Department of Film-Video and Media Studies

Film-Video Entrance to Major Requirements

Guidelines for Portfolio Review for Entrance to the Film-Video Major

Students are only admitted into the film major starting in the fall semester each year, and students admitted should expect a four-semester sequence of film courses over the next two years. To be considered for entry to the major, students must have earned fourth semester standing (43.5 credits completed and/or in progress) AND have completed at least one full-time semester (12-plus credits) at Penn State.

Students submitting portfolios are required to have successfully completed COMM 150 and COMM 242 with a grade of C or better to submit their portfolio. It is each student’s responsibility to contact an academic adviser or campus representative regarding an early change of assignment to University Park when necessary to meet this requirement.

The Online Portfolio Submision drop box will be available beginning Monday, April 25.

CLICK HERE: Online Portfolio Submission Form

Students must submit a portfolio application along with the following items as attachments:

  1. A current Penn State transcript.

    To obtain a transcript, go to eLion and click on Advising > Transcript > View Advising Transcript and select Print Transcript. Use the PDF button in the lower left of the print screen to save the PDF file. The two prerequisite courses (COMM 150 and COMM 242) should be listed on the trancript as either completed or in progress. It does not need to be an official transcript.

  2. The creative writing exercise.

Write a narrative inspired by a significant moment from your life from the perspective of someone other than yourself who was involved in or witnessed the moment (double-spaced, 12-point Courier font, 250-300 words). Seemingly small moments in our lives often turn out to be significant turning points. The way we see the world, and other people in it, is changed as a result of that particular experience. Use one such moment of realization from your life as a starting point for a short story where a character undergoes a change of awareness as a result of witnessing that moment.

  3. A sample of creative work.

    Creative work for the portfolio can come from projects created in COMM 242, projects done for other courses or work created independently. The piece should represent your best work. Creative work must take ONE of the following forms:

    • A video or film, no more than 5 minutes in length, over which the applicant had primary creative control.   (See below for acceptable formats for submission.)
    • A screenplay, presented in proper screenplay format, no more than seven pages in length, authored by the applicant.
  4. A written statement

    A statement (double-spaced, 12-point Courier font) contextualizing the submitted creative work consisting of the following elements:

    • A list of the following factual information:

      -- Title
-- Format and length (i.e., film, video, or script)
      -- When and where made (i.e, date, place, course # if applicable, etc.)
      -- Applicant’s role (i.e., director, author, etc.)
-- Other crew members or collaborators and their roles
      -- If applicable: teacher, supervisor, or mentor who supervised your project
-- Name, title or position and phone of above
    • A description of the ideas you hoped to present through the piece, and a discussion of how you used images, sound, character development, and/or editing techniques to convey your concepts. (100 words)
    • Your assessment of the aesthetic and technical strengths and weaknesses of the piece. (100 words)

Acceptable Formats

All attachments to the portfolio application must include your PSU ID in the name of the item (e.g. abc5001film).

  • Acceptable file formats for written work — .doc, .docx, .pdf
  • Recommended formats for film-video — H264 encoded file (.mp4 or .mov). See FAQ for more information. 

The Online Portfolio Submision drop box will be available beginning Monday, April 25.

CLICK HERE: Online Portfolio Submission Form

Deadline for Online Portfolio Submissions for the Film-Video Major

The drop box for online submission of application materials will be available beginning Monday, April 25, 2016, and closing Friday, May 6, 2016. Any portfolios received after May 6 will not be reviewed.

Students will receive email notification confirming the receipt of their portfolio application.

For more information, consult the Frequently Asked Questions.

Additional Portfolio Review Information

The faculty will review all portfolios after the close of the spring semester, reporting their decisions to the applicants via email on or about June 1.

Portfolio Evaluation Criteria

Students are evaluated and admitted to the program based on the quality of their submission materials.

  • Transcript: Evidence of academic success, particularly in courses relevant to the film-video major. If spring semester grades are not yet available when you submit your application, the review committee will update your transcript when the grades are posted. 
  • Creative writing exercise: Demonstrate ability to express original ideas and artistic vision in written form.
  • Creative work: Film or video piece: Demonstrate technical ability and a sense of good visual storytelling. Screenplay: Demonstrate ability to express original ideas through creative storytelling in the proper written format.
  • Written statement: Demonstrate positive personal engagement with the learning process and an ability to contextualize and reflect on your work.

Scheduling Film Courses as a Film-Video Major

The junior core courses (COMM 337W, 338, 339, 340 and 342W) are controlled for students entering the major in the fall semester. Students will not be able to schedule the junior core film-video courses until after the portfolio review decisions have been made in May. You should schedule other fall classes that you need (besides those required for the film-video major) on your first date to schedule based on the number of credits you will have earned after completing the spring semester.

It is also recommended that you schedule fall courses for an alternate major during your regular spring scheduling period. If you are accepted into the film-video major, the advising center will assist you in adding the core junior film courses to your fall schedule.

Page last updated: April 7, 2016