Advanced Fiction Production Projects are peer-mentoring environments provided by the Media Arts Department and initiated by Media Arts majors. While the student initiating an Advanced Fiction Production Project assumes the primary responsibility for interacting with the Department, the process is collaborative. These advanced projects are generally culminating experiences at the end of a student’s undergraduate work (similar to a senior project). Each Advanced Fiction Production project comes with associated coursework, class credit, and departmental supervision. Advanced Fiction Production projects also potentially receive a large amount of departmental support, through equipment access and funding.
Advanced Fiction Production Scripts will only be considered by the department when submitted by a Producer. This means that if you have written a script you would like to submit for consideration, you must identify a producer or a producing team who would be willing to spearhead the project before the script can be submitted. You may also submit the script if you are planning on acting as the Producer for the project.
The applicant pitching the project must be in good academic standing, on track toward graduation, and must have a strong record of collaboration and citizenship.
Any BYU student may submit a script to be considered for a Advanced Fiction Production project as long as the script meets the general requirements of the Advanced Fiction Production process: the script 1) cannot be longer than 8 pages, 2) must be feasible to do as a student production, 3) be submitted to the BYU Media Arts Script Hopper, and 4) must align with the viewing and creation policy of the BYU Theatre and Media Arts department as well as BYU’s Honor Code. Producers will view the scripts uploaded to the hopper and select the ones they would like to pitch to the faculty.
If their script is pitched and selected, Screenwriters may be invited by the producer to participate in the early development of their screenplay, which will take place in the first term of the Advanced Fiction Production process. Though any student in the media arts program may submit a script to the script hopper, only writer(s) who have completed TMA 241 will be eligible to participate in the TMA 473 course. These courses may not be taken concurrently. Therefore, if you submit a script and have not taken TMA 241, your script will become the property of the director or of another screenwriter who has completed TMA 241 (with whom you wish to collaborate)
Advanced Fiction Production producers must complete TMA 187 in order to produce an Advanced Fiction Production project. Upon acceptance, they must meet periodically with the project’s professor as they facilitate the execution of the project. Producers will receive ongoing instruction on the craft of producing during pre-production, but they will also be expected to meet with and supervise the preparatory work of all department heads, to raise the production’s portion of funding, to prepare the detailed project binder, and to oversee the completion of the film. Producers will receive 372R credit during the first two terms of the production; they will receive their Advanced Fiction Production (TMA 473R) credit during the third term after providing a detailed summary of the experience to the Advanced Fiction Production professor as well as screening and discussing a rough cut of the film with the combined faculty.
Advanced Fiction Production directors must complete TMA 319, TMA 391, and TMA 419 in order to direct an Advanced Fiction Production project. Directors must also be in good academic standing, on track toward graduation, and must have a strong record of collaboration and citizenship. Upon acceptance, they must meet regularly with the project’s professor as they develop interpretive, analytical, and conceptual approaches to the material. Directors will provide detailed concepts for the project binder, plan and execute the aesthetic approach to the material during pre-production, production, and post production, and perform all other duties associated with direction as instructed by the project’s professor. Directors will receive their Advanced Fiction Production (TMA 473R) credit during all three terms. They will deliver a rough cut of the completed film to the project’s professor and will make a screening of the rough cut available for the combined faculty.
Project Size and Scope:
All Advanced Fiction Production projects must conform to a total script length of 8 pages. This is to keep Advanced Fiction Production films from overextending outside the bounds of the given time frame to complete the project (2 semesters). This also prevents the project from becoming unwieldy or overly expensive.
All student film projects at BYU are to be created in accordance with the values and standards associated with the University Honor Code and the TMA Viewing and Creation Policy. This isn’t to say that the project needs to be overtly religious; it is simply a reminder that use of offensive material is unacceptable and may result in the rejection of your proposal or termination of the project anytime during the production process (even during production or the Post-Production phase). The ultimate reference is the TMA Creation & Viewing Policy document. Any additional questions regarding content should be discussed with Media Arts faculty advisors.
Advanced Fiction Production Process:
- Step 1: Identifying a Script
- Step 2: Formal Script Submission
- Step 3: Script Pitch and Approval
- Step 4: Selecting Crew
- Step 5: Funding
- Step 6: Script Lock
- Step 7: Faculty Review Presentation
- Step 8: Production
- Step 9: Post-Production and Completion
- Distribution Policies
Identifying the Script: The Hopper
The first step in identifying scripts will be The Media Arts Script Community or “The Hopper”. This is an online student script repository open to all students in the Media Arts Program. Scripts are posted in the Hopper, along with compelling loglines. Submitted scripts may not exceed 8 pages in length (though the length of the final production scripts may be as long as the instructor deems necessary). All TMA students will have access to these materials.
Each script submission will indicate whether or not the author also intends to direct and whether or not s/he is willing to allow other directors (specifically or generally) to consider the script as well.
Formal Script Submission
The next step is Formal Script Submission. At this point, only producers may put scripts forward for official consideration. Again, producers may propose more than one script, but can only be selected to produce a single project.
The producer associated with a script will submit a proposal to pitch to the Writing Committee via the form linked below. On the form, the producer will need to include the author of the material and the team associated with it.
Attention: The Media Arts Writing Committee will be responsible for reviewing all formal submissions. The combined committee will select no more than eight scripts to pitch in person.
After approval at the Script Development Pitch, the project has 2 semesters to complete Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production. This is begun in both a Fall and Winter semester rotation. The Fall capstone rotation is advised by faculty member Jeff Parkin, and the Winter rotation by faculty member Tom Russell.
|Semester||Scripts due to hopper||Pitch Form Due|
|For Fall 2021 Advanced Fiction Production||February 25, 2021||
|For Winter 2022 Advanced Fiction Production||October 14, 2021||October 15, 2021|
Script Pitch and Approval.
The producers of the scripts selected in Step 2 will attach a director to each of the selected scripts prior to this pitch. Multiple producers may select the same director, but that director will not be approved to direct more than one project. (Because the faculty will no longer re-assign directors to other material, producers should carefully consider proposing a director that is already attached to another project since only one of those projects will be eligible for further development.) The selected producers and proposed directors will meet with the Writing Committee and pitch their scripts. The purpose of this pitch is for members of the Committee to ask questions regarding the explicit and implicit ideologies of the script, the appeal of the story, the academic eligibility of the proposed director, and the overall scope of the project. Following these pitches, the Writing Committee, in consultation with the fiction production area faculty, will select no more than two Advanced Fiction Productions. Upon approval from the Writing Committee, the production may solicit funding from the funding sources identified in this document. At this point, the production team may begin proposing crew to the capstone directing and producing instructors.
After a script is approved, the project producers and director need to put together a crew. Key Crew members positions should be filled first. They should be the people with more experience and ability to mentor less experienced crew members. Each key crew member working on an Advanced Fiction Production needs to register for TMA 372R class credit. A student should register for a number of credits depending on how many hours they are planning on spending on the project. The suggested number of credits each crew position should register for is located in the chart below under the section “Crew Class Enrollment.”
Note: All key crew members need to be approved by the Advanced Fiction Production Directing Faculty Member and Producing Faculty Member supervising the project.
CREW ORGANIZATION AND SCOPE
Once approved for development, the applicant may begin assembling a crew. Key Crew Members should be advanced students with some production experience, as well as vetted academic eligibility. All key crew members must also have taken TMA 187. Because these are departmental peer mentoring environments, Project Liaisons are strongly encouraged to ensure that less-experienced students in the program are extensively involved and capably mentored by department heads and key crew personnel.
Key Crew Members include:
- Director – Pre-req for directing is TMA 319
- Producer – Pre-req for Producing is Media Arts Major or Minor
- 1st AD
- Director of Photography (DP) – Pre-req for DP is TMA 319 (384 Camera and Lenses and Advanced Camera and Lighting are highly recommended)
- Production Designer
- Key Grip
- Costume Designer
- Hair/MU Supervisor
- Sound Designer
- Sound Editor
- Post-Production Supervisor
All Key Crew Members must be in good academic standing for the duration of the project or they will be removed from the project.
“Good Academic Standing” means:
- Students must be regularly attending class, maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA overall and a “C” grade in each of their TMA classes (this includes during production).
- Students will be required to register for an amount of class credit corresponding to the amount of commitment and time required to fulfill each role. See grid below.
- Involvement in this project must move Key Crew Members toward graduation. If the applicant or Key Crew Members are deemed to be unnecessarily delaying graduation, they will not be approved to serve on the project. Additionally, all access to University resources is terminated upon graduation, and each student must complete their role in conjunction with the project before graduation.
Again, if any faculty member knows of any other reason for specific students not to be involved on an Advanced Fiction Production project, they may need to remove them from the project.
ADVANCED FICTION PRODUCTION PROJECT FUNDING
Advanced Fiction Production Projects will be funded in the following ways:
- Development Funds ($2000). This funding comes from TMA endowment monies, and is transferred into a BYU project account in the TMA Business office after the project has been accepted into the capstone class and project financial policies have been reviewed with the MA Admin and TMA Business Manager
- Film and Digital Media Funds (FDMF, up to $6000). This funding is awarded by the College of Fine Arts and Communications and requires an application. More information can be found here: http://cfac.byu.edu/student-scholarships-and-grants/
Please note the following guidelines regarding project funding issues:
- To eliminate complications with university funding policy, Advanced Fiction Production projects will no longer be required to fundraise off-campus. Raising funds will be directed to on-campus grant sources, for example, FDMF. All funds coming from any off-campus source must be directed to LDS Philanthropies for review and processing
- Students are not authorized to use BYU’s name for promotional, representational, and fundraising of any kind
- Any off-campus project financial accounts are prohibited
- All financial actions and activities must move through the TMA Business office to ensure proper accounting oversight. University cards will be provided.
Keep in mind that the maximum budget for capstones is $8000.
ADVANCED FICTION PRODUCTION ACCOUNTS
Each Advanced Fiction Production project will have its own financial account managed in the TMA Business Office, located in the Department of Design/Art office (E509 HFAC). The Producer or UPM of the project is required to meet with the MA Admin and TMA Business Manager to review BYU’s financial policies before the project account is created and any department funds are transferred.
Through your project account, you will have access to:
- A purchasing card for your project. This is a credit card maintained by the school, but made available to be checked out for a few hours or few days at a time, to be used by an Advanced Fiction Production project. It is imperative that all receipts be turned in for any purchases made on this card. All receipts need to be original, itemized, and turned in within 1-2 days of purchase. If students do not submit a receipt, they are responsible to reimburse the school for their purchase with their individual funds. It is the producer’s responsibility to ensure that this policy is being followed perfectly.
- Reimbursements. In VERY RARE occasions (and only with instructor approval) students may make purchases on their own cards and be reimbursed by the business office. Please note that these reimbursements may take several weeks, and students need to know that they cannot be reimbursed immediately. Once again, it’s crucial that students provide all original receipts. Bank account or credit card statements do not suffice. Students will not be reimbursed for anything they don’t have a receipt for. We do not recommend students using their own funds for capstone purchases.
- BYU purchases through the account number. Purchases made through other BYU departments (such as MotorPool truck rentals, BYU Catering, MPS) will need to go through your project’s account number. Contact the business office for your project’s account code.
- Special hiring procedures for any paid individuals/companies (Actors, composers, independent contractors, etc.). Prior to signing any agreements, you are required to work with the Business Manager to receive approval for each individual who will receive compensation.
Note: Advanced Fiction Production accounts will remain open and accessible for one year after the project’s initial completion date. (for example, projects starting in the Fall semester are projected to be completed on the last day of the Winter semester, Winter’s projects are projected to be completed by the last day of Summer term). After 12 months have passed, the TMA department will review and close the account. Any funds left in the account will be returned to the TMA projects account for use on future student projects. If the project feels they need to keep the account open past this deadline, they must notify and receive approval from the TMA department.
The final step for the written material is Script Lock. When the instructor determines that the script is locked, members of the production team are invited to present their preparations to the combined faculty.
The Faculty Review Presentation
After all of the steps in the scripting process are completed, and following the per-production efforts completed by the end of the first block, key crew members will meet with the faculty to share their preparations. The instructor will provide information for the faculty regarding areas of preparation and/or content that would benefit from further exploration or refining. After this presentation, faculty members will share their insights and identify any issues that may disqualify a crew member academically. The department retains the option of cancelling a project and limiting it to a per-production exercise.
SCHEDULING SHOOTING DAYS
Each project is allowed 4 shooting days, with an additional 2 days for pick-ups. Projects typically are scheduled for two successive weeks of Friday-Saturday shoots. Advanced Fiction Production project shooting days cannot be scheduled in conflict with: regular weekday class schedules, Sundays, holidays, university reading days, finals, or during General Conference. Shooting days should not exceed 12 hours. It is never permissible for crew members to skip class for a shoot. When scheduling shooting days, this is important to keep as the highest priority. We recommend that crews be large enough to have swing crews, or staffed with overlapping schedules to allow everyone to attend their classes as necessary. Additionally, shooting hours should be scheduled to ensure that BYU vehicles (including the truck/grip trailer) are not driven between 12am-6am, and not at all on Sundays (as per BYU Motor pool regulations).
Every crew member who will be handling departmental equipment needs to be sufficiently trained on all equipment they use. For help in determining eligibility and proper training, feel free to contact MAL Access managers. Every capstone project needs to go through the Access procedures to finalize equipment accessibility.
- Two weeks before filming, the Producer and their department heads in charge of equipment on the project should attend Access meeting. (This can be arranged through the Access manager.)
- Set up the project reservation through Connect2 with MAL area heads. If any equipment is damaged or lost, please report it immediately as per MAL Handbook rules. The school may ask whoever is responsible for the damage to contribute to help repair the item, or purchase a new one.
MOTION PICTURE STUDIOS FACILITIES
Occasionally, Advanced Fiction Production projects may wish to use resources or facilities at the LDS MPS. Producers (or any other member of the crew) should never personally contact anyone at the MPS to initiate their film project or use any MPS resources. Instead, they should fill out the MPS Access Request Form to start the project account creation process.
Note: The LDS MPS requires 2-3 weeks advance notice to schedule any services (including equipment rental, studio work, and filming on the lot or sound stages). If an MPS employee is required to monitor or help with a shoot, it will cost the production about $60/hr not including any material costs. Other rental or usage fees may apply.
Every project involves risk in some way. Whether it is shooting at a location, traveling long distances, or working with dangerous props or equipment. It is imperative that each project mitigate the possible risks that could occur during the filming of their project. It is strongly encouraged that each project meet with BYU Risk Management to review the possible risks and solutions.
Risk management does require certain forms or training on specific risk related items, these are:
REQUIRED FOR ALL PROJECTS:
- Injury, Incident, and Claim Reporting: Any time there is an injury or accident (including BYU vehicles/trailers) on a BYU project, a report must be filed with Risk Management. You can find the report forms here: https://risk.byu.edu/risk/injuryIncidentReporting.php. You should also report any injury or accident to your faculty advisor immediately
- Student Health Insurance Statement: All crew members must sign this agreement stating that they have personal health insurance, and that their personal insurance will be primary in case of accident or injury. You can download this form here: General Student Health Statement. The Producer should keep this form with the crew deal memos
- Field Trip Insurance: If your crew is traveling some distance for a film shoot, you are required to fill out Field Trip Insurance for the project. You can do this at risk.byu.edu (Insurance Tab -> Field Trip Insurance)
- Use of Personal Vehicle for BYU Travel: If you are traveling for a film project and choose to use your own vehicle, you must fill out one of the following forms: Use of Personal Vehicles Waiver or Riding in Personal Vehicles Waiver. The Producer should keep this form with the crew deal memos.
- Liability Insurance Certificate: If an non-BYU entity requires an insurance certificate, you may request one from BYU Risk Management at risk.byu.edu (Insurance Tab -> Student Film Shoot)
- Van and/or Dual Axel Truck/Trailer Training: If you are planning on using a 15 Passenger Van from BYU Motor Pool, or using the Grip Trailer from the MAL, you will need to have your Transpo crew trained by risk management. You may sign up for these trainings at ytrain.byu.edu (located in the catalog) or call Risk Management at
- Drone Photography: You must have a licensed and BYU approved drone operator to do any drone photography for a BYU project. For a list of approved operators and more information, contact Risk Management at
After production, most of your crew will be done with the Advanced Fiction Production project. You need to make sure you have their paperwork, including Crew Deal Memos, stored in your project BOX account and accessible in case there are any issues in the future.
Your project has 1 semester to complete its post-production processes, including picture lock, ADR, foley, color correction, music composition, final sound mix, final exports, and final deliverables due.
The TMA Department owns several facilities available for use in Post-Production, by qualified and eligible students. These include:
- Open Lab: contains basic post-production and editing software (open to all)
- The Pocket: contains a sound booth, and can be scheduled to record ADR, Voice Over, or Foley
- The Cave: includes high-end editing, color-correcting, DVD printing/duplicating, and other software needed for post-production and distribution
COMPLETION OF YOUR ADVANCED FICTION PRODUCTION PROJECT
FINAL PROJECT DELIVERABLES
When you finish your capstone project, you are required to turn in the following elements to the Media Arts Program via BOX for archiving:
- Final shooting script
- Final budget (with all purchases and balances)
- Copies of signed Release Forms, Crew Deal memos, and Locations Agreements
- All other licenses and clearances (for music, must include royalty-free, unlimited use in synchronization with the Project in perpetuity)
- Final Cast & Crew List
- HD Master Quicktime file (to be placed in archive storage and put on an LTO tape)
- Behind-the-scenes high resolution still photographs for promotional purposes (if any)
- Behind-the-scenes video clips in high resolution QuickTime format for promotional purposes (if any)
Ultimately, the project needs to submit all deliverables to the Media Arts Production Coordinator by the last day of finals of the Post-Production semester.
CAST & CREW SCREENING
After the completion of the project, the department will help schedule a Cast & Crew Screening for your film in the semester or block following Post-Production. This event should be kept a “Cast/Crew/Family Screening,” rather than a “premiere,” as to avoid conflict with film festival submissions that require a premiere at their festival.
BYU FINAL CUT FILM FESTIVAL
We invite Advanced Fiction Production projects to submit to our own BYU annual film festival, Final Cut. This festival is held in the fall, with submission deadlines in the beginning of July.
BYU STUDENT FILM WEBSITE
After your film has it’s festival run, the department would like to place your film on the studentfilm.byu.edu webpage. You may post your film online and share a link with the department to embed into the site, or, the department can host the film. Please notify the MA Coordinator when your film is ready to be posted.
Capstone Promotion/Festival Policy
Instated Fall 2015
A film’s promotion is as important as its creation, and students should be encouraged to think about and plan for finding ways for varied audiences to see their work. TMA supports local screenings through Final Cut and other on-campus opportunities; however, students should be participating in the broader festival venues. TMA is not in the position to support every project’s wish to attend every potential festival, thus we believe that the following policy provides is measured and equitable.
TMA Film Festival Funding Principles/Policy
- Submitting and attending a festival is highly recommend as long as it is weighted against the student’s educational experience. Experience in promotion and festival attendance is valuable to student learning; it should be student initiated and driven and be closely connected to project planning.
- Promotional plans should be put in place during the project development and budgeting phase. Students are responsible for developing a promotional plan and identifying festivals (i.e. a rationale regarding best festivals, costs, etc. should be put in place; this festivals is more viable and valuable than that one, etc.). This is the student’s responsibility and connected to his/her educational experience. Faculty mentors should be consulted and counseled with, but it is not the responsibility of the TMA department to provide a plan or function as the student’s agent.
- Department support for festival or promotional funding should be considered part of department’s pre-production contribution, and students should plan accordingly.
- If a project is accepted into a festival, students can request travel funds from the department by submitting a RFP to Fulton Funds. Their proposal will be vetted by a department-wide committee and approved at the Ex. Committee level. The festival size, prominence and distance will be weighed against the students learning experience.
Use of Department P-Cards For Film Festival Submissions:
Projects using a department P-card to submit their projects to film festivals must do it in the TMA office or TMA Business office and turn the receipt in immediately after submission No department P-Cards should be saved and used on a student’s personal Film Festival Submission accounts (filmfreeway, withoutabox, etc.) outside of the TMA or Business offices. When a student uses a P-Card to submit, they should delete the card from their account immediately after submission. If a student would like to submit via the department’s Film Festival accounts, they may do so by talking with the Media Arts Administrator. If the person submitting cannot come to campus, they must use a personal card and submit for a reimbursement from their project account. Reimbursement receipts must be turned in within 30 days of purchase or the receipt will not be reimbursed.
Distribution of Advanced Fiction Production Film
In some cases, students may want to distribute/monetize their student film through online streaming, DVD sales, screenings, ect. Prior to initiating any negotiations, students must contact the BYU Creative Works office and work any distribution agreement with them. See STUDENT OWNERSHIP OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY policy below.
STUDENT OWNERSHIP OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Students (a “student” is a person enrolled in BYU courses for credit) who independently develop intellectual property arising out of their participation in programs of study at the university will retain the ownership rights to such property when the intellectual property does not result from their employment at BYU and/or where there is no written agreement to the contrary. Students employed by the university will be treated in the same manner as similarly situated university personnel. However, any student not employed by the university, but either (i) engaging in research or development of intellectual property under the supervision and direction of a faculty member in connection with a program or activity subject to this policy or (ii) using substantial university resources in connection with a research program or activity agrees to grant and hereby does grant to the university, as a condition of being allowed to participate in the project and/or use university resources, a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, paid-up, irrevocable license to exploit, use, and sublicense the resulting intellectual property. Faculty using students, whether volunteer, non-employed, or employed, in their scholarly work projects should have the students sign a “Student Assignment of Ownership and Nondisclosure Agreement” form, available from Intellectual Property Services.
If in the event that either the Student or the Department would like to distribute a student’s project with the purpose of gaining revenue, the two parties will meet to discuss how revenue is distributed or shared.