TV Studio Production students working through live studio exercises.
TV Studio Production students in CU Denver’s Media Studio Classrooms.

Film and Television: How to Turn Your Passion for Storytelling into a Career

May 22, 2023

The art of filmmaking is much more than simply capturing images on a screen. It is a medium for expressing human experiences, emotions, and ideas in a unique and profound way. Film school helps to refine the technical skills needed to truly hone this craft, but it also gives students a deeper understanding of the power of storytelling and the impact it can have on individuals and society.  

Through film and television studies, students are pushed to explore idiosyncratic perspectives and beliefs, developing a distinct style that is reflective of their unique voice. It’s not just about mastering filmmaking, it’s about discovering the art of self-expression and creating meaningful dialogue in the world. “Top high school students sometimes feel like they must go to New York or LA to be able to make it work and I think that that’s a big misconception,” said Mitch Dickman a Film & Television Lecturer at CU Denver. “Because when you’re at a place like CU Denver’s Film & Television program, you’re going to have people that have a vested interest in you, continuing to find your voice.”   

The film and television industry is a vast and dynamic field that encompasses a range of creative and technical roles. It includes the production, distribution, and exhibition of films and television shows, as well as products for advertising, public relations, digital media, and more. 

The industry is constantly evolving as new technologies and distribution platforms emerge and as audience preferences and expectations fluctuate. Recently, the industry has seen a significant shift towards streaming services, with Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and others that invest heavily in original content.  

Through thoughtful curriculum and innovative faculty, graduates of the CU Denver Film and Television program are prepared for a rapidly changing industry, ready to incorporate new technologies, and able to adjust to ever-shifting audience needs.  

Being involved with the university, I see the way the program is growing and the way that we’re educating students. I’ve had a number of students impress me. And I know there’s a future for this industry.

—Mitch Dickman, Film & Television Lecturer 

The Film and Television program at CU Denver provides students with a strong foundation in production skills, distribution practices, television and cinema traditions, and industry trends. The program prepares students for a variety of careers in the industry, including directing, producing, screenwriting, cinematography, sound design, and editing.  

Film and Television at CU Denver 

CU Denver offers a well-designed path for students interested in pursuing a career in film and television. Incoming students who undertake the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) can choose between four distinct minors, including Film & Television Production, Film & Television Writing, Performance for Film & Television, and Theatre, Film & Television.  

Students will take courses in four categories: production, theory, writing, and practical learning. Courses spanning these categories include Scriptwriting (fiction and nonfiction), The Culture of TV, Acting for Film & TV, Cinematography, Documentary, Directing for TV & Film, Digital Effects, Post-Production, and Production Design. 

What I like about Film & Television at CU Denver is that the program is accessible. This is a very expensive art form. But the program’s state of the art 4K cameras, lenses, and lights and those kinds of things are way more accessible compared to other programs.

—Mitch Dickman, Film & Television Lecturer 

Students can also take advantage of university and industry partners through several networking opportunities. These include the Hollywood Internship Program, the Bollywood Connections Study Abroad Summer Program, and the Industry Pathways Apprenticeship Class. These programs are designed to expose students to key industry players and provide them with crucial experiential learning.  

TV Studio Production students working through live studio exercises.

Common Jobs and Roles in Film and Television 

Graduates of CU Denver’s Film and Television programs are well-equipped for careers in the industry. In recent years, grads have found jobs at NBCUniversal, won Academy Awards, received Emmy nominations, and more. Students find work in corporate communications, documentary filmmaking, TV stations, networks, and post-production studios.

The cool thing about the film industry is that it is very entrepreneurial. A lot of people who go through the Film & Television program are going to be starting their own businesses and they don’t even know it.

Mitch Dickman, Film & Television Lecturer

As positions vary significantly within the industry, there is not a specific income average or growth prediction for the industry. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers data for a range of common positions with the industry, which are listed below.  

Producers and Directors | Average Salary: $110,660 

Producers and directors create or oversee the production of stage, television, radio, video, or film projects for purposes of entertainment, education, or information dissemination. 

Film/Video Editors | Average Salary: $80,990 

These roles manipulate visual content on film, video, or other mediums through the process of editing.  

Camera Operators, Television, Video, and Film | Average Salary: $69,940 

Camera operators work in film and video editing, as well as camera operation, to alter visual content to provide entertainment or knowledge to viewers.

Broadcast, sound, and video technicians | Average Salary: $48,790 

Professionals in broadcast, sound, and video technology install, handle, and upkeep electrical equipment utilized in radio shows, TV broadcasts, concerts, sound production, and motion picture creation. 

Actors | Average Pay: $23.48 per hour 

Performers in theater, film, television, and other forms of performing arts embody concepts and depict characters through their craft.  

Mitch Dickman, Lecturer, Film & Television

Mitch Dickman is a graduate (BFA, ‘05) of CU Denver’s Film & Television program. In 2018, he returned as a faculty lecturer at the university. An award-winning producer and director, Dickman’s recent credits include the public service campaign This is Human Trafficking (Director, 2021, Heartland Emmy Award), Silent Rose (streaming now on Topic), Casting Jon Benet (Co-Producer, 2017, Sundance), Speaking is Difficult (Cinematographer, 2016, Sundance), Rolling Papers (Line Producer, 2015, SXSW), Being Level (Line Producer, 2015, Sundance), and Hanna Ranch (Producer/Director, 2014, New York Times Critics Pick). He also serves as the board chair of Cine Fe, a creative filmmaking incubator, and Warm Cookies of the Revolution, a nonprofit social advocacy group, and he sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Arts and Media. Dickman was named by Variety in their ”Top 10 Documakers to Watch” and has received a CU Denver Alumni Achievement Award.  

Students with an interest are encouraged to learn more about film and television opportunities at CU Denver.


Contact us to learn more about how much programs cost, how to apply, and when you can start any of CU Denver’s film and television programs.