MEDIA302-22A (HAM)

Film Production 3: From Concept to Screen

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Arts
Screen and Media Studies


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Paper Description

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Film Production 3 is designed to focus on the key stages of filmmaking, including pre-production, principal photography, and post-production. The idea is to challenge students into making content that they have not attempted previously. The final project will demand individual production and post-production skill sets, conceptual development as well as the exercise of interpersonal intelligence in relation to working together.

As the final paper of the Film Production pathway, students will be expected to utilise and strengthen their hard and soft skills acquired throughout the various practical papers. For instance, it is anticipated that students will individually cement their skills on specific post-production software including – but not limited to - After Effects , Photoshop, Audition, Garage Band, and others.

Students will engage with key facets of film production that will be emphasised through examination of key short films that have acquired an international audience. Group discussions will enhance critical thinking and knowledge of techniques.

The paper is workshop orientated, i.e. students will experiment and practice during the scheduled workshop hours. With guidance, students will have the confidence to produce the audio-visual stories they wish to tell.

The final outcome for the paper is one high-quality short film, documentary or music video no more between 3-7mins in duration. Students will develop their project in the first half of the trimester. Then, with feedback, refine the rough version to produce a final cut suitable for public exhibition by the conclusion of the paper.

Documentaries must be approved by the Lecturer with ethics forms completed prior to filming. Music videos are encouraged but must feature an Aotearoa-based band or singer, and require release forms/clearances. Short films must have performers either in-training (i.e. at university enrolled in an acting degree) or have 3 prior acting credits.

Students will develop key skills that will enable them to pursue a variety of careers in the creative industries as well as enhancing their critical thinking from previous papers.

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Paper Structure

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can We Still Make Projects in the Traffic Light System?
Yes, you can. You must adhere to Government guidelines (distancing, masks, bubbles etc.) There is also a Screen Safe COVID-19 document on Moodle that provides detailed instructions as to how to shoot safely in the Traffic Light System (all levels). From page 20 onward, it breaks down what you have to do. You must complete the health and safety quiz on Moodle before pre-production can begin.

I Have to Isolate: How Can I Make a Film?
The paper is designed to cater for those in isolation. Your health is most important. It is imperative that you film as much as possible when you are able, so there is enough footage to craft a short 3-7 minute film/documentary/music video.

What Happens if the Entire Class Has to Isolate?
Alternative assessment measures are in place and the paper will continue online if need be. These will be issued if required.

Why is this Paper NOT Online? What if I Miss a Lecture or Workshop?
As this is a practice/theory-orientated paper, traditional lectures do not apply. Therefore, there will be no recorded lectures. Each week, students will be introduced to a concept/practice that requires attendance on campus where films will be screened, followed by discussions and hands-on exercises that will support the final projects. If you miss a lecture of have to isolate, you must inform the Lecturer/Sessional Assistant immediately and catch up with the notes provided on Moodle.

I’ve Completed Film Production 1 and 2: Do I really Need to Come to the Lecturers and Workshops?
The structure of the production pathway has been created for you to find the areas of filmmaking that interest you. In Film Production 3, you are given more autonomy and responsibility to craft a short film project suitable for public exhibition. Therefore, the lectures, screenings and workshops are designed to help facilitate all students’ individual ideas. It also provides an opportunity for you to share ideas with fellow filmmakers and acquire a crew for your film.

Can’t I Just Make and Act in the Film Myself?
No, you can’t. One-person crews (and take it from experience) never make good films. Also, while you may be a good actor, you are being assessed on your directing skills and how you delegate to others. For instance, if the sound design is weak, and you did not converse with your sound recorder/designed in principal photography/post-production, you will lose marks as you have not rectified this problem. It is imperative that you create your cast and crew bubble as soon as you can. Please speak with the Lecturer/Sessional Assistant if there is an issue.

I Didn’t Like Group Work in FP1 or FP2, So I REALLY Want to Do Everything Myself.
We are not enforcing a group upon you. Instead, the responsibility is yours to source a cinematographer, sound recorder/designer, actors and editor. This is why it is imperative that you attend lectures and workshops to source crew for these positions and establish your production bubble ASAP. This should take the form of quid pro quo where you take a crew role on someone else’s film to help them. Additionally, you must factor this in your production schedule to ensure you meet deadlines. Without medical certificates, we cannot offer extensions.

I Don’t Know Any Actors: How Do I Get Them? Can’t My Friends of Family Just Act in My Film?
The University has an exemplary Theatre programme who are wanting to work with filmmakers. This is the first avenue to pursue as there is a mutual benefit for emerging actors and filmmakers. There is also the Hamilton Actors Group on Facebook that have an array of performers that would love the chance to work with Aotearoa’s new auteurs. There are plenty of actors around, so make sure you choose the right one for the role. Though friends and family are amazing and want to help you out, they are not trained (or in training) actors, weakening the quality of your film. Remember, the purpose of your film in this paper is to make sure it is suitable for public exhibition, so a lesser performance will reduce your chances of being seen/attaining a high grade.

I Don’t Have Any Ideas: What Can I Do?
You DO have ideas, you just haven’t figured out how to articulate them. That’s what this paper is designed to do: help you find a subject that you are passionate about and depict it through audio-visual means. There are basic practices you can do, one is simply going for a walk. You might overhear something fascinating, see a strange event, or even just speaking with family and friends will ignite an idea for a short film.

I Have an Idea but It Will Take More than 3-7 mins. Can I Have More Time?
No. Again, the paper is designed to increase your chances of getting your film seen in an International festival. The shorter the better means that programmers will be more willing to offer you a slot if it’s of high quality and not too long. Additionally, if your film is too brief (under 3 mins) this will lose marks and weaken your chances of getting it seen.

How Strict is the Copyrighted Music Rule on the Paper Outline? Can’t I Add the Latest Track of My Favourite Band to Give the Film More Quality?
No. The rule is there for a reason. In addition to Copyright Infringement, the music/soundscape is crucial for the overall quality of your film. Students have worked with many excellent musicians in the University’s Music programme. Alternatively, if you are a musician yourself, you can put aside time in your production schedule create a score. If you wish to make a music video, you are encouraged to work with an Aotearoa-based band but must get clearance/permission to use a particular song.

What About Royalty Free Music (RFM) Online? That IS Copyright Free.
RFM is a hinderance to your film, mainly because millions of emerging filmmakers use it. Festival programmers and the Lecturer/Sessional Assistant have heard them all, so it’s an instant tell that you have not engaged with a composer to enhance your work. Again, this is graded on collaboration, so seek out a composer as soon as you can. Finally, RFM is incredibly tacky and will loosen the action on screen.

Do I have to Attend the Production Meetings?
Yes, you do. If you are isolating, this will be done via Zoom at an arranged time with the Lecturer/Sessional Assistant. This ensures that we are overseeing your short film, providing continuous advice and guidance, and rectifying as many issues as possible throughout the Trimester.

I Can’t Get in Touch with the Lecturer or Sessional Assistant at Night: What Do I Do?
Staff and Sessional Assistants have set working hours, so they will respond during this time. Emails will not be read after 5pm Monday-Friday, nor are available over the weekend. This is why it is imperative that you keep in touch throughout the Trimester in the lecture/workshop hours to have as many issues resolved as possible.

Do I Have to Use the University’s Equipment? I Have Quite a Lot of Gear Myself.
No, you don’t. It is encouraged that you use your own equipment if you have it. However, the School of Arts Technician, Oliver Stewart, can show you the new equipment we have that might help increase the quality of your visuals and shots.

I Forget How To Edit and use the Software Packages from FP1: Does the Paper Recap this?
No. The production pathway is designed so that you continuously use the editing software and cameras etc. in your own time. There are videos on Moodle by Oliver Stewart to help re-acquaint students with the editing packages but the lecture/workshops will not be focusing on this aspect of production.

It Feels Like a Lot of Work for a Single Paper: Why Do We Have to Make a Workshop Portfolio?
Filmmaking IS a lot of work! However, you will not work beyond the allocated 150 hours. In total, there are 5 hours set aside each week across the lectures/screenings/workshops and the rest of the time is your responsibility to continue making your project. Use the resources, staff, and equipment available to you and make life easier on yourself.

Can I Make a Documentary About a Sensitive Issue? What if it’s About Myself?
There are ethical (and by extension moral) issues associated with non-fictional storytelling. If you wish to pursue a short documentary as your final project, you must write an ethics form and meet with the Lecturer prior to filming to get the green light. Sensitive issues need to be handled with care and we have the responsibility of reducing any triggering of students and future audiences, even if it's about yourself. Speak with the Lecturer about documentary filmmaking.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • - demonstrate a sophisticated grammar of expression through audio-visual media, indicating an awareness of pacing and ambience, and the distinctive tools needed to control them.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • - demonstrate an ease in using a concise analytical vocabulary for critiquing and analyzing audio-visual media, including an enhance awareness of the aesthetic dimension.
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  • - demonstrate a capacity to refine and rework initial project outputs as a result of personal reflection and critical feedback.
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  • - be adept at producing their final work in a format that is presentable in a commercial arena, including the appropriate file sharing in an industry-accepted format
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  • - create an industry-standard professional short film
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  • - understand the key facets of film production
    Linked to the following assessments:
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All films must contain the following:

  • Opening credit sequence with production company name, director, writer, producer, and actors
  • Closing scrolling credits with the above details and appropriate location information (e.g. Filmed in Hamilton Gardens)
  • Credits must be designed in After Effects with an appropriate font
  • Subtitles if the film is not in English
  • Actors who are not enrolled in the paper
  • All actors must have professional training or at least 3 acting credits
  • Clear audio tested prior to screening
  • A musical score that is originally composed (students are encouraged to collaborate with the Music programme at the University)
  • A running time of no more than 7-minutes (excluding credits)
  • Have clearances and release forms signed by the partipants
  • All documentaries must have an ethics form approved by the Lecturer prior to filming
  • All music videos must have signed confirmation and releases from the band

Films must not:

  • Contain cliché scenarios (e.g. students running late, ghost stories, stalker films etc)
  • Be filmed on campus
  • Be handheld (if films are to be handheld there must be test footage provided)
  • Contain copyright material (especially websites offering "free music" or " free sound effects" - these are not free!)
  • Contain offensive themes or imagery
  • Deal with subject matter if the filmmaker has had no experience (i.e. mental illness)
  • Contain characters as inanimate objects (i.e. no POV from fruit, cuddly toys, footballs etc!)
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assignment One - Screen Safe COVID-19 Health and Safety Quiz
18 Mar 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Assignment Two - Pre-Production
7 Apr 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Assignment Three - Workshop Portfolio
14 Apr 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Assignment Four - Final Project
9 Jun 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Any required readings will be made available during the lecture sessions. It is expected that students will be exploring their own research in the development of their film projects.

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Recommended Readings

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Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed: Conversations with Paul Cronin - Paul Cronin

Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema - Laura Mulvey

A Writer's Diary - Virginia Woolf

The Story of Art - E. H. Gombrich

Cinematography - Patrick Keating

Room to Dream - David Lynch & Kristine McKenna

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Online Support

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There is an online Moodle community for this course. Moodle can be accessed via iWaikato. Lecture presentations, tutorial exercises, assignment details, important dates and the paper outline are all available from this site.

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As mentioned above, production is demanding of time and it is expected that all students will invest in their projects well beyond the four hours of lectures and tutorials that have been allotted each week. Students will need to be able to commit to time outside of this formal period to contribute to production and post-production processes which they will need to organise as part of the learning experiences of this paper.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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This paper will build on the experimentation in Film Production 2.
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Prerequisite papers: MEDIA202 or SMST212




Restricted papers: SMST312, MEDIA206

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