If an “integrated globe” sums up today’s geopolitical and economic conditions, so too have integrated media—inter-media, trans-media, mixed-media—become standards for 21st-century communication. Be it commercial, artistic, or underground—communication in today’s private, public, and planetary contexts demands ever-increasing media fluency.

It comes as no surprise that students from both within and beyond Media Studies are turning to smartphones, social networks, flip-cameras, twitter, and video cameras to convey, often in real time, their experiences and research.  But such students documenting, formulating, and inventing new presences within local, trans-local, and global communities are sometimes poorly equipped with the technical and theoretical media skills necessary for success. Too often, the return to the studio is met with disappointment that better footage was not taken, better sound not recorded, better interview questions not asked, better narrative structures not pondered, better logistics not planned, and better visual communities not imagined. To remedy this, we have inaugurated a Pomona College Media Guild.

The Media Guild is neither the solitary space of the artist’s atelier nor the occupied space of the industrial workshop. Calling upon the pre-industrial tradition of collaborative learning, our Media Guild promotes a communal engagement with tools necessary for the creation, documentation, and presentation of student projects. Also a community where experienced students function as informal mentors for students beginning to engage, the Media Guild is a space where faculty co-teach theory, ethics, and practice alongside a digital filmmaker, Pomona’s Visiting Fellow in Media Praxis.

The Guild is organized around the idea of education through praxis.  The central functions of the Global Media Guild are a two-part half-credit course (meeting regularly per semester in both Spring and Fall) and an ongoing Online Guild. While the course serves as a practical space of instruction, the Online Guild is a lifeline for students when they are away from the campus and a stable platform for the presentation of student productions. 

The first half-credit course prepares students for media use before they engage in a research or creative project. The second half-credit course guides students in post-production and in planning for effective dissemination. The Online Guild, meanwhile, functions as a venue for students to get peer and faculty feedback on work in progress, to gauge the progress of their work when away from campus, and, in a public gallery, to offer their to a broader audience (with connections to YouTube, Vimeo, and professional sites.)

Although students are encouraged to enroll in the course before they leave on a funded Summer Undergraduate Research Project, the courses and the Guild resources are open to all. There is no pre-requisite in Media Studies as we understand that many students needing the course are, precisely, coming from other majors—history, environmental analysis, the natural, applied, and social sciences. In the course, students learn basic skills for operating: flip-cameras, video cameras, film, sound recordings, blogging, and streaming. In addition, students develop conceptual, financial, logistic, and interpersonal skills through a series of targeted readings as well as learning from returning or advanced students.

Production skills: project mapping, financing, storyboarding, interview techniques, b-roll, sound recording, camera technique, human subject protocols, equipment and international travel, safeguarding your work, flip-cameras, video cameras, film, tips for successful blogging, tweeting, and YouTube-ing, post-production editing and sounds, Final Cut and other computer-based non-linear editing skills.

Global media skills: film and video in cross-cultural context, interviewing and filming in a foreign language, ethics of the image, the image and colonialism, histories and futures of documentary, hybrid documentation, multi-format projects, project reformatting on-the-fly, copyright in the global context, finding a global audience, experimental and creative projects.

Format: The Guild offers a half-credit course every semester. In addition, the Guild sponsors public screenings and presentations. Students also work closely with the Guild’s Visiting Fellow of Media Praxis. Pre-production and post-production students meet separately on some occasions.

Assignments: Assignments include practicum emphasizing unique media capabilities, project  planning, financing and budgeting, human subject protocols, and long-term production timelines. Post-production assignments are tailored to individual media projects.

To Join the Pomona Media Guild

The Media Guild welcomes Pomona College students. Participation is by a simple application.  Please send a one-paragraph description of your proposed research and/or film project to PomonaCollegeMediaGuild@Pomona.edu. Include your name, major/minor, contact information, and working title.

The Pomona Media Guild was founded in 2012 by Assistant Professor Jonathan M. Hall. The Pomona Media Guild is possible thanks to generous support from the Loeb Family Foundation.