Policies

Attendance and Punctuality

Filmmaking is a profession where punctuality is of the utmost importance. Showing up to work five minutes late could cost a production thousands of dollars — and will often cost a tardy employee their job. We therefore take it very seriously at the film school, to better prepare you for the real world and to foster the professional work ethic that’s a signature of FSUFILM graduates.

College attendance policy

Attendance is mandatory. Roll will be taken at the start of each class and, during principal photography on film productions, students will be required to clock in and out at the start and end of the work day.

Each late appearance will result in the loss of third a letter grade from the student’s final grade for the course (A becomes A-, B+ becomes B, etc.). Failing to attend class, or arriving more than 30 minutes late, will be counted as an absence. Unexcused absences will result in the loss of a full letter grade from the student’s final grade (A becomes B, B becomes C, etc.). 

Excused absences

Missing class is acceptable only if permission to miss class is approved by the instructor prior to the absence or if the excused absence is covered by the University Attendance Policy, which includes documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, calls to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Special consideration will also be given to students who have dependent children or serve as caregivers.

Students are responsible for making up all work that is missed due to absence, and for contacting the professor to determine appropriate make-up assignments or activities. Failure to do this will result in the absence being considered as unexcused.

Outside Activities

Employment, clubs, and non-film school courses

In order to be able to maintain the organic schedule required for our classes and productions, students enrolling in the College must be willing to make a 24/7 commitment to the program.

This does not mean that students cannot engage in activities outside of the film school — such as holding a job, joining a club, or taking a non-film course — but it means that film school activities need to take priority.

An outside activity that requires a student to be somewhere else on a set schedule (e.g., a job with fixed hours or a non-film course with regular meeting times each week) will typically not be approved, because conflicts with the film school schedule will inevitably occur.

An outside activity with a flexible schedule (e.g., a job where you set your own hours or an asynchronous online class) is less likely to be a problem, so long as the student can demonstrate that they will be able to successfully manage both their film school work and the outside activity.

If you’re unsure about whether or not an outside activity would be feasible, please contact the Associate Dean for advice.

Weddings, anniversaries, and family gatherings

It is inevitable that your friends will get married and your family will have anniversaries or other gatherings during your enrollment in the College. We understand the importance of family and your desire to attend. Whenever possible and with sufficient notice, the administration will try to adjust the schedule to accommodate the most important of these events. The earlier you can inform your instructors and the Associate Dean, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to make it work. Sometimes, however, it simply is not possible, and you will have to apologize to your loved ones and miss the event. We try very hard to work with you, but it is a condition of enrollment that you attend required events regardless of outside occurrences.

Holidays and religious holy days

Film production in general does not stop to celebrate anything except its own wrap and premiere. Likewise, the College may require work through many traditional holidays. Generally both the BFA and MFA programs honor the University breaks between semesters, but there are sometimes exceptions to these as well. You can always check with the Associate Dean before making plans to make sure you will not miss anything.

The College honors the observance of religious holy days. In accordance with Florida State University policy, students must notify their instructor and the Associate Dean as soon as possible at the start of the semester, but not later than two weeks before the religious holy day observance, to be excused from class to observe a religious holy day of their faith. If the student fails to submit the necessary notification in the time specified, the College may be unable to make any accommodations.

Student Representative Bylaws

The mission of student representation is to provide clear lines of communication between the administration and the students on all relevant aspects of College business, in an effort to strengthen transparency, clarity, and excellence within the College.

General duties of class representatives

  1. Organize semester class rep elections.
  2. Hold monthly meetings with their class to address class concerns and create an Executive Committee meeting agenda.
  3. Attend monthly Executive Committee (EC) meetings and report results.
  4. Assist the administration with special tasks such as, but not limited to:
    • Crewing meetings
    • Tracking sessions
    • Organization of class committees
    • Graduation ceremonies
    • CMPA Special Events
    • SPARK Campaigns
    • General communication from Admin to students

Electing class representatives

Each class will elect a peer from each track of their class to act as their representatives to the administration. The first election for a new, incoming class will be held by the student reps of the class above and will be completed no later than two weeks into the first semester.

Each class will determine their own election process, but any meeting where the vote shall take place must have a quorum of 2/3 of the class present, and any vote taken must pass with a minimum 2/3 majority of that quorum to be considered valid.

Each subsequent semester the class reps will hold a new election within the first two weeks of the semester to either elect new reps or to re-elect old reps. This must be confirmed by 2/3 majority of the class. Each class rep will place the election results on the agenda of the next EC meeting agenda.

Monthly class meeting

In preparation for the EC meeting, student reps will hold monthly meetings with their cohort to discuss issues and create an agenda. These meetings may be held electronically or in person, but they must be held in such a manner that full participation of the class is guaranteed.

Issues to be brought before the EC committee should have no less than 2/3 majority support from the class. Each item which receives 2/3 majority support will be presented at the EC. At the same time the minority opinion shall also be presented.

Individual issues or concerns should be brought forward to the Dean through individual meetings or correspondence by the concerned individual.

Once the agenda has been created it must be sent electronically to the Chief of Staff no later than 6:00pm the Friday prior to the Monday EC meeting.

Executive Committee (EC)

The Dean’s Executive Committee meets once a month to deal with the larger administrative issues of the College. The meeting will be held on the first Monday of each month from 9:00am to 10:30am, starting on the second month of each semester.

The Executive Committee is comprised of:

  • The Dean
  • The Associate Dean
  • The Assistant Dean
  • The Chief of Staff
  • The Development Officer
  • Student Representatives

The student representatives will attend the first part of the EC meeting starting at 9:00am. After student concerns have been heard, the class reps will be dismissed from the meeting to go prepare their monthly report to their student body.

Reporting EC agenda results to the class

Following the completion of the EC meeting, all class reps will meet to compose a report to the whole student body which lists the agenda items of each class and the results of the discussion of those items. This report will be sent to the Dean for review. Once the report is approved, the student reps may post the report to their respective class Slack channels by the end of the day.

Other duties

The College administration will often want the students to have input on the way student-related business is handled. In many of these cases, the student reps will act as the liaisons for the administration in organizing and running such business. Student reps will be given clear instructions on the parameters within which the business must be handled. The reps will the organize the class and oversee the process. In these meetings, the student reps act on behalf of the administration and their instructions and leadership must be followed.

An example would be crewing and crew grids: The Head of Production (HOP) will give the crew grid and crewing parameters to the student reps. A time for crewing will be placed on the schedule. The student reps will explain the parameters and administer the crewing process according to administrative instruction and their own judgment. The reps will be responsible for handling all issues and for delivering a completed grid to the HOP for final approval. If there are mistakes in the grid or revisions are needed, the HOP may send the grid back to the reps for revision. After the HOP approves the crew grid, the administration will release the grid to students.

Grievances

If a student or students have concerns with their representation or believe they are not being represented in good faith, they may file a grievance with the administration in writing. The grievance must outline clear infractions and, for any meaningful action to be taken, the student(s) filing the complaint must be willing to take responsibility for the complaint. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled with the student(s) to attempt to resolve the matter.

Professional Code of Conduct

Professionalism is a code of ethical behavior which allows individuals to work together in diverse groups, to think critically about complex problems, and to take effective action to achieve a common goal. Below are key aspects of behavior required of a successful professional.

Collaboration

Behaving collaboratively is demonstrated by an individual’s ability to consistently and honestly balance proactive, courteous, reliable, punctual, and safe interactions with those of other individuals inside and outside of any team toward the completion of any project.

Proactivity

Behaving proactively requires that an individual listen attentively, anticipate challenges, and work positively at all times. All individuals are expected to give 100 percent of their effort in understanding, executing, and completing any tasks necessary for the successful completion of the project.

Civility

Behaving with civility requires that each individual treat others with an attitude of respect, generosity, and openness, regardless of another’s abilities, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status, age, ability, religious or political beliefs, or other differences. This includes but is not limited to, respecting others’ professional and physical boundaries, refraining from sexual advances or innuendos, use of offensive or derogatory language, and any inflammatory remarks unnecessary to accomplishing the work at hand.

Reliability

Behaving reliably requires effective communication, organization, and delivery of information. Teams require consistent communication and expedient execution in order to perform their own roles effectively. The ability of team members to rely on each other to complete their tasks determines the outcome of the project.

Punctuality

Behaving with punctuality is an essential quality of all working professionals. The necessity of each individual to be present, punctual, and prepared directly affects the ability of others to do their jobs effectively.

Safety

Behaving safely when coordinating complex tasks, operating equipment, and working with trained and untrained individuals is critical to a positive working environment. Individuals will be expected to perform their tasks with the utmost concern for the safety of themselves and others around them.

Probation & Dismissal

If a student’s academic or professional performance falls below minimum expectations, the faculty may issue a warning, place the student on probation with a remediation plan, or recommend dismissal from the program. Film majors must also adhere to the University Academic Honor System, Student Conduct Code, and Summons to Responsible Freedom which can be found online in the FSU General Bulletin.

Academic probation

Once students are accepted into the major, they must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. This includes first-year liberal studies courses for undergraduate students. If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, the student will be placed one semester of academic probation. Students will be reinstated in good standing if the cumulative GPA rises to 3.0 by the end of the probationary semester. Failure to raise the GPA to 3.0 will result in dismissal from the program.

Unprofessional conduct

Successful collaboration is of such importance to the College community and the artistic life of any filmmaker that failure to develop professional working skills can result in disciplinary action. This is based on the observed professional behaviors of the student, and not on the GPA or artistic strengths of the student, as it is not uncommon to have a very talented student who simply cannot work well with others. The College considers professionalism a key aspect to a filmmaker’s success and integrity and believes that talent without grace is not a quality the school wants from its graduates.

Throughout each semester, the faculty assesses how well each student performs in each area of the College’s Professional Code of Conduct — collaboration, proactivity, civility, reliability, punctuality, and safety. If a concern about student’s professional conduct emerges, a faculty member will meet with the student to present the concern and hear the student’s point-of-view. The faculty member will then provide a report from the meeting to the rest of the instructors who are working with the student that semester. That group of instructors will then make a determination about an appropriate course of action, which may include:

All Clear
Verbal Warning
No further action, if there’s no cause for concern
Remediation Plan
Recommendation for Dismissal


Behavior so negative, disruptive, or destructive as to compromise the work of fellow students or the effectiveness of the faculty and/or inability to work positively in a collaborative environment shall constitute grounds for probation or immediate dismissal without any prior period of probation. Peer evaluations may be considered in this evaluation process.

A student on probation will be reinstated in good standing if, in the judgment of the faculty and administration, the professionalism problems have been corrected in accordance with the student’s remediation plan. A student’s failure to comply with the remediation plan will result in dismissal from the program.

Appeal process for students

A student placed on probation or dismissed from the College by the faculty for reasons other than the student’s failure to maintain the minimum required GPA may appeal the faculty’s decision to the Dean. The student’s appeal must be submitted in writing to the Dean within 30 days from the date on which the student was placed on probation or dismissed.

The appeal process occurs as follows:

  1. For students placed on probation, the Dean will review all materials related to the faculty’s decision, interview faculty, interview the student, and then decide to either uphold the faculty’s decision or request that the faculty reconsider.
  2. If the Dean upholds the faculty’s decision to place a student on probation, then the student has no further recourse.
  3. For students dismissed from the College, the Dean will review all materials related to the faculty’s decision, interview faculty, interview the student, and either uphold the faculty’s decision or request that the faculty reconsider its decision.
  4. If the Dean upholds the faculty’s decision to dismiss a student, then the student may appeal to the Provost. In such case, the Provost’s decision is final.
  5. If the Dean requests that the faculty reconsider their decision to dismiss a student, and the faculty chooses to maintain their position, then the student may appeal to the Provost. In such case, the Provost’s decision is final.

Ownership of Student Films

Because the College pays for each student’s production, the State of Florida retains the copyright to all student work. The following is the Florida State University regulation governing the ownership of student work.

Copyright and Chain of Title

Florida State University will maintain Chain of Title for all films and screenplays created by College students during their time in the College; this includes any work created while enrolled in any course at the College.

  • Original screenplays written for production – any screenplay, treatment, outline, or synopsis written to be produced at the College is owned by the College regardless of whether the story is produced or not. Stories developed for production, but not produced, become part of the College’s archive, and may or may not be produced at a future time at the discretion of the College. If these stories are ever produced, the original writer will receive a “story by” credit in the finished work.
  • Co-writers – in most cases the College requires that the student be the sole author of their work at the College. In some exceptions, the faculty will allow students to collaborate with other students as co-writers. Any co-writer must be approved by the administration (the appropriate faculty member and the Associate Dean) prior to any drafts being written. In some cases, the College may allow for collaboration with FSU students from other departments and in rare cases, with non-FSU students. Any approved co-writer that is not an FSU film student is considered work-for-hire and must sign an agreement giving the College all copyright in perpetuity. Failure to get approval or delivery of the necessary agreements can result in the student being dismissed for unethical conduct.
  • Adaptations –adaptations may be considered if the student is able to acquire the motion picture rights in all markets and in perpetuity, and to have those rights assigned to the College prior to the beginning of any writing class for which the screenplay is a requirement. Regardless, the proper clearance must be reviewed and approved by the Associate Dean.

The only exceptions to ownership by FSU are anything written by College students that were written as stand-alone works, not to be produced by the College. This can include stand-alone feature screenplays, teleplays, and stage plays, which are all owned by the writer.

FSU College of Motion Picture Arts Ownership Policy

As established by Florida State University Regulation 6C2R-6.0091 in the year of 1991, The Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts owns all interests to which students may be entitled in any student production, including federal and state copyright interests. To wit:

6C2R-6.0091
Ownership of Student-Produced Films: College of Motion Picture Arts

  1. Purpose and Intent: This rule establishes policy governing:
    1. The ultimate disposition of the student films;
    2. Promotion of the collective work of the College of Motion Picture Arts (the “Film School”);
    3. Protection of the reputation of the College. It is also intended to recognize the equity and interest of the individual students involved in their use of these films as portfolio pieces in the advancement of their careers; and
    4. Graduate and Undergraduate programs.
  2. Ownership of student productions:
    1. Upon admission to the College or prior to the commencement of workshop exercises and filming, the University shall require all students to sign an acknowledgement of university ownership of all student productions. Each student enrolling in the College, thereby agrees to be governed by this rule and accepts all terms and conditions set out herein.
    2. The acknowledgement shall contain substantially the following wording: “In consideration of admission to the College of Motion Picture Arts and other good and valuable consideration, I hereby acknowledge that the College is the owner of all interests to which I may be entitled in any student production, including federal and state copyright interests. I hereby further agree to be governed by all terms and conditions of the College as contained in Rule 6C2-6.0091, F.A.C.”
  3. Screenplays:
    1. Screenplays that are generated as “stand alone” products by students are the student’s individual property. They may be copyrighted in the student’s name and exploited commercially in whatever way the student wishes. However, the student will be responsible for all costs and liability associated with whatever use he or she makes of any student production.
    2. Screenplays that are submitted by the student for production either as exercises or as thesis films become the property of the university, if accepted, and if incorporated into such a film. The use of such a completed film, its screenplay and its other parts is governed by the policies set forth elsewhere in this rule.
  4. General Film and Video Works:
    1. This rule applies to student film and video products, regardless of state of completion.
    2. The Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts retains all rights to all student films and videos produced. In particular, the University is vested with exclusive rights and ownership to the copyright of all student works and with exclusive rights to exhibit, distribute and duplicate these films and videos and to enter into distribution or broadcast licensing arrangements, whether commercially or non-commercially.
    3. Subject to the conditions contained herein, the College will allow students to purchase prints of particular film and video productions on which they worked, the use of which is restricted exclusively to their inclusion in the students’ career portfolios. These prints and tapes shall not be exhibited, broadcast, distributed or duplicated in any fashion without explicit written permission from the Office of the Dean of the FSU College of Motion Picture Arts.
    4. The availability of such portfolio prints for purchase is always subject to approval by the College. If, for example, the College’s faculty considers a particular student film too elementary or too poorly executed to represent properly in public the typical level of student achievement at the College, it may decline to make it available to the student filmmakers involved. In this regard, the College attempts to protect the reputation of both current and future students.
    5. Students who are allowed to purchase prints of their films and videos will agree to assume full responsibility and all liability for any screening of those films for potential employers and others outside Florida State property.
      1. In the event any net revenues are derived from the commercial or non-commercial exhibition, distribution, broadcast or duplication of any particular student film or video, the principal student film or video makers involved in its production shall receive a royalty, the nature of which will be determined by the Dean or his designee or designees in consultation with the Office of the University Attorney. The payment of royalty to any student shall reflect general university royalty policies, as set out in the BOR/UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, 1988- 1991, Article 18; The Florida State University Faculty Handbook, Section 7; and Rule 6C2- 6.009, F.A.C., which are incorporated by reference.
      2. The principal film or video makers involved in the production of a film or video are the writer, the director (or writer/director), the producer/production manager, the cinematographer, the editor and the audio supervisor. Should a student musical director/composer and/or art director function on the production, they also will be considered part of the team of principal film and video makers.
    6. Any student films that are not completed within the deadlines that are set are also the permanent and exclusive property of the College.
  5. Licenses, Contracts, Clearances, Waivers and Other Legal Agreements:
    1. The incorporation of certain elements into a student film, especially music, but also animation, art work, derivative story properties, and the use of certain types of real public or private property, may involve property that is protected by a variety of laws, including statutory copyright and common law. Students are responsible for securing appropriate legal releases for the use of such property and films; recognizing that releases may contain or be subject to constraints by law regarding their use. The faculty of the Film School will take such matters into consideration in deciding whether or not to make student film exercises and thesis films available for exhibition outside the university.
    2. The College will totally restrict the distribution of a student product when the appropriate releases have not been obtained for all materials used in the work.
  6. Film Festivals and Competitions:
    1. The College reserves the exclusive right to enter its student films and tapes in festivals and competitions, whether regional, national or international. If students request, the College may also agree to enter student “stand alone” scripts in competitions. Alternatively, students may enter their own scripts.
    2. Any financial prizes for “stand alone” scripts done by students will go directly to the individual student(s) who wrote the script.
    3. Any financial prizes won by student films or tapes made at the College will be placed in a student development fund, the revenues of which will be used to support student productions, scholarships or other student benefits.
    4. Any certificates or statuettes of award received by student films will be displayed at the appropriate facilities in Tallahassee.
  7. General Procedures:
    1. The College will retain the motion picture negatives and/or video master tapes of all student films made as part of its programs. These will be used as needed to make prints or printing masters for either students or the College.
    2. Each of the College’s completed productions will bear a copyright notice in the name of The Florida State University. At the time of its release, broadcast, exhibition or duplication the copyright will be registered with the Copyright Office by the College.
    3. Completed College student productions will bear full credit titles in the position and order prescribed by the College. Any College of Motion Picture Arts student productions that are released or exhibited will bear the FSU and College logo and name as the producing studio.

Specific Authority 240.227(1) FS. Law Implemented 240.229, 240.241 FS. History–New 5-27-91.

The Schedule

The College of Motion Picture Arts is a conservatory. Its unique educational structure is based on the comprehensive process of production. Each level of the student’s education has a development phase, a pre-production phase, a production phase, and a post-production phase. Classes are organized, scheduled and structured to compliment the natural process of making a film.

To accommodate the 200+ films produced in any given year, the College operates on a very structured schedule. This rigid structure exists to provide each student and each faculty member sufficient time and resources for their class and production needs. This is essential to our value of the level playing field.

This schedule, while complicated, is also very organic. It may change with little notice to accommodate any number of “X” factors that arise during the semester. Changes in the schedule range from class changes to accommodate a special workshop to mundane room changes.

Students are also required to complete a number of tasks that fall outside the realm of the published weekly College schedule, such as homework, small group meetings, location scouts, and production meetings, etc. These outside requirements are also organic and specific to the needs of each individual class and production, and quite often happen during the evening and on weekends. It is also not unusual for the administration to call impromptu meetings to discuss issues, schedule changes, or unexpected opportunities.

Students enrolling in the College, therefore, must be willing to make a 24/7 commitment to the program.

The weekly schedule

The weekly schedule is the key instrument for holding the classes and other schedules together. The weekly schedule is created by the Associate Dean, approved by the faculty, and updated and distributed by the Assistant Dean.

A PDF of the weekly schedule for the upcoming week is posted to the #schedule channel on Slack each Friday. Revisions to the schedule are then posted to Slack as needed. All efforts are made to ensure changes are made in a timely manner, but sometimes that isn’t possible. In those instances, the student is always responsible for being aware of any schedule revision. For this reason, students are expected to turn on notifications for the #schedule channel in Slack, so that they are alerted of all schedule changes.

The College also provides calendar subscription links for the convenience of students, so that they can view track-specific schedules in their own calendar app. Since calendar subscriptions are not immune from technical problems, students using this feature are still responsible for remaining attentive to the revisions that are posted to Slack. Syncing errors with a personal calendar app are not an acceptable excuse for missing class.

Tracks and sub-tracks

Both BFA and MFA students are divided into smaller groups within their class. These groups are referred to as tracks or sub-tracks. Classes meet either in separate tracks or in combined tracks depending upon the needs of the course. The administration will track students at the beginning of their time in the program, and as students move throughout the curriculum, they will begin to track themselves.

Crew grids

For each production cycle, crew grids are created by the Associate Dean, approved by the faculty, and updated and distributed by the Head of Production. The crew grids plot out crew positions and production dates for the cycle and are designed to provide equal access to time and resources for each student, in accordance with the College’s level playing field philosophy. Due to evolving changes in curriculum, equipment, or the number of students in a given cohort, the crew grid for a specific production cycle is subject to change from year-to-year.

Emergencies

It is inevitable that emergencies will arise and the College administration will work with the student to accommodate such events to the degree that is does not impact the student’s ability to recover or make up the missed work. In these instances the student is required to contact the Office of the Associate Dean immediately to communicate the nature of the emergency and to ensure the College has the necessary information. During their absence, the student is required to stay in touch and work with the administration on any necessary details that would affect the student’s required schoolwork. Maintaining a good line of communication during such emergencies is essential, and failing to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Crewing

As a required part of the College curriculum, each student will perform a variety of on-set and off-set crew positions. It is the primary mission of the College to provide a level playing field for all students, so that they have an opportunity to perform a variety of crew positions for the purpose of their education. Students performing these crew positions are doing so for the primary purpose of their education, with a secondary purpose to provide support for production.

Students are required — and have the right — to perform each of these jobs regardless of their actual or perceived skill level.

Only students enrolled in the College of Motion Picture Arts may hold a faculty-assigned crew position. At no time may a non-member of the College perform, supervise, or take over any faculty-assigned crew position.

Any student who takes over another student’s job, who switches jobs without prior approval of the Head of Production (HOP), who refuses to work on assigned responsibilities, or who refuses another student the right to perform their assigned job will be in violation of FSU’s Academic Honor Policy and the College’s Professional Code of Conduct and may be placed on immediate probation or dismissed from the program without advance notice.

Evaluation of student performance for the purpose of grades or disciplinary action is the sole right and function of the College faculty and staff.

Crew grids

For each production cycle, crew grids are created by the Associate Dean, approved by the faculty, and updated and distributed by the Head of Production. The crew grids plot out crew positions and production dates for the cycle and are designed to provide equal access to time and resources for each student, in accordance with the College’s level playing field philosophy.

The crew grid for a specific production cycle is subject to change from year-to-year, due to changes that inevitably occur in curriculum, equipment, or the number of students in a given cohort.

Crewing process

The HOP will give the crew grid and crewing parameters to a cohort’s student reps and a time for crewing will be placed on the schedule.

The student reps will explain the parameters and administer the crewing process according to the HOP’s instructions and their own judgment. The reps will be responsible for handling all issues and for delivering a completed grid to the HOP for final approval. If there are mistakes in the grid or revisions are needed, the HOP may send the grid back to the reps for revision. 

After the HOP approves the crew grid, the administration will release the grid to students. If subsequent changes are then made to the grid, the administration will release colored revisions to students.

Level Playing Field

In order to provide a level playing field with equal access to school resources, all major film projects are tightly scheduled. This allows each show within a particular level of production to have the same number of crew members and production days, as well as equal access to all of the equipment and production facilities needed to bring a film to completion.

Additionally, the school pays for all the baseline expenses needed to make a movie, including expendables (such as batteries, tape, gels, and fuel for trucks) and a catering budget for all major live-action productions (since each crew needs to be fed!). On advanced-level projects, the school also provides supplemental budgets to assist with additional expenses related to such things as production design, actor-travel, and music rights.

To maintain this level playing field, students may not alter the assigned parameters of any production. Each student must make their film within the pre-determined constraints of their production. Any student who violates this essential level playing field will be subject to review and possible probation or dismissal from the College without a prior period of probation, in addition to the termination of the project.

Use of outside resources

It is understood that under certain circumstances, a production may require further resources. When this is necessary, the student, under the Associate Dean’s supervision, may supplement catering, production design, or actor-travel with additional funds. This is permitted so long as it does not exceed the project-level limits as determined by the College.

Students may seek donations of goods and services as a supplement to their budgets. To do so, any donations must be backed with a letter confirming the source of the donations and must be submitted to the production supervisor. Students may not seek donations of items, expendables or equipment provided by the College or any donations that compromise the level playing field concept within the College.

For BFA and MFA thesis projects, students are permitted to run a friends-and-family fundraising campaign as a supplement to their budgets. Each fundraising campaign is a collective enterprise and the money raised is divided equally among all students in the cohort, so as to maintain the level playing field concept. Individual fundraising campaigns are not permitted.

Our Approach to Classes

The manifestation of our values is in our unique approach to classes. Traditionally, students enroll in lecture courses and/or attend labs in practical workshops. The pre-production, production, and post-production of the film is considered “homework” – something that is assigned in class and is then executed on the students’ own time. At the end of the semester, the student “turns in” the film and the instructor evaluates the finished work.

Our College operates the opposite way. Based on our values in craft, hands-on experience, peer learning, and industry practices, we structure our curriculum around the process of producing a film. To this end, we have two types of classes:

Lecture classes

These are what you would think of as traditional lecture or lab classes, which take place in a classroom with the entire class and an instructor. Our lecture classes differ from traditional lecture classes, however, in that they are designed to be integrated into the College’s larger mission. Lecture classes do not always meet at the same time, same place every week, and often run as targeted modules for portions of a semester to better support student learning and the production of films. Faculty members also often collaborate across different lecture classes to sync up the learning experience for students and show the connections between the different craft areas of filmmaking.

Practicum classes

These are classes that fall outside the traditional lecture/lab model, and extend specifically to the process of creating a film. These include tech scouting, production meetings, crew drills, camera/lighting tests, principal photography, dailies screenings, picture and sound editing, visual effects, animation, or any other production activity that is required to create a film. In this approach, our film sets are our classrooms and they are equally as important as a traditional lecture class. The practicum classes are done in the field with students acting as crew and faculty supervising as mentors.