Capstone 2Capstone Projects are peer-mentoring environments provided by the Media Arts Department and initiated by Media Arts majors. While the student initiating a Capstone 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 capstone project comes with associated coursework, class credit, and departmental supervision. Capstone projects also potentially receive a large amount of departmental support, through equipment access and funding.


Scripts will only be considered by the department when submitted by a producer or producers attached to the material. This means that if you’ve written a script, you must identify a producer or a producing team willing to spearhead the project before the script is submitted for review. The script will formally be submitted by the producer(s).

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.

Producers Eligibility

Fiction capstone producers must complete TMA 187 in order to produce a capstone project. Upon acceptance, they must meet periodically with the capstone 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 capstone (TMA 473R) credit during the third term after providing a detailed summary of the experience to the capstone professor as well as screening and discussing a rough cut of the film with the combined faculty.

Directors Eligibility

Fiction capstone directors must complete TMA 285 and TMA 319 in order to direct a capstone 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 capstone 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 capstone professor.  Directors will receive their capstone (TMA 473R) credit during all three terms. They will deliver a rough cut of the completed film to the capstone professor and will make a screening of the rough cut available for the combined faculty.

Project Size and Scope:

All fiction capstone projects must conform to a total script length of 7 pages. This is to keep capstone films from overextending outside the bounds of the given time frame to complete the capstone (2 semesters). This also prevents the capstone film from becoming unwieldily or overly expensive.

Capstone Process:

Step 1: Applying


All capstone projects start with a script, and with a project applicant, which is the projects’ Producer(s).

The initiation of the project by the project applicant also designates this individual as the liaison between the project and the department. This capacity is slightly different than his or her actual crew role on set, and the task of Project Liaison is in addition to the student’s specified crew responsibility. The Project Liaison is responsible for making certain that the peer mentoring environment is maintained and that the project complies with the Departmental conditions placed on the Capstone process—from start to finish.

  1. Capstone script submissions can only be initiated by the project’s Producer.
  2. This script must be no longer than 7 pages in length (standard screenplay format). It will not be considered if it is any longer.
  3. If applicants wish for individual faculty members to review their script before the pitch, they are welcome to submit their proposed scripts to the department writing committee (consisting of Media Arts faculty members). To do this, these scripts should be emailed to the Media Arts Production Coordinator, identifying that the script is for capstone consideration.


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 after the Greenlight Pitch, or even during 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.

Step 2: Pitch Your Script

Pitching Your Script

The Script Development Pitch occurs in towards the end of both the Fall and Winter Semesters.

This is done through these steps:

  1. Finalize a 7-page script.
  2. Fill out the Capstone Script Development Pitch cover-page, located in the TMA office (D581 HFAC)
  3. By the last Friday of February or October, bring one copy to the Media Arts Project Coordinator (D581 HFAC).
  4. All scripts will be evaluated by the Media Arts Writing Committee. Following this evaluation, students will be notified by email and informed regarding the status of their scripts. If the department passes on a script, it is not approved to move forward. If the script is approved, the individual initiating the project will be invited to attend the Script Development Pitch.
  5. At the pitch date, the Producer will have a scheduled presentation with the faculty.  The presentation may be scheduled between 5-15 minutes depending on the number of scripts pitching that semester. Your pitch should include:
    1. Synopsis of the idea/story 
    2. Why you think your project should be considered
    3. How it might be executed

Be prepared to answer questions regarding project scope, distribution, as well as your graduation plan.

Following the Development pitch, faculty will select no more than two fiction proposals to continue into project development.

Script Development Pitch Cover Sheet

For fiction capstones. Applicants should complete this form, and return it to the Media Arts Production Coordinator with attached 7-page script by the last weekday of October or February.


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. Post Production for all projects are coordinated through Kyle Stapley and Tom Lefler.

Fall   Winter   Spring Summer
1st Term 2nd Term 1st Term 2nd Term
Jeff Parkin Jeff Parkin Jeff Parkin Post Production
Tom Russell Tom Russell Tom Russell Post Production

If the project is not approved, the applicant may continue to rework the script or another script and apply again at the next semester’s Script Development Pitch.

If approved, the project will continue to the Project Development phase. This phase includes crew assembly and pre-production. The process entails:

  1. Applicant should revise the script, particularly based on comments from faculty.
  2. Crew up. Find and begin assembling key crew members. (Casting and Locations departments should not delay, and must round out their crews immediately and get all department members registered for first block.)
  3. Directors should register for the TMA 473 class, Producers should register for the TMA 387 class, and all key crew members should register for the class corresponding to their roles. Please refer to page 5 for class registration details.
  4. The project is given an initial $500 of funding at the beginning of the 1st Block for initial development. This money will be made available in your BYU account with the Business Office.
  5. The project prepares for the second pitch, or the Greenlight Pitch. This involves pitching for Film Committee & Fulton funding, for equipment access, and to move into Production, based on the preparations shown in Pre-Production.

Faculty Decide on which two scripts move on to development: After all the pitches, the faculty will discuss which two scripts will continue to the development phase. You will be notified by email the day after your pitch if you were selected to move on.

Step 3: Development


During the term before the Faculty Review Pitch, Capstone directors and producers need to put together a crew to work on the project. 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 person working on a Capstone needs to register for 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 a chart below under the section “Crew Class Enrollment.”


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, Producer, UPM, 1st AD, DP, Production Designer, Gaffer, Key Grip, Costume Designer, Hair/MU Supervisor, Sound Designer, Sound Editor, Post-Production Supervisor, DIT, Editor, Locations, and Casting.

Applicant and Key Crew Members must be in good academic standing.

“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.

If any faculty member knows of any other reason for specific students not to be involved on capstone projects, they may need to remove them from the project.


All key crew members that work on a capstone project must register for associated class credit. This serves to reward them academically for their efforts, as well as make their crew responsibilities more accountable through a grading process.


key-class-crew*Be aware that you may not be able register for 2nd block credit until after project approval at the Greenlight Pitch. This means that those needing to fill credit hours for scholarships, etc must find other ways to do so.
• If non-Media Arts students are serving in a Key Crew role, they still must sign up for class credit. Rather, they will be registering for TMA 215R Credit.

To register for 387 credit:
1) Sign up for the TMA 387 class as soon as the project is approved at the Script Development Pitch.

To register for 372R/215R credit:
1) Go to the TMA front office and pick up the “TMA On-Campus Apprenticeship/Internship/Project Application” packet.
2) Fill out your “Specific Learning Activities” associated with your crew role.
3) Get signatures from the 387 instructor as well as the Media Arts Production Coordinator.

Step 4: Faculty Review Pitch


At the end of the first block, the project pitches to invited faculty, in a faculty review pitch. The purpose of this pitch is to provide an overview to faculty on the schedule, scope, and status of the project.


Applicants should complete this form and attach it to the front page/cover of their Pitch Packet.



The Director’s TMA 475 instructor and the Producer’s 372 instructor will help prepare them for the pitch.
These preparations include:

  1. The project as a whole and each individual department should be making preparations to film and making progress in conceptualization, pre-visualization, fundraising, casting sessions, locations scouts, etc. Production Meetings should be in full swing.
  2. Preparing a pitch packet. This pitch packet consists of: Project Synopsis, Script, Complete Crew List, Shooting Schedule, Budget, Calendars, Fundraising Plans/Progress, and statements regarding meeting the aims of a BYU Education and creating a peer mentoring/educational environment.
  3. Filling out the Faculty Review Pitch Cover Page. Attach the cover page to the front of your pitch packet. The pitch packet and cover page must be delivered to the invited faculty members via their boxes in the TMA office. This packet should be delivered no later than two days before the review.
  4. Preparing a pitch binder. The pitch binder contains essentially ALL preparations made up to that point. It’s an extremely comprehensive binder that shows preparation and attention to detail in every department—including each department’s research notes, references, conceptuals, and any other pertinent breakdowns, schedules, budgets, or releases. It should have sections from the Director, Casting, Locations, Design, Wardrobe, Hair/MU, Sound, FX, Camera, Grip/Electric, Craft, Fundraising, and Post-Production. It should additional contain crew member’s resumes and Deal Memos. This binder will be brought to the pitch, and passed around the table between faculty members. They may see fit to ask you questions regarding what they see in the binder.


The Faculty Review Pitch takes place at the end of the 1st block of each capstone track. (Generally, at the end of February and middle of October.) For each capstone project, the Director, Producer, and Screenwriter should plan on being part of the pitch, with other select key crew members on standby.

The Faculty Review Pitch is a 15-minute pitch. You have 10 minutes to pitch your project (time usually split between a Director and Producer), and then another 5 for a question and answer session.


After the Faculty Review Pitch, members of the project will continue onto the 2nd block, which includes finishing Pre-Production preparations and moving into Production. Specifically, students will:

  1. Have all crew members sign up for 2nd block credit immediately, before the 2nd Block Add/Drop deadline.
  2. Continue holding Production Meetings and moving into production.
Step 5: Production


Capstone Projects will be funded in the following ways:

  1. Development Funds ($2000). This fund comes from TMA endowment monies, and is awarded into a BYU account after it has been accepted into the capstone class.
  2. Fulton Funds grant process (up to $2000). This funding is associated with the TMA Department, but must be applied for separately. Details can be found here:
  3. Film and Digital Media Funds (FDMF, up to $2000). Much like the Fulton Funds, this funding is awarded by the College of FIne Arts and Communications and requires an applicaiton. More information can be found here:
  4. Independent fundraising efforts. Fundraising is a necessary and expected component of the individuals working on the capstone project, to be overseen by the project’s Producer. Fundraising events of any kind (bake sale, concert, party, etc.) can be held anytime after approval at the Script Development Pitch. Often, tax-deductible fundraising can be securely accomplished through a project group-funding website, like Kickstarter or IndieGogo. Please consult with the TMA office regarding any donations given directly to BYU.

As you fundraise, keep in mind that the maximum budget for capstones is $8000. Through the department and college, you can be awarded up to $6000, and your own independent fundraising efforts should total no more than an additional $2000.


The Development Funds, FDMF, and Fulton Funds awarded to a capstone are all managed in an account at the school. Each capstone project will have it’s own account, managed in the TMA Business Office, located in the Department of Art office (E509 HFAC). Through this account, you will have access to:

  1. A purchasing card for your capstone. 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 a capstone 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.
  2. Reimbursements. In rare occasions,  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 can’t 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.
  3. BYU purchases through the account number. Purchases made through other BYU departments (such as MotorPool truck rentals, BYU Catering) will need to go through your project’s account number. Contact the business office for your project’s account code.


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. Capstone 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.


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 Access managers. Every capstone project needs to go through the Access procedures to finalize equipment accessibility.

  1. 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.)
  2. Set up the project reservation through Ashwire 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.


Occasionally, there is a chance for capstone projects to use resources or facilities at the LDS MPS. However, there are other associated procedures and guidelines concerning this use. Producers (or any other member of the crew) should never personally contact anyone at the MPS to arrange to film there or use any resources. Instead, they should contact MAL Access, who will lead them through the process.

Step 6: Post-Production


After production, most of your crew will be done with the capstone project. You need to make sure you have their paperwork, including Crew Deal Memos. You also need to make sure they have completed all paperwork with the department, including their evaluations and paper for their 372R, or 215R class.

The 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


  • 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 on the Cave Storage, then put on an LTO tape)
  • 3 Blu-Rays of final cut of film
  • Behind-the-scenes high resolution still photographs for promotional purposes
  • Behind-the-scenes video clips in high resolution QuickTime format for promotional purposes (if applicable)
  • Ultimately, the project needs to submit all deliverables to the Media Arts Production Coordinator, at the end of each corresponding production phase. All materials need to be turned in the last day of finals of the Post-Production semester.


After the completion of the capstone project, the department will help schedule a Cast & Crew Screening for your capstone in the block following Post-Production. This event should be kept a “Cast & Crew Screening,” rather than a “premiere,” as to avoid conflict with film festival submissions that require a premiere at their festival.


We invite capstone projects to submit to our own BYU annual film festival, Final Cut. This festival is held in October, with submission deadlines in the beginning of June.

Step 7: Distribution Policies

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

  1. Submitting and attending a festival is highly recommend as long as it 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Department support for festival or promotional funding should be considered part of department’s pre-production contribution, and students should plan accordingly. However, once the production team receives their final grade, student producers are free to raise additional funding for festival submissions through their own initiative without TMA support, oversight, or approval.
  4. 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.

Distribution of Capstone Film

In some cases, students may want to distribute/monetize their student film trough online streaming, DVD sales, Ect. Prior to finalizing 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.


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.