Student Handbook

Be Prepared, Be Informed, Be Responsible

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Be Prepared

Any creative endeavor requires thought and preparation. This is especially true in film and video production. Before we can even think about using a camera, we have to find or create the reality we want to record. In Documentary filmmaking, proper preparation means comprehensive research, pre-interviews, site visits, planning and scheduling. Preparation in Experimental filmmaking means extensive investigation of new ideas, processes and equipment which requires a great deal of time and careful thinking. In Narrative filmmaking, in addition to writing and rewriting, thorough preparation can mean location scouting, casting, crewing up, set design, construction and dozens of other activities crucial to creating an alternate reality for the camera. A crucial factor in all of this preparation is considering how we will execute our vision safely. At each step we must ask ourselves how what we are planning to do can be done without putting ourselves or our colleagues at risk.

Be Informed

We want to be sure you have the best information available about safe practices in film and video making. It is up to you to become familiar with these practices and then inform your colleagues and crew members about them. Our goal is to prevent that from happening by informing you about how to stay safe.

Be Responsible

Your colleagues are depending upon you to be accountable for what you do and for what you ask others to do on your behalf.

  • When you make a film or video you are taking charge—you are the responsible person.
  • That makes you eligible for the accolades when things go well and for the liability when they don’t.
  • Being safe means you are trustworthy and prudent; that others can depend on you for their own security.
  • Being safe means that you are open to comments from others when they see that something may be unsafe.
  • And being safe means that you are responsible for the well-being of those you work with and for the resources that the Institute provides.