Media Literacy: Elements of Storytelling

What do a feature film, a commercial, and a sitcom episode all have in common? They all depend on story for their success and use creative techniques to elicit a desired response from viewers. In this course, you will explore the elements of story and analyze key works to develop an awareness of how content creators use the tools of their craft. You will also explore the non-literary, formal tools employed by audio-visual professionals. In addition to providing exposure to a range of masterworks, this course also helps you shift from passive to active media consumers, who understand the content-creator perspective.

Media Production 1: Producing & Directing

Once you write a script, it is time to shoot your media—the job of both the producer and the director. This course explores these roles through a project-based, hands-on approach. Producing topics include basic budgeting and scheduling skills as well as how and when to secure clearances and rights. Directing topics include basic camera functions, lighting set ups, audio capture, framing, types of shots, preparing a shot list and getting additional coverage an editor can use. In addition, you will begin to use non-linear digital editing software to complete a course project.

Media Production 2: Writing

All media begins with an idea, a creative thought, a flash of inspiration. Implementing that idea will, at some point, require a written version of the piece—a script. Whether you are a writer, editor, director or producer, understanding how to bring a script to life is an integral part of your career. In this course, students use television, a medium in which the written script holds far more influence and creative control than movies, to explore the writing process in more detail. Practical assignments include pitching ideas for a 30-minute television show, collaborating with colleagues, creating a beat sheet, deconstructing an existing script, writing an act break scene, and incorporating feedback in rewrites.

Media Production 3: Editing and Distribution

This class introduces you to standard, non-linear digital editing techniques and software as well as methods for formatting and distributing media. First, you will work with course media provided for the purpose of instruction then you will apply your knowledge to edit a finished version of your own work. Topics include importing and organizing media, maintaining sync, creating simple motion effects, reversing and speeding up clips, generating simple titles, selecting compression rates, and exporting media for distribution on the web.


Writing and Directing for Non-fiction

Non-fiction media encompasses a wide range of content including documentaries, corporate video, marketing and advertising, instructional applications, legal content and more. In this course, you will explore advanced writing and directing tools geared specifically to non-fiction applications. Topics include research, non-fiction treatment and pitch, documentary writing, long-form storytelling, non-fiction script form and structure, point of view and ethical considerations. In addition, you will analyze examples of contemporary and historic non-fiction film and television to provide context and foster an appreciation for benchmarks of excellence.

Advanced Writing

What distinguishes average writing from writing that excels? How is writing for one form different and/or similar to writing for another? In this course you will explore these questions and build upon foundational concepts of storytelling to create an original piece of writing in one of various possible forms. These may include a treatment for a feature film, a television script or the first episode of an original web series. You will practice analyzing and learning from existing works, and write and rewrite your own work. In addition, you will explore how to circulate your written work to talent or potential buyers.

Advanced Directing

While the role of director may come with a special seat, it focuses on movement – the movement and articulation of story. In this course, you will build upon foundational concepts and further your exploration of directing for the camera. Topics include preparing a shot list, working with a shooting script, breaking down a script, working with storyboards, blocking a scene, casting and working with actors, as well as other production personnel, all for the purpose of conveying a compelling story.


Producing and Editing for Non-fiction

While non-fiction content includes documentaries, feature stories, corporate video, forensic video and more, the intersection of the producer and editor roles is heightened when creating marketing and advertising videos. In this course, you will explore the producing and editing roles and their specific intersections as it relates to marketing and advertising. Other topics include skills relevant to producing non-fiction programming, such as: project development, creating and analyzing budgets, negotiating contracts, creating business communication (including attracting and communicating with investors), navigating the pre-production process, identifying and clearing archival and file footage, and recognizing first amendment and other legal considerations. In addition, students analyze the art of the non-fiction edit in the context of historic and aesthetic considerations.

Advanced Producing

What does a producer do, anyway? This course explores this question and presents skills relevant to the successful producer’s toolkit. You will explore advanced project development and management skills, script development, work on location, production schedules, advanced budgeting, contracts and other legal considerations. In addition, the course addresses principles of financing and marketing.

Advanced Editing

In this course, you will refine the basic edit skills learned earlier in the program and practice tips and tricks of the trade that boost ability, speed and confidence in editing. Topics include settings and preferences, advanced visual effects, transitions, split edits, multiple video and audio tracks, audio sampling rates, nested sequences, color correction, advanced titles, graphics and animation, audio mixing, and finishing/exporting a program. In addition, you will examine global project management procedures, and review and practice editing styles and techniques appropriate for specific purposes (comedy, drama, etc.).


Courses in this specialization can be selected from those offered in the Writing/Directing and Producing/Editing Specializations to create a customized curriculum that best meets your needs or interests.


This course culminates the certificate experience and focuses on synthesizing concepts and skills explored throughout the program for the creation of a professional capstone project and portfolio piece. With guidance, you will identify a project that is appropriate in depth and relevant to your career goals. Examples include an independent short film, a screenplay, a short documentary or a series of webisodes. In addition to creating engaging content, you will also focus on how your project relates to the media business landscape and the business skills needed to plan, execute, pitch and market your projects for maximum exposure.