MSP 5701 – Graduate TV Production
MSP 4701 – Producing and Directing

Course description:

Student producers/directors in this course will create 20-30 minute television pilot episodes and/or narrative works. This begins with pitching a script, chosen from a database of scripts written by Media Studies and Production students. Once scripts are chosen and teams have formed, preproduction begins. As producers, students line scripts, create breakdown pages, set schedules for rehearsals and shoots, confirm locations and assess needs. As directors and creative visionaries, you will storyboard your work, articulate a specific filming strategy, draw floor plans and work with actors to articulate your vision. Each semester, our class hosts a casting call that draws in both amateur and professional actors from the greater Philadelphia area.

During the production phase, students will rotate roles, sharing the responsibilities of producing, directing, camera operating, sound recording, script supervising, serving as a production assistant, managing props and costumes, and documenting the process. In all production tasks, collaboration is essential. MSP 4701 assumes that you come in with a working knowledge of production processes and intermediate production experience; if you ever feel that you do not have the training or skills to complete the needed tasks, please speak with me to schedule additional training or secure additional resources. MSP 5701 graduate students come to this course from a wide diversity of experiences. Graduate students are required to meet with me at the beginning of the semester to discuss your prior production experience, skill level and learning goals, as well as to schedule any needed training sessions before our hands-on filming work begins in week #6.

During postproduction, students will work collectively to edit an effective story, trimming out unnecessary footage and accentuating key beats (humor, emotional resonance, visual meaning). Feedback and critique are essential to this work: You will take your project through four critique screenings, including one with an outside audience. Reshoots ensure high quality footage throughout. Final editing focuses on color correction for visual style as well as sound mixing and design. At the end of the semester, each production team will have a portfolio-quality TV pilot or narrative production designed for broadcast and/or festival distribution. This video will be supported with a trailer, a press kit and a professional web presence.

While this class is focused on hands-on production work, this work is always completed with critical awareness. We will critically reflect upon the messages within our work through lenses such as representation of gender, race/ethnicity and other facets of identity; explore consumerism and product placement; analyze the social significance of our work; and explore the affordances and constraints of various distribution methods (web delivery versus broadcast television, for example). Where and how does your work fit into today’s shifting, unpredictable media landscape? What messages are sent by your production decisions, intentionally or unintentionally? The ability to critically assess is a tool you carry with you at all times; it is reinforced in this course through on-going class discussions and critiques, as well as written work: Journal entries for all students and a final paper for graduate students.

Creating portfolio-quality work requires time and effort. Creating long-form work requires time and effort. Students must be prepared to fully engage and to commit themselves to the process, which will undoubtedly be both challenging and rewarding. Please note: This course is a capstone course in media production and a significant amount of work outside of class time is required to complete assignments.

For more information, please see the course syllabus (zaylea-5701-spring17).

Back to MSP 5701: Graduate TV Production / MSP 4701: Graduate TV Production