As the 2016-17 academic year comes to a close, students make their frenzied march toward graduation with thoughts of summer, freedom and, of course, job prospects. For students in the communication department’s electronic media and film (EMF) program, such prospects look consistently grim.
That’s why communication faculty members are in the process of rolling out a new series of courses that will help film students figure out what to do after college.
“It’s unfortunate that this year’s graduates will have to, once again, wander aimlessly into an industry they’ll never succeed in,” Andria Welles, director of electronic media and film, said, “but at least the students still enrolled will have a chance.”
The department plans to roll out three to four new classes over the next three years, eventually replacing all of the current courses.
The first course offered, slated for spring of 2018, is EMF 233.1: Jobs with Film Degrees. In the class, students will be given lectures on actual, achievable jobs to apply for once their degree in film has been obtained.
“We start off talking about what sort of knowledge is collected and where, realistically, it could be put to use,” Welles said, speaking about the proposed lesson plans. “We start simple and obvious: a movie theater.”
Welles explains how knowing about film production and film history really puts you in good standing with theater managers. She also points out how the degree looks better on a resume than customer service experience.
“This is something students seem to forget,” she said. “They get bogged down with academic coursework and neglect to pad their resume with attractive experiences.”
There has been some opposition from other faculty members and students who say the program seems counterproductive.
“I just don’t understand the point of this,” Ryan Marsten, sophomore EMF major, said. “Shouldn’t film students learn about the process and history of filmmaking? Seems like it makes the program unnecessary.”
Welles points out that the courses will benefit students in ways they “couldn’t possibly imagine,” saying, “these courses teach kids what kinds of industry jobs a film degree will get you: none.”
She went on to say, “I mean who do they think they are, the next Spielberg?”
The second course, scheduled for a roll-out sometime in 2019, is EMF 333 1/3: Why Are You Here?
“We haven’t quite figured out what this one is going to be,” Welles said. “So far, our meeting notes consist of the title of the class in big red letters, underlined several times.”
Welles also said that she is being asked to teach at least one of the courses.
“They want me to do all,” she said, “but I keep telling my superiors that I don’t want to be responsible for crushing students’ dreams.”
Welles graduated from The Ohio State University with a Ph.D. in History of American Cinema. Of her experience in the film industry, she said, “I have none, obviously. I wanted to be a director, but if that was my real destiny, I would’ve probably achieved it by now.”
The last course on the list is one at the 400 level and deals specifically with students looking toward a graduate degree.
“We encourage all students to take this, even those who aren’t interested in a graduate work,” Welles said. “Those who can’t do, teach. Am I right?”