The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday February 6th

Writing for stage and screen minor thrives but stays small

But the program is becoming more selective.

Dana Coen is the director of the minor and teaches courses in the program alongside just one other professor. He said they have the capacity to teach fewer than 20 students per graduating class.

“The program has grown, but it’s grown to the point that it can’t grow anymore,” he said. “We’re looking at possibly making it a major down the road.”

Nested within the Department of Communication Studies, the program was put together in 2003 by David Sontag with the help of the Department of Communication Studies, the Department of Dramatic Art and the Creative Writing program.

This spring, 25 students applied for the program, including three students who were deferred from last year’s pool of applicants — 17 were accepted.

Sophomore Schyler Martin, a journalism major and a member of The Daily Tar Heel Dive staff, was one of the recently accepted students. For her, the minor is a way to explore her interest in entertainment without completely devoting her future to the industry.

“I spend a lot of my free time writing a blog about movies and TV and entertainment in general,” Martin said. “I wanted a way to tap into that passion without having to major in communications or something that might make it more limited for me to get a job.”

Junior dramatic art major Alex Ruba said the program prepares students for a career in film better than any other classes offered at the University.

Ruba said she would like to be a playwright, actress and screenwriter, but that it’s difficult to make a living off of such a career.

“Now, being in this program — although it is particularly geared toward screenwriting — it has solidified that occupation in my head as a viable option,” she said.

The minor program also helps mold students into viable candidates for the Hollywood Media Internship in California, offered to all communication studies students at UNC.

The internship provides selected students the opportunity to work in and observe the entertainment industry in Hollywood.

Senior Jim Bulluck, who is also in the minor program, was chosen for the internship but said he has several options for this summer. He was recently offered an internship at “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

“I’m trying to decide whether I want to move to New York and work for ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’ or work in L.A.,” Bulluck said.

Bulluck said he applied for the minor program with little thought for his career, but now, the program has not only provided him with opportunities but also a home within the University.

“It is all these people who are very interested in movies and TV, writing and storytelling. It’s great to be a part of that,” Bulluck said.

“It’s the first time things clicked for me at Chapel Hill.”


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