Senior Comps

Media Production Comprehensives Students: Please read the following before beginning production.

Maximum Project Length
10 minutes of edited audiovisual content.

Crew
Keeping the crew of your project limited to students not only provides the educational experience afforded by collaborative media production but also ensures your work will be eligible for the “student" category of film festivals and competitions, which have stringent rules about non-professional crew.  

In the fall, each senior director is required to enroll in the MAC 491 Media Production Senior Seminar. Seniors in the class cohort will not only direct their own project but also serve as principal crew (producers and cinematographers) on peers' projects. Other Occidental students are welcomed as crew collaborators. We encourage you to seek out student production designers, composers, and musicians through the Oxy Digest or by directly contacting affiliate programs such as Music, Studio Art, or Theater.

In the spring, seniors are required to enroll in MAC 492 Advanced Editing to complete post-production of their project. Students are again encouraged to collaborate with Occidental peers from the Music Department on original music. There is the potential to collaborate with Art Center College of Design students on visual effects or motion graphics, but such collaborations need to be approved by the project’s faculty mentor. No other outside crew or personnel is permitted without express permission of the faculty mentor. 

Format
The MAC Program trains students in digital video workflows. Use of the department's cameras, equipment, and software platforms designated for your course context is required unless otherwise cleared by the faculty member.

Shooting Days
A maximum of 3 principal photography shooting days, and 1 pickup shoot day, max for fictional projects. Documentary projects can divide up shoots into smaller increments, if pre-approved by faculty mentor. No day to exceed 10 hours. Water and snacks should be made available on set to cast and crew for shoot of any duration, but a meal break of at least 30 minutes with a meal provided to all cast and crew must occur every 4 hours. 12-hour turnaround requirement for cast and crew between shoots. Projects must have call sheets pre-approved by faculty mentor in advance of shoot, and daily production reports must be submitted to faculty mentor within 48 hours of shoot’s completion.  

Shooting Ratio 18:1

180 minutes of footage max.

Actors (if any)
We strongly encourage the casting of 
Non-Union actors. Seniors can choose to work with Union actors, but be aware this requires a formal SAG contract agreement, which requires procurement and payment of worker’s comp insurance at approx. $500/production. Do not develop projects involving minors, as the use of minor actors also involves prohibitive costs. See Casting for more information on these issues. 

Rights and Clearances
All music and audiovisual content that is rights-controlled must be logged and cleared (via contract, permission from rights holder, or faculty-approved fair use claim) before public exhibition (see Rights and Clearances Log for more information).

Production Notebook

Required. Containing crew contracts, release forms, emergency medical forms, call sheets, aesthetic plan, any permits or certificates of insurance, music release forms, clearance log, etc. Projects cannot be exhibited until production notebook is cleared by faculty mentor.

Equipment Rentals

Discouraged. Any rental must be proposed in writing and pre-approved by faculty mentor. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.

Production Travel outside Los Angeles County

Only permitted in the case of documentaries funded by external grants such as Richer or Values and Vocations. (Be aware that the MAC Dept. cannot guarantee use of equipment, and if permitted, projects will need to budget travel equipment insurance into their applications for funding, at approx. est. of $650).

Budgeting Caps and Fundraising Methods

The MAC program provides sufficient equipment and editing lab facilities for all students to successfully realize innovative projects. We do not provide monetary financial support to student projects. Be smart and creative as you develop your project, taking advantage of resources and locations you have at your disposal. In order to ensure equity, the maximum budget cap for Senior Media Production Comprehensives projects is $1,000, though such external funding is not required to produce a successful, innovative project. Students are required to produce a project budget for pre-approval by the faculty supervisor.

Avoid projects involving any of the restricted areas detailed in the Making Sure Your Project is Safe and Casting sections of this handbook to prevent any potential additional costs. Use our Gift In Kind Donation Form to get a local restaurant to donate a meal to your production as a tax write-off. MAC 491 Media Production Seniors are encouraged to plan ahead and apply for ASP Grants from Occidental's Undergraduate Research Center, which provide grants of up to $300 to student projects. MAC 491 Media Production Seniors are also permitted to run a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, upon approval of the faculty supervisor. Crowdfunding proposal forms can be found on the Index of Forms page. Also see the Budgeting section of this handbook and the Budget Guidelines form for more details.