CREATIVE WRITING and SCREENWRITING PROGRAM

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At John Paul the Great Catholic University, we believe in the power of beauty to transform culture. We’re shaping the next generation of artists and innovators with academic excellence, unparalleled creativity, and an authentic community centered on Jesus Christ.

writing curriculum

screenwriting

Stories have an incredible power in opening us to a new way of perceiving reality and in helping us understand important truths with more clarity. To fulfill our mission to Impact Culture for Christ, we teach you to write compelling mainstream movies, TV and short films that can reach broad audiences and bring them closer to truth, beauty, and goodness. You will receive an outstanding real-world education in the art and business of screenwriting, where you will create a script of your choosing and get personal mentorship in polishing, pitching, and selling it.

humanities

What makes our Creative Writing and Screenwriting Program so different is the opportunity to develop your natural creativity in dialogue with the great artistic achievements of Western Tradition, and you will engage and wrestle with the best ideas and writings throughout our civilization. We approach the perennial questions of life captured in literature from a thoroughly Catholic perspective and learn from faculty who are deeply committed to the Magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church.

creative writing

The creative writing curriculum covers both fiction and nonfiction, as well as a wide range of genres from poetry, drama, to speculative novels, journalistic work, and fantasy. You will examine creative writing techniques such as point of view, language, tone, pacing and plot, and more. You will explore in depth the literature and nonfiction creative writing of the twentieth and twenty-first century to study the writing practices and techniques of the authors to provide insights for you to create your own enduring works.

core curriculum

liberal arts

Study the human condition by actively engaging in an exploration of art, literature, culture, politics, economics, and more

BUSINESS

Prepare yourself for the industry with foundational skills in marketing, management, and entrepreneurial thinking.

theology & philosophy

Grow in faith and understanding, with a rich sequence of coursework in Scripture, Theology, and Philosophy.

overview

Stories impact us in profound ways. Good stories can inspire and touch our souls; they bring freshness, life, understanding and clarity to our experience. They can draw us closer to God and to Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. They are at the core of the entertainment which shapes our culture and society. Under the guidance of experienced writers, you will study the discipline and craft of powerfully telling your stories for multiple mediums, whether that be a screenplay, novel, or short story

St. John Paul the Great, a writer and artist himself, wrote extensively to encourage artists to develop their “divine spark” in order to create works whose excellence communicates truth and beauty. Such a task, he believed, was essential for the common good. “Society needs artists,” he wrote, “they not only enrich the cultural heritage of each nation and of all humanity, but they also render an exceptional social service in favor of the common good"

what makes us different?

our authentically catholic community

Our campus is a place where students can grow both professionally and spiritually. We’re a unique community of artists and innovators, centered around our faith in Jesus Christ and the beauty of the Catholic faith. Immerse yourself in an abundance of opportunities for spiritual growth, including Daily Mass, Confession, Adoration, Rosary, Retreats, and Service Projects.

graduate in 3 years

Our unique academic model prepares students for the real-world pace of professional life in the industry, with a focus on hands-on projects, internships, and portfolio preparation. The program is structured on a year-round quarter system, and you graduate with your Bachelors Degree in just 12 quarters. Each quarter is 10 weeks long, with about 3 weeks of break between each quarter.

quarter in LA

Summer of senior year, media students have the opportunity to study at a satellite campus in Burbank, located right up the street from the Warner Bros. studio lot. These 10 weeks open up a host of new opportunities for internships, networking, and experiencing life in the entertainment capital of the world.

located in san diego county

John Paul the Great Catholic University is centered in north county San Diego, just a 35-minute drive from downtown in America's Finest City. Southern California is famous for its fantastic weather, beautiful beaches and mountains, and bustling metropolitan areas. Our campus is just 15 miles from the beach, a short trip by car or train. And with Los Angeles and Hollywood within striking distance, students have even more opportunities for internships and networking.

our small campus environment

With a total student body under 300, JPCatholic offers a warm, tight-knit campus community. Foster lifelong friendships, form creative partnerships, and surround yourself with a supportive environment that encourages your growth in both virtue and artistic excellence

Our small classroom sizes offer the chance for one-on-one mentorship from industry professionals who have worked at Pixar, Warner Bros., Disney, and Hanna-Barbera Studio

Meet the Faculty

  • A screenwriter whose first film, After The Truth, an award-winning courtroom thriller written with his wife, Kathleen Riley, sparked international controversy when it was released in Germany.
  • A veteran of the Warner Bros. script department.
  • The author of The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style. From 2005 through 2008, he served as director of the acclaimed Act One Writing Program in Hollywood, which trains Christians for careers as writers and executives in film and TV.
  • Holds a BS in Telecommunications from Oral Roberts University and was a National Merit Scholar.
  • Received an MA (2007) and PhD (2012) in Theology from Ave Maria University in Naples, FL and a BA in Philosophy (2003) from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.
  • The author of 16 scholarly articles, book chapters, and reviews and is the editor of Wisdom and the Renewal of Catholic Theology - Essays in Honor of Matthew L. Lamb with Roger W. Nutt (Pickwick Press, 2016), for which he also wrote the introduction.
  • His research focuses on the theology of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, the theologico-political problem, faith and reason, and the relationship of philosophy and theology with literature and film.

CHRIS RILEY

THOMAS HARMON

Professor of Screenwriting

Professor of Theology and Culture

  • A Director of both the MBA in Film Producing program and the graduate LaunchPad.
  • A filmmaker, businessman and a veteran of the international film festival scene. His wide-ranging career has included writing, directing & producing the western/thriller 'The Sorrow', as well as serving as an executive producer on 'The Kid: Chamaco'..
  • Currently works for the motion picture production/distribution company Rogue Arts as a film and television producer and a distribution executive.
  • Has an MBA from Alliant International University; a Master of Professional Writing from USC. Earned a BFA in Film from the world-renowned Art Center College of Design and a received a BS from Excelsior College.
  • Served most recently on the English faculty at Dublin City University, where she was also served as the Director of the Centre for Children's Literature and Culture.
  • Directed the Masters in Children's Literature in St. Patrick's College, Dublin from 2009-2014.
  • Initiated ‘Conversations in the Classroom’, a series of informal talks given across Humanities and Education.
  • Published a book on Irish writing and the illustration called The Irish Scene in Somerville and Ross in 2007.

VERNON MORTENSEN

JULIE ANNE STEVENS

Professor of Film Producing and Distribution

Professor of Creative Writing

© 2017 John Paul the Great Catholic University

  • Humanities

    What makes our Creative Writing and Screenwriting Program so different is the opportunity to develop your natural creativity in dialogue with the great artistic achievements of Western Tradition, and you will engage and wrestle with the best ideas and writings throughout our civilization. We approach the perennial questions of life captured in literature from a thoroughly Catholic perspective and learn from faculty who are deeply committed to the Magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church.

  • screenwriting

    Story is at the heart of our mission. Stories have an incredible power in opening us to a new way of perceiving reality and in helping us understand important truths with more clarity. To fulfill our mission to Impact Culture for Christ, we teach you to write compelling mainstream movies, TV and short films that can reach broad audiences and bring them closer to truth, beauty, and goodness.

  • creative writing

    The creative writing curriculum covers both fiction and nonfiction, as well as a wide range of genres from poetry, drama, to speculative novels, journalistic work, and fantasy. You will examine creative writing techniques such as point of view, language, tone, pacing and plot, and more. You will explore in depth the literature and nonfiction creative writing of the twentieth and twenty-first century to study the writing practices and techniques of the authors to provide insights for you to create your own enduring works.