The Department of Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA) is a collection of pre-professional programs that train students in the art, craft, business and technology of film and television production, screenwriting, virtual reality (VR) and emerging media, as well as entertainment media management, and media theory and criticism. Our mission is to serve and grow our industry by imparting skills, knowledge, and expertise to our students. The CTVA 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, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the National Association of Broadcasters. Our faculty members belong to organizations such as the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild, Cinema Editors Guild, Producers Guild and the American Society of Cinematographers, and our graduates help form the backbone of the entertainment industry.
About the Department
The undergraduate CTVA major prepares students in academic and creative aspects of the media disciplines through study in one of six options: Entertainment Media Management, Media Theory and Criticism, Emerging Media Production, Film Production, Screenwriting and Television Production, which includes a Narrative Pathway (i.e., episodic series) and a Documentary Pathway. The department offers a Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting. The facilities include two large dedicated sound stages, a green screen stage, a VR lab, a state-of-the-art screening room and the Gallery of Film Poster Art.
Advisement is mandatory for CTVA majors prior to each semester’s course registration period. Freshmen receive advisement through the Matador Advising Hub. Sophomores in their third semester and incoming transfers receive advisement from the CTVA undergraduate advisor. Students are encouraged to email the CTVA advisor for an appointment and to include their student ID numbers and Degree Progress Report (DPR) in the email. All other CTVA majors 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. Please see the Department of Cinema and Television Arts website for further information.
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.
Television and Film Production
Graduates from CTVA’s production options work in various areas of the industry, including production management, editing and postproduction, producing, directing, cinematography, sound design, art direction and other creative, technical and administrative arts. CTVA graduates can be found in cable networks, commercial studios, independent production companies, streaming companies, postproduction facilities, broadcast stations; government agencies, advertising, educational institutions and other media organizations.
Screenwriters create scripts for motion pictures, television or emerging media productions, including episodic series, video games, movies, VR/AR, web series and other web content; commercials; promotional and public service announcements; continuity material used to introduce and connect various segments of musical, variety, reality and sports programs; and corporate media productions for commercial or nonprofit clients. They may work directly for a studio, independent production company or network.
Emerging Media Production
Emerging media professionals are involved in the design, production and execution of interactive projects for video games, virtual reality, augmented reality, websites, streaming media, mobile services and applications. The dependence on virtual production in the film and television industry is growing exponentially in areas of Visual FX, previsualization and digital production design.
Entertainment Media Management
Entertainment Media Management graduates are in demand. They apply business administration skills to create, promote, finance, manage, support and power the entertainment industries. The Entertainment Media Management option focuses on audience analysis, network programming, research, distribution, operations, development, marketing and sales. Opportunities most open to recent graduates include audience research, media research, network management, content development, exhibition and distribution. Entertainment management graduates also work in licensing, intellectual property rights, casting, legal affairs, production, studio operations and artist management.
Media Theory and Criticism
Media Theory and Criticism graduates pursue careers as scholars, writers, researchers, historians, professors and filmmakers. Students often go on to graduate school to prepare for careers in higher education, or advanced research positions in areas such as marketing, audience and ratings research, media buying, programming, emerging media and technology strategy assessment and expansion planning.
Requirements for Admission to the Major
Declaring the CTVA Major
All incoming freshmen and transfer students from other institutions may declare themselves as CTVA majors by selecting one of the following six option tracks: Entertainment Media Management, Media Theory and Criticism, Emerging Media Production, Screenwriting, Film Provisional, or Television Provisional. CSUN students who want to change from another major into CTVA must have completed 45 units, the golden four, and meet this year’s minimum GPA cutoff. Students apply for admission into the CTVA major by selecting one of the six option tracks listed above and by submitting to Admissions and Records a Change of Major form signed by the department chair. The electronic change-of-major process is not available to CSUN students who want to change from another major into CTVA. Contact the department for current processes on changing majors. To enter the Film Production Option and the Television Production Option/Narrative Pathway, students with the “Provisional” designation must submit a portfolio for review. If the portfolio is accepted, students advance into the Film Production Option or Television Production Option/Narrative Pathway.
Film Production Portfolio Review
The Film Provisional designation is for students who want 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. If a student’s portfolio is approved by the Film Production portfolio process, the student’s major will be designated as CTVA/Film Production. Should a student’s portfolio not be approved, the student selects another CTVA major option: Screenwriting, Television Production/Documentary Pathway, Emerging Media Production, Media Theory or Entertainment Management. 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 who intend to pursue the Film Production option will remain designated as CTVA/Film Provisional majors. Deadline dates and portfolio format requirements can be found on the department’s website and in the department office.
Television Production Portfolio Review
The Television Provisional designation is for students who want to continue into the Television Production option—Narrative Pathway. In order to qualify for the Television Production Narrative Pathway, a student must submit a portfolio and have that portfolio approved by the Television Production faculty. Once a student’s portfolio is approved by the Television Production Narrative Pathway portfolio process, the student’s major will be designated as CTVA/Television Production Narrative Pathway. Should a student’s portfolio not be approved, the student would need to select another CTVA major option. Students intending to continue in the Television Production Narrative Pathway option must pass all lower division CTVA requirements and CTVA 240 with the grade of “C” or better. Students pursuing the Documentary Pathway must pass CTVA 260 with the grade of “C” or higher. Until these requirements are fulfilled, students who intend to pursue the Television Production option—Narrative Pathway will remain designated as CTVA/Television Production—Provisional majors. Deadlines, dates and portfolio format requirements can be found on the Department of Cinema and Television Arts website and in the department office. In Fall 2021, Television Production option—Documentary Pathway will implement a portfolio review process.
The Television Production option—Documentary Pathway trains students in nonfiction/documentary storytelling. This differs from narrative, as these in-depth stories comes together in the editing room. Documentary makers find this form of storytelling very rewarding, as it creates an opportunity to understand and engage with the world we live in and promote meaningful dialogue. Students master all phases of production, including producing, directing, editing and the technical skills necessary to realize documentary projects. Graduates will emerge with the professional, creative and collaborative skills needed in today’s evolving world of documentary/nonfiction storytelling.
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).