Theory and Criticism, Multimedia Production, Radio Production, Screenwriting, or Television Production. The Film Production-Provisional designation is for students who hope to continue into the Film Production Option. In order to qualify for the Film Production Option, a student must earn the appropriate grades in the designated prerequisite courses for Film Production, submit a portfolio and have that portfolio approved by the Film Production Faculty (see below).
Once a student’s portfolio is approved, the student’s major would be designated as “CTVA/Film Production.” Should a student’s portfolio not be approved, the student may remain a CTVA major, but would need to select another option. The student may resubmit a portfolio for approval once, in a succeeding semester, if denied.
CSUN students wishing to change from another major into CTVA must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and may apply for admission into the CTVA major by selecting one of the seven option tracks (see above) and submitting to Admissions and Records a Change of Major Form signed by the Department Chair. The same restriction to the Film Production Option that applies to incoming freshmen and transfer students (“Film Production-Provisional” designation until such time as a portfolio is submitted and approved) applies to students submitting Change of Major Forms.
Students intending to continue in the Screenwriting Option must pass CTVA 220 with a grade of B- or better.
Students intending to continue in the Film Production Option must pass CTVA 250 with a grade of B- or better and must submit a portfolio for review and approval by the CTVA faculty. Until these requirements are fulfilled, students intending to pursue the Film Production Option will remain designated as “CTVA/Film Production-Provisional” majors. Deadline dates and portfolio format requirements can be found on the department’s website and in the department office.
Grade Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree
All Lower and Upper Division courses taken toward completion of the CTVA major must be completed with a grade of C or better (except as noted above).