Mission & Values

In 1989, the Florida State Legislature created the College of Motion Picture Arts to educate students for careers in the motion picture industry. Within this umbrella mission, the College has further defined its unique educational values to fortify the education of its students in a manner that will allow for a natural integration into the film industry. The key points to these educational values are:

Craft as a path to art

For an artist to truly evolve, they must have a firm understanding of craft. From its inception, the film industry was built on an apprenticeship system and still very much works this way today. The College believes that by beginning with the fundamentals in every area of production and building to the higher forms of expression, every student will become a complete filmmaker, no matter the final career path they choose in the industry.

Practicum learning

Hands-on work is essential to real learning, especially in a practical art such as filmmaking. Students must make films in order to learn filmmaking. Coupled with traditional coursework and workshops, the College employs a series of practicum classes that emulate the way movies are made. This, combined with faculty review and evaluation, allows students to be introduced to concepts, apply those concepts, and then critique the strengths and weakness of the outcomes.

Peer teaching and learning

Practicum coursework typically involves students collaborating together in production settings. We believe that this is a valuable asset to students’ education and, to help facilitate it, the College employs a series of required, collaborative assignments that foster peer-to-peer learning. All students are expected to follow a Professional Code of Conduct and, through self-assessments and peer-assessments, students evaluate their own and each other’s professionalism.

History and theory

Great artists know what has come before and why it worked. Just as knowledge is built concept-upon-concept to attain wisdom, so does the lasting voice of an artist depend upon knowing the history of the medium and the conceptual theory behind its long-lasting reach. The College offers unique courses in history and theory, as well as integrated history and theory into each area of the practical production coursework.

Industry practices

The teaching and application of filmmaking techniques and theory are always taught with a direct relationship to the actual practices of the industry. It is not enough just to understand how to make a movie. Students need to understand how movies are made in the context of the industry, learning not only how films are manufactured, but also the details of union protocols and set operations. Students also need to know the business of the business: the development, financing, marketing, and distribution of films. Films are made for audiences, and to reach those audiences filmmakers need to understand how the business works.

Level playing field

As an essential component of the College mission, we strive to provide a level playing field for all student productions as related to the scope and equality of each student’s education. Each student is given equal access and opportunity to use resources and lab space, as well as access to the faculty. To ensure equality, the College institutes parameters such as shooting days, running time, budgets, and equipment allocation. These parameters are assigned to each level of production to ensure each student has an equal educational experience.


As a faculty, we teach, review and evaluate along the path of creating a motion picture. Faculty work alongside students throughout each step of the production process. This allows our faculty to truly evaluate the filmmaker as an artist, knowing very well the intent, struggle, and compromises that came to shape the final product. When the student screens their final film, it is the “premiere” and a cause for celebration!

Equipment Loss and Damage

Equal access to well-functioning equipment and facilities is a central tenet of the College’s level playing field philosophy and is critical to the delivery of the school’s curriculum. This page describes the procedures for when equipment gets lost or damaged, as well as students’ responsibilities for properly maintaining equipment and facilities in the the course of their work.

Fixing or modifying equipment

Attempting to repair, modify and/or “jerry rig” College equipment is strictly prohibited. Equipment will invariably be broken in the course of a production, and many times there is a strong urge to attempt to fix the equipment on site. Serious and dangerous situations can arise when equipment is modified. This policy is in place for the protection of all cast and crew members, as well as to protect the equipment and ensure for its future use. Violation of this policy will subject the student to restriction and possible loss of ER privileges.

Equipment loss and damage fee

In the course of normal use, equipment and facilities will inevitably be damaged or get lost. To assist in the maintenance and replacement of equipment and facilities the College has enacted an Equipment Loss and Damage (ELD) Fee. This fee applies to ALL College equipment and facilities including, but not limited to, production equipment, post-production equipment, lab computers, classroom furnishings, and structural elements such as walls and ceilings. When discussing loss or damage it should be noted that the word “equipment” refers to all production and post-production equipment and all facilities and their contents.

This fee was created to accomplish the following goals:

  1. To ensure that the College always has a fund dedicated exclusively to repairing and replacing the equipment necessary for the education of our students. This fund will protect both current and future students.
  2. To ensure that each student maintains fiscal responsibility to the proper and safe use of the College’s equipment, while making sure that the student will not be overly harmed by the cost associated with replacing state-of-the-art equipment beyond the student’s fiscal capability.
  3. To create an account that can carry forward unspent funds, thereby eventually creating a pool of funds capable of replacing high-end, expensive equipment.

This fund is not only for current students using the equipment, but also for the protection of the equipment for use by students from year to year. Every student enrolled in the College will pay the ELD fee each semester of enrollment, regardless of whether they are currently using the equipment or facilities. This does include students who are completing an internship in another state, or those students only enrolled in 1 credit hour a semester.

The ELD fund works exactly like an insurance policy. Every student pays into the fund each semester they are listed as a film major. Any time a student loses or damages a piece of equipment he or she will be responsible for paying a deductible of up to $500.00. Any cost to replace or repair the equipment beyond the $500.00 will be covered by the ELD fund. This deductible is applied to each individual piece of equipment.

For example, a student drops a lens and also breaks a filter on the lens. The cost to repair the lens is $1200.00 and the cost to replace the filter is $150.00. The student will owe the College $650.00. The filter is below the deductible therefore the student will owe the entire $150.00. The cost to repair for the lens is above the deductible so the student will be responsible for the first $500.00 and the ELD fund will cover the remaining $700.00. Thus, $150.00 for the filter plus $500.00 for the lens equals a total of $650.00.

If multiple students are held responsible for the loss or damage of equipment, then the cost to repair or replace will be determined for each piece of equipment and the final cost to the students will be split between all responsible parties for each piece of lost or damaged gear.

Once the fee is paid to the university and deposited into the College budget, the Dean determines the allocation of those funds. Funds not spent at the end of each semester are not refundable.

The ELD fund only covers the incidental and accidental loss or damage of equipment. Any act of gross negligence or willful destruction that results in loss or damage to equipment or facilities will not be covered by the ELD policies and the student(s) responsible will be held solely liable for the entire cost of replacement or repair, and may also be placed on probation or dismissed from the program.

Payment for lost or damaged equipment

At the end of each production cycle, all responsible parties will be identified and assessed charges for any lost or damaged gear. This process is done as close to the industry standard as possible. A Loss/Damage Report will be generated for each production and delivered to the Producer. In addition, an invoice for all missing and damaged equipment from that specific show will be generated and delivered to the Producer and the responsible party/parties.

Payment will be required in a timely fashion and a receipt will be given. All checks are to be made payable to Florida State University and delivered to the Equipment Room Manager. A payment plan option or other contingency payment options may be available and must be arranged with the Equipment Room Manager. Failure to pay for any lost and/or damaged equipment may result in probation or dismissal from the program.

Normal wear-and-tear

It is understood that, during use, equipment may become damaged in minor ways. This is viewed as normal wear-and-tear. Therefore, students will not be responsible for the cost to repair damage that is classified as normal wear and tear. The Equipment Room Manager will be responsible for classifying the damage as normal wear-and-tear, lost, or damaged.