School of Communication

David E. Tolchinsky

Department of Radio/Television/Film

David E. Tolchinsky

Department Chair
Charles Deering McCormick Professor
Director, MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage
Co-Director, Program in Sound Design
1920 Campus Drive, Room 302
Evanston, IL 60208
Graduate Programs: Screen Cultures, Writing for the Screen and Stage

David Tolchinsky is a screenwriter (Sony Tristar’s Girl) with screenplay commissions from MGM, USA Networks, Disney, Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Pictures, Edward R. Pressman Film Corp, Addis-Wechsler/Industry Entertainment, and many other projects in development. Some of his work centers on teen subcultures such as heavy-metal fans, Florida surfer teens, teen groupies, and female football players, particularly in relation to social decay. He is also interested in horror, both psychological and physical. He has a secondary interest in sound design and has designed the sound for interactive computer environments and video installations which have been exhibited internationally. He is also particularly intrigued by the musical, cultural and spatial meanings of dialogue. Recently, Tolchinsky wrote a commissioned screenplay, co-produced Debra Tolchinsky's feature documentary, Fast Talk (, and completed a new low budget screenplay which is currently being packaged/shopped.


MFA Film/Video Production, USC School of Cinema-Television
BA Video/Performance Art, Yale (Scholar of the House)
Certificates Digital Audio Processing and Computer Music Composition, MIT’s Media Lab

Recent Publications

Lipscomb, Scott and Tolchinsky, David (September, 2005). The Role of Music Communication in Cinema in Miehl, MacDonald, Hargreaves, editors, Musical Communication. OUP.

Tolchinsky, Debra and Tolchinsky, Dave (June, 2004). Cicadas Could Mean Redemption. Newsday.

Tolchinsky, David (April, 2004). Violence in Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ is Well, Too Violent. Newsday.

Recent Awards and Honors

2009 Co-Curator, The Horror Show, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, New York City (, chosen as a "Voice Choice for Art" by The Village Voice
2008 Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence
2007 Clarence Simon Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring
2006 Nominee, New Media Fellowship, as part of the Rockefeller/Ford Foundation's Program for Media Artists
2003 Nominations, Motion Picture Sound Editors' Golden Reel Awards in the Special Venue Category
2002 Fellowship Award to the Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL., to participate in a three-week artist's residency directed by writer-actor Spalding Gray (Monster in a Box, Impossible Vacation, Swimming to Cambodia). One of 10 "mid-career writers" selected.


561 Foundations of Writing for the Screen+Stage
360 Writing the Horror Screenplay
360 Writing the Teen-Centered Screenplay
360 Writing the Comic Book Adaptation
360 Writing the Unraveling/Psychotic Screenplay
360 Writing at the Frontier
384 Foundations of Sound Design
350-2 Adaptation/Business of Creative Writing for the Media