Summer Film Production
Want to make a feature film? You can do just that through the SMU Summer Film Production!
WATCH: Behind-the-scenes of the 2011-13 Summer Film Production, All the Wrong Friends
In a nutshell, SMU students write and produce feature films on a biannual (every two years) cycle.
In fact, the “Summer Film Production” (or SFP) is actually a bit of a misleading name – though the shoots happen during summers (every other year), each SFP is really a two-year process, with a year of prep ahead of time and a year of post-production afterwards sandwiching the shoot. This means there’s always an SFP going on in one phase or another, and hence always ways to get involved, whether or not you take part in the summer shoot.
Unlike some other school-tied “feature film” programs, this is NOT an “interning” or “watch and learn from the professionals” project – the entire production is planned and crewed by SMUers. In particular, ALL crew heads (director, producers, cinematographer, production designer, editor, sound mixer, AD, gaffer, etc.) are current SMU students or recent alumni.
It's a chance to work with professional gear on a long-form project and really get a taste of what it's like to do production as a full-time job – instead of just shooting a day or two on a weekend, this is a full-blown, full-time, two-week shoot, often on location.
Production happens in alternate summers (2014, 2016, etc.) during the two weeks between May graduation and the start of summer clases. That means if you’re at SMU for four years you’ll be around for at least two shoots – and as mentioned above you can get involved in pre-production or post-production during the school years in-between.
In general, students taking part in their first SFP work in a department of interest (camera, sound, lighting, etc.) to see how it’s done and get prepared for a potential crew head role on the next project two years down the road. Ultimately the SMU Summer Film Production aims to make the filmmaking process educational and collaborative while also coming out with an entertaining final product.
For updates, follow @SMUSummerFilm on Twitter and check out our blog; if you have questions or want more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page, which has answers to just about everything else you'd want to know about the SFP. And if you still can't find what you're looking for, contact us at SMUSummerFilm@gmail.com and we'll get back to you.
(By the way, YES, accepted students who will be starting at SMU in the fall are welcome to join the SFP as soon as they’ve committed to SMU, including submitting scripts, helping with pre- and post-production, or even crewing on the shoot itself!)
The 2013-15 Summer Film Production will begin prep in Fall 2013 for a Summer 2014 shoot. The call for scripts is now open and runs through August 31, 2013; for details on submission see the SFP script submission page.
The script selected for production will be announced in early fall 2013, at which time students can begin submitting applications for crew head positions; for details on the crew selection process see Acting and Crewing information.
All the Wrong Friends (2011-13 SFP, expected to premiere 2013)
(Feature, dark comedy thriller)
Production stills and trailer coming spring 2013!
As the first feature-length Summer Film Production, All the Wrong Friends was an ambitious project, aiming to shoot 120 pages in 12 days. Thirty-one hardy filmmakers and actors headed up north to the Texas/Oklahoma border for a 10-day location shoot (the last two days were shot around Dallas) and managed to wrap it all up half a day early. The film is currently in post-production and is expected to premiere in 2013, shortly before the 2013-15 Summer Film Project begins pre-production.
(ATWF trailer coming soon!)
The Dread Factory (2010-12 SFP)
(40-minute short, supernatural horror film)
(Production stills coming soon!)
The Dread Factory, the inaugural summer film production, was made almost on a whim; at the time, SMU happened to own an abandoned bread factory that was about to be demolished, and a group of Meadows students decided to shoot a horror film in the creepy old building before it was torn down. In a quick four-month span, they came up with a story, wrote a script, found a cast and crew, and shot the movie. The process was so much fun that they decided to shoot something again the next summer – and thus the SMU Summer Film Production was born.