There is a whole set of prerequisites for studying at HFF Munich, which are evaluated in an elaborate application process. We very carefully weigh whether you are suited for the profession of writer, and the answer can only be a momentary evaluation. Someone who may not be ready yet today, may be a fine candidate a year later.
At HFF Munich, training in the craft of screenwriting rests on three pillars. The one pillar refers to the strengthening of your inner voice, your desire to write and your very personal ideas. Creative Writing, chaired by Doris Dörrie, deals particularly with this task. The second pillar consists of learning the rules of dramaturgy. That is the set of tools with which dramatic stories are built. The third pillar refers to exercising this craftsmanship in study groups. This is where you train captivating your listener with your story ideas, without allowing the curiosity to fade during the telling. This is also dramaturgy, only this time not in the form of a static set of rules, but as a process between the story-teller and listener.
During your core studies, you will frequently attend classes with HFF directing students, introducing you to all the areas involved in film direction. During this period, you will shoot your own short films – an experience to which we attach great importance.
In several consecutive block seminars, you will be instructed in the dynamics of dramatic structure. This element begins with short-film dramaturgy, moving on later to the quite complex dramaturgy of a medium-length film, with a running time of up to sixty minutes – with extensive instruction in character development, the creation of several dramatic arcs, and designing dialogue flow.
At the end of your core studies, you turn in a medium-length treatment.
Main study program
Once you have completed all your preliminary diploma exams, you will enter the two-year main study program. At this point, your screenwriting curriculum begins to diverge from the the directing students’ program. We nevertheless emphasize the value of numerous shared courses, and of course you will continue to your close collaboration with directing students.
You now expand the research skills acquired during your core studies (applying such documentary means as the film portrait, the interview, the evaluation of journalistic sources).
Another main element is dramaturgy instruction for feature-length films (fiction film, and comparisons with documentary formats), and an introduction to the separate genres and the various television formats, leading finally to series. Working with professional writers and producers, our students become familiar with German and international series concepts. In an extension seminar, the project teams develop individual concepts for TV series. The objective is to practice a series author’s tools and become familiar with the typical differences between a series and an individual film.
Your entire learning experience at HFF Munich culminates in the research and brainstorming for a feature-length film script. Your first story outline marks the beginning of a year’s work on this long screenplay, culminating in your final draft. The project is mentored by an experienced writer, as it goes through several phases of evaluation.
The Screenwriting program culminates in a diploma requiring one of the following presentations:
- a screenplay for a feature-length fiction film, or
- research and dramaturgical consultation for a feature-length documentary film until it is production- ready, or
- a concept for a TV series, with two treatments and a screenplay, or
- proof of dramaturgical consultation for a feature fiction film (graduation as dramaturg).