Moving Up

COMM 4940 Relaunches as Narrative Digital Video Production

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The New Year rings in with a new version of an existing course in Multimedia Production. COMM 4940 has been relaunched as Narrative Digital Video Production, focusing entirely on the creation of fictional narrative media. The course will run for the first time in its new form in the Spring, 2019 semester.

Previously, COMM 4940 was an overarching advanced course where students created both nonfiction and fiction media projects. As part of the realignment and bolstering of the production sequence last year, that course was split in two: documentary content and projects would be developed in COMM 4941 (Nonfiction Digital Video Production) while COMM 4940 would be reserved for fictional narrative content. Now, as the course begins to run for the first time in this more-focused form, Professor Steve Stifano sees it as a unique opportunity.

“We’ll really get to dive in now,” says Stifano. “Instead of balancing our time between two quite different formats in storytelling, we now have a lot more of a chance to explore the nuances of refining fictional stories, directing actors and crafting performances, and the many layers of post-production that make narrative effective.” In this version of the course, students will spend the semester focused on a single narrative piece, working in teams to bring the work to life. Each team will screen three cuts of their films for the class throughout the semester, allowing the class to work together to help their films evolve over time. As is the case with its counterpart, COMM 4941, which debuted in the Fall 2018 semester, Narrative Digital Video Production will rely heavily on class discussions and a team-focused approach to filmmaking.

Stifano, who has directed three feature-length films including Belief, which led to research for his Doctoral dissertation (Ph.D. 2011, University of Connecticut,) emphasizes resourcefulness for narrative filmmakers. “You’ve got to work with the tools and spaces that are available to you,” he says. “The best creativity, at times, happens when you look at your constraints and carve out a story that pushes your resources to their limits.”

The most outstanding works from COMM 4940 will share screen time with counterparts from other multimedia production courses at the annual Commotion Pictures red carpet screening this Spring.

(Photo: Moving Up, a Narrative short from the Spring, 2018 version of COMM 4940)