Peter and John: Pre-Production
Faculty: Jay Craven, Peter and John department heads, visiting artists, and special guests
Description: Using the Peter and John script as the blueprint and catalyst, students will work in their respective teams with department heads (Producer, Director, Director of Photography, Production Designer, Editor) to interpret the script for directorial, design, and cinematographic choices. We'll also chart details and logistics needed for production.
Department heads will assign appropriate readings and screenings – and work with students to present workshops and organize short film productions demonstrating theory and practice in their respective areas. Within their respective departments, team leaders will also mobilize the resources, personnel, materials, and strategies needed to prepare for production.
Schedules will intensify as actual hands-on work begins in mid-February, to prepare the film shoot. Film screenings and discussions will also be scheduled throughout the period—to provide exposure to behind-the-scenes documentaries and interviews with various production personnel from assorted films..
Pre-Production: Production Management Lab
Description: This unit will prepare and engage students in the many facets of producing, production management, set management, and coordination of budgets, locations, daily call sheets, Screen Actors Guild reports, budgets, copyrights, procurement, the recruitment and wrangling of professional crew members and in-kind production support, and the hundreds of details that get a film production on its feet—and sustain its momentum in the face of daily challenges. Students working in this department will take on the jobs of assistant directors, unit production managers, producers, production coordinators, and location managers—to oversee, plan, and manage the daily work of physical production.
Pre-Production: Production Design Lab
Description: Student filmmakers often overlook the importance of the art department to the filmmaker's challenge of creating a distinct, authentic, and captivating world where viewers enter and suspend disbelief. This class will examine the theory and practice behind the work to create a multi-layered world of production design and art direction, where creative practitioners take on the tasks of overall design, drafting, searching for props, designing costumes, dressing sets, wrangling vehicles, and much more.
Effective production design is crucial to the experience of a film—and it will be extremely important to the production of Peter and John, with its period setting and transformation from a French seaside town to Nantucket. Production design provides clues to plot, character, and theme. It interacts with cinematography, performance, and editing to create narrative meaning and resonance. Students will screen and discuss films, paying special attention to the details and impact of design. Assigned texts and special guests will deepen and intensify the creative dialogue—as will the hands-on work of preparing the art direction and design for Peter and John, which will provide a class focus.
Pre-Production: Cinematography Lab
Description: This class will focus on the theory and practice of cinematography for narrative and documentary applications—using the motion picture camera to capture imaginative, expressive, and affecting images. Weekly activities will include shooting assignments; in-class critiques; readings; screenings; and discussion aimed at fostering fresh visual thinking and an increased understanding of what's required to capture closely observed and energetic cinematography. Regular camera exercises will aim to develop technical competence, theoretical understanding, observation skills, strategic visual thinking, and imaginative cinematographic instincts. Areas of inquiry and practice will include framing, composition, lighting, camera movement, scene blocking, and storyboarding—using a variety of scripts and documentary projects. We'll also take up the theory and practice of sound recording, especially as it relates to the work of coordinating effective picture and audio recording during production.
Students who plan to work in the camera, lighting, grip or sound departments—or as director trainees for Peter and John are strongly encouraged to enroll. Class work will include Peter and John location scouts, shot listing, and discussion, to determine visual options.
Pre-Production: Editing and Screen Continuity Lab
Descriptions: The work of the editor is closely linked to the work of the director, cinematographer, screenwriter, and script supervisor. This lab will start work immediately, meeting with these vital players to review key production issues. The editing team will also work during pre-production to assemble and start cutting the behind-the-scenes documentary and regular web postings about the project. Students in this area will also work with other students, to participate in editing student-made shorts. Students interested in the position of script supervisor will join student editors, as part of this department.
Pre-Production: Marketing and Community Relations Lab
Descriptions: Producing a movie requires an exhaustive mobilization of resources, before, during and after production. This pre-production course will focus on marketing and communications theory, with special focus on the realm of film production. The course will also consider the emerging “cultural agent” field, with readings and discussions about creating and maintaining audience and support for the arts despite changing economic and cultural trends.
Students in the Marketing and Communications department will play critical rolls, including taking still photographs, direction and production of the behind-the-scenes documentary, working with local, regional and national press, helping to build and maintain effective relationships with organizations like the Nantucket Historical Society and Dreamland Theater, with whom we will work to stage educational community activities in relationship to our on-island production. Students in this area will also participate in the visioning, planning and executing of fundraising events.
Peter and John Production
Faculty: Jay Craven, Peter and John department heads and special guests
Description: During this time, students will experience and perform professional roles on a feature film set. Students will report to and work with their respective department heads for the duration of the Peter and John film shoot. Daily work will include all of the work associated with students’ individual crew job descriptions—and the overall collaborative production of the film. Crews are expected to work 12-hour days (including meal breaks) for five-day weeks that will generally run Mondays through Fridays during the production period. Evening sessions will also be organized to view film dailies, review shot lists and schedules, and discuss the progress and evolving strategies for production. Students will earn professional film credit, in addition to college credit, for their work during this period.
Production: Production Management Lab
Production: Production Design Lab
Production: Cinematography Lab
Production: Editing Lab
Pre-Production: Marketing and Community Relations Lab