Frequently Asked Questions for the TV Writing and Production and News and Documentary Programs
Frequently Asked Questions for the TV Writing and Production and News and Documentary Programs

» FAQ's for the TV Writing and Production and News and Documentary Programs

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If you know what you’re doing, your time at Chapman will be incredibly rewarding. Here are some questions others students have asked and tips that our faculty recommend to help things go more smoothly. View the sections below or the download the entire document

+ - The Majors

1. Why are there two majors starting with the 2015 catalog?

Based on student interest and the growth of the program, the faculty voted to split the previous Television/Broadcast Journalism major into two majors: News and Documentary (NWD) and Television Writing and Production (TWP), to more clearly reflect what each area does and to insure that documentary students were clearly identified in their studies.

2. If I am under the old TBJ major, can I change to NWD or TWP?

Yes. You need to complete a change of major/minor form for your catalog year (available at http://www.chapman.edu/students/academic-resources/registrar/student-services/forms.aspx ), bring it to the Brian Hamilton in MKS 344 for the Division Chair to sign, and submit it to the Registrar. You need to be aware that when you move to a different catalog, you will be held to any changes in GE requirements between that catalog and your previous catalog (see Catalog Year below).

3. Under the new program, how can I change from NWD to TWP or vice versa?

As a student who has already been admitted to one of our majors under the 2015 catalog, you can change to the other major by submitting a Change of Program form to Brian Hamilton in MKS 344, for the Division Chair’s signature.

4. How do I declare an area of study under the TBJ major (in catalogs prior to 2014)?

You need to send an email to the Academic Program Specialists at aps@chapman.edu to declare your area of emphasis under the old major.

+ - Equipment/Technology and Production

1. Do I need to buy equipment?

As a student at Dodge, you should have access to all the equipment you need to do your work. That said, we occasionally get questions about which equipment to buy.

For documentary students, if you're going to purchase anything, we recommend Senheiser wireless lavaliere mics. They're not expensive and will serve you well throughout your career in documentary film. Good sound is the key to good documentaries. 

2. How important is it to know technology and equipment? What if I just want to be on camera or be a writer?

Become confident in the technology: in documentary film or news you are expected to be a "one person show." In television production, you may very well start out as a PA (production assistant) or other on-set job where knowing how to handle equipment can be invaluable. The more confident you are in using the cameras and editing systems that you have access to here at Dodge, the more solid your work will be and the more control you'll have over your own projects. Don't be intimidated by the equipment. Dive in and experiment. This is film school—you're here to learn and to make mistakes!

3. Should I just work on TV productions or am I allowed to work on film productions as well?

You can do both… and it’s a good idea to meet film production students as they can help you on your TV shoots down the road.

+ - Advising

1. What can I expect from my faculty advisor?

You can expect your faculty advisor to help you plan what classes to take in the major and when you should take them and to offer advice on career planning, internships etc. Although you should also take advantage of the advising center to plan your GE courses, your faculty advisor can give you advice here as well and should review your program evaluation with you to make sure you are on track for graduation.

2. How do I know who my advisor is?

You should receive an email when you first enter Chapman advising you as to which faculty member you have been assigned as an advisee. In any case, your advisor is listed in WebAdvisor.

+ - Planning for Graduation

What do I need to do to make sure I graduate on time?

  1. Know your catalog year.
  2. Understand the undergraduate degree requirements:
    1. Total number of units needed to graduate (124)
    2. Upper division units required to graduate (42)
    3. Credits outside of the major
    4. GE requirements
  3. Know how to read your program evaluation and check it every semester.
  4. Make sure you are aware of prerequisites so that you can take courses in the required order.
  5. Watch what semester various courses are offered when you create your 4-year plan.

 

+ - Major/Course requirements

1. What is the significance of my "catalog year?"

You will be held to the specific requirements of the catalog to which you are assigned—freshmen are under the catalog for the year in which they enter Chapman. Transfer students are under the catalog for the year before you enter Chapman, working on the assumption that before you transferred you were planning your courses at your first school to work with what was being offered at Chapman. If you change catalogs because the requirements in the major may have changed while you were at Chapman or you wish to choose another major, you will also be held to any changes that may have been put in place in regards to GE.  It is best to run a “what if” scenario with your program evaluation before you decide to change catalogs for any reason.

2. Which courses (usually of the core) should I take first? And similarly--which courses should I take together or avoid taking at the same time?  For example, take TV Studio, Visual Storytelling and Intro to location or Broadcast News 1 all at the same time, or is that too many production courses?

See the suggested four-year plan for your program and talk to your faculty advisor.

3. How can I get a course substitution or a course at another school approved?

You need to send the name, course number and catalog description of the course at the other institution to the Division Chair, Janell Shearer at shearer@chapman.edu along with the name of the school where you plan to take the course, a copy of your program evaluation, and the name and number of the course you suggest that the outside course be substituted for.  She will review the request and let you know whether the substitution is approved.

4. Can I take a course in the major or minor pass/no pass?

No.

5. How do I get into a class that's full? How does the waitlist work?

Show up on the first day of class to see if there is room available. However, be advised that which students are admitted to a class is entirely up to the instructor. Typically, students are admitted on the basis of class standing, thus seniors have preference over juniors, juniors over sophomores etc.  In addition, majors have preference over minors or non-majors. Your position on the waitlist does not guarantee you a place in the class once the first day of the semester begins. The waitlist only places students in a class when a previously enrolled student drops the course before the semester begins. Once the semester begins, the instructor can choose whom to admit, regardless or any student’s previous standing on the waitlist. Basically, the waitlist means nothing once the term begins.

+ - Study Abroad

1. Can I take major courses overseas when I study abroad?

Yes, but in general you should not plan on finding courses that will be approved for the major when you study abroad, as they are pretty rare. If you plan to study abroad, you should assume that most of the courses you will take will be either GE courses or general electives. Thus, it is often best to plan to do study abroad before your senior year.

2. What countries offer courses accepted in the major, if I choose to study abroad?

Your best source for reviewing what courses might transfer is Chapman’s Center for Global Education.  There are some pre-approved courses. See https://studyabroad.chapman.edu/

+ - Internships

1. Does my internship advisor have to be my faculty advisor?

No, but your internship advisor should be a faculty member in either TWP or NWD.

2. How many times can I take an internship for major elective credit?

One time (3 credits). You can take additional internship credits, and we recommend it, but they will not count toward the electives in the major, only toward the general elective credits going toward graduation. In NWD, the one elective internship is in addition to the required Independent Internship, so students in NWD may do two internships that count in the major.

3. How do I go about getting an internship?

You can find internships through Chapman’s Career Center  through the Dodge College Current Students Website, or through your faculty or your own contacts. Once you are offered an internship, you need to find a faculty advisor and register through the Career Center.

4. When should I do an internship?

You can do an internship any time, but you will be better prepared, have more to offer your internship employer, and be more competitive in getting an internship if you wait until you have a few classes under your belt. It’s probably best to spend your freshman year getting oriented to college before taking on an internship.

+ - Extracurricular opportunities/career preparation

1. What’s the best way to network and meet other people in the major?

Volunteer to work on a set. Check Panther Connect – there are always shoots looking for crew help.

2. What involvement opportunities does this major offer for documentary students?

Join Club Doc! As part of our Documentary Club we have an extremely active list serv where we post job and internship opportunities, info about documentary screenings and travel courses, and more. It's also a great way to meet other documentary filmmakers and students. Email the advisor Sally Rubin at rubin@chapman.edu

3. What is the Prime Time TV Club and how can I join?

The Prime Time TV Club brings in guest speakers from the business – writers, producers, and directors from shows like The Simpsons or The Sopranos as well as executives from the studios and networks.  If you become a member you don’t have to come to every meeting – just come when the speaker interests you.  To join send an email to Ross Brown rbrown@chapman.edu from your Chapman email account and he will add you to the contact list for the club so you receive announcements.

4. What is the Chapman Broadcast Network and how can I get involved?

The Chapman Broadcast Network is an extra-curricular activity where a crew of 25-30 students along with Dodge TV Professors and our studio engineer produce live, multi-camera broadcasts of all Chapman home-football games and other sporting events. The students use professional, "ESPN"-quality equipment: cameras, replay, graphics to enable them to produce these broadcasts, which are transmitted live over Chapman-run channels on cable throughout the LA market, on the Chapman Athletics website and on YouTube's livestream. All Dodge students, in fact all Chapman students, are welcome to come to production meetings during the week and get involved with the newest "real-world" activity in the broadcast-journalism program: The Chapman Broadcast Network. See Professor Pete Weitzner to get involved.

5. When I graduate will I have a reel to show prospective employers? What will it look like?

Sample reels, resumes and cover letters are posted on the Dodge website under the specific program (NWD or TWP) under Career Resources.

+ - Advice from Current Students

  1. Every Freshman should create their own 4-year plan--a roadmap--and review it with your advisor.
  2. Meet with advisors as soon as possible in your freshman year.  It benefits both student and faculty.
  3. Don’t leave either too many required major courses, or too many general ed courses, until your junior and senior years. Sprinkle them into your 1st and 2nd years.
  4. If you’re planning to go abroad, be sure to leave some general ed courses to take while you are there. These are much easier in general to get Chapman credit for than film courses.
  5. Be wary, especially in your freshman year, not to overload yourself with too many production courses. Discuss with your advisor, and ask around to older students about your proposed schedule to make sure you are not setting yourself for a semester that is too focused on production.
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