Kennesaw State program targets aspiring screenwriters

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Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business program expands offerings to meet Georgia’s…

Georgia (Apr 2, 2013)Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business program expands offerings to meet Georgia’s entertainment industry needs

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 2, 2013) —As more film and television production companies choose Georgia as a venue, Kennesaw State’s Joel A. Katz MEBUS program in the Michael J. Coles College of Business is expanding its courses to meet the needs of this thriving industry. The program will soon offer “Fade In: Film and Television Screenwriting Program,” a new two-part initiative focused on screenwriting.

In Georgia, the motion picture and television industry is responsible for more than $1.3 billion in wages and 22,843 direct jobs, including both production and distribution-related jobs, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. In fact, 24 movies and 25 TV series filmed in Georgia during 2011, including the TV series, The Walking Dead, and movies such as The Blind Side, Footloose and the not-yet released film, Catching Fire.

“This course addresses the needs of the burgeoning film and television industry in Georgia, and prepares students to be successful in this competitive industry,” said Keith Perissi, interim director of the Joel A. Katz MEBUS program and lecturer of music entertainment at Kennesaw State. “I don’t know any other university that is offering an executive education course to the public with this caliber of curriculum from a bona fide industry professional.”

The Fade In curriculum consists of two modules, one focused on film and the other on television. During each eight-week module, students will learn about screenwriting rules, structure and format; building story, plot and characters; writing, rewriting and polishing the story; and pitching, packaging and creating a business plan.  Each module meets for eight consecutive Fridays from 4-8 p.m. The film module begins April 19.

Taught by Rhonda Baraka, writer of Lifetime Television’s made-for-TV movie, “Pastor Brown” and GMCTV’s “Trinity Goodheart” and “Teachers,” the modules are designed for those working as professional writers in film or television who want to hone their expertise and those who are looking for ways to break into the entertainment industry as screenwriters.  

“Some aspects of the course will be personalized,” said Baraka. “As writers develop their own projects, they will get input from me and other writers. They will learn their strengths and weaknesses. My focus won’t simply be teaching the basics, but actually helping them to create a piece of work.”  Each class participant will create a finished product by the end of each module.

Georgia offers one of the most competitive tax incentives programs in the country for entertainment companies to bring their productions to the state. It has a broad network of production and recording facilities, a talented workforce, gaming and interactive media developers and technology and support services, according to the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office.

“This class helps to nurture local talent that might benefit from emerging entertainment opportunities here and help to enhance the pool of talent from which producers and studios may draw when looking to do business in this area,” said Perissi.

The general public can register for the course without enrolling at Kennesaw State. For more information or to register, visit


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,600 students from more than 130 countries.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit