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Senior Work Guidelines

Starting in 2020-21

The Senior Tutorial:  All FMMC majors must enroll in the Senior Tutorial during their final fall semester.  From the time they declare the major, FMMC majors should begin considering what form of senior project they want to undertake and should take classes in the major (and possibly outside the major) accordingly.  Students should consult regularly with their advisors prior to undertaking the Senior Tutorial and throughout their coursework in the major.

The Senior Tutorial is a project development course in the Fall, where students will conceive of, research, and take all necessary steps to be prepared to produce a project in the Winter Term. The nature of the project development is dependent on the specific form that a student is working on, as discussed below. It is expected that students who succeed in developing their project will produce final versions for public presentation in Winter Term, but approval to produce the project in Winter is contingent on the approval of the faculty in charge of the Senior Tutorial. Producing the project in Winter is not required to graduate as a FMMC major, but it is required to be considered for departmental honors.

In the Senior Tutorial, each student will prepare to produce an independent senior work project that will take the form of a video, a screenplay, a critical essay, a multimedia project, an audio project, a videographic or remix essay, or another form to be determined in consultation with faculty.  Students must have completed the required prerequisite courses to undertake a project in a given form. The specific development parameters to be completed by the end of Fall semester, and relevant prerequisites for each format is as follows:  

-       Critical essay (written): proposal (5-8 pages), annotated bibliography, completed primary research, draft of intro. Prereqs: completed courses relevant to their topic of research. Critical essays typically are 35-45 pages long, based upon original research.

-       Critical essay (multimedia): proposal (5-8 pages), annotated bibliography, primary research complete, platform analysis & choice, proof-of-concept. Prereqs: completed courses relevant to their topic of research, as well as coursework or experience in relevant multimedia formats.

-       Screenwriting (feature): Letter of intent, Outline or Treatment, Beat sheet, Character outlines, Full background research as needed, Draft of first act (20-25 pages). Prereqs: Writing for the Screen I and Writing for the Screen II, or another approved advanced writing course; Sight & Sound I is recommended. Finished screenwriting consists of 70-120 pages of original writing on an original feature film.

-       Screenwriting (television): Letter of intent, 1 page synopsis of season, Treatment or outline of pilot, Beat sheet of pilot, Character outlines, Full background research as needed, Draft of first 15 pages of pilot, Show bible & episode outline. Prereqs: Writing for the Screen I and Writing for the Screen II, or another approved advanced writing course; Sight & Sound I is recommended. Finished screenwriting consists of 70-120 pages of original writing on an original television series.

-       Short narrative video: Full revised script, Script breakdowns, Lookbook(s), Location folder, Casting completed, Locations secured, Crew completed, Budget, Shooting and post production schedule, Distribution plan. Prereqs: Sight & Sound I and Sight & Sound II or another relevant advanced production course; Writing for the Screen I is highly recommended. The maximum length for videos is 15 minutes.

-       Short documentary video: Letter of intent, Full write-up, Lookbook(s), Research dossier, Pre-interviews & location scouting, Full production plan including schedule & logistics, Crew completed, Budget, Distribution plan. Prereqs: Sight & Sound I and Sight & Sound II or another approved advanced production course; a course focused on Documentary (such as FMMC0232) is highly recommended. The maximum length for videos is 15 minutes.

-       Videographic essays/remix projects: proposal, annotated bibliography/videography, research complete, media ripped, test exercises / experiments, Trailer. Prereqs: completed relevant courses, such as Videographic Film & Media Studies or Remix Culture.

-       Podcast / audio project: Letter of intent, Full write-up, Research dossier, Pre-interviews, Full production plan - schedule & logistics, Crew completed, Budget, Distribution plan. Prereqs: Introduction to Podcasting or Sound Aesthetics and Production.

-       Animated short video: Full revised script, Script breakdowns, Lookbook(s), Collaborators secured, Production schedule, Proof-of-concept character models, location design, animatic, Distribution plan. Prereqs: 3D Computer Animation or its equivalent.

-       Other formats: other forms will be considered by the faculty supervising the tutorial, with parameters and prerequisites to be determined in consultation with the student.

Students in the Senior Tutorial will be evaluated on the quality of their development materials, their process in developing their projects, a reflective self-evaluation of their process, and their contributions to the course community via presentations, peer feedback, and collaborations. Formal collaboration between two students on projects is permitted, but the nature of the collaboration must be carefully articulated, and the collaboration must be approved by the Senior Tutorial instructor.

In addition to the Senior Tutorial instructor, students will select a secondary advisor from the faculty (in FMMC or another department) who has some expertise in the area in which the student is working.  This secondary advisor will offer the student additional guidance about the project development during the tutorial.

Project Completion:

Students who make satisfactory progress toward preparing their projects in the Senior Tutorial will be able to enroll in an independent study during Winter Term to complete the project. The project will be supervised by either the faculty running the fall Senior Tutorial, or the secondary adviser. Completing the project is not required for FMMC majors, but it is required to be considered for departmental honors.

Completed projects will be evaluated based on the quality of the finished project, the effectiveness and professionalism of their process, their collaboration and support of peers, and the insights from a 3-5 page self-evaluation on process.

Students not completing their own senior projects may serve as collaborators on other students video projects by enrolling in Collaborative Video Projects during Winter Term. Collaborators will either serve at least two significant roles in one project, or one significant role in at least two projects.

Each student’s project will include a public presentation component. For videomakers, there will be a screening of senior projects in the second week of the spring semester, allowing for a larger audience than in Winter Term; however the project grade will be determined based on the submission completed in Winter. For non-video projects, students will present their work publicly during the last week of Winter Term. All students will be encouraged to present their work at the Spring Student Symposium, and videomakers will be asked to submit qualified work to relevant festivals and competitions.

Honors:  Departmental honors will be determined by a student’s overall GPA in the major, and by the quality of the student’s culminating work on the senior project.  Normally, a GPA of 3.7 in the major is required for consideration for Honors.   A designation of Highest Honors will be reserved each year for that graduating senior who has done particularly distinguished work in the major.

Department of Film and Media Culture

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
Fax: 802.443.2805