The concentration will provide majors with a foundation for entry into the filmmaking and digital storytelling fields, including producing, directing, editing, cinematography, production design, and sound with an emphasis on storytelling as a function of narrative communication. These skills are also applicable for graduates who want to pursue careers in fiction filmmaking, documentary production, music videos, commercials and other branded content.
“With the digital filmmaking concentration, our goal is to put NCCU at the forefront of a field that has a growing need for skilled storytellers from underrepresented groups,” said Calvin Hall, Ph.D., department of mass communication chair. “We are excited about the prospect of the concentration helping our department develop partnerships with media outlets that will help our graduates tell stories that emerge from the lived experiences, the imagined experiences, and the historical perspectives that define us.”
In addition to external partnerships, it is also anticipated that the concentration will lead to greater collaboration among the university’s mass communication, music, art and theatre departments. Such collaborations will enable the concentration to better prepare students who want to pursue jobs in the visual storytelling industry, according to Michael Pearce, an assistant professor who currently teaches screenwriting and film production elective courses in the department.
“Filmmaking is also a very collaborative medium and requires artisans from across the creative arts spectrum,” he said.
The department first began offering a course in screenwriting in 2015 as a special topics course. The course was added to the department’s catalog two years later. It was the success of that course contributed to that feasibility of developing a filmmaking concentration.
Mass communication majors in the digital filmmaking concentration will take the department’s required core courses along with five required courses, which include Introduction to Screenwriting, Introduction to Film Criticism, Video Production, Documentary, and Independent Film Production. Students will also take one departmental elective course to complete the concentration requirements.
As part of the concentration’s co-curricular activities associated with the concentration, the department will begin hosting a monthly film series in fall 2023 that highlights and explores the work of African American filmmakers.
The department has already established a history of award-winning student film projects. The student film “Missed Call” won best short film in competitions and screenings throughout North Carolina, including the Cary Zombiepalooza Film Festival in 2018. Another student production titled “Later” is currently in post production and will begin its festival run in spring 2023. The department has also produced various short documentaries that have won awards in student competitions throughout the east coast.