Cinema Arts Concentration

Students interested in film, media, design, and screenwriting will find the Cinema Arts emphasis in the department of Communication at Vanguard University an exciting and challenging place to find their calling. The unique focus on one-on-one mentorship with faculty creates the kind of learning environment that helps students excel. Vanguard Communication Majors also have 24/7 access to Vanguard Studios.

All Communication majors and any student enrolled in the Production courses that require access to Vanguard Studios will be assessed the $150 ACCESS Fee each semester.

Cinema Arts Concentration Core Requirements

The 42 required units include:

COMM 220             Elements of Storytelling

COMM 229             Digital and Audio Principles

COMM 246             American Cinema History

COMM 250             Writing for the Media

COMM 258             Christianity/Artistic Culture

COMM 273             Visual Technology

COMM 290             Introduction to Interpersonal Communication

COMM 305             Communication Theory and Research

COMM 366             Digital Video Production

COMM 413             Preparing for Post Graduation

COMM 450             Internship

COMM 464C          Media Criticism

COMM 495            Senior Project (A or D)

MATH/PSYC/        Introduction to Statistical Methods

SOC 265C


Cinema Arts Courses

COMM 220 • Elements of Storytelling (3 units)

An introduction to story structure, this course focuses on envisioning story ideas and developing those ideas into written formats for the screen and other mediums.

COMM 222 • Digital Photography (4 units)

Prerequisite: Communication major or Permission of instructor.  Students will gain an understanding of composition and aesthetics as well as technical aspects of photography in the digital world. Lab Fee.

COMM 229 • Digital Audio and Video Principles (4 units)

Prerequisites: COMM 220 and COMM 273. An introduction to pre-production, crew responsibilities, equipment rental, single camera operation, basic non-linear editing, field recording, and post-production sound. This class includes lectures, screenings, and hands-on assignments. Lab Fee.

COMM 246 • American Cinema History (3 units)

This foundational course in Cinema Arts follows the journey of American cinema from its beginning to present day while highlighting major events in the history of American cinema.

COMM 250 • Writing for the Media (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 220. This course is a broad survey of various types of writing across several diverse media platforms.  Students will learn to write press releases, advertising copy, treatments/synopses, proposals, grants, and also for corporate video, television shows, non-narrative/documentary films, reviews/opinion pieces, persuasive essays for blogs and effective electronic correspondence in the social media domain.  Professionalism, robust storytelling skills, and competent writing mechanics will be emphasized.

COMM 258 • Christianity/Artistic Culture (3 units)

Combines film screening, critical analysis and theory to enable students to examine morality, ethics and screen portrayals pertaining to Christianity, gender, and ethnicity. The aim is to motivate students toward personal accountability and responsibility, as well as creative refinement and sophistication when producing media content.

COMM 273 • Visual Technology (3 units)

An introduction to the technological necessities of the Communication major. This course equips the student for future communication classes regardless of concentration or emphasis. Lab Fee.

COMM 290 • Introduction to Interpersonal Communication (3 units)

The primary elements of the communication process as it occurs between two persons in everyday settings. Among the topics considered are: language and meaning, nonverbal communication, person perception, and self-concept. This course does not fulfill a core curriculum requirement.

COMM 305 • Communication Theory and Research (3 units)

Prerequisite: MATH/PSYC/SOC 265C. Survey of classical and contemporary theories of communication. Special emphasis is placed upon reading, understanding, and conducting communication research.

COMM 309 • Graphic Design (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 273. This course will serve as an introduction to the theory and practice of graphic design. students will learn the basic principles and elements of graphic design, the history of graphic design, form/symbol development, typography, identity design and page layout. Provides practical experience in essential studio techniques and technology, critiques and group discussions. The creative design process and problem-solving skills are emphasized throughout the course. Lab Fee.

COMM 311 • Intro to Audio Production (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 273.  Working primarily with AVID Pro Tools, this course will introduce and further your understanding within the realm of digital recording, editing, mixing, and file management in a digital workstation environment. Upon completion of this course you will gain practical understanding in the multi-faceted world of digital audio recording, including pre-production, recording, and editing. The skills will be acquired and sharpened through class lectures, demonstrations, hands-on experience, reading, assignments, examinations, and individual lab projects.

COMM 313 • Web Technology and the Entertainment Industry (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 229. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of web design and production with special emphasis on using new media technologies in the entertainment industry for promotion and distribution. It will provide students with a basic understanding of HTML page construction, designing and optimizing graphics and media for the web, and basic technical skills necessary for launching and maintaining websites.

COMM 314 • Mythology in Film (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 220. Students will gain an understanding of how ancient mythology from the Greeks and Romans provides a vast set of stories, themes, and symbols encountered time and time again in film.

COMM 317 • Creative Process—Theory and Practice (3 units)

This course will consider the theory and practice of creative communication. It will focus on creative problem-solving strategies and on sharpening communication skills to stimulate higher levels of creativity.

COMM 327 • Directing for Film and Digital Media (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 229. An in-depth study of the professional craft of directing. This course offers insights into the development of an actor’s vocabulary, script analysis, handling pressure on-set, conflict management, communicating a vision, and trusting your filmmaking intuition.

COMM 336 • Screenwriting Principles (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 220. This course will focus on screenwriting fundamentals. Students are introduced to the craft, taught basic screenplay format and over the course of the semester, students write the first act of a feature screenplay.

COMM 339 • Producing for Television and Film (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 366. Exploration of the role of the independent producer and how a concept is taken through the steps of development, financing, scheduling, production, marketing, and distribution.

COMM 353 • Cinematography (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 229. Hands-on training in the art of cinematography and in the use of trending digital video equipment. Lab Fee.

COMM 358 • Writing the Short Screenplay (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 220. Students will learn to economize and tell a story within a very restrictive set of parameters. Students are invited to pitch these screenplays when taking COMM 431 Short Film Workshop.

COMM 359 • Discussions in Cinema (3 units)

Prerequisites: COMM 220 and COMM 246. A forum in which thematic studies and discussions are based on outside screenings of topical films.

COMM 361 • Non-Linear Editing (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 229. This course offers a comprehensive approach to the theory and practice of digital, non-linear editing. The course will begin with the basic fundamentals of editing technique and progress through the foundations of non-linear editing using industry standard NLE software. Lab Fee.

COMM 365 • Sound Design (4 units)

Prerequisites: COMM 229. This course is an exploration into the orchestration of the diagetic and non-diagetic sound elements created for a film.

COMM 366 • Digital Video Production (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 229. This course provides student experience with the entirety of the digital filmmaking process through short exercises in the field, culminating with an individually directed short film. Lab Fee.

COMM 371 • Documentary Film: Defining Truth (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 220 and COMM 246. This is an aesthetic course in which students screen documentaries outside of class and come together to discuss the differences in documentary style and what qualifies as “truth” in documentary film.

COMM 373 • Documentary Film Production (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 366 and COMM 371. Students will learn fundamentals in the art of documentary film production including camera frame choices, the interview process, and choosing subjects wisely. Students will take projects through production and into post-production adding lower thirds and learning documentary editing technique. Lab Fee.

COMM 375 • Television Studio Production (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 366. Students will learn the history of televised media.  Using concepts from this foundational knowledge, students will work together to produce a 30 minute studio drama or news program for broadcast.  Lab Fee.

COMM 378 • Digital Cinema Technology Series (2 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 366. This course focuses on specific technical skills for digital cinema.  Students may ask their advisor for the topic of the course during registration for each semester it is offered.  May be repeated for a maximum of 4 units. Lab Fee.

COMM 406 • Event Management (1 unit)

Prerequisite: COMM 273. This course is a practicum that gives students hands-on experience planning, promoting, and staging a live event. Students work as part of a team to theme, market, budget, schedule, and coordinate the Vanguard University Film Festival.

COMM 413 • Preparing for Graduation (1 unit)

This course is enables students in any undergraduate major to determine actionable and measurable goals to achieve success after graduation.  Topics include: networking, job hunting, personal finances, and long-term planning.  The course is a hybrid of self-guided online workshops and face-to-face small group discussion.

COMM 431 • Short Film Workshop (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 366. Students will break into groups, and spend the semester creating a short film on a low to no budget that is worthy of festival submission. Those wishing to direct may come to the first class with a screenplay. Students will vote on their favorite screenplays, and the winning screenplays will determine the directors. Each student will have a specific production and post-production role for the film he/she is working on from the following categories: Producer, Production Designer, Director, DP, Editor and Sound Editor. Lab Fee.

COMM 449 • Special Effects and Motion Graphics (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 361. Students will learn the process of compositing video material, working with mattes, rotoscoping, motion tracking, color matching, and keying techniques for special effects in film and digital media. Lab fee.

COMM 450 • Internship (1-3 units)

Must have consent of instructor and Department chair. Must be a communication major. Students may seek a position which relates to their major with a cooperating business in the communication industry. Students are required to work fifty hours for each academic unit hour received. A weekly report to the supervising professor is required. May be repeated for a maximum of six units.

COMM 461 • Advanced Cinematography (4 units)

Prerequisites: COMM 366 and COMM 353. This advanced course in cinematography continues to provide technical and artistic information with an emphasis on narrative filmmaking. Students will sharpen their skills in camera operation and shot composition through aesthetic and hands-on coursework. Lab Fee.

COMM 464C • Media Criticism (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 305. This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the nature and function of media criticism; survey of approaches, theories, and the systems of rhetorical analysis from classical to contemporary models. Practice in critical appraisal of various types of media communication.

COMM 470 • Special Topics (1-4 units)

Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor. Study of a special topic in the areas of Communication Studies and TV and Film. May be repeated for credit. May include a lab requirement and lab fee.

COMM 472 • Advanced Non-Linear Editing (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 361. Students learn advanced editing techniques including an in-depth look at special effects within the non-linear editing software.  Lab Fee.

COMM 478 • Filmmakers Series (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 229. A forum and guest lecture series featuring important directors, producers, screenwriters and artists who have created a lasting artistic, ethical, social, or cultural impact on the industry. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 units.

COMM 483 • The Recording Studio in Production (4 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 229. Hands-on-training in recording studio operation and production technique for film and digital media.

COMM 495A • Senior Project: Film (3 units)

Prerequisite: Senior standing and approval of professor. The student writes, directs, or serves in a production role (cinematographer, editor, production sound, sound designer), on a faculty approved film, video, documentary animation, or commercial project bringing it to final form for festival distribution. Lab fee.

COMM 495D • Senior Project: Script or Publication (3 units)

Prerequisite: COMM 336 OR COMM 358. Senior standing and approval of professor. The student creates a three-act polished screenplay or publication for distribution. Lab fee.