CTVU Outreach: A Guide to Being the Best Film Major

So… you want to make the most out of your film degree, huh? Well buddy, you’ve come to the right place. Not only will I expel my knowledge unto you of how to get out there at Regent, but I will also offer up some stories that detail my experience walking into this school with no clue how to tackle the major. Through this brief guide, you’ll learn how to connect with fellow filmmakers, make short films early, and get yourself noticed. Are you ready? Let’s get started…

Before you question whether or not to take advice from this random Daily Runner schmoe who has mainly done film reviews through the site, let me give you a little background as to who I am. Currently, I am a junior film major looking to survive his fifth semester of college. I’ve directed four short films and have been a part of over forty sets. My duties, as of now, consist of being president over the campus’ only film club, executive producing three short films, co-running Regent’s television practicum (I’ve co-created and written for their shows), and co-running a webseries created by myself for the Producing and Directing for Television class. This isn’t a moment to brag on myself, but rather a quick check so you know that what I have to say could be of some importance (and legitimacy) to you. If you were to go back two years ago, you would run into an awkward young(er) fellow, too shy to even ask for directions to a bathroom. I’ve changed big time, and I want to make sure you get the best out of your degree. Here are a few things to consider, no matter what year of CTV you are in:

  1. If you want to really learn about film, get on film sets. Let’s face it, while the CTV classes at Regent are informative, they are no where near going to give you as much experience as you can get on an actual set. This especially applies to first-year courses, which consist of simple lectures on movies other people have made rather than how to make your own. One film set will give you more knowledge than a whole semester of a CTV course – that’s a fact. The courses themselves are designed to sharpen your skills in order to apply them to the sets you get on, whether those courses be Cinematography or Producing and Directing. How do you get on a set? Well, you can ask around, or…
  2. Join a Film Club. In the CTV program at Regent, we film majors consider ourselves family. Film clubs are not only meant to teach more on certain aspects of the film industry but serve as a place of fellowship for fellow filmmakers. There, you can make so many connections and even have the chance to be involved in club-produced projects, which will lead you to more work on other sets. Wanna be a part of the family? Come out to COM 101 at 9:05 p.m. every Monday and sit in for a CinemaScope meeting. We’d love to have you!
  3. Utilize Facebook Film Groups. While many of the cool kids call Facebook lame, it is surprisingly the hotspot for all communication regarding film sets. You’ll find casting calls, crew calls, and individual posts on the industry in these groups, depending on how specialized it is. Some notable ones to join (and send out your own cast/crew calls) are Regent University Cinema-Television On-Campus, Tidewater Casting (Regent Casting), Virginia Filmmakers and Actors, Hampton Roads Film Actors’ Group, and Regent’s very own CinemaScope: A Film Club.
  4. Don’t Hesitate with Opportunities. Kind of a broad phrase, but it’s true: only committed people will find success through this major. The amount of opportunities to be found at Regent are vast and within ear shot. When I was informed that Regent was having a writers’ room for its TV practicums to change up the story, I jumped on-board as soon as I could. With this field, you have to give your 110% – as long as it’s in moderation, that is. Taking away hesitation can involve both “yes” or “no” answers. If you’re busy, don’t tack on that extra film set. You’ll find that in signing up for everything, you can’t fully devote yourself to any specific thing.
  5. Keep a Focus on God. It’s by far the most important. No matter what we do at this college, it would all not be possible if it weren’t for God. The film industry can be a prideful, sinful business, which is why they need Christian filmmakers all the more. We are called into this field to serve others, not ourselves. If we lose focus on God in our path at Regent, we begin to stress more and lack confidence because we expect ourselves to carry the weight of everything. Once we realize that this is all for something bigger than ourselves, we can witness and focus on Jesus through our work, leading the Lord to open more doors for us.

Obviously, there is only so much knowledge I can expel upon you for your path at Regent. Taking all of these points in mind, you have to realize that the biggest thing a failed CTV major lacks is drive and passion. If you are committed to your craft, show it. This isn’t a place of wandering, partying, or hanging around; you came here to learn more about film and how to be the best you can be through the field. The only way you can do that is by putting in the time and effort. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, mind you. You came into this field because you love it; and when it comes to doing what you love, it isn’t really work, is it?

Harrison Dove-Green is a contributor to the Daily Runner.