Behind the Lens


Under the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts, Temple offers prospective filmmakers specialized programs to prepare them for future careers in the world of film development and production.

Students have the option to take a general approach in film and media arts or pick a concentration in cinematography, post-production, producing, screen studies, directing, media arts, screenwriting, or a minor in screen studies.

Students get hands-on experience by creating their own film projects, some of which are feature-length, while leading the pre-production, production and post-production processes.

Pre-production includes developing an idea, writing a script and assigning roles to cast and crew. Senior Dan Foster knows this all too well after deciding to direct his own film for his senior project.

His 15-minute film depicts overcoming racism, a subject that is very important to him. He believes in devoting one’s self to a project.

“It’s not just some film you’re making with your friends,” Foster said. “It is challenging to tackle such an important issue in such a short amount of time.”

To further capture the importance of overcoming racism and create meaning in his project, he wrote many drafts of his script. He said he struggled the hardest with the short period of time given to finish the project.

Foster explained the differences between popular belief  and what the actual creation of a film is like.

“When people think of movies, they think we just press record, actors act and it’s done,” Foster said. “But there are so many other variables that the director, producer and everybody apart of it has to take into account.”

The professors and students at the film school help create an atmosphere that encourages students to push for success. If there is one thing Foster has realized while attending film school at Temple, he said it’s that one’s own effort is what makes it all gain value.

“Film school is as good as you make it,” Foster said. “You have professors who want you to be successful, but in the end you have to push yourself to make the best possible project you can because if you don’t, you’re not going to progress.”

Film students are also able to enroll in graduate programs. These programs include Film and Media Arts, MediaXarts: Cinema for New Technologies and Environments, Theater/Acting, Theater/Design, Theater/Directing, Theater/Playwriting, or earn a graduate certificate in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Research.

Michael Knoll (3of6).jpg

The Master of Fine Arts in Film and Media Arts program is made up of approximately 40 students who are dedicated to crafting their skills in film.

Michael Knoll is a student in the master screenwriting class, a two-semester course where students write and revise scripts for a feature-length film. Screenwriting consists of developing and writing scripts for mass media, which is Knoll’s focus in the program.

While screenwriting, Knoll said it is likely that the initial idea will not have the same ideals of the final production.

“There is a very good chance that the final script is not the same as the first draft of the story,” Knoll said. “You can have a great story, but it often doesn’t turn out the way you wanted because other aspects of filmmaking were lacking.”

Before registering for a spot in the program at Temple, Knoll only had high school film experience.

“Temple’s program has put me in a position and given me the knowledge and experience that I need to make a career out of film,” Knoll said.

written by courtney idasetima
photographed by jademan baker


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