How do artists make art? How do we evaluate it? In this course, students of all levels get to experience firsthand the particular challenges and rewards of art making through practical engagement with five fields — creative writing, visual art, theater, dance, and music — under the guidance of professionals.
Creative Writing Courses
“The American Dream: Visions and Subversions” will explore, primarily in American literature, themes of individual and cultural identity from 19th century texts (by Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin) through 20th century texts (by Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor) and 21st century fiction (by Jhumpa Lahiri, Lorrie Moore, Junot Diaz, Ha Jin among others).
The curriculum allows the student to develop writing skills, provides an introduction to the possibilities of contemporary literature and offers a perspective on the place of literature among the liberal arts. Criticism by practicing writers and talented peers encourages the student's growth as both creator and reader of literature.
Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama, with the goal of arriving at a 20-25 page sample of the author's work. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. Weekly readings and will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations as well as commentaries on the art and pratice of literary translation.
A continuation of work begun in Introductory Playwriting, in this class, students will complete either one full-length play or two long one-acts (40-60 pages) to the end of gaining a firmer understanding of characterization, dialogue, structure, and the playwriting process. In addition to questions of craft, an emphasis will be placed on the formation of healthy creative habits and the sharpening of critical and analytical skills through reading and responding to work of both fellow students and contemporary playwrights of note.
Students will choose, early in the semester, one author to focus on in fiction, poetry, or drama, with the goal of arriving at a 20-25 page sample of the author's work. All work will be translated into English and discussed in a workshop format. Weekly readings and will focus on the comparison of pre-existing translations as well as commentaries on the art and practice of literary translation.
All literature is short — compared to our lives, anyway — but we'll be concentrating on poetry and prose at their very shortest. The reading will include proverbs, aphorisms, greguerias, one-line poems, riddles, jokes, fragments, haiku, epigrams and microlyrics. Imagism, contemporary shortists, prose poems, various longer works assembled from small pieces, and possibly even flash fiction.
This course will explore ways that language can take on material properties and how objects can have syntax and be “read.” Through studio assignments, readings, and discussions, students will investigate the idea of language as a tangible material that can be sliced, bent, inserted, reproduced, embedded, and scattered.
This course will introduce students to the foundational principles and techniques of screenwriting, taking into account the practical considerations of film production. Questions of thematic cohesiveness, plot construction, logical cause and effect, character behavior, dialogue, genre consistency and pace will be explored as students gain confidence in the form by completing a number of short screenplays. The course will illustrate and analyze the power of visual storytelling to communicate a story to an audience, and will guide students to create texts that serve as "blueprints" for emotionally powerful and immersive visual experiences.
How can screenwriters prepare for the evolving challenges of our global media world? What types of content, as well as form, will emerging technologies make possible? Do fields like neuroscience help us understand the universal principals behind screenwriting and do tech advances that alter the distance between audience and creator, man and machine, also influence content of our stories?
A reading-based advanced fiction workshop designed to introduce students to the practice of imitation as a point of creative departure. Reading the works of a series of twentieth-century Italian masters — Ginzburg, Lampedeusa, Levi, Morante, among others — we will analyze a range of techniques and styles and focus our discussion on themes of linguistic crossing and hybrid identity. All readings will be in translation from the recently published Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories edited by Jhumpa Lahiri. Italian concentrators and certificate students will read the stories and produce all written work in Italian.
This advanced screenwriting workshop will introduce students to the fundamental elements of developing and writing a TV series in the current “golden age of television.” Students will watch television pilots, read pilot episodes, and engage in in-depth discussion about story, series engine, character, structure, tone and season arcs. Each student will formulate and pitch an original series idea, and complete the first draft of the pilot episode and season arcs by end of semester.
A workshop course designed to support advanced student theater and music theater writers in exploring possible performance of their writing. Students will investigate their writing with a focus on collaboration, performance and production. Individualized creative assignments will be suggested for each student. Students will be introduced to methodologies for producing new works and for theatrical collaboration, and will discuss the writer's point of view in the rehearsal room, physical staging, working with performers and character development, and exploring visual storytelling.
In this course, led by critically acclaimed comedy writer Albert Samuels, students will participate in the in-process television pitch used by Samuels' cutting-edge improvisation group, Baby Wants Candy, including finalizing concept and script and developing a strong pitch. By the end of the semester, BWC will have a finished pitch package the group will present to Netflix, Amazon, Comedy Central and other networks/outlets. Students will develop their own original television concepts in groups and individually and also create shorter material - e.g., desk bits for late night shows, online content, etc.