New film degree lets students learn by doing

  • Students can learn the intricacies of film by making their own.
    Students can learn the intricacies of film by making their own.

    New film degree lets students learn by doing

    Technology is constantly changing, and the tools used in filmmaking are no exception. There are many creative and technical steps involved in producing a movie or documentary. The process requires the work of talented and skilled individuals who can perform tasks involving screenwriting, casting, shooting, directing, designing the sound and lighting, and editing the final product. This involves extensive education and, even more so, hands-on training to make sure that the lessons learned are properly applied.

    “Hands-on training ensures that lessons learned are properly applied.”

    Giving students what they need
    Some schools have answered the call for a hands-on approach to making films by offering specialized advanced degrees in the field. The University of North Carolina Wilmington recently announced plans to offer a Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking as part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Film Studies.

    According to Port City Daily, a North Carolina–based news publication, the program will begin to accept students either in the fall 2016 or 2017 semesters. It will accept 12 students at a time and offer a three-year course of study, with courses that cover every step of the filmmaking process. By providing students with a broad understanding of film, rather than a degree that focuses on one aspect of the process, the program will provide students with the ability to walk away with a better understanding of the field and immediately start their career.

    “A lot of times, by the time they’re graduating  they’re really sort of getting rolling as filmmakers,” Dave Monahan, professor and chair of the department, told the source. “So, to have that kind of safe, supportive and mentored experience is important.”

    Benefits of hands-on education
    The film program is unique because it offers students the opportunity to be a part of a number of film projects initiated by others in the program. Students will be required to create two films in each listed genre.

    “So, at full capacity that’s 36 films being made a year that are going to need [crew],” Monahan told the source, “and I happen to think one of best ways to learn to make movies is to make movies. That’s the kind of experience we’re always looking for with our students.”

    This kind of experiential learning is effective in preparing students for the professional world of filmmaking. According to the e Learning Industry site, hands-on learning is the future of education. It helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, and ensures that graduates are truly able to hit the ground running and quickly get to work in their desired career.

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