Syllabus – Promotional Video

Urbino Now: Promotional Video Magazine Project

James Madison University
School of Media Arts and Design
In cooperation with the Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia)

SMAD 305
Special Topics in Media Arts & Design: Promotional Video Production

3 Credits
Location: Urbino, Italy
Professor: Rustin Greene
Urbino Mobile: +39 (349) 092 8784

Study of the principles and practices of producing video programs. Emphasis on creative development and production. Consideration of the producer’s responsibilities, including directing talent, visualization, production, and project management.

The principal objective of this course is to prepare students for a position in mass communications. Upon successful completion of this course, students should:

  1. Identify the responsibilities and opportunities of production professionals in video production.
  2. Understand how production personnel contribute to the creative development process.
  3. Examine the video production process, from concept development through post production.
  4. Understand the collaborative nature of video production.

Students will examine the principles and practices producing video through lectures and discussion, demonstration, collaborative exercises and projects. Upon successful completion of this class, students will be able to develop a program idea, translate that idea into a viable video, and manage the production of that video.

Please note: The schedule for this class will be very flexible and will be influenced by the classes offered for the other, journalistic groups. Everyone will take daily Italian lessons, and you will also participate in some of the other classes. However, the following is a reasonable schedule for this class:

Week 1 (Sunday – Thursday)

We’ll begin with an immersion in Italian language and culture and the basics of video storytelling techniques. There will be an additional focus on still photography. You’ll get to know the community of Urbino. You’ll be introduced to the video magazine project, Urbino Now. You will develop the program concept, will select and assign program segments and production teams, will begin research and segment development. At the end of the week, you’ll have a three-day free weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)to explore the town, the region or to travel even farther.

Sunday, May 26

9:00-11:00 General Orientation and Course Structure. Faculty intros; Contact Information Exchange; Computer Assessment; Wikidot Site Signup; Sugar Cafe Event; Course Requirements; Interpreter Usage Limitation; Intro to Faculty-Student Groups; Structure of the Website; Structure of the Print Magazine; Structure of the Promotional Videos; Review of Schedule & Upcoming Holidays.


11:00-12:000 Syllabus review & Orientation [CORBOLI C]

12:15 Lunch. [TRIDENTE]

14:00-16:00 Story selection and development process [CORBOLI C]

16:15-18:00 Intro to Photography (“Urban Project” Assignment) [CORBOLI A] – Biddle, Reeder

19:00 Dinner [TRIDENTE]

Monday, May 27

9:00 Check-In/Announcements, Sign up for Sugar Cafe Event, Ducal Palace Tour and Excursion.[CORBOLI A]

9:15-12:00 Story development process.

12:30-14:00 Lunch [DUCA]

14:00-15:00 Introduction to video production and workflow [CORBOLI C]

15:15-16:15 Working with an Interpreter [CORBOLI B] – Marshall & Gold

16:30-19:00 Research main and short story ideas

Tuesday, May 28

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI A]

9:05-12:00 Individual story meetings [CORBOLI C]

12:30-1:30 Lunch [DUCA]

13:45 Urban Project Photos Due [CORBOLI A] – Biddle, Reeder

14:00-15:00 Italian Language and Culture [CORBOLI A] – Carducci

15:15-16:00 Research and develop main and short story ideas

16:00-18:00 Interview techniques

20:30- 22:00 Urban Project Photos Critique [CORBOLI A] – Biddle, Reeder

Wednesday, May 29

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI A]

9:05-12:00 Story development updates. Shoot short stories

14:00-18:30 Shoot short stories

19:00 Sugar Café Event

Thursday, May 30

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI A]

9:05-11:30 Photography Session: Shooting Portraits [CORBOLI A] Biddle, Reeder

14:00-17:00 Story research andedit bumpers [CORBOLI C]

17:00 Review video bumpers [CORBOLI C]

Friday, May 31

Free Weekend

Week 2 (Monday – Thursday)

We’ll focus intensively on video shooting and editing, and get to know the people, customs and culture of Le Marche. Program development continues. Writing and and video production continue. Further exploration of the video equipment, developing a program visual style. At the end of the week, you’ll have another three-day free weekend free (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).

Monday, June 3

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI A]

9:05-12:00 Interview exercise, shoot and edit [CORBOLI C]

13:30 Portrait Assignment Due [CORBOLI A] – Biddle, Reeder (Bring Files on a Pen Drive)

14:00-16:00 Main story development and pre-production [CORBOLI C]

16:30-18:00 Portrait Assignment Photo Critique. [CORBOLI A] – Biddle, Reeder

Tuesday, June 4

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI A]

9:05-12:00 Main story development and pre-production

15:00-16:00 Italian Language and Culture. [CORBOLI A] – Cavalera

16:00 Main story development and pre-production

Wednesday, June 5

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI C]

All day Main story production

20:00-23:00 Movie Night “Il Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” [CINEMA NUOVA LUCE]

Thursday, June 6

10:00-12:00 Ducal Palace tour [Meet at palace entrance]

14:00 Main story production

Friday, June 7

OPTIONAL: Fossombrone/Gabicce Monte (Bel Sit Restaurant)/Il Conventino di Monteciccardo

Week 3 (Monday – Sunday)

Production and post production throughout the week. This will be a busy week and you’ll need to plan to stay in Urbino through the weekend in order to complete your segments.

Monday, June 10

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI A]

9:05-10:00 Main story updates [CORBOLI C]

10:00-13:30 Main story production

13:30 Portrait Assignment redo submission [CORBOLI A]

15:00-16:00 Italian Language and Culture [CORBOLI A] – Sisti

16:00 Main story production

Tuesday, June 11

All day Main story production

Wednesday, June 12

All day Main story production

20:00-23:00 Movie Night “Il Postino” [CINEMA NUOVA LUCE]

Thursday, June 13

All day Main story production and post production

Friday, June 14

All day Main story production and post production

Saturday, June 15

9:00-12:00 Main story production and post production

14:00-17:00 All segment rough cuts due. Review rough cuts [CORBOLI C]

Sunday, June 16

All day Revise program segments

Week 4 (Monday – Sunday)

All program elements are due on Tuesday. We’ll have a Wednesday night awards ceremony where we’ll give out the prestigious “Raffie” awards, followed by a final banquet. Thursday will be your last day to explore and will also be our packing day. The bus will leave early Friday morning to take you back to the airport in Rome.

Monday, June 17

9:00-12:00 Review 2ndcuts. [CORBOLI C]

Afternoon Final program revisions

Tuesday, June 18

9:00 Check-In/Announcements [CORBOLI A]

9:15-14:00 Final program revisions

14:00-15:00 All programs due. Review programs. [CORBOLI C]

Wednesday, June 19

17:30 Awards Ceremony [SALA DEL MAISCALCO: Behind & Below Teatro Sanzio, along the city wall]

19:30 Meet bus at Borgo Mercatale

20:00 Closing Dinner

Thursday, June 20

11:00: Faculty meet at Palazzo Corboli to pack up gear.

Friday, June 21

5:30 Bus Leaves for return to Rome (BORGO MERCATALE)

The safety and security of everyone is of the utmost importance to our program. If someone has gone missing and we don’t know they are gone, it’s a problem for everyone. Attendance is critical if you want to do well in the class and produce quality work. For these reasons, participation is mandatory and attendance will be taken at classes and required group activities. Poor attendance will result in a lowering of your grade.

Only emergencies, serious illness or disability will be permitted as excuses for absence or lateness. Poor participation will be considered a serious breach of the professionalism required in this course. Students are expected to come to every class prepared, to be attentive and to participate in all activities.

Grades will be based on a point system. Students will be evaluated twice, once for individual contribution to the various program elements, and once for the quality of the final elements, for which all project team members earn the same grade. Individual contribution will be evaluated on the quantity and quality of each person’s individual contribution to the various elements (feature segments, host segments, show open/close, bumpers, etc.) of the total project. Individuals’ prior experience and video production knowledge will factor into this evaluation. The quality of the finished elements will also be evaluated. The following columns show the anticipatedpoint value of each graded activity, and the total points necessary for each grade:

      Activity Point Totals

  1. Quality of finished program    100
  2. Individual contribution           100
  3. Total Points                            200                                      

   Grade Point Distribution

  1. 186 – 200 (93%) A
  2. 180 – 185 (90%) A-
  3. 174 – 179 (87%) B+
  4. 166 – 173 (83%) B
  5. 160 – 165 (80%) B-
  6. 154 – 159 (77%) C+
  7. 146 – 153 (73%) C
  8. 140 – 145 (70%) C-
  9. 134 – 139 (67%) D+     
  10. 120 – 133 (60%) D     
  11. Below 120 points F

A   Work is excellent in all respects, meeting the highest standards of video storytelling. It is complete, technically superior, and turned in on time. Work could be broadcast on a professional television channel with little to no editing or reworking.

B   The work meets most but not all of the requirements of excellence. Work could be broadcast on a professional television channel with some editing or reworking.

C   The work meets the deadlines but only barely meets requirements of excellence. The work may lack a strong grasp of the principles of video storytelling. It could be broadcast on a professional television channel only with significant reworking.

D   Work fails to meet most deadlines and/or basic video storytelling standards. It could not be broadcast on a professional television channel without a total reworking.

F   Work is not turned in on deadline and/or fails to meet basic video storytelling standards.

One of the goals of the program for students to get to know the culture and customs of Urbino. Good citizenship means being respectful of those customs, being a responsible neighbor and respecting what the town and region have to offer. One of our biggest problems in the past has been excessive noise. University of Urbino students are living among you in the dorms and many will be studying for exams while we are there. We do not want to receive complaints of noise or excessive drinking from our hosts at the university or from the community. Good citizenship includes:

Exploring the culture, attractions, foods and traditions of Urbino, Le Marche, and Italy.

Being respectful of the local environment and local customs.

Being a responsible neighbor and guest.

Getting to know Urbino residents.

Poor citizenship will result in a lowering of your final course grade by an amount determined by the director of the program.

Program participants are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. This includes:

Treating faculty, staff, and fellow students with respect and courtesy.

Coming prepared to group meetings with suggestions and ideas.

Attending all class sessions and showing up on time.

Acting respectfully toward interview subjects and interpreters.

Using equipment responsibly.

Working through challenges and conflicts in a mature, responsible way.