MFA in Screenwriting
The secret to inspired screenwriting
Includes program requirements, deadlines, costs and more.
What makes a great storyteller – someone with meaningful ideas and the passion to express them? It’s time to approach screenwriting with consciousness.
At the innovative David Lynch MFA program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique while acquiring the knowledge you need to become a professional screenwriter. The practice of TM will help you grow personally while you sharpen your writing skills and gain access to deeper levels of your creativity, discovering how — as David Lynch says — to catch the big fish.
Unable to relocate? No problem. Our low-residency program — a combination of on-campus residency retreats and distance learning — is structured so that students can complete the requirements of their MFA over two years while balancing the commitments they have in their home communities.
How it works
Each semester begins with an intensive ten-day residency on campus at MIU, in the charming university town of Fairfield, Iowa. The residencies offer the perfect chance to get away from the distractions of home, meditate, dive within, and focus on the creative process. You’ll interact with fellow students as you attend lectures, panel discussions, master classes, staged readings, and workshops led by faculty members and recognized industry leaders.
Learn from industry experts
Past residency instructors and expert guests have included Oscar-winner, producer/writer/director Peter Farrelly (Green Book, There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal); award winner Matthew Weiner (Mad Men, The Romanoffs, The Sopranos); script doctor and author Dara Marks,(Inside Story); filmmaker Susan Seidelman (Smithereens, Desperately Seeking Susan, Making Mr. Right); television producer Michael Rauch (Instinct, Royal Pains, Beautiful People); screenwriter E. Max Frye (Something Wild, Foxcatcher, The Alienist, HBO’s series Band of Brothers.); award-winning writer Kate Purdy (Netflix series Bojack Horseman, Amazon Prime series Undone, Joe and Kate, MADtv, and Cougar Town.)
Meet industry leaders
Students will have the opportunity to meet industry notables during an optional fifth and final residency in Los Angeles, during which they will hone the skills they need to market their thesis screenplays to agents, producers and studio executives.
Distance learning with a personal touch
At the conclusion of each residency, you will return home to complete your coursework online under the guidance of a dedicated Mentor, an industry professional and educator who will monitor your progress. In addition to providing comments on student writing projects, Mentors will lead group workshops using guided exercises, analysis of published scripts, screenings and group discussions all designed to help students attain the tools they need to develop their ideas into marketable screenplays.
Advanced script analysis
In the course Advanced Script Analysis: A Creative Approach to Uncovering Deeper Levels of Meaning in Storytelling, students will discover the keys to crafting their own successful scenarios, with an eye to works that tell transformational stories of personal meaning to their authors, through the careful study and analysis of award-winning screenplays.
Diving Deep into the Art of David Lynch
In this unique course, you will discover the connection between meditation and creative expression. By closely studying selected work by Lynch as inspiration for our own creative processes, we will look deeply into the way Lynch crafts his films once ideas have come to him.
Transcendental Meditation and the Creative Process
In this course, students discover how to use the Transcendental Meditation® technique to develop a unique and authentic voice as a screenwriter, by diving within to explore the creative process from the depths of the transcendental self. This course is the basis of all study at MIU.
Advanced Business and Marketing
This course will take place at the conclusion of the program and will focus on current best industry practices for pitching, publicizing and selling one’s projects. It connects directly to the final optional residency in Los Angeles, during which students will have the opportunity to put into practice concepts covered in this course.
Our infopack includes program requirements, deadlines, costs and more.
What our students say
“I am thrilled with my choice to enroll in this program as it incorporates Transcendental Meditation into the creative process. Developing a meditation practice is integrated into the curriculum and I have been surprised and delighted by how much TM has enhanced my creativity. The instruction is top-notch with every instructor bringing professional credentials and experience to our classes. The combination of intensive residencies with online classes is the perfect mix of hands-on and remote learning.” —Marcia, Racine, Wisconsin
“I applied to this program not quite knowing what to expect. As soon as I met my fellow students, I found we were all passionate about storytelling, eager to hone our creativity and expand our consciousness through the addition of TM. The low-residency aspect has allowed me to seamlessly integrate the program into my normal life. It has helped me as a writer, and as a human being.” —Cale, Augusta, Maine
“DLMFA was so unique in its holistic education of both the mind and the soul. Tapping into that deep source of oneness through TM inspired depths of creativity in all aspects of my life. I feel so much more connected to who I am as a writer and my creative purpose. I’m grateful for the heart of the program and its inspiration to connect students to their creativity through consciousness.” —Nicole, New York, New York
“DLMFA is my Academy Award. They put me on the stage and gave me everything I needed to rekindle my dreams of becoming a screenwriter. They have the expertise and showed me a clear path to where writing is valued and rewarded. Thank you for changing my life.” —Shawn, Cincinnati, Ohio
“The David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting has been a profound addition to my life. Not only am I receiving a superior education in the craft of screenwriting, but through Transcendental Meditation I now have unlimited access to my creativity in a deeper way. Writer’s block is a thing of the past and what I now write comes from a more authentic place. In this program, I have grown not only as an artist but as a person.” —Michael, Los Angeles, California
“I have earned my living as a writer for over 30 years but rarely has my craft been as tested or improved as with the Screenwriting MFA Program at the David Lynch School of Cinematic Arts. I signed up to take myself back to the beginning, where my work had enthusiasm, integrity, and had not been dulled by the rigors of a tough business. To my surprise, the system of ‘meditate and create’ actually stripped away decades of tarnish and helped me reinvest in what makes writing magical. If you want to ‘catch that big fish’ or simply uncover important writing for yourself, grab a ticket to Fairfield, Iowa and apply to the David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting.” —Trevor, Los Angeles, California
“The David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting has broken away from the competitive, monotonous, and out-dated nature of many other schools, programs, classes, workshops, etc. They are determined to bring passion and art back into screenwriting while focusing on what makes your personal voice truly special. Until now, I’ve never found a group so supportive in even my craziest idea, and never once have they asked the dreaded question of ‘Did you think about how you’re going to market this?’” —Craig, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Our infopack includes program requirements, deadlines, costs, and more.
*Students who don’t already practice TM will learn the technique during the first residency.