Before a television show gets a full order of episodes, they usually have to make a test episode for the network to see how it would look on screen. This test episode is called a pilot, and pilot season is one of the most intense times of the year in the world of television.
Every year, Dodge College gives students a chance to work on their own pilots, providing some real-world experience before they go out into the industry. The Interterm TV Pilots program is an intense interterm project that has students working on not one, but two pilots over the course of a few weeks.
Though the actual production of the pilots is done during the interterm, pre-production starts well before that. There are two pilot writing classes every spring, where 30 pilots are written. At the end of the class, 2 of those scripts are selected to be filmed. Pre-production starts in the fall, and then the pilots are shot during the interterm for 7 days each. While the next round of scripts are being written, the shows are edited and finalized. The process takes a little over a year, but the final product at the end of the day is well worth the wait.
Jacob Moncrief (BFA/Creative Producing ’16) has been involved with the program for the last few years, helping with previous productions such as “Called to Serve” (as the Production Coordinator), “Perceptors” (as the Supervisor Producer), and “Sharp Left Turn” (as the Associate Producer). This year, Moncrief will be the Executive Producer for both pilots.
“This program really helped me realize that TV is where I want to be,” said Moncrief. “It’s fast paced, it’s stressful, but it’s a lot of fun, and it helps build relationships that will carry over long after I graduate.”
One of the pilots he worked on, “Called To Serve,” was just recently named an official selection at the New York Television Festival. No small feat, by any means!
Each pilot that is shot has its own key creative team, who help form the show. Though many folks come back year and year, there are always empty spots to fill. There will be an informational session on September 16
at 10PM in MKS 111 for those who are interested in joining in.
“We’re looking to assemble a crew of about 75 people, people who are eager to be on set and go that extra mile. We have a lot of fun, but its hard work, too. But, for people who want that real-world experience, this is perfect for them.”
If you have any questions about the program, please contact
Professor James Gardner