Author: andrew

Information for Location Owners

If you are reading this, then most likely one of our students has asked you if they can use your home or place of business as a film set. We appreciate you taking the time to consider this request and sincerely hope you can help our students. We make nearly 200 films a year and without the generous support of people like yourself, we simply couldn’t do it.

Your gift to our students is important to us. We hold our students to the highest standards of professionalism, and stress the importance of working in a safe, courteous, and organized manner. We know how valuable your property is to you, and we understand that asking you to share it with us is a huge imposition. And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we understand that any concerns about allowing students into your home or place of business are elevated right now. The protection of you and your property is our number one priority, and the school has developed strict safety protocols to mitigate risks posed by the pandemic.


How many people will be here?

It takes many people to make a film. A typical student crew consists of 12-15 students, plus actors and a couple of extra volunteers. Be sure to ask how many students, actors, and volunteers will be involved.

What will they bring?

It takes a lot of equipment to make a movie; cameras, sound, lights, stands, sand bags, rigging gear, generators, cables, camera dollies, and more. Our students are trained to operate this equipment safely and securely. Be sure to ask where this equipment will be “staged” when not in use, where the main cables will be run, and where trucks and cars will be parked.

How long will they be here?

Our students work by union rules, which stipulate the number of hours they are able to work. A typical work day is 12 hours, plus one hour for lunch. However, the crew will begin arriving approximately a half-hour before work and usually take a half-hour at the end of the day to pack up and clean. Be sure to ask what time the crew will begin to arrive and what time the last person will leave. In addition, the students will typically need to come to the location to plan and decorate in the days leading up to the shoot.

COVID-19 protocols

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Film School is operating under a set of heightened safety protocols based on new industry guidelines and practices. These protocols include seven overarching principles:

  1. Preparation
  2. Scope management
  3. A “zone” system
  4. Health monitoring
  5. Physical distancing
  6. Face covering
  7. Sanitization

In preparation for each production day, students have a series of logistics meetings with their instructors to ensure that all safety concerns are being thought through. This includes a “tech scout” to determine a specific plan for the safe use of your location — such as how the location will be sanitized at the start and end of production, how the physical space will be organized into different zones to protect personnel, how the location will be secured to prevent outside people from wandering onto set, and how the crew and location owners will keep each other safe.

For the shooting day itself, the students are required to follow a detailed daily production protocol that outlines all the extra safety precautions they need to take throughout the day to mitigate the risks posed by the pandemic. By following these protocols, students will enter each shooting day with sense of mindfulness and caution, and with specific, well-organized safety procedures for the production.

Location agreements

If you choose to donate the use of your property, be sure that the following happens:

  1. The student gives you a copy of the script and answers any questions you may have.
  2. The student completes with you a Location Shooting Plan Agreement that states in written form exactly where they may work, where they may park their vehicles, what times they have access and any other terms which you may wish to stipulate.
  3. The student presents you with a Location Agreement to sign. This allows us to use the location and waives your liability should one of our students get hurt.

1st AD Protocol (Cheat Sheet)

This is a streamlined “cheat sheet” for seasoned 1st ADs. Twirl open any callout and the complete description of that step will be displayed. Please remember that all GREEN CALLS are made over the radio and are repeated by the 2nd AD, while all BLUE CALLS are made to on-set crew only and are not repeated by the 2nd AD.

Daily Protocol

Morning Meeting

We are having the morning meeting
  • Precisely at call time, the 1D gathers the crew by the trucks for the morning meeting. The 1D goes over the logistics of the day and addresses safety concerns.
  • COVID: Due to the congregation of all crew members, the morning meeting should ideally be performed outside. If the space does not permit all crew to congregate with physical distancing, the crew should be divided into smaller groups and the meeting should be repeated for each group.
Work safely, everyone
  • This concludes the morning meeting. 1D then gathers DR, DP, SS, 2C, and goes to set.


Clear the set for blocking
  • If DR is ready, the 1D asks 2D to escort the actors to set, so that DR and actors can work out the blocking. During this time, 1D manages crew staging, while periodically monitoring DR.
Are we ready to mark the blocking?
  • If DR is ready, 1D invites DP, SS, and 2C to set and oversees the determination of coverage.


Observe the crew working out the coverage
  • DR and DP watch the action that’s been worked out with the actors. Together they discuss any changes. 1D watches and checks that: DP watches the coverage through a viewfinder or lens; SS watches eyelines and notes coverage plan; 2C marks the actors’ stopped positions with colored tape.
  • COVID: Physical distancing must be maintained during the laying down of marks. Either the actors should step back while the 2C lays down the mark, or the actor should be provided tape to lay down their own mark.
Are we ready for the New Deal?
  • Only when the plan is agreed upon, 1D calls:


We have a New Deal
  • 1D confirms all department heads are present. DR shows the action.
  • COVID: If physical distancing is not possible due to space limitations, the New Deal should be repeated for smaller clusters of department heads.
Questions on the blocking?
  • DR fields queries, then shows/explains coverage.
Questions on the coverage?
  • DR fields questions on the plan. 1D facilitates, making sure every department is anticipating issues.
Is the plan good?




OK, let's build it. Thank you, First Team.
  • 2D escorts First Team (DR and actors) to base camp. 1D quietly gets a setup time estimate from the DP. (Note: No one else but 1D and DR need ask about time or guess how long things will take.) From this point on, 1D is quietly monitoring progress and updating department time estimates.
  • Ways of being helpful throughout this process include: “Let’s get the frame” … “Let’s get focus” … “Let’s get a boom line” … “Work quietly”
  • COVID: Crew must maintain physical distancing at all times, except for where a technical operation makes it impossible. Such moments should be kept to a bare minimum and undertaken with extreme caution. If the space does not permit crew members to maintain physical distancing, 1D must organize the staggering and rotation of different departments’ work. This is something that should have been identified during the tech scout, so a plan should already have been discussed for this in advance of the production day.
  • COVID: Camera placement should be more than six feet away from any actor. Any exceptions to this need to have been approved during Director’s Prep.
  • COVID: Set up video village in a location to minimize crowding around the monitor. Only two, physically distancing crew members may be at video village at one time, with priority given to DR and SS.
  • COVID: SM gives a sanitized wireless lav to each actor and instructs them how to secure the mic. If necessary, SM may secure the mic themselves, but the physical proximity should be kept to a minimum duration and an extra level of protection should be considered, such as a face-shield or a plexiglass divider.
Are we ready for camera rehearsal?



Camera Rehearsal

Camera rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 2D asks DR if they wish to be present. DR either comes to set or 2D informs 1D to proceed without DR. (If DR does not come to set, 1D calls “action” and “cut” instead.)
  • COVID: Do not use actors for the camera rehearsal, and keep minimal crew on set.
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
We are going for camera rehearsal...
  • Action is called. Technical team runs shot.
...That's a cut on camera rehearsal
How was that for camera?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
How was that for sound?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.



Camera ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready for rehearsal?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.




Essential personnel only, please.
  • COVID: The set is about to become a Zone A space, so 1D clears the set of all non-essential personnel.
First Team in, please
  • 2D brings DR and actors to set. Everything must be ready!
Everyone work quietly. First team is on set.
  • DR works with actors. (Note: Rehearsal moves directly into shooting. If any technical issue arise that cannot be solved immediately, 1D releases First Team until it is solved.)
  • COVID: Actors should ideally remain in masks during rehearsals. If masks need to be removed for any reason, consider deploying other protections, such as plexiglass barriers.
Rehearsal is up. Stand by.
  • 1D waits and confirms visually when DR is ready.
Quiet, please. We are going for rehearsal...
  • DR calls “action” and “cut.” This should be treated like it is a take by all set personnel. Make sure the set is locked up.
...That's a cut on rehearsal. Stand by.
  • While DR checks in with the actors, 1D checks in with camera and sound for feedback. 1D relays this information to DR, who chooses to rehearse again or proceed. Are we ready to shoot?
Are we ready to shoot?

Call: “We are going again. Stand by.”


Last Looks

Picture is up. Last looks.
Camera ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Sound ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.
Director ready?
  • Check, or confirm by non-verbal eye contact.



Going for picture

We are going for picture. Lock it up.
  • It’s GO time. Listen to ensure set is locked up. Be very sure EVERYONE is actually ready, especially DR and actors, before calling:
  • COVID: Slating should be at least six feet from any actors. If the lens or space does not allow for that, a pan over to the slate should be used instead.
  • COVID: Actors should remove their own masks. If the shot doesn’t permit them to keep the mask on their person, PD should provide a Ziploc bag with the actor’s name on it and PD should manage the Ziploc bags during takes.
  • COVID: If hair and makeup needs to make an adjustment due to the masks, this should occur swiftly.
  • COVID: If DR wants to go again quickly, and actors consent, masks can stay off between takes.
Roll sound...
  • If sound is being recorded on a dedicated field recorder, use Cadence for Dual-System Sound.
  • If sound is being recorded by the camera, use Cadence for Single-System Sound.
Cadence for dual-system sound

  • SM calls SPEED
  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

Cadence for single-system sound

  • 1C rolls camera and Camera Operator calls SPEED
  • 2C calls MARKER and clacks the sticks
  • Camera Operator calls FRAME
  • 1D calls MASKS OFF (actors remove masks)
  • DR calls ACTION, watches take, and calls CUT
  • 1D calls MASKS ON (actors replace masks)

That's a cut on picture. Stand by.
  • 1D checks in with camera and sound to see if the take was good or if a technical issue may require another take.
  • 1D relays this information to DR, and checks to see if the DR would like to go again or move on to the next set-up.
Ready to move on?



Moving on

Thank you, First Team
  • 2D escorts the actors (and DR if desired) off set and the crew comes in to execute the next set-up.
  • COVID: After the First Team has left the set, 1D allows crew to re-enter the space.
We are moving on to... (describe next set-up)
  • Move on to the next planned set-up as indicated previously during the New Deal. 1D restates shot as previously described.
  • Return to BUILDING IT and proceed until all scene coverage is complete.
  • When the scene is complete, return to WORKING OUT THE BLOCKING for next scene.
  • Continue this process for the rest of the day.
  • During the day, if the production falls behind schedule or if any problems arise, 1D should be proactive in conferring privately with DR and/or DP on how to solve the problems. This can be done quietly and discreetly on set or during breaks, such as lunch.
  • COVID: Departments should sanitize equipment throughout the day during free moments, especially anything to be handled by others in the department.

Important Time-Based Items

Start of Day

First shot is off at (state time)
  • Recording the time of the first shot of the day (and the first shot after lunch) is an important item that is reported to the studio on the DPR.


That's lunch
  • At exactly the 6-hour mark after first call time Lunch must be called. If the team has already rolled on a set-up you can go into “Grace,” which means work must then be completed within 12 minutes. You cannot shoot past this or you are in meal penalty.
  • During lunch, 1D talks to DR and the DP about the rest of the day’s work and participates in making any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule to help make the day.
  • COVID: Boxed lunches should be delivered to the team spaces for each department, so as to avoid having people congregating around a single lunch table.
  • COVID: Since masks need to be off for eating, extra precaution must be taken. Eating outside with maximum distance between people is recommended.
  • COVID: Staggering the start time for lunch for different departments is recommended, if the schedule permits. Staggering the start time for lunch is required if physical distancing is not possible at the location.
Ten Minutes
  • Ten minutes before the end of lunch the 1st AD announces this to everyone.
We're back
  • This call marks the official end of lunch. All crew is required to return to work. 1D should remind everyone what set-up is first up after lunch.
  • COVID: After lunch, PR makes sure that high-touch surfaces get a sanitizing wipe down and each department sanitizes heavily used items of equipment.

End of Day

This is the Abby Singer
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the second-to-last set up. (Be sure it actually is before announcing.) This is a morale boost as the day nears its end.
This is the martini
  • 1D alerts the crew that this is the last set up of the day. (BE SURE it actually is before announcing.) This is a bigger morale boost as the day nears its end.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(actor's name)
  • Crew applauds to thank the talent for the day’s work or for their work over multiple days on the whole picture.
That's a day (and/or picture) wrap for
(production name)
  • Crew celebrates a hard day’s work. “Picture Wrap” can be an emotional call after weeks of work on a feature.
Company Wrap
  • 1D talks to the DR and the DP about the next day’s work and any adjustments to the plan and/or schedule.
  • 1D signs off on the Daily Production Report (DPR), which is sent back to production by the 2D.
  • COVID: 1D makes sure that camera wrap happens no less than 60 minutes before company wrap, to allow sufficient time for loading out and cleaning the location.
  • COVID: Actors change out of wardrobe, preferably in a single-person occupancy changing room. PD places any wardrobe supplied by the production in a secure bag to be laundered if used again. If actors need to remove their masks, the changing room becomes a Zone A space.
  • COVID: Equipment should be reloaded back into the truck in a prescribed sequence. Only one crew member is permitted in the back of the truck at a time. Physical distancing must be observed at all times. Each department should clean equipment during wrap.
  • COVID: Doors Down Meeting should ideally be performed outside. If the space does not permit all crew to congregate with adequate physical distancing, the crew may divide up into departmental groups for separate, smaller doors down meetings.
  • COVID: 2D keeps access to location restricted until last crew member has left. The plan for sanitizing the location at company wrap must be completed before the 2D leaves the location.

Honors Thesis Mentor Award

This award is offered annually to recognize and honor faculty members whose direction and advisement of honors thesis research or creative activity has significantly contributed to the enhancement and quality of education of undergraduate students at Florida State University.

Students seeking to nominate their thesis director must submit an application along with a supporting letter of nomination.

Once a faculty member has been nominated, they will be notified and information will be requested by the selection committee such as a vita, list of courses taught over the past five years, graduate-level teaching evaluations, honors theses committee supervision, number of previous nominations for the Honors Thesis Mentor Award and other considerations (letters of support from department chair, academic deans, and other students).

Nominations for this award are due in to the Honors Program office no later than February 1st.

Kingsbury Undergraduate Writing Award

This award is offered annually to a student who demonstrated excellence in the writing of an undergraduate honors thesis. Students are nominated by a faculty member (traditionally a thesis director or member of the faculty committee for their project) and must submit a draft of their thesis to be considered for the award.

The quality of student writing is of central importance in this competition. Although form and style should be appropriate to subject matter and in accord with the norms of the writers’ home discipline, some criteria will operate across disciplines. Such criteria include, but are not limited to: originality, persuasiveness, accuracy, insightfulness, clarity, reasonableness, vividness, timeliness, etc.

Eligible Students must be currently enrolled full-time as an undergraduate at FSU in good standing who is currently enrolled in the Honors in the Major program or who has defended an Honors thesis.

Nominations for this award are due in to the Honors Program office no later than February 1st.

Bess H. Ward Honors Thesis Award

This award is offered each Fall and Spring semester, and can provide up to $750 to support research or creativity leading to an Honors Thesis that will be completed as part of the Honors in the Major program.

The awards can be used to cover expenses such as travel to perform research, books, basic supplies, or participant support for surveys. Any equipment or materials purchased with the award money become property of the student, although the student may elect to donate the equipment to a department or college upon completion of the thesis.

To be eligible for this award you must:

  • Have a minimum FSU GPA of 3.20
  • Be actively working on an Honors in the Major thesis

The deadline to apply for this award is typically in September for the Fall semester and in February for the Spring semester.

Approval Process for Distant Locations


Documentaries are permitted to shoot at distant locations within the contiguous United States. Permission to travel must be attained in advance from the Documentary development instructor.


BFA and MFA thesis films may also request permission to shoot at a distant location outside of the studio zone. Due to the added complexity of shooting thesis films at distant locations and the added wear-and-tear on school equipment, approval will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

Students will need to present a thorough case to faculty that addresses the following:

  1. Why this location is essential to the success of the film.
  2. A budget/plan for transporting, housing, and feeding the cast and crew for the duration of the distant shoot.
  3. A budget/plan for transporting, housing, and feeding a faculty member for the duration of the distant shoot.
  4. A budget/plan for transporting, parking, and securely managing school vehicles and equipment during the distant shoot.
  5. A back-up plan for if the camera or other mission-critical equipment go down.
  6. A schedule showing key deadlines for locking locations, securing accommodations, and any other critical plans. Permission for shooting at a distant location will be revoked if these deadlines are not hit, and the production will need to shoot locally.
  7. A schedule of travel days and drive times during the production week.
  8. A local back-up plan, in case permission is not granted and/or the distant location falls through.

The request to shoot at a distant location should be made as early as possible in the development/pre-production process, and no later than two weeks before the first day of production on the show. Approval must be received from the people:

  1. Director’s Prep Faculty
  2. Head of Set Operations (David Wiley)
  3. Head of Production (Tony Ciarlariello)
  4. Associate Dean (Andrew Syder)

Mix A Seating Assignments

COVID-19 Protocols


  • For all classes in Mix A during the Fall 2020 semester, there will be assigned seating in order to maintain six-feet distance between students.
  • Everyone should enter through the two second-floor doors at the back of the theater, being mindful of physical distancing as they enter.
  • There will be disinfecting supplies available at the entrance, so that everyone can wipe down any surfaces they might touch.
  • Then, at the end of class, everyone will exit through the left-hand door at the front of the theater.

University Center A

University Center Zones

For Fall 2020, the main film school facilities in University Center A have been divided up into zones for the first three floors of the building. The class schedule has also been designed to minimize the number of students occupying a specific zone in any given morning or afternoon, and students are requested to stay within their zone when they come into the building for in-person classes.

Entering and Exiting

To further assist with managing the flow of people through the building, non-FSUFILM people are being directed to enter from the front of the building and use the two main elevators to get to their floors. Film students are requested to not use those two elevators and to enter/exit the build through designated doors.

    Use the doors off of the loading dock
    Use the lobby entrance and take the stairs in the lobby straight up to the second floor. When leaving Mix A, exit through the lobby.
    Enter from the loading dock and take the service elevator to the third floor.
    Enter from the loading dock, take the service elevator to the third floor, then the stairs up to the fifth floor.

Weekend Projects

COVID-19 Protocols

Physical distancing

All cast and crew members must maintain a social distance of six feet from one another at all times, including actors during takes. The only exception to this will be if crew members must be closer than six feet apart for a specific technical operation. In such situations, the physical proximity should be kept to a minimum duration and an extra level of protection should be considered, such as a face-shield or a plexiglass divider.


Mask-wearing is required indoors at all times and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. This applies to all cast and crew. Even if you are working with your roommates and do not wear masks at home, the second you begin working on an FSUFILM project (such as a class exercise or weekend project) you are “at work” and required to follow all safety protocols. The only exception is that actors may remove their masks when they are on camera, during takes only.


You are permitted to film at locations outside of your home and beyond your property as long as you follow the requirements of the local health department and so long as there will be more than 20 people gathered. You also must get permission to film on any property other than your own. 

School Equipment

If school equipment is issued for a weekend exercise, you must clean it at check-out, following the cleaning protocols issued by the Equipment Room. Then you must clean it again when the equipment is returned (or prior to being handed off to another student).

School Facilities

There will be no usage of film school facilities for weekend exercises unless it is deemed essential and specifically authorized by the Dean.

Green Light from Instructor

Prior to filming any class exercises, weekend projects or productions, students must present a safety plan to their faculty member demonstrating that the shoot follows the policies above.  

Writing Parameters

COVID-19 Protocols

To help with mitigating risk, students will be provided with specific writing parameters that are appropriate to the level of production, including in some cases a reduced page count and limits on quantities of characters and locations. Due to students on earlier projects having less on-set experience and less time for preparing each show, introductory-level films will have stricter writing parameters than advanced-level films.

F1 Parameters

  • Three pages
  • One location, written for a specific location
  • Two characters, written for specific actors
  • No actions that require actors to be closer than six feet
  • No actions that might typically require an intimacy coordinator, such as nudity or physically sexual situations
  • No children
  • No animals
  • No weapons

D1 Parameters

  • Two pages
  • One scene
  • One location, written for a specific location
  • Two characters, written for specific actors
  • No actions that require actors to be closer than six feet
  • No actions that might typically require an intimacy coordinator, such as nudity or physically sexual situations
  • No children
  • No animals
  • No weapons

F3, BTH, D2, MTH Parameters

  • No additional writing parameters
  • Students, however, should be mindful of the practical limitations of production when writing: e.g., only being able to shoot at one location each production day.