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 FILM 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.

As of May 2012, 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.

Students must submit a portfolio consisting of the following items:

  1. An informational cover sheet (name, email, term standing).

      Cover Sheet/  Checklist

  2. A current Penn State transcript.

    Transcripts may be obtained from eLion. It does not need to be an official transcript.

  3. A creative writing exercise.

Write a third-person narrative inspired by a significant moment from your life (double-spaced, 12-point Courier font, 250-300 words). Some of the most significant shifts or turning points in our lives initially come to us in the form of seemingly small moments; moments when, as a result of a particular experience, we come to a sudden realization that changes the way we see the world, and other people in it, from then on. These moments of realization, of course, have also frequently provided the rich starting points for some of our most distinguished novels, poems, short stories and films. Your statement should evoke the nature of this key moment and the experiences that gave birth to it.

  4. Creative work.

    Creative work submitted 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.  Work must be submitted on a DVD in one of the following formats: QuickTime (.mov) file or encoded DVD.
    • A screenplay, presented in proper screenplay format, no more than seven pages in length, authored by the applicant.
  5. A written statement

    A statement (double-spaced, 12-point Courier font) that contextualizes the 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 involved with supervision of your project
-- Name, title or position of above
      -- Address, phone and email of above
    • A description of the ideas you hoped to present through the piece, and a discussion of how you used images, sound, and editing techniques to convey your concepts (100 words)
    • Your assessment of the aesthetic and technical strengths and weaknesses of the piece. (100 words)

Deadline for Portfolio admission to the film-video major

Students must submit their application between 8:30 a.m. on the first day of finals week of SPRING semester and 4:30 p.m. on Friday of the same week. Any portfolios received after the Friday of finals week will not be reviewed.

All components of the portfolio application should be submitted in a manila envelope clearly labeled with the student’s name. Students should download and print a copy of the portfolio checklist, and include the checklist in the envelope.

Portfolios should be mailed or hand-delivered between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to:

Film-Video Portfolio Review Committee
College of Communications
204 Carnegie Building
Penn State
University Park, PA 16802

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

Portfolio Review

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

  • Evidence of potential for creative growth in film and video.
  • Ability to express original ideas and artistic vision in written form.
  • Commitment to creative expression.
  • Demonstrated positive personal engagement with the collaborative learning process.

Please note: In order to assure integrity, fairness, and impartiality in the admission process, students submitting a portfolio application to the film-video major are expected to assemble the portfolio without outside assistance from film-video faculty. It is an integral part of the self-presentation process for students to make their own decisions in selecting the creative work sample that they feel best represents their own creative abilities and interests, and to compose the creative writing exercise independently. Film-video faculty therefore cannot, and will not, review or comment on any portfolio materials outside of the official review process.

Scheduling Film Courses as a Film-Video Major

The junior core courses (COMM 337, 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.

Revised (11/30/12)

Page last updated: December 13, 2012