The School of Filmmaking trains talented students for professional careers in the film and television industries. The program stresses the collaborative nature of filmmaking in a rigorous conservatory atmosphere. The School of Filmmaking's goal is to produce the "complete" filmmaker – a storyteller of unusual vision who knows how to use and value the components of the filmmaking arts.
The MFA program in Film Music Composition at the School of Filmmaking offers a unique opportunity for the nascent film composer to fully collaborate in a working production and postproduction environment with student filmmakers. Student composers will have the opportunity to score numerous student productions over the course of the two-year program, while honing their musical and compositional skills. Film Music Composition students will take courses specifically designed to equip the composer with a variety of skills. These will include digital and analog recording, orchestrating, conducting, the film music business, scoring for feature film, television and new media, and collaborating with directors, producers, editors and musicians.
Most importantly, this Master of Fine Arts program will afford student composers more films to score than any comparable program in the world: potentially, each student could end up scoring more than 20 short films in each year of this two-year program. Students score films of a variety of styles (narrative fiction, animation, documentary and experimental) and of various lengths and formats (as short as five minutes and as long as 20 minutes, on both digital video and 16mm film).
The depth and intensity of the training, along with the curricular diversity offered by a specialized faculty, provide the variety of experience necessary to function successfully within the highly competitive world of film music composition.
Students may pursue either the Bachelor of Fine Arts in filmmaking, or the College Arts Diploma. The first two years of the curriculum stress fundamentals of the filmmaking process and visual storytelling. Students are required to become familiar with every aspect of creating, developing, making, finishing and exhibiting their cinematic work. During the third and fourth years, students train within disciplines in a mentor/student relationship with professional faculty, staff and guest artists. Only students who are successful in meeting the rigorous requirements of conservatory training in the first two years are invited to continue into the advanced levels of the program.
Transfer students may receive credit for academic programs (liberal arts and sciences) courses taken at other universities subject to the general policies of the School of the Arts. However, all transfer students will be required to complete several credit hours in academic programs or related arts courses at the School of the Arts. Following review of prior courses by academic programs, transfer students will be advised regarding their academic programs. All transfer students must start their work in the School of Filmmaking with year one courses.
Students write, direct, photograph, edit, design and produce a variety of film and digital video exercises, short film and digital video productions, and numerous school-sponsored productions during their four-year course of study. All creative works are prepared at a professional conservatory level, and shown in our state-of-the-art theatres.
The program at the School of Filmmaking is intense, and requires the complete attention of the would-be filmmaker. Students participate in lectures, workshops, screenings, production meetings, story conferences, crew assignments, principal photography in studio and on location, post-production, community service projects, and professional internships.
In addition to satisfactory completion of coursework and meeting the minimum grade average requirements, students in the School of Filmmaking will be required to pass two examinations and complete an Undergraduate Thesis Project.
Undergraduate Thesis Project
All Year Four filmmakers are expected to develop and produce a substantial project to receive the B.F.A. The project is not defined by arbitrary measures. It is, however, a project proposed by the individual student, developed in consultation with a committee of faculty mentors and meant to best showcase the student's talents within the area of chosen concentration. Fourth-year thesis productions are the equivalent of a thesis project. Students are required to read and abide by the procedures in the "School of Filmmaking Handbook" and the "School of Filmmaking Safety Handbook." Students will be required to complete all coursework, film production assignments, writing assignments and other work designated by faculty members in order to be recommended for graduation.
Continuance in the program is by invitation only. Invitations are extended by the faculty based not only upon a student's grades, both artistic and academic, but also upon the student's ability to interact appropriately and productively within the School community. Particular emphasis is placed on the “professional” demeanor and creative discipline exhibited by the student. Also, intentional or negligent violations of our policies and procedures will result in dismissal from our program.
Students who are not measuring up to the School’s rigorous and high standard of professionalism and artistic achievement, or exhibit a lack of creativity or collaborative skills, will be notified of those deficiencies before being asked to leave the program. We hold individual portfolio reviews for each student near the conclusion of their first, second, and third years, and must determine their academic and artistic status on an ongoing basis. Faculty will select those students best qualified to maximize their potential in our six individual disciplines.
Attendance is required for all classes, production labs, required screenings, guest artist visits, and all school and individual class meetings. Failure to attend (see above list) for reasons other than written medical excuses and documented family emergencies may lead to dismissal.
Students in the School of Filmmaking are expected to come to class on time. Anyone arriving following a five-minute grace period after the start of class will be considered tardy. Two tardy appearances will result in an Unsatisfactory Progress Report issued to the student by the class instructor. Each additional tardy appearance after the first two will be considered an unexcused absence. One unexcused absence will lower your course grade by one full letter. Two unexcused absences will result in a meeting with the errant student, the class instructor, the Assistant Deans and the Dean, and may result in dismissal from the School of Filmmaking program.
It is the student’s personal responsibility to contact the faculty member in advance of the class to notify him or her of an impending absence. Students should not leave messages on the Administration voice mail if they are unable to attend class because those messages will not be forwarded. Likewise, messages should not be left on the Director of Academic Programs’ voice mail, or that of any other individual in Administration. The message should be left on the faculty member’s campus voice mail, or a note in his or her office, or an email explaining the absence well prior to the start of class. Only advanced notification will be considered an excused absence. If the faculty member cannot be located, and the start of class is imminent, only then should the student attempt to contact the Assistant Deans with the excuse for non-attendance. Documented medical reasons or other serious family emergencies will also serve as legitimate absences.