Film & Television Studies

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Film & Television Studies

One of the most unique features of GVSU's theatre program is its close relationship with film and TV studies at the University. Because the Film/TV and Theatre programs are both "housed" in the School of Communications, drama students have unique opportunities to explore the mass media while pursuing a Theatre major.

While it is not possible to earn a "double major" in both Film/TV and Theatre within a typical four-year study plan, a number of important courses are available for Theatre students that help to introduce them to this exciting field. Courses in Film Culture, Media Literacy, Film Theories, Camera Acting, and Media & Society introduce students both to the craft of media communications as well as to the broader social and cultural issues that communication technologies raise in our world.

Some of this coursework also fulfills General Education requirements, and counts towards the major program in Theatre. Additionally, if Theatre students decide at a later time to change their major emphasis from Theatre to Film & TV, a number of their required courses in the communications area transfer directly into their new program. Students also receive other types of specialty media training from workshops conducted every year by guest actors, casting directors, and TV directors.

Theatre students will also find themselves working closely with Film & TV students on plays at GVSU. A number of Film/TV students, for example, enroll in Theatre courses like acting and stage lighting each year because those skills are directly relevant to their work in media. And Film/TV students have always been very active in Theatre stage productions as actors, production technicians, and audio engineers.

Perhaps the most popular form of exposure that Theatre students gain to the world of camera acting occurs in the context of film and television production work that the University sponsors. Each year, for example, the School of Communications conducts a nationwide scriptwriting contest and then fully produces that script during the summer, shooting it in Michigan locations. Professional directors and camera artists are brought to campus from Hollywood in order to work with students, faculty, and community artists on the project; and screenings of the film are presented during the Fall semester both locally and regionally at festivals, film theatres and similar venues.

A larger number of theatre students also participate in studio projects that are produced each semester by students in the Film/TV programs. These media students audition actors in the Theatre acting classes, casting them in roles with student-produced and student-written work.

With so many career opportunities available today for graduates trained in media studies, it's critical for Theatre students to familiarize themselves with this important field during their undergraduate years. Grand Valley Theatre offers drama students the opportunity to learn more about resume-writing, film genres, history, and camera acting; and the Theatre faculty/staff--who are frequently involved in local media projects for commercial and nonprofit clients--encourage drama students to develop skills in the media area