Story by Caitlin Manocchio
Artwork by Ashley Kron
Lights, camera, action welcome to Dodge College.
“Chapman allows film students to study their major starting the day they walk on campus, this is not common among other rival film schools,” said film production major Justin Rypma.
Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film & Media Arts provides aspiring industry professionals the foundation to make it in the entertainment world by offering students a variety of options to get involved.
“Dodge College offers plenty of chances to get on set, access to quality equipment, and chances to learn from experienced industry professionals,” said sophomore creative producing major Annabell Liao.
Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles in quaint Orange, CA, Dodge College competes head to head with the top film programs at University of Southern California (USC), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), American Film Institute (AFI), California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), and New York University (NYU). Chapman University ranked #7 in the Hollywood Reporter’s 2014 “Top 25 Film Schools in the United States.” Several students believe that Chapman’s majors in the film school are a unique attribute to the program that other film schools cannot match.
“There really wasn't a major like mine anywhere else. It was either go to a bigger and more famous school and study something I didn't want to do, or come to Chapman. It was barely even a choice,” said freshman television writing and production major Raven Peterson.
Dodge College offers undergraduate majors in film production, film studies, digital arts, screenwriting, screen acting, public relations and advertisement, creative producing, news and documentary, and television writing and production. Graduate programs include film production, film studies, film and television producing, documentary filmmaking, production design, and screenwriting.
No matter what field of study a student decides to focus on at Dodge, the emphasis of all film and media arts majors is the ability to be a storyteller.
“Today it’s all about digital filmmaking,” says Bassett, “anything else is looked upon as a dinosaur. But in another sense, nothing’s changed. It’s still about story,” says Dean of Dodge College Bob Bassett.
Students learn about the importance of developing a story in the classes FTV-140 Intro to Film Aesthetics and FTV-130 Introduction to Visual Storytelling.
“I have learned in Film Aesthetics how to analyze film and appreciate all aspects of the filmmaking process, and Visual Storytelling has taught me how to work behind the camera and edit with AVID,” said screen acting major Christine Mary Hughes.
Even though Dodge College offers a personalized experienced with a variety of classes, most students believe there is still room for improvements.
“I think Dodge should require all film students to work with each other throughout the different majors, especially require directors to work with writers,” said screenwriting major Rachel Lee.
The only collaborative class that all Dodge majors and minors have to take is visual storytelling. Some majors outside of the film production and creative producing programs hope in the future there will be opportunities for a hands on experience in the classroom.
“I wish that some of the classes were not so strict to each major. I would like to take a few classes that were outside of my field to gain a more well-rounded experience,” said public relations and advertisement major Hannah Katagi.
The scheduling of classes at Dodge also brings an inconvenience to students.
“Having certain classes only available certain semesters can be a big drag when it comes down to trying to plan your upcoming semesters,” said digital arts major Cheyenne Somers, “things are a little too streamlined for my tastes.”
One minor complaint many Dodge students have is that professors are not proficient in the basics of technology.
“The professors should be better trained with the basics involved in operating the classrooms. Many a class period has spent trying to get the AV equipment to work,” said television writing and production major Jake Ellenbogen.
Despite these needs of improvements, many students are happy with their decision to attend Chapman and be majoring or minoring within Dodge instead of another university.
“Chapman allows students to keep the rights to their work they create at school, which was something I very much disliked about other schools that did not allow the same,” said Rypma
“At no other school would you find such genuine, kind people who are willing to collaborate and help each other improve and grow through the art of storytelling,” said Katagi.
Each year the acceptance rate at Chapman to study at Dodge College lessens, as more prospective students desire to attend the one of its kind programs Chapman has to give. Chapman recently opened Dodge’s newest edition, the Digital Media Arts Center, last fall to accommodate new and current students with the latest film and television facilities. In fall 2016 the new Chapman Studios West will open and the opportunities for Dodge students will grow as Chapman tries to establish its place as a home for those who hold the future of the entertainment world.