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Consciousness-Based Film Education

David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts

“Meditate and Create!”

- David Lynch

David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts

“Meditate and Create!”

- David Lynch

MFA in Screenwriting

The secret to inspired screenwriting

Apply for next entry:
August 2019

Download free information packet For program requirements, deadlines, costs and more

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peter-farrelly-stillPeter Farrelly, Featured Guest Speaker, Writer/Director of Dumb & Dumber, There’s Something About Mary,  Shallow Hal and Green Book

What makes a great storyteller – someone with meaningful ideas and the passion to express them? It’s time to approach screenwriting with consciousness.

At the innovative David Lynch MFA program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique while acquiring the knowledge you need to become a professional screenwriter. The practice of TM will help you grow personally while you sharpen your writing skills and gain access to deeper levels of your creativity, discovering how — as David Lynch says — to catch the big fish.

Unable to relocate? No problem. Our low-residency program — a combination of on-campus residency retreats and distance learning — is structured so that students can complete the requirements of their MFA over two years while balancing the commitments they have in their home communities.

How it works

Each semester begins with an intensive ten day residency on campus at MUM, in the charming university town of Fairfield, Iowa. The residencies offer the perfect chance to get away from the distractions of home, meditate, dive within and focus on the creative process. You’ll interact with fellow students as you attend lectures, panel discussions, master classes, staged readings and workshops led by faculty members and recognized industry leaders.

Learn from industry experts

Past residency guests have included Peter Farrelly, writer and director of such hits as Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Shallow Hal and Green Book; Dara Marks, in-demand script doctor and author of Inside Story; Glenn Gers, screenwriter of Fracture and Mad Money, writer/director of Disfigured and Like.Share.Follow; plus meditation and creativity expert Dr. Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition.

Meet David Lynch

Students may have the opportunity to meet founder David Lynch, in addition to other industry notables during an optional fifth and final residency in Los Angeles, during which they will hone the skills they need to market their thesis screenplays to agents, producers and studio executives.

Distance learning with a personal touch

At the conclusion of each residency, you will return home to complete your coursework online under the guidance of a dedicated Mentor, an industry professional and educator who will monitor your progress. In addition to providing comments on student writing projects, Mentors will lead group workshops using guided exercises, analysis of published scripts, screenings and group discussions all designed to help students attain the tools they need to develop their ideas into marketable screenplays.

Additional online courses include:

Advanced Script Analysis: A Creative Approach to Uncovering Deeper Levels of Meaning in Storytelling:

Through the careful study and analysis of award-winning screenplays, students will discover the keys to crafting their own successful scenarios, with an eye to works that tell transformational stories of personal meaning to their authors.


Diving Deep into the Art of David Lynch: A Study in Freedom and Craft:

In this unique course, taught by scholar Martha Nochimson (author of The Passion of the David Lynch and David Lynch Swerves), you will discover the connection between meditation and creative expression. By closely studying selected work by Lynch as inspiration for our own creative processes, we will look deeply into the way Lynch crafts his films once ideas have come to him.


campus2C+Vishwa+Shanti+Cafe2C+Gabe2C+indoors2C+group2C+man2C+ladies2C+computer2C+students+in+lounge+and+cafe2C+glasses2C+Tanell+Pretorius+28429The Science and Technology of Consciousness:

STC delves deeper into the study of consciousness as the unifying basis of all branches of knowledge. Taught with an emphasis on exploring the links between meditation and the creative process, this course is the basis of all study at MUM.


Advanced Business and Marketing for the Entertainment Industry:

This course will take place at the conclusion of the program and will focus on current best industry practices for pitching, publicizing and selling one’s projects. It connects directly to the final optional residency in Los Angeles, during which students will have the opportunity to put into practice concepts covered in this course.


Download free information packet For program requirements, deadlines, costs and more

Get Info Pack >


What our students say

“I am thrilled with my choice to enroll in the David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting program through Maharishi University. While there are many programs that purport to teach screenwriting, this is the only one I’m aware of that incorporates Transcendental Meditation into the creative process. Developing a meditation practice is integrated into the curriculum and I have been surprised and delighted by how much this has enhanced not only my creativity, but many other aspects of my life.

In addition to meditation, the instruction is top-notch with every instructor bringing professional credentials and experience to our classes. The combination of intensive residencies with online classes is the perfect mix of hands-on and remote learning. I have no doubt I will be well-prepared to write professional screenplays at the conclusion of this program.”

—Marcia, Racine, Wisconsin


“I applied to this program, not quite knowing what to expect. But, as soon as I met the fellow students, we were able to connect through shared interests. We were all passionate about storytelling, eager to hone our creativity and expand our consciousness through the addition of TM.

The low-residency aspect has allowed me to seamlessly integrate the program into my normal life. It has been a great way to meet and connect with different people, from different places, with different backgrounds. It has helped me as a writer, and as a human being.”

—Cale, Augusta, Maine


“The David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting has been a profound addition to my life. Not only am I receiving a superior education in the craft of screenwriting, but through Transcendental Meditation I now have unlimited access to my creativity in a deeper way. Writer’s block is a thing of the past and what I now write comes from a more authentic place. In this program I have grown not only as an artist, but as a person.”

—Michael, Los Angeles, California


“The David Lynch MFA in Screenwriting has broken away from the competitive, monotonous, and out-dated nature of many other schools, programs, classes, workshops, etc. They are determined to bring passion and art back into screenwriting, while focusing on what makes your personal voice truly special. Until now, I’ve never found a group so supportive in even my craziest idea and never once have they asked the dreaded question of ‘Did you think about how you’re going to market this?'”

—Craig, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Download free information packet For program requirements, deadlines, costs and more

Get Info Pack >

*Students who don’t already practice TM will learn the technique during the first residency.

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