The department of cinema and television arts is requiring a portfolio submission for prospective screenwriting option majors this semester after facing increasing student numbers and a decreasing fiscal budget.
The screenwriting option is the second option in the CTVA department to institute a mandatory portfolio requirement. The film production option has long been the only option to require a portfolio submission.
The university approved the mandatory portfolio for the screenwriting option earlier this year.
Professor Jon Stahl, head of the screenwriting option, said the university had approved the policy several years ago, but there was never a need to implement the policy until recently. He said after the number of students increased to about 1,400 students in the major, the need became evident.
Stahl hopes the new policy will guarantee the department properly serves every screenwriter major.
“They can be guaranteed we will offer the classes they need, when they need them,” said Stahl. “The new budget doesn’t allow us to do more than a fixed number of courses.”
Stahl said the mandatory portfolio submission is a “control mechanism” that is being implemented to combat increasing student numbers against a stagnant budget increase. The new requirement goes into effect this semester with students who are planning to declare the option for fall 2008.
The department’s new policy for the screenwriting option will not affect students who declared the option during fall 2007.
The portfolio will be similar to the film production option and will consist of a three-part component application: short answer questions, the first act of the screenplay written in CTVA 210 as a final project and lastly, a current transcript of courses taken.
Transfer students will be required to submit the first act of a screenplay written during a course equivalent to CTVA 210.
Students will likely be invited to submit a portfolio at or near the end of the semester, said Stahl. He said the department is finalizing exactly how the portfolio will work.
“We are still a couple of weeks from making the official announcement,” said Stahl in regard to the speed at which the prospective screenwriting option majors will be fully notified of the logistics of the portfolio.
After submission, the faculty will evaluate the portfolio similar to the film option method.
“A screenwriter is an artist. We are looking for someone who is aware of their artistic heritage of the field,” said Stahl.
Department chair Dr. John Schultheiss views the portfolio as real world experience for students. Schultheiss said this process might become frustrating for those students who have illusions about their capabilities.
“It allows the faculty to look more closely at the creative ability of a student,” said Schultheiss.
Pre-CTVA major and prospective film production option major, Carlos Galan, describes the portfolio policy as a method of weeding out the students who are not as dedicated or perceive the major to be an easy study.
Galan said many of his friends who were deterred by the film portfolio wanted to declare a screenwriting option instead.
“A lot people are going to be discouraged. They are going to be turned off by the portfolio,” said Galan. “It benefits those of us that get into higher levels. You as a student will be expected to be at the same given standards as your peers.”