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Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Program & Faculty


Requirements in Writing, Film & Media Arts

WFMA students take four classes per semester. Classes meet once a week, Monday through Friday, from 2:00pm-5:00pm, with some options occurring in the evening. One afternoon a week, students have Open Studio, a structured time for them to work independently on assignments and projects from their classes.

Classes are intentionally small and mixed level, incorporating elements of collaborative learning. New students benefit from their returning peers’ guidance and support; returning students expand their capacity as mentors and gain confidence as class leaders.

Class placement is determined through a combination of student interest, faculty recommendation, and years of experience in the program. Students are encouraged to take a range of classes, though curricular focus in a specific medium is permitted.

The list of sample courses below gives a sense of the breadth of options offered within the Writing, Film & Media Arts Department. Please note that not all courses are offered every semester.

Courses in Writing, Film, & Media Arts

Film Foundations

Film Foundations introduces students to the basics of film history and video production techniques. With emphasis on developing their own short subjects, students learn the three stages of film/video production while creating their own works.

Film Topics

Film Topics is offered each semester and explores a different aspect of film/video production and history. Topics include Personal Narrative, Crewing the Film, Continuity/Discontinuity Editing, and Sound and Image. Topics are updated each semester.

Composing the Image

Composing the Image is a digital photography class that develops techniques necessary in building an effective cinematic image. Visual communication, design, and story are explored through assignments and critique sessions each week.

Darkroom Photography

In Darkroom Photography, students learn the use of the camera, film development, darkroom techniques, and photo composition. Students work on projects ranging from photograms and pinhole photography, to portraiture, documentary, and alternative printing processes.

Screenplay Studio

In Screenplay studio, students focus on scene construction, character development, through line of a narrative, and the creation of visual storytelling with dialogue driven momentum. Assignments include loglines, short synopses, plot outlines, and a complete a live action short script.

Playwriting Studio

Students in the Playwriting Studio study structures and techniques for developing characters and plays with dramatic arcs. Through improvisation and other exercises they build scenes and understand the tones of line reads. Students write 10-minute plays that they cast, direct, and rehearse in class.

Fiction Studio

The Fiction Studio explores and experiments with a range of storytelling styles. Students discover new narrative possibilities and hone their sentence and paragraph artistry. The class covers a variety of genres, from character studies to microfiction to short stories.

Poetry Studio

The Poetry Studio exposes students to a wide a range poetic tools and structures. Through assignments that focus on imagery, content, and form, students discover a process of invention, hone an original voice, and tackle the discipline of revision.

The Song Lyric

The Song Lyric investigates the practice of song lyric writing. Students study a range of music genres and use them as models to create individual songs. Such genres include the blues, jazz, folk, funk, and hip-hop. A final project includes collaboration with a composer.

Writing & Publishing Practicum

Practicum students build skills central to the work of a writer and editor, as well as study practices connected to the industry of writing and publishing. This includes preparing work for publication and performance, and involvement in all aspects of publishing a literary magazine.

Expeditions in Writing & Film

Required for all underclassmen, Expeditions is designed as a laboratory for exploring ideas, themes, and processes. The class seeks to build community through art making and to expand a student’s understanding of how writing, film, and media arts inform the world at large.

Senior Studio

Senior Studio fosters an environment of independent work for mature artists. Assignments are interpretive and explore a range of mediums and genres. Students plan, problem-solve, and create individual outcomes. This work occurs alongside guidance on longer-term projects. As a group, students participate in discussions about their process.

Writing, Film & Media Arts Faculty

Emily Beattie

Emily Beattie

Dance Faculty, Writing, Film & Media Arts Faculty
Margaret Funkhouser

Margaret Funkhouser

Director of Writing, Film & Media Arts, New Cottage Dorm Head
Stephen Lacy

Stephen Lacy

Writing, Film & Media Arts Faculty, Visual Art Faculty
Ronan Noone

Ronan Noone

Writing, Film & Media Arts Faculty
Holly Worthington

Holly Worthington

Visual Art Faculty, Writing, Film & Media Arts Faculty
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