Now that in-person filmmaking can finally resume, we’re excited to restart our normal activities: weekly in-person general meetings, weekly in-person script seminars, film screenings, and film productions! Additionally, we’re creating a new yearly calendar to better suit the shortened quarter (now nine weeks): we plan on producing one-quarter studio projects during the fall, two-quarter studio projects (including BA thesis films) in the winter and spring, and independent projects throughout the year.
We’ve got spots for writers, directors, actors, cinematographers, sound designers, editors, etc. — all projects are open to anyone, regardless of experience. Any and all stories/genres/styles are accepted!
Fire Escape hosts weekly General Meetings and Script Seminars, as well as free screenings and speaking events.
General Meetings tend to cover film theory and production, with presentation topics ranging from introductory cinematography to niche discussions of film genres and filmmaking techniques. General Meetings regularly incorporate hands-on instruction on equipment usage, so that members can gain technical knowledge that they’ll use to create their own projects. Script Seminars, hosted by our Script Coordinator, focus on screenwriting and always include opportunities for students to bring in their own scripts or treatments to be workshopped by the group.
Fire Escape provides everything you’ll need to create a short film, documentary, web series, music video, or any other audiovisual production. This includes comprehensive education on how to create these projects, which is to say, absolutely zero experience is required! Anyone in the UChicago community (including graduate students) may attend our weekly general meetings and script seminars as often as they’d like, as well as sign up to be on a film crew or pitch their own films projects to us. The selected production projects will have access to free equipment rentals (cameras, lenses, audio-recording equipment, lights, etc.); a sizable film budget (typically up to $800) for props, actors, craft services, and more; guidance from a Development Manager; and a spot at one of our biannual film screenings and the large audience they attract.
STUDIO PROJECTS are one-or-two-quarter projects that tend to be between eight and twenty pages in length (with proper screenplay formatting, in which one page tends to correlate to one minute of screentime). Studio Projects receive a larger budget than Independent Projects as well as greater support from the Fire Escape Committee, so these projects are suited to students attempting to create more complex productions, as well as first-time filmmakers who would benefit from Committee mentorship and external accountability. Proposals for Studio Projects are accepted twice per year – once right before the Fall Quarter begins, and once during the course of the Winter Quarter.
INDEPENDENT PROJECTS are projects that can vary vastly in length. Most Independent Projects tend to be shorter and take less than a full quarter to produce, but Independent Projects also encompass longer projects that may shoot over an entire year. Independent Projects receive a larger budget than Independent Projects as well as greater support from the Fire Escape Committee, so these projects are suited to either students who are creating a small project just for fun, OR students with extensive experience who are comfortable operating without much guidance. Proposals for Independent Projects are accepted and approved on a rolling basis throughout the year.
We look forward to working with the UChicago community this year, and hope to see you at our weekly meetings!