If you want to know how popular films like “Black Panther,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” and “Baby Driver” were made in Georgia and whether you could work on the set of the next blockbuster hit, a new off-campus film production course will be offered to help students get hands-on experience in film production.
“I’ve always had a place in my heart for writing, and I think more recently I’ve realized I really enjoy the idea of writing for film [so I can] flex a different creative muscle [with this class],” said journalism major Alex Perrone, who is considering taking the course.
The Entertainment and Media Studies major within the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has partnered with the Georgia Film Academy to create an opportunity for University of Georgia students to learn about the “nuts and bolts” of film production.
Seminar in Media Arts (EMST 5990) opens for registration Nov. 2 for the Spring 2019 semester. The class counts for six elective credit hours and meets every Friday from 10:10-4:25 p.m. at OFS Production Studio in Norcross, about an hour’s drive from Athens.
The inaugural class has up to 25 seats available and will be taught by GFA faculty member Dan Kelly.
While all students are eligible to register for the course, they must have permission from EMST department chair Jay Hamilton before registering for the course.
“I would also suggest meeting with your academic adviser before signing up for the course since the time is so odd,” Hamilton said. “You want to make sure that students have room in their schedule and that they have room in their program in terms of electives.”
The course will count as a general elective credit and not toward a Grady degree program.
“Because of Grady’s accreditation limits and our own EMST class that features similar concepts covered in the new course, it can’t count toward a Grady degree,” Hamilton said.
GFA has its own Production Certification that any student who is enrolled in partner schools in the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia can complete.
With the new on-set film production course strictly for UGA students, UGA can now be added to that list, and any UGA student can pay separately to take the required courses through GFA to earn the certification.
“[The new course] is the first course in the curriculum for GFA’s certificate program,” Hamilton said. “So if a UGA student wants to take more courses through GFA to get the certificate, now they can.”
The course is geared toward students who want to be screenwriters, directors and producers and those who would benefit from learning the process of on-set film production.
“This is a class kind of in the nuts and bolts of on-set film production. It’s what film and TV people call below-the-line set of skills,” Hamilton said. “They’re more kind of a hands-on craft.”
While GFA has built up a capacity for skilled workers in on-set film production in the state, Hamilton said there is a lack of managerial workers, which is where this course comes into play.
“[GFA] has been building this below-the-line capacity already, but what they have yet to figure out is how to build the above-the-line capacity. This class is meant to help tap UGA talent to start to build the above-the-line capacity,” Hamilton said.
The impact of the film industry on Georgia’s economy has increased dramatically, with feature film and television productions generating over $9.5 billion last year.
Film and television productions that shoot in Georgia also receive a tax credit for hiring in-state employees.
By collaborating with UGA, GFA hopes this course will increase the state’s pool of screenwriters, directors and producers.
According to its website, GFA strives to meet “the needs of the state's growing film industry by providing hands-on experience on major film and television productions.”
Hamilton believes this increased knowledge in on-set film production will help students who want to write or direct stand out when networking for jobs.
“For example, if you’re a director, understanding … how stuff is made on set is hugely useful,” Hamilton said.