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Cinema and Television Arts

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The Department

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 Major

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 Options

The CTVA major prepares students in academic and creative aspects of the media disciplines through study in one of seven options:

Electronic Media Management Option: Operational and management aspects of independent, studio and network electronic media including business structures, personnel, budgets, advertising, sales, research and regulation of the media industries. A minor also is offered in this option.

Film Production Option: Conceptualization, production, directing, editing and distribution of film projects for both entertainment and informational purposes.

Media Theory and Criticism Option: History, theory and critical analysis of the culture of film and electronic media, providing a background for all professional training, with specific preparation for careers in teaching or research.

Multimedia Production Option: Pre-production, production and distribution of digital material for film, television and the World Wide Web. Students acquire effective computer skills to design websites, create streaming audio and video, design and create DVDs, and develop games in the interactive media environment.

Radio Production Option: Pre-production, production and post-production techniques for all radio formats—encompassing producing, directing and all other creative aspects of studio and field production.

Screenwriting Option: Conceptualization, structuring and writing of dramatic and non-dramatic scripts for film, television and new media.

Television Production Option: Pre-production, production and post-production techniques for all television formats—encompassing producing, directing and all other creative aspects of studio and field production.


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; for commercials; for promotional and public service announcements; and for continuity material used to introduce and connect various segments of musical, variety, reality and sports programs. 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, productionand execution of interactive projects for DVDs, internet, mobile services and game applications.

Media management positions include broadcast station and network management, business and financial administration, programming operations, sales and advertising. Film and media management opportunities include marketing, promotion, distribution and exhibition.

Management, production and writing careers also can lead to studio and independent producing of any entertainment or non-commercial 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.

Academic Advisement

Advisement is recommended but not required for all Pre-CTVA majors. Appointments to meet with Pre-CTVA advisor Kathleen McWilliams can be made by calling the Department office.

Advisement is mandatory for CTVA majors. Prior to each semester’s course registration period, each major is required to meet with his/her faculty advisor to discuss course selection and assess the student’s academic progress. Once a schedule for the following semester is jointly approved, the student receives departmental permission to register for classes online. Undergraduate advising for each of the seven options is as follows: Electronic Media Management—Robert Gustafson (option head); Film Production—Nate Thomas (option head), Karen Dee Carpenter, Joel Krantz, Michael Hoggan, Temma Willey; Media Theory and Criticism—John Schultheiss (option head), Frances Gateward, Dianah Wynter; Multimedia Production—Mary C. Schaffer (option head); Radio Production—Karen Kearns (option head); Screenwriting— Jon Stahl (option head), Eric Edson, Alexis Krasilovsky, Ken Portnoy, Jared Rappaport; Television Production—Thelma Vickroy (option head), Quinn Saunders. The graduate 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.