Written by Megan Massey, (Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts) Student Correspondent Film Production at FAMU, Spring 2019
- Events –every week something new is happening in Prague whether it’s paddle boating, Easter markets, or fun concerts
- Food – amazing places for great food! The Manifesto Market is a crowd favorite but there’s food for every taste: Krusta, Chopstix, Wing Haus (to name a few).
- Transportation – walking, trams, metros, and buses makes the entirety of Prague accessible.
- Travel – want to spend a weekend away? A plane, bus, or train can take you anywhere in Europe!
- Beer – Prague beer is hard to beat (so I had to include it in the list).
- Safety – Prague is one of the safest cities in the world.
- Professors – they’re all artists and filmmakers and are dedicated to helping their students with their projects.
- Resources – you have the opportunity to visit and rent from Barrandov Studios, Panavision, and attend guest lectures with visiting artists.
- Courses – every course in the master class works towards your final film. You’ll spend the entire semester focused on filmmaking.
- Electives – you have the option to take additional courses through FAMU International and those courses can be anything.
- Films, Films, Films – you’ll watch so many films! Every professor shows different types of films and by the end of the semester you’ll have even more film knowledge.
- Meeting other students – through electives, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know international students outside of the CET program.
- Opportunity – FAMU is the 5th oldest film school in the world and is still one of the best!
- Trips – CET organizes a few (free!) trips throughout the semester and they have been some of my favorite parts of the semester. We got to travel to other places in the Czech Republic as well as other parts of Europe.
- Staff – the CET Prague staff is incredible! They are kind, helpful, and fun to hang out with.
- Czech Buddies – every apartment gets assigned a Czech buddy that’s a student in Prague. They are great if you ever need help with anything (translating, going to the Post Office, etc.) but they are also fun people to get to know and can become great friends.
- Learning Czech – a necessary step when studying abroad. CET organizes a Czech Intensive Course in the beginning of the semester to help students learn key phrases and then regular Czech classes continue with regular class.
- Resources – the staff is wonderful (as stated above) and will help you find great restaurants or fun events, but they also let you use their library, computers, or printers, or just to drop in and say hi.
- Organized Events – every week, a post is shared on social media that includes events that are occurring in Prague during the week. T
- he Czech buddies often hold events as well such as bowling tournaments, movie nights, or trips to the zoo.
- The Students – CET is a wonderful program because students come from everywhere. You get to meet and spend time with students outside your school or program.
- Housing – the housing is great! CET sets up apartments for all the students in great locations and they provide you will all housing essentials (no need to buy sheets, towels, or kitchen utensils).
- The Opportunity – shooting 35mm is a rare and exciting opportunity that not everyone gets the chance to try.
- Expenses – 35mm film is expensive to shoot on. FAMU completely covers the cost of your film and even provides you with a budget for shooting.
- Production Manager – FAMU provides each group with a Production Manager that helps rent equipment, secure locations, and find local actors.
- Learning Experience – leading up to shooting your film, your classes prep you with how to use the camera including a lighting and camera workshop where you get hands-on practice.
- Resources – in addition to providing a Production Manager, FAMU provides each set with an Assistant Camera, someone who is onset and loads the film and helps each group work with the 35mm camera.
- Facilities – the camera equipment is provided through Panavision which is a unique and fun experience for students to use, with school covering the cost.
- Challenge 1 – preparation. We received 4 rolls of film this year which means we had 16 minutes of actual footage time. Preparing to make a film with very minimal shoot time is a challenge that requires heavy preparation and thought, but you’ll probably carry into your future sets.
- Challenge 2 – the 35mm camera is big, heavy, and loud. This means sync sound (recording sound/dialogue while filming) is incredibly difficult. We were given the challenge to have minimal dialogue (none if possible) which is different than films we’ve made in the past.
- Challenge 3 – for the camera operator, simply holding the camera can be a challenge. The process of shooting is also a challenge, rehearsals become your best friend and lighting is extremely important. There are no do-overs if your film is too under or over exposed.
- Aesthetics – 35mm film is beautiful! There’s a texture to film that cannot be duplicated with digital film making.
- Terminology – ever wonder what ISO really is and what it means? When learning about 35mm film making, you’ll learn the important terms and how they originally applied to film. Everything will make a little more sense when you understand the mechanics behind it.
- Experience – making a film with local Czech actors is a wonderful experience that’s unique and memorable. I’ve had an amazing experience with my actors and it’s been a fun way to learn more about Czech culture.
- Sets – you’ll spend 2 weeks of your semester on your set and your friends’ sets and it will be exhausting, tough, and wonderful. Helping each other out was my favorite part of the experience.
- Bragging Rights – not everyone gets the opportunity to shoot a film on 35mm. Brag about it! It’s really cool!
I’ve loved my time in Prague. FAMU and CET have been wonderful and I cannot wait to finish my film and share it. I’m incredibly lucky and grateful for this experience!