Independent Production Guidelines
Your 507/707 project has been approved and you may register for it to be taken during the term(s) you proposed. Read the following guidelines very carefully before registration and before beginning your project. If you have any questions, please be sure to clear them up immediately. Before beginning any work, you should consult thoroughly with your project adviser about procedures, technical problems, money, deadlines, etc. Since the emphasis is upon this work being "independent," the responsibility is upon the student for working out all these elements, arranging consultations, seeking the adviser's input, etc., but there are some requirements that all students should know:
1. The student is responsible for keeping within the budget.
2. All equipment that the student has checked out needs to be turned in before any final grade can be given.
3. Normally there is some kind of public component for any 507 or 707. In the case of a video, that element is a public screening during the last week of classes. All film & media students doing a FM 507/707 should get together and coordinate plans for publicity, invitations, etc. These viewings have to be advertised with posters and listings in Middlebury's Events Calendar, as well as in The Campus and on WRMC-FM, and the students must extend personal, written invitations to each faculty member in theatre, dance, and film & media, to the members of the Ad Hoc Film & Media Committe, and to the members of the College's central academic administration. These same people should be asked to announce the viewing in their classes. Normally, there is a reception for majors and faculty before or after one of the public screenings. For screenplays or essays, the normal public component is a reading of selected scene(s) or presenting a summary of your thesis as part of a panel with other students completing independent projects.
4. If the student is making a video, the program will in fact furnish this videotape directly to the student. Do not buy blank tapes and expect to be reimbursed nor charge any video tape to the College Store.
5.A final copy of the project, whether paper, script or video, must be given to the project adviser for permanent deposit with the department before any final grade is turned in. Such copies need to be labelled clearly as to term, year, student name, project adviser, and title of the project. For video projects, create a DV and VHS copy and give to Rebecca in the Film and Media office.
6. The rights for video projects belong primarily with the student, but the department reserves the right to show the work within the College community and to submit copies to film/video festivals and contests on behalf of the student and the College.
7. All video copies should have complete screen credits, including cast and crew, as well as a credit for the program and the institution. The simplest way to do this is to indicate that the video is copyrighted by the student and the program/institution, e.g, "copyright 1992 Susan Doe and Program in Film/Video, Middlebury College." Video credits should be kept to a minimum and simplified; if you wish to credit the project adviser, list his/her name with others, not on a separate card. Don't indicate that the video is a 507 or 707 project. Preferred credits include only the title, cast and crew names, acknowledgements for any person or business that helped, and the copyright notice given above. Always show your credits to your adviser before shooting them.
8. Students doing video projects should normally plan on the following deadlines; and they should assume that they will be asked to reshoot work, for technical and aesthetic reasons, and to plan their projects accordingly, e.g. choices of locations, weather, actors, etc.
End of Fall term
Treatment of 8-10 pages completed and approved by advisor
End of J-term
Shot list, storyboards, and script com-
pleted and approved by advisor
By Monday, beginning sixth week of Spring term classes
First rough cut shown to advisor
Monday, after spring break
Second rough cut shown to advisor
By Monday, beginning of tenth week of Spring term classes
First final cut shown to advisor
By Friday, end of eleventh week of classes
Final version shown to advisor
Thursday, final week of classes
9. Be sure to keep within the maximum length for your project; for a video, 15 minutes for a 507, 15 minutes for a 707, for a screenplay, 60-120 pages, for a critical essay 40-75 pages. The work will not be accepted if it exceeds the maximum scale or is less than the stated minimum.
10.Deadlines are an important part of an independent project. Final course grades will automatically be lowered one half of a letter for each deadline missed, regardless of the circumstances, unless the student submits a letter from the Dean of Students' office excusing the missed deadline.
11. For 707's a project defense is to be scheduled with the faculty supervisors after the public screening or written submission. Students should come to the defense prepared to discuss their project in terms of the criteria for evaluation distributed by the Film and Media Culture Program.
12. Be sure to keep your project adviser, and, if appropriate, your other advisers, fully informed about your work. Normally, you should contact your project adviser on a weekly basis and frequently show him/her the work-in-progress. Your project adviser and, if appropriate, your other advisers, must have approved your final version before any public showing. While the 507/707 is an independent project, the student should expect that the adviser will require the student to revise the project until it is acceptable to the adviser, especially with respect to sound and image quality.
13. Because the equipment and editing room have to be used by other students during the next term, incompletes and extensions are not possible except under very unusual circumstances.
14. Check with your adviser to find out when and where you can check equipment in and out. Take equipment out only for the period when you need it and return the equipment promptly. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR MORE THAN ONE EDITING SLOT. SIGN UP FOR THE NEXT ONE AFTER YOU FINISH USING THE ONE YOU SIGNED UP FOR.
15. Those shooting a video should not use the microphone mounted on the cameras nor should they use any copyrighted materials in the completed video, i.e., sound, text, images, etc. , unless they have specific permission from their project adviser. Projects frequently have problems with sound; to that end, do not use any omnidirectional mikes (e.g., the AKG C567E1 ) unless they are actually clipped to the speaker's clothes. In fact, do not use any lapel/lavalier mikes unless they are clipped to the only speaker's clothes. Don't use any of the other mikes at a distance greater than 2-1/2-3 feet. As much as possible, do not use any camcorders that have no manual control of the sound level; you'll find that the auto-level setting will raise the ambient noise to an unacceptable level whenever there is a dead space, e.g., when no one is speaking. Also some of the cameras require an external power supply and some do not; be sure that you check and use a power supply with the microphone that requires one.
16. Do not trade equipment in the field; if you do, regardless of the circumstances, the person who originally checked the equipment out is held responsible for any loss, damage, etc. Check equipment out ONLY with the student assistant or your project adviser; do not check equipment out or in through an employee of Media Services.
17. We do not supply batteries for the microphones and mixers; please buy your own at the College store, where they stock batteries for the Sennheiser microphones and also 9 volt batteries for mixers and power supplies.
18. The program will not accept for credit video projects that contain any copyrighted images or sounds (music), unless the student has written permission from the copyright holder, or the use of copyrighted material falls under fair use guidelines.
19. We ask that students now begin their spring term projects through the drop/add process the first day of classes. However, students will not be allowed to drop/add a 507 or a 707 unless they have an approved script, shot list, and storyboard, and have completed other preparatory work by the end of Winter Term.