Real-World Experience with a Camera in Hand
The annual Independent Television Festival (ITVFest) in Manchester, Vermont, provided total immersion in the film industry for cinema production major Brandon Hunter.
He could choose from presentations on the business side of filmmaking; creating content for TV, films, and the internet; promoting web-based content; and other important parts of the industry. He also had rare access to industry experts in one-on-one conversations.
Through the new course on independent television, Brandon and other cinema production students attended ITVFest, which draws producers, content creators, and executives worldwide for screenings, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.
“I liked that there were so many different aspects of the industry represented: young filmmakers, big businesspeople, heads of production houses, and other film students,” Brandon of Glastonbury, Connecticut, said. He talked with a filmmaker and recent college graduate about his work with horror films — Brandon’s passion — and learned about pitching projects to executives and potential investors.
The festival is an example of the real-world opportunities Vermont State University offers students to help them build skills and gain an advantage in the workplace after they graduate.
Brandon has gained experience working on film projects on campus, too. Among the projects is a video to promote the annual veterans’ summit and a video on campus safety for the Public Safety Office. Last year he produced four short films. Finished films usually are presented to faculty and other students for helpful feedback.
This hands-on learning is what makes an impact on students and the broader community.
Brandon has gained the skills he will need in the industry, from pre-production planning to post-production tasks: “working with the camera and really being on a set, putting the film itself together, editing, and making different special effects,” he said. “We get to shoot our own things without many restrictions and work with actors.”
Faculty Who Stand Out in Their Field
The expertise of the cinema production faculty and their diverse experiences in the field give students a comprehensive view of the film industry: business, artistic, and technical aspects. “The professors are real professionals,” Brandon says. “The program hits all the bullet points I wanted from a production major … I definitely have learned the technical side — how to do the camera, tripod, and mics — but also the artistic side — putting it together, the typography of the letters, color theory.”
NVU’s cinema production program was a big draw for Brandon. “This major is pretty rare in New England,” he said.
But there were other attractions for him, too: small classes, the range of courses, playing varsity lacrosse every year, and hitting the ski slopes at nearby Burke Mountain resort (which offers a discounted student pass).
A Supportive Campus
Brandon appreciates our friendly campus. “The students are pretty welcoming. It’s tight-knit. Everyone respects people’s space,” he says. “You make some lifelong friends.”
Cinema production faculty are supportive, too.
“They urge you to create. They want you to promote your work and to succeed,” said Brandon, who would like to be an executive producer eventually. “The first year you’re here, you’ll have a camera in your hand, and you’ll be making short, little movies. It’s just exciting.”tle movies. It’s just exciting.”