Television Writing and Business (BFA)
The BFA in Television Writing and Business addresses the growing need to prepare students for launching and managing entertainment projects while maintaining creative control of their productions. Today's studios, networks, and independent production companies seek creatives with high level writing skills and sound business acumen and entrepreneurial thinking. This program fulfills that need while also teaching students how to create their own opportunities for employment and engagement with the television and digital media industry.
Columbia College Chicago offers two options for television-related degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Television and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Television Writing and Business. In the Television BA, you'll study television production from directing to post-production to writing. If you want to develop your writing skills and learn how to launch and manage entertainment projects, then the Television Writing and Business BFA is for you.
If you plan to apply directly to the BFA program, you’ll need to include some additional materials.
View course requirements:
In the Classroom
What to expect your first year
Your first year at Columbia College Chicago will include a mix of business and television courses that will set the stage for your later work. In classes like Business of Media or Aesthetics of Storytelling, you’ll immerse yourself in entertainment business practices while refining your understanding of what kinds of stories make for compelling television.
What to expect your last year
As a senior, you’ll work on a capstone thesis project while taking writing workshops and advanced classes in executive management and digital media strategies. You’ll work in a “writer’s room” environment just as you would on a professional show, pitching stories and reading scripts around the table. You might write and produce for a student-produced web series or Freq Out, Columbia’s live sketch comedy show produced at our Media Production Center every spring. You’ll collaborate with students from other TV concentrations (such as directors and editors) and even other majors (such as costume designers, musicians, and actors). Many seniors also apply for Semester in LA (SiLA), a semester-long program in which you’ll live in Los Angeles and attend classes full time while interning in the field.
Outside the Classroom
You’ll have countless opportunities to engage with the passionate TV and film community at Columbia College Chicago. Here are a few examples of exciting events that take place outside the classroom:
One film, two opposing views. Watch a screening of a well-known, polarizing film or television show, followed by a moderated debate between someone who loves it and someone who hates it.
This annual, two-day micro-symposium explores how we craft truth in story, image, and sound. It is an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni, and industry partners to examine the development, creation, and instruction of nonfiction content. Attendees also discuss the reclaiming of the word “documentary,” which filmmakers are imbuing with new meaning.
Columbia’s student-run television station, featuring news, talks, comedy series, and more.
TV students are active in a number of campus groups, such as the Television Arts Collective and the Columbia College Chicago Comedy Club.
Semester in LA
Want to see what Hollywood is all about? You can participate in Semester in LA (SiLA), an intensive 15-week course that puts you in touch with industry professionals and gives you unparalleled experience in the area of your choosing. Visit the SiLA website for more information about this remarkable experience and the kinds of classes offered each semester.
Creative Spaces and Facilities
We offer a number of audio and post-production facilities, equipment rental centers, professional sound stages, and TV studios equipped with industry-standard software and technology.
Columbia College Chicago alums are behind some of the most innovative work in film and television, and some have even won Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes.
Here is a small sample of our alumni success stories:
- Phillip J. Bartell '92 is a filmmaker, writer, and editor for TV and film. Bartell edited the 2014 Sundance Special Jury Prize-winning film Dear White People and the Netflix show of the same name.
- Ayanna Floyd MFA ’98 was coexecutive producer for the TV shows Empire and Falling Skies, and has writing credits on episodes of Empire, The Chi, Falling Skies, and Private Practice.
- Tiffany S. Griffith '92 is an Emmy Award-winning dialogue editor for shows like Stranger Things, American Gods, Insecure, and House M.D.
- Janusz Kaminski ’87 is a two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer, whose credits include Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Lincoln, and The Post.
- Declan Quinn ’79 has credits as a cinematographer and director of photography for Leaving Las Vegas, 28 Days, and My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.
- Christian Sprenger ’07 is the Emmy Award-winning cinematographer for the TV shows Atlanta, GLOW, Baskets, and Last Man on Earth.
- Lena Waithe ’06 is an Emmy Award-winning writer, actress, and producer on shows and films such as Dear White People, Bones, Master of None, and The Chi, and was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2018.
- Annick Wokan ’05 is an associate producer for the award-winning TV show Game of Thrones.
Our faculty members are working filmmakers, producers, documentarians, and editors who stay up-to-date with industry trends and teach them in the classroom. They’re dedicated to giving you a real-world education, and they’re great resources for jobs and references once you graduate.