Write, direct, produce, edit.
Master sound, lighting, aesthetics.
Learn the business as well as the craft.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree in Filmmaking
Filmmaking students work with film and digital technologies in a variety of genres to pursue projects from beginning to end—from writing to casting to lighting to promoting.
When not in the studio or working on location, students are immersed in the theory and traditions behind the craft so they become fluent in the language of film.
Filmmaking is a major offered in the four-year BFA degree program. Our BFA curriculum is rooted by
Core Four—foundation courses that enhance students' professional development.
FILM 2000 Introduction to Filmmaking 3
This course is an introduction to telling stories in film. It provides a theoretical and technical foundation for future work and introduces historical and critical issues of film language. Principles of cinematography and continuity editing are covered through assignments in the forms of documentary, narrative, and experimental video. Technical processes and practices taught include preproduction planning, shooting, basic lighting, sound recording and mixing, and digital editing. Equal attention is given to technical and artistic concerns in screenings, lectures, discussions, technical demonstrations, and evaluations. Each student develops his or her own creative work through the completion and critique of group and individual projects and exercises.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 1
AH 3600 History of Filmmaking 3
This course explores the ways in which film styles, meanings, and uses have developed over time, from the medium's earliest efforts to the present. Through screenings of narrative and avant-garde films in the form of excerpts, shorts, and feature-length films, students analyze the varied choices made by international filmmakers. The goal is to appreciate and understand differences in filmmaking traditions and techniques rather than to create a chronological survey of the art form. Classes are primarily lecture with some discussion. Students take examinations and complete research assignments.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 2 (may be taken concurrently) or instructor permission
HS 3905 Beginning Screenwriting 3
This class provides powerful tools that help students understand why a movie works or doesn't work. It teaches the basics of film structure, of writing good dialogue, and of creating effective characters and dramatic situations. Class sessions are discussion-based. Students turn in weekly assignments, starting with short scenes and problems and moving on to several short scripts.
FILM 3010 Narrative Filmmaking 3
This course is an introduction to professional narrative production. Students learn the fundamentals of the narrative filmmaking production processes through the completion of a series of short films and exercises. Topics covered include methods of narrative production, assembling and working with a crew, scripting, preproduction planning, production, and post production. Techniques taught include digital cinematography using Red, Sony F3, and DSLR cameras, follow focus, composition, camera movement, editing, portable lighting, and sound production. The course provides students with the skills they need to complete their work through lectures, demonstrations, screenings, critiques, and visiting artists.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Filmmaking
FILM 3020 Documentary Filmmaking 3
Through the production of a series of short films, students explore various forms of documentary production, including newsreel, reportage, cinema-verite, reality television, and modern documentary forms. Students learn how to make films from life and the limits, ethics, and opportunities of depicting reality. Techniques taught include research, preproduction, working with small crews, field video production equipment, sound recording techniques, lighting, and editing. In addition to critiques, discussions, and technical demonstrations, a selection of films are screened and analyzed during the course.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Filmmaking
FILM 3030 Lighting for Film/Cinematography 3
Filmmakers advance their lighting and cinematography skills to the next technical and interpretative level in this course. Building on the lighting skills learned in studio filmmaking classes, this course enhances filmmaking visuals by introducing advanced systems of cinematography and lighting equipment, technique, and practices. Hollywood and independent movies are dissected and studied for cinematic and lighting techniques. Critiques, field trips, and on-location lighting demonstrations are emphasized.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Filmmaking
FILM 3040 Editing and Post Production 3
This class provides a comprehensive overview on the post production process for moving-image work, including film, video, and animation. Each step of the post process is examined—including planning productions with the edit in mind, file management, logging and ingestion, rough- and fine-cut editing, color correction and grading, integrating audio and visual effects, and mastering and output of the finished work. Students develop an understanding of pacing, montage, rhythm, and two- and three-dimensional continuity of the cut, as well as specific techniques to solve difficult post production issues. This class examines the technical and theoretical considerations of editing and post production for a wide variety of genres such as narrative, experimental, documentary, commercial, and industrial, and it provides students with the skills to apply them to their own work. Class instruction includes screenings, group and individual projects, visiting professionals, critiques, and readings on the theories of prominent editors, filmmakers, and theorists, both historical and modern.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 2
FILM 3050 Directing Actors and Acting for Filmmakers 3
Directing Actors is an acting class for film directors. Students learn a variety of classic teaching methods including The Method by Stanislavski and contemporary techniques of acting for the camera. Students participate in acting exercises, observe one another’s abilities to stay in the moment, learn the vulnerabilities of being a professional actor, and prepare a complete scene for a final video project.
Prerequisites: Narrative Filmmaking
FILM 3060 Sound 3
This course focuses on the very special problems and challenges that are related to the role and function of sound in storytelling. Sound for Filmmaking examines the theory and techniques of studio and field sound recording by examining advanced motion picture sound, sync systems, and digital multi-track recording and mixing systems. Students learn to record and edit voice and sound effects.
Prerequisites: Narrative Filmmaking or Documentary Filmmaking (either course may be taken concurrently)
MA 4000 Professional Practice 3
The primary focus of this class is to provide Media Arts students with the tools that will enable to enter professional practice immediately following graduation. Each student is required to produce a polished résumé, artist statement, website, professional identity system, and portfolio. Topics include long-range goal creation and planning; financial, legal, and other business considerations; grant writing; and communication and marketing skills involving verbal, written, and visual presentations. Topics are presented through lectures, critiques, and presentations by experts in the field.
Prerequisites: Junior standing
FILM 4010 Internship 3
Internships provide an opportunity for students to gain practical experience in a particular career area and valuable on-the-job skills. Internships may be arranged by the Director of Career Services or initiated by students. All internships must be preapproved through the Career Services Office. For an internship to be approved, a mentor relationship and learning experience should exist beyond a simple employment opportunity. Three-credit internships require working 120 hours at the internship site and keeping a journal of hours and activities.
Prerequisites: Professional Practice
FILM 5010 Advanced Filmmaking Seminar 3
This course includes a complete overview of producing for feature films, short films, commercials, television, and web. It explores the various roles of a producer and the producer’s team—production managers, associate producers, and assistant directors. Students are given the ability to successfully analyze problems and to develop solutions related to financing, time constraints, budget, equipment, and weather.
Prerequisites: All 3000-level filmmaking courses, successful Junior Review
FILM 5100 Senior Project 6
During senior year, each media arts major is required to develop and complete a substantial work or body of work in his or her major. This course provides a forum for the critical evaluation of this work and curatorial guidance in preparation for the Commencement Exhibition. Course content includes critical readings, position paper, visiting artists, individual and group discussion, and informational meetings.
Prerequisites: Successful Junior Review, senior standing
First-Year Studio Foundation 15 FDN 1111 Foundation: 2D 3
Foundation: 2D is an introduction to creative thinking that develops students’ skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. An emphasis is placed on exploring new ways to read and see the world, as well as new ways to report on it. Students learn basic two-dimensional principles through the use of various media, tools, materials, and processes. As a result, students develop a visual and verbal language for analyzing, organizing, shaping, and communicating two-dimensional form and meaning.
FDN 1112 Foundation: 3D 3
This course is an introduction to understanding of visual creation for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception. Students are introduced to basic three-dimensional concepts as well as materials and technical production processes. Classroom activities include shop demonstrations of tools and techniques, information, lectures, and discussions appropriate to promote the balanced fusion of practice and theory.
FDN 1211 Foundation: Drawing 1 3
Foundation: Drawing 1 is an introductory drawing course designed to prepare students for study in all majors of the college. Students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and depict and manipulate form, space, and light. Students work from direct observation of still life, interior space, and landscape.
FDN 1311 Foundation: Media 1 3
Students are introduced to the digital resources at MCAD while exploring digital media and laptop computing. Areas covered include the Service Bureau, student servers, Media Center, and digital resources. Students discuss media and media artists as well as study various software applications including Adobe Photoshop and web development tools.
Prerequisites: None FDN 1312 Foundation: Media 2 3
Building on the skills acquired in Foundation: Media 1, this class takes up more advanced software applications. Through discussions and lectures, students explore various modes of media presentation, the power of moving images, and web work. Using a variety of software and hardware, students learn the basics of nonlinear editing, sound recording, and video recording.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Media 1
First-Year Liberal Arts Foundation 12 AH 1701 Introduction to Art and Design History 1 3
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, cultural, and historical transformations in Western and non-Western art history from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. This course helps students develop critical tools for the interpretation and understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion. Students take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments.
AH 1702 Introduction to Art and Design History 2 3
This course introduces students to issues in modern art, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics might include the expanding audience for art, the transformation of the art market, the impact of new technologies, the changing status of the artist, and the role of art in society. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture. Students take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 1
EN 1100 Reading and Writing 1 3
Effective writing requires innovative thinking and creative engagement. Students in this course focus on building a writing portfolio by developing college-level writing skills and using these skills to produce a variety of assignments. Regular writing workshops allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Students explore a variety of texts and objects through class assignments. By the end of the course students have the foundational skills to be reflective and eloquent writers. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, group work, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, directed group work and research assignments, and a portfolio of seven essays.
EN 1200 Reading and Writing 2 3
Key to the creative and critical nature of college-level writing is the idea that students explore a topic by developing a thesis that changes as they ask questions, explore ideas, and conduct research. To that end, this course extends and concentrates the thinking and communication skills introduced in Reading and Writing I. The foci of this course are developing a thesis; engaging in critical and sustained research; and drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading a finished research project. As a result, students become increasingly adept at utilizing a wide variety of research tools, from published books to online search engines. The final project is a completed research paper and a visual presentation using programs such as PowerPoint. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, research exercises, presentations and debates, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, a research journal, a major research paper, and a final research presentation.
Prerequisites: Reading and Writing 1
Second-Year Studio Foundation 4 FDN 1411 Ideation and Process 3
Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as an artist/designer makes a series of decisions to guide its creative evolution. This course is designed to help students explore the development of new ideas and their own process of making. Students also create visual tools to track their creative process from idea through construction and then to post production analysis. The course consists of discussions, critiques, exercises, and visual logs.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing FDN 1412 Sophomore Seminar: Contemporary Practice 1
Practice is more than working methods: it’s the context, marketing, and creative space that maintain creative work. Contemporary Practice introduces students to the foundations, variety, and tools of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create professional presentations of their work. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
varying Studio Electives 26
Filmmaking majors take 26 elective studio credits in any media they choose.
Liberal Arts Electives
varying Liberal Arts Electives 21
Filmmaking majors take 21 Liberal Arts courses for elective credit.