Class Profile: Video production encourages student creativity through film

Through collaboration with multiple departments and disciplines, professor of English and theatre Melanie Blood has cultivated an interactive and creative experience in her ENGL 288: Video Production class, allowing students to learn the ins-and-outs of film.

Blood said this semester’s class is focused on an introduction to film and the treatment of images and equipment used to produce a final product. Blood added that students have worked to create several small projects that experiment with various aspects of mise-en-scène used to tell a story through film or theater.

As their final project, Blood said the students will create their own short films, to be premiered at the end of the semester.

“It’s really focused on everyone telling their own stories,” she said.

Blood said the hands-on aspect of the course is something relatively unique within the film studies minor. She also hopes that the upcoming expansion of the film studies minor and the overhaul of the English major will create more practical learning opportunities in the future.

The goal of the course is to serve as an introduction to film for people of all different backgrounds and skill levels, according to Blood. She said the diversity of the departments involved provides an opportunity to think about the significance of film and storytelling in new ways.

“It’s a very interdisciplinary work,” Blood said. “We talk with communications quite a bit and professor [of studio art] Michael Teres, who is actually sitting in on my class. He does graphic production and he’s been very helpful to me.”

Senior Kate Royal, a student in the class, said it offers a type of hands-on and cooperative learning that she hasn’t experienced before.

“Theater is a very collaborative art form, but in a different way than film is,” Royal said. “You can watch a great film and maybe understand why it’s a great film, but when you actually realize how many steps had to be taken to get to that point and how many people had to be involved, it’s almost overwhelming.”

A fellow student, senior Jessalyn Meehan said she found the course offered important experience that she thought had real world applications, especially in today’s technology-driven society.

“The class is a lot of fun, but you learn a lot about editing, which is something that is becoming more common in our culture,” Meehan said. “People are getting their hands on good video equipment more often and editing those videos together, whether it be for personal use or to put somewhere like YouTube. It’s definitely a skill that’s becoming really useful today.”