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  • Writer's pictureJanett Salas

ASU Film School Overview

UPDATE: Recently, I was informed of some changes about the program by a professor at ASU. He said, "...A note to everyone that our degree plans have changed and new students will have different options and requirements than you had. The FPR degree now requires a senior project that is equivalent to a capstone, and also offers our new program in Screenwriting. We are also changing the cohort structure and FMP application process to offer more advanced production skill courses and opportunities to more students. But the heart of what you say still is true - we want our students to take advantage of creative projects in and out of class."


If you’re looking to find out more about the ASU Film School, you’ve come to the right place! Check out my video on it here for a quick overview.

There are three film programs at ASU: Filmmaking Practices (FPR), Film and Media Productions (FMP), and Film and Media Studies (FMS).

What is FPR?

Filmmaking Practices is a BA film program with the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts (HIDA) that every freshman film student starts out as. It offers a wide array of classes that teach you the basics of filmmaking. You take several creative and technical classes throughout your degree to prepare you for any position you plan on taking on after graduation. It’s a broader program and requires you to figure out what track you want to do and use that as a guide for the electives you choice that would most benefit you.

I believe FPR majors can choose between doing a capstone project or doing an internship to complete their requirements. There are several internship opportunities that students can choose from, like the Phoenix Film Festival or an internship with a production company. I’m not too sure what the requirements are for an FPR capstone project, but it’s expected to be a project that encapsulates what you’ve learned and showcase your skills.

What is FMP?

I was an FMP major, and I can tell you a lot more about this program than the rest. FMP stands for Film and Media Production and this BA program with HIDA focuses on making films. You must apply to be in the program after certain requirements are met (See below) and then you begin the program with a cohort of students.

The program was 5 semesters when I was in it, but before graduating I was informed it was going to be brought down to 4 semesters. The classes ranged from AVID media composer (post-production), directing, production, independent film, acting, and capstone.

In FMP, you are required to take capstone and work on 3 films in an approved position (which doesn’t include crafty). Most people end up writing and directing their own film, which takes up an infinite amount of energy, and then work on 2 other films as a 1st AC, or editor, etc. I ended up producing 4 films and it definitely exhausted me. You can check out videos on capstones here:

What is FMS?

FMS stands for Film and Media Studies and that’s a degree you can get with the College of Liberal Arts and Science. This program allows you to study “film, television, computer games, the Internet and screenwriting” according to their website. The program requires you to be very analytical and of course, creative, to allow you to be a “scholar of media texts and culture”.

I took several FMS classes, like FMS 471 Latinos in Hollywood and FMS 309 Intermediate Screenwriting. It’s definitely a writing degree, and if you want to be a screenwriter or am really passionate about writing, this is probably the degree for you.

Applying to FMP

But simply, you’ll need:

  • 3 letters of reference

  • A personal essay

  • A critical essay

  • A copy of your DARS (which is your grades after a few semesters at ASU)

  • Work sample

The work sample can be an original screenplay (short or 1st act of feature length), an original video, a design portfolio, or a cinematography/editing reel. By the time you’ve applied to be in FMP, you would have already taken a screenwriting class, a design class, and a seminar class where you made a film, and any of those projects from those classes are perfectly fine to submit. Don’t feel scared to apply if you don’t have the best sample in the world. What they’re looking for is potential and dedication.

What are your resources?

Lots of people go to film school for the resources. As a student, you have an abundance of opportunity just waiting for you to take advantage of. I’m sure that in a year or so, there will be way more, but since graduating in May 2016, this is what there is:

  • You’ve got access to a butt load of equipment, which comes in handy when you’re working on your capstone. The schools equipment can save you thousands of dollars, depending on what you use. You do need to take your film production class first and then the doors of film equipment will be revealed to you for class films.

  • Facilities- You’ve got a film idea? Go to one of the labs (either in the Music Building or Dixie Gammage) to write out your script on Final Draft. Then you can open up Movie Magic to work on the budget and schedule. Fill out a permission form to film on campus, and then film for free with your theatre friends and other film friends. Finally, do back to the lab and edit everything together on whichever program you want to. Just make sure to bring your own hard drive! If you’ve got some VFX shots that require a green screen, you can go to Stauffer or even the library to shoot that. Or you want a really dark artsy look, or maybe just need a space to rehearse? Go to the FAC and reserve a black box room.

  • What about the professors? Most of them are pretty awesome and super helpful. I won’t name names because I want to still have good relationships with them after this, but believe me when I tell you, they’re great and most of them are genuinely interested in your success and want to do what they can to help you succeed. Those professors that I loved, I took their classes as much as I could, which I definitely recommend doing.

  • Hollywood Invades Tempe is one of the 2 film organizations at ASU. I was the treasurer my senior year and I’m so glad I was a part of it. Hollywood Invades Tempe, or HIT for short, hosts film screenings for the community and has a key member of the film we screen present for a Q&A. The very last HIT I was involved in screened Straight Otta Compton with S. Leigh Savidge. At these events, there’s always food for the hungry college students. It’s an awesome opportunity to network with other filmmakers and to learn from filmmakers what it’s like to work on Hollywood films.

  • ASU Film Association is the other film organization. The AFA is more of a club, where they have weekly meetings and events. They have film workshops where they teach members who to do something or make DIY equipment. Because of all this, they require members to pay a fee which has been $20 in the past years. The AFA also hosts the annual ASU Film Festival, which you should definitely go to and even submit to if you’re a film student there. Last year, my boyfriend Victor won the audience award. You can check out my vlog on that here:

I hope you find this helpful! If you’ve got questions, feel free to drop me a comment in the comment section on my YouTube video about this and I’ll try to answer them :)

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