In the Winter 2014 term, I taught my first offering of BUS 340 Practical Film Producing at Hult International Business School.
The eleven-week course not only was a learning opportunity for the students, but for me as well. Of any aspect of Film Production, producing is the most relevant to business. We looked at filmmaking in terms of project management; human resource management; team management; sales, selling, distribution, marketing; whilst also covering some film theory. I introduced shot types and mise-en-scène; camera and lighting techniques; sound recording; the basics of post-production; working with actors: all things that filmmakers should know, and effective producers should know the basics of. The largest assessment was a group preproduction assignment, which included a script breakdown, schedule and call sheets, risk assessment, budget, marketing and distribution plan (including logline and synopses), for a short film script. As part of the course, I produced and directed a web series, so the students could get an on-set experience.
When planning the course, I knew I would have a mixture of students. Some who had made films already and knew quite a lot; some who knew very little about filmmaking but were passionate about film; and some who just took the course as it fulfilled a requirement or suited their timetable. I was very fortunate to teach a room of 34 passionate and intelligent students.
The basis of the course was to take what I had learnt in my film studies and my experiences, and to concentrate it into a short period of time. Every lesson was a new topic. I had been told it was an ambitious course, which it did prove to be. But a challenging course is often the best course.
I haven’t written much about the course since it finished. I was working the equivalent of 2.5 jobs while I was teaching. I had weeks of being too busy to think. I received feedback from the course, and already have planned improvements. The course itself is scheduled to run again in Winter 2015, but as a 200-level course: HUM 275 Practical Film Producing (pending sufficient enrolments).
Some of my students went on to do the Advertising course this term. One of the assignments is to make a commercial. They told me they found making an ad easy, as they had covered everything in my course. Staff involved in that course said my students were professional, using the clapper, running the shoot. But the best pieces of feedback I received from a couple of my students at the End Of Year Awards Ceremony just over a week ago.
One of the students said his brother has just completed his film degree. My student told his brother what we covered in the class. His brother exclaimed “you’ve taken my entire film degree, and covered it in one course!”. Yep, that was the plan. Both students are planning to go into filmmaking when they graduate, and said my course was one of the best and most useful courses they had ever done, and now they have the confidence to do that. There have been students who told me they realised what they learnt in class will help them in their future lives, in everything (another one of my aims).
So now I’m working on finishing the web series, improving the course for next Winter, and building a new skills-based film production course that we are looking at running from September.