PROF. THOMAS RONDINELLA   off: FH 26; campus: X5837  



NOTE:    This is an advanced film production class. Students must have completed Introduction to Filmmaking to remain in this class.  NO EXCEPTIONS.


COURSE OBJECTIVE:  Through the production of short 16mm films/HDV,

students will learn the technical and creative aspects of filmmaking.



COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Filmmaking is a collaborative art form.  Thus, students will work in three member crews formed by the second class meeting. 




·        Since this class involves active student participation, attendance and punctuality are mandatory for everyone's benefit. Lateness and absences will result in a lower class participation grade. No exceptions, no excuses. 


·        Being a team player: Dedicating as much to the fellow filmmaker’s project as to your own film. Being a constructive and encouraging member of each film crew.


Completing a short project as director and/or producer, editor, cinematographer at the end of the term for final review.




Each crew is responsible for the production of two exercises during the semester. The scripts are provided.   The crew members will rotate crew positions on these exercises.  The crew positions are:  Director, Director of Photography, Assistant camera/editor


Each person is graded on their participation in each capacity on the exercise.  The exercise is 30% of final grade and may be re-edited throughout the semester for one grade higher.


There are three options to choose from for the next 40% of grade:


Option #1:  Each student can write, direct his/her own short film.  There is a choice of shooting all film, shooting all HDV or a combination of both.  If film is used, the student will be given 300 feet of raw reversal stock (@7 minutes.  Script is limited to 10 pages MAX (properly formatted) and no more than 5 pages of dialogue.  Content is up to the student but must have instructor's approval.  Each student will produce this film with the crew members from this class. 


Option #2:  A group of three students can pool their film allotment (reversal) and make one film.  There is a choice of shooting all film, shooting all HDV or a combination of both.  On this group film, each student is responsible for writing, directing and shooting one aspect of the project.  Again, each student is evaluated on his/her input.  Content is up to the student but must have instructor’s approval.


Option #3:  A student can crew on 3 fellow student's productions in major roles as production manager, cameraperson, or soundperson.  Student must be on the shoot for the entire production time.  Again, student is evaluated on his/her input.  Instructor must approve crew assignments.


Final Film Requirements- Students can shoot anything that he/she wants with instructor approval of script. The instructor will not accept any script over ten pages in length (properly formatted, TV/Filmwriting format). The script must only have five pages of sync dialogue.  The instructor will not accept any script with more than five pages of sync dialogue.  Director edits own film.   Students may adapt a short story or poem if they wish.




Crew work, production grades, attendance and class participation is the remaining 30% of final grade.  Five production grades are given to each student to monitor their progress throught the semester.  In addition, A honest evaluation of the crew's work is due from each student at the last class.    There is no midterm or final exam.


Recommended textbook:  Film Production Technique, 4th Edition.   Bruce Mamer


The students are not allowed to be absent from class and will be penalized in the class participation grade.  If a student is absent, he/she is required to call me at 973-275-5837 to tell the instructor he/she will not be in class.  Also, this class starts on time; students will be penalized for tardiness. 


No open laptops in class.  All written assignments are emailed before class.  No hard copies are accepted!


The student must meet his/her deadlines.  In an actual job, a late assignment would get someone fired - The instructor will just deduct one letter grade each class period.  ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO EXCEPTIONS.  The student is responsible for the delivery, processing and pickup of film on his/her own. Students shooting negative film are responsible for their own purchase of film. Students are responsible for their own HDV tapes.


The work load and time commitment is heavy.  Final films will need 4+ crew members from the class.   If the student doesn't think he/she has the time outside of class to work on fellow student's films, he/she should drop the course.  Any student who repeatedly misses a crew assignment will be dealt with accordingly.


The student will work on several projects at one time.  The instructor is a professional and will treat the student with a professional attitude and expect the same from the student.  The student only learns by doing.  Welcome to Show Biz.


COURSE SCHEDULE: (Subject to change, except where bold)


Sep.  6    Course intro., expectations, film stocks,


Sep. 11   Crew formation, Prepro discussion for exercise.

                Hands-on review:  Bolex setup, film load and light meter review.       


Sep. 13    Group meetings:  Prepro for Exercise # 1 due

                Final Film treatments due


Sep. 18     Interior Lighting Workshop   Begin shooting exercise #1


Sep. 20     Scripting/Preproduction  expectations for final projects


Sep. 25     Casting, Working with actors


Sep. 27    Re-introduction to non-linear editing, Chap. 8, Editing room demo


Oct.   2     Exercise rushes due on computer,  Final Film scripts due


Oct.   4     HDV camera checkout.  Hands-on review. 


Oct.   9       HDV camera hands-on review- crew set up and in class shoot


Oct.   11    Cuts of Exercise #1 due  on computer, Exercise #2 prepro. due


Oct.   16    Location sound recording,  hands-on workshop. 


Oct.   18   In-class Sync sound shoot. Class check out before class, Ex.#2 shoots begin


Oct.   23    Production Project meetings by group,   Prod. Grade #1


Oct.   25  Exercise #2 footage due on computer, Final Projects begin shooting


Oct.    30    Production Project reports by group,  Prod. Grade #2


Nov.     1     Exercise #2 cuts due on computer        


Nov.     6     Production Project reports by group,  Prod. Grade #3


Nov.     8     Screen rushes (on tape)   


Nov.   13     Screen rushes (on tape)  Prod. Grade #4


Nov.   15    Screen rushes (on tape)


Nov.   20    Screen rushes (on tape)   Prod. Grade #5



                   AFTER THIS DATE.     


Nov.   29    Screen rushes/cuts on computer


Dec.      4    Screen rushes/cuts on computer, last day exercise re-cuts due


Dec.     6     cut reviews


Dec.    11    cut reviews


Exam week   2:45   Final project due.  Group assessments due




These projects must be done by the assigned group, rotating the three job assignments.  Director is responsible for the shot list. The cameraman is responsible for lighting, composition and operating.  The assistant camera is responsible for camera loading and set-up as well as the editing of the project.  First project is allotted 200 feet of film.  Second project shot on HDV


Exercise #1  - A character sits on a park bench forlorned, dumped by their significant other.  Our character is so distraught that he/she can't sleep or eat.  Attempted tries to patch up the relationship are rebuffed.  Sitting back on the park bench, our character finds a winning lottery ticket.  Now rich and popular, our character meets the significant other who is shocked. It must be 50% exterior and 50% interior.  Soundtrack is music or sound effects only.


Exercise #2 -  Two suspicious characters walk from inside to outside and meet, each with attache cases.  There is little trust between them.  One person opens their case; it is full of drugs.  The other opens their case and pulls out a gun.  A struggle ensues and one person is killed.  The other walks off with the drugs.  Minimal dialogue and audio is recorded.