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.


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.


Capstone Process:

Step 1: Identifying a Script

Step one – 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 7 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.

Media Arts Script Community

Click here to access the Media Arts Script Community (The Hopper)
Step 2: Formal Script Submission

Step Two – 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 hard copy of the material to the front desk by the submission deadline. The title page will include the author of the material and the producer associated with it.  cover page will be included identifying the script as a capstone proposal,

Attention:  The Media Arts Writing Committee will be responsible for reviewing all formal submissions. The combined committee will select no more than eight scripts for further consideration.

Script Development Pitch Cover Sheet

Applicants should complete this form, and return it to the TMA Front Desk (D581 HFAC) with their attached 7-page script by the capstone submission due date listed below.


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.

Capstone Due Dates For Winter 2018 Capstone For Fall 2018 Capstone
Script Submissions due November 3, 2017 March 2, 2018
Step 3: Script Pitch and Approval

Step Three: 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 fiction capstones. 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.

Step 4: Selecting Crew

Step Four: Selecting Crew

After a script is approved for a capstone, 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 a Capstone 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 capstone Directing Faculty Member and Producing Faculty Member supervising the project.


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 in TMA 187
  • UPM
  • 1st AD
  • Director of Photography (DP) – Pre-req for DP is TMA 285
  • Production Designer
  • Gaffer
  • Key Grip
  • Costume Designer
  • Hair/MU Supervisor
  • Sound Designer
  • Sound Editor
  • Post-Production Supervisor
  • DIT
  • Editor
  • Locations
  • Casting

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 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• 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.

Step 5: Script Lock

Step Five – Script Lock

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.

Step 6: Facutly Review Presentation

Step Six: 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.

Funding and 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. Film and Digital Media Funds (FDMF, up to $4000). This funding is awarded by the College of Fine Arts and Communications and requires an application. More information can be found here:
  3. Fulton Funds Grant ($X amount to cover whatever was not received from FDMF). This funding is associated with the TMA Department, but must be applied for separately. Details 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 capstone approval. Often, tax-deductible fundraising can be securely accomplished through a project group-funding website, like Kickstarter or IndieGogo. Please consult with your capstone faculty as well as the TMA office regarding any fundraising efforts. Any donations given directly to BYU must be run through the Media Arts Administration and LDS Philanthropies.

As you raise funds, 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 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 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.

Note: Capstone accounts will remain open and accessible for one year after the project’s initial completion date. (for example, Capstones starting in the Fall semester are projected to be completed on the last day of the Winter semester, Winter’s capstones 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.


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 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.


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.

Note: The LDS MPS requires 3 weeks advanced 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 $56/hr not including any material costs.

Post-Production and Completion


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, stored 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



When you finish your capstone project, you are required to turn in the following elements to the Media Arts Program 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)
  • 3 Blu-Ray discs of final cut of film
  • 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.


After the completion of the capstone project, the department will help schedule a Cast & Crew Screening for your capstone 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.


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.

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.