Interested in Filmmaking?
Academics at the NNU Film School are designed to prepare you for every aspect of the film industry. In addition to exciting and engaging classes and coursework, you will earn crew points and screen credit, with your experience here culminating in a senior project.
The film school curriculum has been designed to provide students with an excellent mix of production skills, communication skills, theory, law and writing. In other words, we don't want our students to leave the program knowing only how to make equipment work, we want them to leave with a solid understanding of good storytelling. Since stories are always ultimately about people and their relationships, you'll find classes aimed at those topics in our curriculum.
A major in Mass Communication ("film school") gives students an understanding of the systems, theories, and practices of the mass communication channels of film and television, as well as their impact on contemporary society. It prepares students to obtain employment in secular or Christian film, video, and television production. Students can use their education and training for entry-level employment with big studios, for independent production through their own company, or for pursuing graduate study in communication and other fields. (50 credits)
COMM1010. Introduction to Communication (3)
COMM1260. Introduction to Video (1)
COMM2020. Media Systems and Literacy (3)
COMM2050. History of Film and Television (2)
COMM2250. Introduction to Scriptwriting (3)
COMM2260. Intermediate Video Production (3)
COMM2280. Audio For Film and Television (2)
COMM3010. Producing Film and Television (2)
COMM3020. Organizational Communication (3)
COMM3030. Film Theory and Criticism (3)
COMM3050. Nonverbal Communication (2)
COMM3250. Advanced Screenwriting (3)
COMM3260. Advanced Television Production (3)
COMM3280. Media Law and Ethics (3)
COMM3290. Intermediate Post-Production (2)
COMM4250. Cinematography (3)
COMM4260. Film and Television Directing (3)
COMM4610. Communication Research and Theory (3)
COMM4970. Senior Project (1) (2 required)
COMM4980. Seminar in Communication Studies (1)
An important part of The Film School at NNU is hands-on, professional experience. Each student is required to earn a minimum of 150 "Crew Points" during their time at NNU (pro-rated for transfer students).
You earn Crew Points in several ways, but mostly by working on film crews for departmental shoots, the projects of other students, or the many off-campus professional productions that students are invited to by our contacts in the industry. For instance, in 2013, students pitched the idea of shooting a scene from a submarine movie as our last department project for the year. We then spent over 500 hours building a realistic submarine control room in our studio and another 50 hours shooting those scenes. Students earned a Crew Point for every hour they worked.
Crew Points are also given for special educational opportunities which are not part of any class. This might include a trip to the Sundance Film Festival, going to a particular film in Boise, attending a weekend seminar, etc.
Students who earn more than the required 150 points are eligible for special achievement awards: the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Slate awards. These come with both a trophy and a letter from the Department Chair for inclusion with your resume.
Crew Points are also used in determining who gets tagged for special opportunities, in awarding Teaching Assistant scholarships, and for other special considerations. In other words, those who have the most points get the best opportunities.
Why did we institute Crew Points? Several reasons:
- To maximize your on-the-job experience while attending NNU
- To reward you for the time you spend helping other students and the department
- To keep you "plugged in" to the program
- To help you experience the collaboration so vital to our industry
- To help you develop a work ethic attractive to future employers
- To give you opportunities beyond the limits of formal class sessions
- Still in High School? You can begin earning Crew Points now! Click here to find out how.
College credits are great and essential to your career, but the currency of the movie and television industries is screen credit: your name appearing in the credits as having performed significant jobs on films or TV shows.
Whenever a producer is looking for people to hire, he or she checks out the screen credits of prospective employees. It lets them know if the person has actually done a particular job - if they've proven themselves - or if they're just a "wanna be." But how do you get real screen credits as a student?
At The Film School at NNU, it's automatic.
Whether it's for television, working on a broadcast program, or on production of a feature or short film, we provide students with opportunities to earn real screen credits.
When we say that students produce a TV show, we don't mean they just pull cables and carry equipment: they really produce the show, making all the decisions about performers, locations, timing, accompaniment, lighting packages, etc. They even have to go out and secure the financing, negotiate contracts, work with broadcasters, and so on. They produce the show!
They also direct it. And operate the cameras. And manage the stage. And on and on.
When we do a departmental film shoot, or even a senior film, the students work as camera operators, dolly grips, gaffers, key grips, etc.
But it doesn't stop there. With our contacts in the industry, we're constantly placing students on television and film crews throughout the Northwest. In 2012/13 alone, that meant working with Hollywood crews on national shows, lots of local production, and even a five-day trip to California for one student.
These jobs not only give real-world experience, but pay real money as well (beyond just travel, lodging and meals). In previous years, film school students have worked at NFL football games, NCAA basketball games, reality TV shows, Hollywood movies with major stars, and live network shows like the Vancouver Olympics.
College credits are great and essential in today's market, but when you leave NNU, you'll have much more than that. You'll have screen credits. It's the cash of Hollywood.
Every student in the Film School completes a major project during their senior year at NNU, such as a short film, television program, documentary, marketing video or feature film screenplay.
The road to this project begins your very first semester at NNU. Our goal is to design your schedule such that you'll finish all production classes, and most media classes in general, by the end of your junior year.
During that junior year, you will propose a plan for a project you'd like to complete. Once your plan is approved, a committee of three faculty members and experts in the field will be assigned to guide you through your project.
You then spend the fall of your senior year in prep work?either doing pre-production planning on a film or video, or research for a screenplay. You'll also complete research on the "theoretical construct" of your project?what does it demonstrate, or how does it advance our understanding of communication?
Spring semester is reserved for execution of your project, either filming and editing a visual project or writing the screenplay. At the end of the semester, you present your project and theory work to your committee.
Why did we institute the Senior Project program? Several reasons:
- It allows you to do what you are passionate about doing while you still have free access to the equipment and facilities of the school, as well as willing help (and free labor) from a crew of other film school students
- It synthesizes the practical and the academic, the "how to" of production with the "why" of theory
- It's a chance for you to practice and demonstrate what you've learned during your time at NNU
- It gives you a professional media product to show potential employers, financial backers, and others who will have an impact on your career
- It forces you to think and work through an entire production from beginning to end, giving you invaluable experience for future projects
- You can leave film school knowing you know what you know
Facilities & Equipment
Facilities at The Film School provide students with everything they need to write, produce, shoot, and edit professional films.
A study lounge, a classroom, a place to watch movies with friends or nap between classes: the Bungalow was built just for Film School students. You must have a Crew Pass and a door code to enter The Bungalow, except during class time. You may bring guests into the Bungalow if you first obtain a Guest Pass, and you can even have your friends over to watch a movie if you get a Party Pass. The Mac Lab is also located inside the Bungalow, as well as the audio recording studio and its control room.
Inside the Bungalow you'll find the Mac teaching lab. Each of 14 stations has a Mac computer loaded (currently) with the Adobe CS6 Production Suite and Avid editing software. Besides being used during class to learn these software packages, students are welcome to use their assigned computer station for any other projects.
Film School students check out equipment from "The Cage," which doubles as the TA office. It's also where the TAs make popcorn for movie nights and sell pop (known as sippies) before class.
Current Cage & TA hours:
Monday - Friday: 9:00am - 9:30am, 5:30pm - 6:00pm
To reserve equipment, editing suites, or studio contact the TA on duty only during Cage hours
This is where students get to make their visions come true. Whatever story you want to tell, we'll help you build the world to tell it. In the past, students have built everything from a Soviet-era prison to a castle to the bombed-out basement of a WWII London abbey to a magical Christmas village. And yes, even a submarine. The Film School studio is used for teaching both film and television production. It has a full lighting grid, and is adjacent to the control room. It includes a $100,000 industry-standard Fisher 10 camera dolly that does everything but edit your film for you.
A fully broadcast-capable design, the control room is used to teach professional multicamera television production. It has seven work stations from "tape" operation to audio to directing and teleprompter. Every student learns every station, starting as a freshman when you produce and direct your first TV show.
A TV control room on wheels, the production truck is used for a variety of operations, and allows students of the Film School to solve new problems and overcome the challenges of remote production. Typically the truck is used to "broadcast" on the web basketball games, track meets, conventions, and other campus events.
An isolation booth for voiceovers and a dedicated audio editing suite allow students to produce professional sounding films and videos, to go with that professional look we demand. The recording studio provides students the capability of recording or re-recording sound for films and television programs.
The Film School provides everything students need to tell their stories, from cameras to mics to c-stands and a crane. Our philosophy is that the more films a student makes, the better they get, so once a student is qualified on a piece of equipment he or she may check it out for most any purpose -- not just class work.
The checkout system knows exactly which equipment a student is qualified on, but before being qualified the student must demonstrate an understanding of the operation of that equipment, and must be able to recite The Code:
Each semester, the Film School produces at least two department projects, with students taking on the brunt of the work: designing sets, lighting, producing, etc. The concepts for these are student-generated, and we love exploring areas of production that we've never tried before, from dramas to sitcoms to variety shows.
Take a look at some of the finished products on our "Featured Projects" page!
The faculty of the department are assisted by several Teaching Assistants who help with everything from proctoring exams to selling sodas from The Cage. They're also vital in helping the faculty plan, organize and oversee the many functions of the department. TAs are able to help you with most of your questions, and will make sure you have what you need for your own production work.
- Max Moser
- Abby Canary
- Taylor Bickel
- Caleb Gerdes
Becoming a TA
TAs are chosen for their academic record, devotion to the department(as demonstrated through Crew Points) and their general aptitude in various areas of filmmaking. TAs receive a large scholarship, work directly with the faculty and are given privileges and responsibilities greater than those of other students. Applications are taken during the fall semester.