The Peter Stark Producing Program is a two-year (four semester) full-time graduate program.
Approximately 24 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 film, television and new media landscape, and prepare students for careers as creative decision-makers in those fields.
A minimum of 44 units of 500-level courses is required for the Peter Stark Producing Program leading to the MFA degree. There are no electives; all Stark students take the same classes at the same time in a mandated sequence. In CMPP 541a and CMPP 541b , first-year students get hands-on filmmaking experience, working on collaborative projects in different roles. Projects are shot and edited digitally. Equipment is provided by the school.
The thesis completion requirement is a detailed plan for a film, documentary, television or webseries project comprising a developed script and notes for improvement, a schedule, budget assumptions and a marketing/distribution plan.
Industry experience is an essential component of the Peter Stark Program academic experience; it enhances both their course work and thesis research project. To facilitate as much industry experience as possible, the program endeavors to leave two free days in the students' first year course schedule, and holds all second-year classes in the evening. The Peter Stark Program requires 2,800 hours of entertainment industry internships or work experience over the two-year program, including in the summer semester between the first and second year. Students look for internships, per their own interests. In addition, though the Stark Program cannot guarantee it can procure internships, it does ongoing semester-by-semester internship advocacy for the students at many companies including studios, networks, production companies, and agencies. The Stark Program grants exceptions to the internship/work experience requirement on a case-by-case basis for other equivalent forms of industry experience that may better fit a student's individual career goals – producing projects for film, television or new media, writing or developing screenplays – as long as the student completes at least one internship. At all times, students must attend all classes and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
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. Each team has a professional adviser available as needed.
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 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.