Hollywood. It’s one of the most influential businesses since the Industrial Age. It’s where the movies that change the world—for good and bad--are made. It’s an epicenter for the formation of American popular culture and the port of departure from which this culture is exported to the world.
For students at the L.A. Film Studies Center (LAFSC), Hollywood is a place to be explored, engaged and critiqued; as a city, an industry and a calling. A semester at LAFSC is time and space reserved for academic and experiential inquiry, using the city as the primary text for research.
The curriculum consists of two seminars, Hollywood Production Workshop and Faith & Artistic Development in Film, focusing on the role of film in culture and the relationship of faith to work in this very influential industry. You'll also choose one elective course from a variety of offerings in film studies. Internships in various segments of the film industry provide you with hands-on experience. The combination of the internship and seminars allows you to explore the film industry within a Christian context and from a liberal arts perspective.
HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTION WORKSHOP (4 credits)
Students work collaboratively in groups to create a festival-ready piece, including all the legal documentation and rights to enable the finished production to qualify for festival submission. The course offers students the opportunity to make a motion picture production using Hollywood locations, resources and protocol. Students participate in a competitive vetting process of scripts, pitches and meetings, much like the process of the professional industry. This course operates as a community-building experience in which all students participate in at least one key role in the production process. The course also offers small group tutorials for each student's production position. The workshop environment is specifically designed to meet the needs of both novice and experienced students. The major emphases of the course are the importance of each contribution to a production, the process of production and effective production management. This course complements the more specialized, skill-focused elective courses and is taught by professional, experienced Christian filmmakers with credits in the Hollywood industry.
Academic Application: Film Studies, Communication, Art, Business, English/Writing, Elective.
Instructors: John K. Bucher Jr., MA Communication/Film, University of Colorado; Jeremy Casper, MA Communication/Film: Directing & Cinematography, Regent University; Christine Krebsbach, MA Communication/Film: Producing, Regent University; Patrick Duff, BA Communication, Asbury College; Nathan White, BA Communication Arts: Film, Gordon College
FAITH AND ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT IN FILM (3 credits)
A class that explores the connection between the eye, the heart and the hand, this course focuses on the integration of faith and learning as well as developing the necessary skills for analysis of the culture of Hollywood. The first section of the class emphasizes the eye: discovering your own identity, looking at film’s historical impact, spiritual impact, audience trends, the auteur movement, and vision in film, as well as providing a basis for heart preparation for production. The second section of the course emphasizes the heart: ethics, relationships and communication, passion and art. The last section of the course emphasizes the hand, exploring the collaborative process in Hollywood Production Workshop and Narrative Storytelling: roles and aspects of production, the production process, relationships on set, and communication. All students participate in this team-taught lecture seminar led by the faculty of The Los Angeles Film Studies Center.
- To develop a worldview inclusive of Hollywood cinema and faith.
- To balance individual beliefs with the pluralistic culture of Hollywood.
- To articulate what it means to be a filmmaker and artist as a person of faith in the Hollywood entertainment industry, and to explore it as a vocation.
- To create life-long learners who think more critically and creatively.
- To develop a thoughtful, holistic Christian worldview and exhibit Christ-like attitudes and habits.
- To develop the ability to navigate the Hollywood film industry relationally and to complete projects professionally.
Academic Application: Biblical Studies/Theology, Ethics, Faith and Culture, Art and Faith
Instructors: Rebecca Ver Straten-McSparran, MDiv Philosophical Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary; John K. Bucher Jr., MA Communication/Film, University of Colorado; Jeremy Casper, MA Communication/Film: Directing & Cinematography, Regent University
INTERNSHIP: INSIDE HOLLYWOOD (6 credits)
Students participate in an internship experience in some aspect of the Hollywood entertainment industry. These are nonpaying positions primarily in an office setting such as development companies, agencies, management companies, post-production facilities, etc. Students work 20 to 24 hours a week, spread over a three day schedule and accumulate 200-250 hours for the semester. Orientation to the internship includes an overview of the creative and operational aspects of the Hollywood entertainment business, including the Christian's role working therein. The internships do not include positions on actual filmmaking locations. Instead, students work in offices as support personnel to producers, writers, directors, agents, post-production personnel and others involved in the total process of producing and distributing a major motion picture. LAFSC provides interns to many of the major companies within Hollywood.
Academic Application: Film Studies, Communication, Art, Business, English/Writing, Elective.
Instructors: Christine Krebsbach, MA Communication/Film: Producing, Regent University; Nathan White, BA Communication Arts: Film, Gordon College
ELECTIVE COURSES (Students Choose One)
NARRATIVE STORYTELLING (3 credits)
Concentrating on the art form of narrative storytelling, the course places special emphasis on the visual aspect of the discipline. Two tracks are offered in the course. The Structural track covers topics ranging from the history of story in culture and film to the mechanics of story creation to the development of story-writing skills. Instruction in the Technical Story track focuses on advanced methods of cinematography and post-production and how those techniques can be used to improve visual storytelling. After the core instructional period in each track, students from both tracks are reunited and will have the opportunity to hone their narrative analysis skills, participate in workshop style labs and make two short films that demonstrate their ability to utilize storytelling theory on screen.
- Story – To demonstrate understanding and improvement in developing story ideas through sight and sound. Narrative history/aesthetics serves as a guide to this process.
- Technique – To learn to creatively apply the principles and techniques of story creation and telling.
- Resource management – To learn how to manage time, personnel, equipment, and other resources to complete complex projects efficiently and effectively.
- Analytical / critical skills – To develop the ability to analyze one’s own completed work and the work of others with constructive criticism aimed at improvement. Students should learn how to accept criticism well.
- Hollywood professionalism – To develop the ability to navigate the Hollywood film industry to complete projects professionally. This includes following industry standards of courtesy and safety.
Academic Application: English, Humanities, Film, Creative Writing, Education
Instructors: John K. Bucher Jr., MA Communication/Film, University of Colorado; Jeremy Casper, MA Communication/Film: Directing & Cinematography, Regent University; Christine Krebsbach, MA Communication/Film: Producing, Regent University
PROFESSIONAL SCREENWRITING (3 credits)
This is a course in contemporary screenwriting, including an understanding of dramatic structure, character and dialogue development, and the writing process. Students complete a full-length screenplay for a feature film or "movie-of-the-week." Whether novice or advanced, students are expected to develop and improve their skills. Emphasis is given to the role of Christian faith and values as they relate to script content. The course is taught by a working, credited Christian screenwriter and screenwriting professor at UCLA.
Academic Application: Communication, Film Studies, English, Creative Writing.
Instructor: Kris Young, MFA Screenwriting, University of California at Los Angeles, Kris also teaches screenwriting at UCLA.
PROFESSIONAL ACTING FOR THE CAMERA (3 credits)
An advanced workshop in the practice and process of acting for the camera aimed at students who have a desire to pursue acting as a career. Instruction includes an overview of current camera acting techniques and thorough discussion of the art of acting. The class primarily consists of acting scene work with all scenes being filmed and critiqued on the big screen. Students will also be required to pursue roles in student and independent films. Several class sessions throughout the course will be devoted to the business of acting for film and television in the Hollywood entertainment industry with an emphasis given to developing the materials and relationships necessary for a successful career.
Academic Application: Film, Acting, Business of Acting, Directing.
INDEPENDENT STUDY (3 credits)
This course may be elected by special request and arrangement. In order to be considered, students submit a portfolio and a project proposal. Students with approved projects will be appointed a mentor who is a professional in the Hollywood industry. Projects could include further development of a portfolio or reel, critical research or a senior thesis project.
Please Note: The Independent study option is not guaranteed and is intended for students with experience in a specific area of cinema or those needing to complete a senior project for graduation. The number of independent studies offered each semester will be determined by LAFSC faculty, the availability of a suitable mentor and approval from your school's film/communications department head.