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Film & New Media Core Curriculum

The Film & New Media Division provides students with a progressive interdisciplinary education through production and theory-based courses in digital video, screenwriting, film history, and related arts.

For information on graduation requirements and academic curriculum, please visit Academy Academics.

Required Courses: Film & New Media Majors

This course introduces the concepts of writing for the screen from an analytical and creative viewpoint. Students will learn about screenplay structure and format, explore the creation of character, setting, conflict, theme, tone, dialogue and subtext, and gain an understanding of how to use the tools of the filmmaker to create filmic language and write visually. Students are also given an introduction to some of the professional aspects of screenwriting and available resources including the art of pitching stories and learning how the Writers Guild of America helps screenwriters.

This course is designed as an intense workshop for screenwriting students who are ready to work on projects of their choice. Having learned the basics, students are now expected to further develop their voices as screenwriters, create their own goals, and actively engage in analysis of professional screenplays. There is also further exploration of the professional aspects of being a screenwriter.

This course introduces students to the mindful exploration of their identity in the arts. Students reflect on personal influences, mentors, and aspirations, synthesizing them into an Artist Statement. Forum challenges students to use the Artist Statement as a compass of values with which they examine their creative work in the attempt to keep it consistent with their ambitions, influences and priorities. Forum meetings are made regularly, by appointment, with Film Faculty Advisors/Yodas.


In this course, students learn the fundamental elements of story what a story is and how stories are told. Throughout the semester students study story as it exists in a variety of forms and lengths (novel, film, play, short story, song, poetry), examining the core aspects that span nearly all forms of storytelling, as well as aspects specific to single forms.

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of Cinematic Storytelling and Motion Picture Arts Production. Through assignments and projects, students learn the basics of composition, sequencing and shot design, including the basics of cinematic language and grammar.  Students learn the basics of camera operation, audio recording and editing and Film set etiquette, including the responsibilities of various crew.

This course explores the historical eras of cinema from its birth in the late 1800s through current trends, focusing on Hollywood's formation and transformation as well as major International movements. Students gain an understanding of how technological advances, business practices, and cultural influences have changed the art of filmmaking, and how cinemas of different countries have influenced each other.

Resident Artist courses are special electives for Film and New Media students designed by the current artist-in-residence and based on the artist’s specific field of interest or knowledge. These offerings are one-of-a-kind in nature, and are rarely offered again after the artist has completed their residency. Past topics have included sound, documentary, cinematography, and animation.

This class is a hands-on introduction to skills and techniques in cinematic location lighting. Through discussions, guest artists, demonstrations, and class exercises, this class explores the artful use of light, with emphasis on aesthetics, exposure, instrument placement, rigging, safe use, and motivation.

This course rotates topic yearly, giving students an opportunity to immerse themselves in a specific movement, genre, or area in cinema. Critical examination of the subject may be explored through screenings, readings, discussion, and written analysis.

This class is designed to guide students through advanced skills in pre-production, production and post-production, in order that they may complete a Thesis Screenplay and a Thesis Project.

This course offers students an in-depth examination of film as an art form, analyzing specific elements of film to discover how they create cinematic language. Students focus on the theories of narrative structure, mise-en-scene, color, sound, space, and editing, and be able to identify how filmmakers use each element to communicate story, character, and theme.

Short films are a unique story form with their own rules, limits, and opportunities. Scenes are the crucial building blocks upon which feature films are built. In this course, students sharpen their analysis of short films and scenes. Issues of drama and dramaturgy character, conflict, escalating action, climax and resolution as well as story, tone, and meaning are examined from a screenwriting, directing, and acting point of view.

This course is designed to guide students toward a clear understanding of digital workflow and the essential techniques used in narrative film editing. Exercises help students organize post-production assets. Students apply creative strategies with their cuts by paying close attention to sequence, tone, rhythm and/or collision of images and sound to clarify and heighten their visual story’s meaning.

Students have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of directing for the camera. Students work collaboratively to create 2-3 minute films in which each student will participate as both actor and director. Focus will be on the clear articulation of movement and story through performance and shot design. This course focuses on single camera directing techniques with emphasis on filming the narrative script and the director's relationship with the actor. Through exercises in class, student directors will learn script analysis and methods which will increase their ability to penetrate a text and communicate with actors. Visualization skills will be introduced to help students discover the most effective means of telling their stories.

In this course, students learn advanced techniques of Directing for the Camera. The clear articulation of movement and story through script analysis, script breakdown, and shot design continue to be emphasized. Additionally, students explore more advanced techniques of expressive camera, mise-en-scene, and sound as well as other tools and skills needed to direct film. As much as possible, students use the exercises from this course in tandem with or as preparation for their thesis projects.

The Capstone project is a way to stretch and play with the skills learned in the Film and New Media division, applying them to new, unexplored territory, with in-depth research and practice in arts and academics. It is a pilgrimage of sorts, an agreement to embark on a difficult journey toward a clearly articulated, creative destination. The path should be surprising, challenging, and ripe for successes, failures, and growth. A response to the student’s research/exploration, the Capstone outcome can take the form of new media, non-fiction or narrative production, or scriptwriting. No matter the medium/format, the Capstone student is required to present a project proposal for faculty review, demonstrating plans for presentation, execution, and a public performance of the project, upon its completion.

Sample Film & New Media Curriculum for a 4-Year Student

Semester I

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL051
Story / FIL101
Visual Story / FIL201
Lighting / FIL303

Elective Courses
Elements of Fiction / CRW301
Elements of Poetry / CRW303
General Dance / DAN101
Jazz History / MUS209
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Algebra I; Biology; English I; French I


Semester II

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL052
Film History / FIL203
Production Workshop / FIL309
Jazz History / MUS209

Elective Courses
Elements of Fiction / CRW304
Elements of Poetry / CRW303
Acting Foundations / THA102
General Dance / DAN102
Dance for Musical Theatre / THA324
Jazz History / MUS210
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Algebra I; Biology; English I; French


Semester III

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL051
Resident Artist Class / FIL302
Film Genres / FIL306
Production Workshop / FIL308
Film Aesthetics / FIL311
Post Production / FIL323

Elective Courses
Elements of Fiction / CRW301
Elements of Poetry / CRW303
General Dance / DAN101
Jazz History / MUS209
Film Aesthetics / FIL311
Post Production / FIL323
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Geometry; World History; English II; French II


Semester IV

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL052
Resident Artist Class / FIL302
Introduction to Screenwriting / CRW306
Production Workshop / FIL309
Scenes and Shorts / FIL312
Post Production / FIL323

Elective Courses
Great Directors / FIL316
Elements of Fiction / CRW304
Elements of Poetry / CRW302
Acting Foundations / THA102
General Dance / DAN102
Dance for Musical Theatre / THA324
Jazz History / MUS210
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Geometry; World History; English II; French II


Semester V

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL051
Resident Artist Class / FIL302
Film Genres / FIL306
Production Workshop / FIL308

Elective Courses
Elements of Fiction / CRW301
Elements of Poetry / CRW303
General Dance / DAN101
Jazz History / MUS209
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Algebra II; U.S. History; English III; Chemistry


Semester VI

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL052
Resident Artist Class / FIL302
Production Workshop / FIL309
Advanced Screenwriting / CRW314
Directing I / FIL330

Elective Courses
Great Directors / FIL316
Elements of Fiction / CRW301
Elements of Poetry / CRW303
Acting Foundations / THA102
General Dance / DAN102
Dance for Musical Theatre / THA324
Jazz History / MUS210
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Algebra II; U.S. History; English III; Chemistry


Semester VII

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL051
Resident Artist Class / FIL301
Film Genres / FIL306
Production Workshop / FIL308
Directing II / FIL331
Capstone / FIL400

Elective Courses
Elements of Fiction / CRW301
Elements of Poetry / CRW303
General Dance / DAN101
Jazz History / MUS209
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Precalculus; Ecology; English IV


Semester VIII

Required Courses
Film Forum / FIL052
Resident Artist Class / FIL302
Production Workshop / FIL309
Capstone / FIL401

Elective Courses
Advanced Screenwriting / CRW314
Great Directors / FIL316
Elements of Fiction / CRW304
Elements of Poetry / CRW302
Acting Foundations / THA102
General Dance / DAN102
Dance for Musical Theatre / THA324
Jazz History / MUS210
Students are encouraged to take one foundational elective in another arts area each semester.

Sample Academic Courses
Precalculus; Ecology; English IV

Updated for course catalogue 2020-21.