Student Stories

This course gives SMAD students the opportunity to spend three weeks in New York at the School for Visual Arts and write, direct shoot and edit a short narrative film in a group. Watch the video diary of their experiences.

 

Peter Humble

Junior

Digital Video and Cinema

NYC-Summer 2018

Getting the opportunity to work with professional actors was an amazing experience as they were able to bring life to a scene and a character that had previously only existed on paper.

I learned so much over not only the shoot but the entire script. From the beginning me and my team started out with a challenge because we completely rewrote the script twice over in two days. In this process not only did I learn about how to write but I learned a lot about my own writing style. I learned my strengths and weaknesses and what I need to work on over my next year and through the rest of the program at JMU.

I thought the program was an amazing experience, and I would love to see it continue for future Dukes. You can’t get the resources used on this trip at JMU, so the program in my book is a must-take course for students serious about production. We worked really well together and will most definitely make stuff in the future together.

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Claire Downie

Senior

Digital Video and Cinema

NYC-Summer 2018

I really think I learned more this week than my four years at JMU. The theory we had been briefly taught in early classes of SMAD made more sense actually being able to see and do them such as depth of field and what lens size to use, lighting and how it actually effects and helps a scene, and framing. I have done these things for short projects in classes, but applying them to an actual film is so different than doing them for a class project. Everything we learned in theory is so different when you’re doing them for an actual film, even a short one.

Making this film was a huge learning process. As it was my first time directing, I learned a lot about planning the look and style of the film before production and I learned the importance of shooting to edit. I learned how to be a leader and how to dole out roles and responsibilities among crew members. My favorite part was working with actors. I really enjoyed the script to screen process and seeing how the actors improved the lines and brought their own spin to the script. I had a lot of fun on set, especially because the film was a comedy, and the crew got some laughs from the actors.

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Aloha Backenstose

Graduated summer 2018

Digital Video and Cinema

NYC-Summer 2018

I feel as if I’ve learned more about filmmaking from the past three weeks than I have in my four years at JMU. With that, the trip was incredibly valuable and allowed me to experience filmmaking in a genuine way. All in all, It was very valuable and allowed me to experience a production and realize what I do and don’t like. Communication was key and working with my team was a great learning experience. I learned a lot about filmmaking, directing and writing.

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Quinton Carr-Goodwin

Junior

Digital Video and Cinema

NYC-Summer 2018

This production experience was both a trying one as well as an enlightening one. I got hands on experience working on the C100 which was beneficial as I had never gotten to use that before. I learned the benefits of planning and what happens when someone in charge of a shoot does not. I also learned the benefits of using the resources that are provided for you and how bloated a production can become when travelling to several different locales, especially when there is not a concrete plan for once you're there. I saw first-hand some trials and tribulations of directing and got to see how a director with a different style than my own operates on set. Through that, I now know what to do or not to do on a set, in the editing lab, or what have you. The overall experience was a positive but stressful one. Seeing the production unfold and seeing real actors at work was a lot of fun. I am glad I got to go on this program, but wish there was an additional week provided in order to minimize stress and maximize planning time.

Rob Powell

Graduated 2018

Digital Video and Cinema

NYC-Summer 2018

I think my biggest challenges was not feeling overwhelmed in the short time frame that we had. I think that I learned a lot more about coverage and lighting from this experience.

This JMU/SVA program has had a huge impact on me. This is the first production I have ever been a part of. That being said this program was a great learning experience, because I was able to see all sides of production. Before this program the only experience I had in the production process was scriptwriting. I have written and workshopped scripts in the past but never with the intention to turn around quickly produce it into a film. Workshopping the scripts as a big group was helpful to learn what other writers and directors find important when starting the preproduction phase.

Toria Diesburg

Graduated 2018

Digital Video and Cinema

NYC-Summer 2018

Mostly, I learned so much about the production phase. I learned about sound and lighting techniques. More importantly, I learned how to use lighting and sound equipment. During the production phase I got the chance to practice with this equipment, and although I haven’t become a master I have learned the ins and outs of the lighting and sound kits. I tended to not be behind the camera as much as the other members of my group. However, I was still able to learn a lot about cinematography from watching my group work.

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