Main Media Filmmaking
Certificate in Collaborative Filmmaking at Maine Media College

11 Ways to Get Ready for Fall Semester

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By Bart Weiss

The Spring of 2020 was quite an experience for film students. Students, admin, and faculty did our best to shift on the fly during the COVID-19 situation. As I write this article, we are in Phase 3 of reopening the state of Texas. Students, admin, and faculty are now starting to plan ahead for the Fall Semester.

Here are 11 Things Students Can Do to Get Ready:

  1. Write scripts that take place in locations that you know you can use.  No matter what happens, you can always write over the summer. Thinking about how you can take advantage of what you have access to will help you be successful.
  2. Email your teachers and ask them what projects they will be assigning for your class.
  3. Make sure you have a computer that can run editing software.  Last Spring, Adobe gave students free software, and that may or may not happen in the fall. I would recommend looking into DaVinci Resolve which is free and runs on Mac’s and PC’s.  Make sure you have enough RAM, enough hard drive space, and good graphics card. Note that some schools will let students check out a computer from the library or other resource. Contact your teachers early if this is an issue for you.
  4. Be aware of what you have on your own to make worth with in case your school’s checkout is limited. What can you do to beef up production with your iPhone or Smart Phone? Perhaps get a gimble and defiantly get Filmic Pro.
  5. Figure out your own sense of what you feel comfortable doing. Are you okay having face-to-face classes? Are you okay being in a studio? On a set? Talk to your faculty about your comfort level.
  6. Use the limitations to enhance your creativity.
  7. Manage your expectations.
  8. Focus on things you can learn like theory instead of practice.
  9. Learn all you can about remote editing. (It will make you hirable.)
  10. Watch as many films as you can over the summer.
  11. Focus on doing all the production you can in the first month. Perhaps things will open up and go fine for a while, but there is a good chance that the virus will have a second wave mid-semester.

Keep safe and healthy and stay active.

Bart Weiss

Bart Weiss is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and director/founder of the Dallas VideoFest and produces “Frame of Mind” on KERA TV. He was President of AIVF and was a video columnist for The Dallas Morning News, and United Features Syndicate. Bart received an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University.


Top photo: “Video Editing;” photo by Nicole Geri.

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