FAQS For Student Productions
FAQ: Do community partners pay for student productions?
When an organization partners with students in the VIC course, they receive their production at no cost. In exchange for this, we require partners to support students during their production process. This means, communicating regularly with students, teaching them about their constituency, providing them with access to interview subjects and other participants, giving regular feedback, attending the final community premier screening on campus and collaborating in other ways as needed. We also require your contact person to respond to student requests within 24 hours.

FAQ: Who “owns” the video and controls its distribution and use?
In a sense, the community partner owns the product and determines its end use, but cannot sell it for profit. VIC reserves the right to use the project on their website and for presentations.

FAQ: What if a partner wants to hire students?
VIC also supports specialized student/community partnerships that take place outside the VIC course for a small fee. College students who have completed VIC training work as interns on special VIC projects, producing videos independently under the guidance of VIC community partners. Students are compensated through a mixture of college credits and payment as work study interns. The community partner provides the funds for student interns and a small administrative fee.

FAQ: What is the process to become a VIC student partner?
You can contact VIC directly or you can contact the CSUSM Office of Community Service Learning (OCSL). If you contact the CSUSM OCSL, you will be introduced to VIC’s Director via email. In order to be considered for a Fall semester project, please contact us by May 1. In order to be considered for a Spring semester project, please contact us by November 1.

FAQ: What is the production process like?
The community partner works with the VIC Director to determine whether your project is appropriate for student learners, and if your organization has a dedicated contact person for the duration of the project. If VIC can accommodate your project, the VIC Director works closely with you in the weeks preceding the semester's start to define your project. During the second week of the semester, you will be invited to “pitch” your project to the students in the class. A student production team will be assigned to your project based on their preference and their skill level. From there on, a student production manager will be in contact with you to develop all aspects of the project, including its design and intended use, access to personnel and interview subjects, work in progress meetings, and final sign off. The project takes 16 weeks from start to finish, and we require that one person from your organization be the contact person during this time. We also require your contact person to respond to student requests within 24 hours. It is important to remember that students are enrolled in a university course, and that they have time sensitive assignments related to the project that they must complete for their grades.

FAQ: How long are the videos and what are the formats?
Before production starts, VIC and the community partner agree to the video’s length, purpose and method of delivery. VIC student producers usually create one video that is three to five minutes in length for each organization. For fundraising and informational videos, we suggest no longer than four minutes. In some circumstances students may create two or three thirty second or sixty second public service announcements, or a seven minute video that is divided into informational chapters. VIC delivers four DVDs to the partner, which can be duplicated, and a web ready video if required. There is no cost for these items.

FAQ: If there are any problems with the production or the production process, how are those handled?
It is important to remember that the VIC student partnerships are part the university curriculum, students enroll from all departments, have a range of skills, and some may be learning about video production and professional practices for the first time. The VIC instructor teaches them technical and professional skills, and oversees their work in the classroom and through weekly blogs. The VIC instructor also periodically contacts you to assess the overall progress of the project and student effectiveness. If at any time the partner or the student feels that communication could be improved, the project is taking an unexpected turn, or has other concerns, he or she should contact the instructor immediately. We always plan for success and the curriculum includes several opportunities for the partner to give students direct input. About two weeks before the end of the semester, you will need to “sign off” on the project in writing. After this time no additional changes can be made.


FAQS For Professional Productions
FAQ: How are professional projects funded?
Professional projects are longer educational documentaries and other media formats that provide more in depth analysis and resources for change. They are funded through private, county, state and federal grants, university support, donations, and in-kind costs. VIC works closely with the partnering organizations to write grant proposals, identify funders and submit them through the University as the fiscal sponsor. The VIC Program Director is the principle investigator on the grant.

FAQ: How do I become a professional partner?
To become a professional partner, contact the VIC Director directly with a project idea and, if possible, some sources of funding for the project. Often professional partnerships are the result of positive interactions the VIC Director, instructor and students have had with an organization during a previous student project. During the student project, VIC builds relationships that may result in a more lasting partnership that will address the organization’s constituents in more depth. Professional projects require external funding, and preparation for a project usually takes about three to twelve months.

FAQ: How does VIC determine what issues to address? Does it have a political, religious or social position?
VIC strives to include a diverse, complex mix of voices in its video productions. VIC believes that media shapes consciousness, and that we have a responsibility to create accurate, accessible, culturally sensitive images that represent multiple viewpoints. VIC works with a group of advisors, and consults leaders in the region to determine the most pressing needs, how a media project can address those needs and offer solutions. If your organization has a need for an educational documentary that will serve a regional or national population, please contact the VIC Director. Available funding also determines project feasibility, and some issue areas are higher profile for some funders.

FAQ: How long are VIC projects and what genres?
VIC media projects are twenty to fourty minutes in range. They are predominantly educational documentaries, meaning that they are interview and information based, contain personnel stories, professional guidance, and educational resources. They are designed to be compelling stories while offering concrete solutions. VIC also produces short narratives or dramatic reenactments, and scripted instructional segments. They are produced to appeal to audiences that include professionals, families and the general public. VIC projects can be bi-lingual (Spanish and English). VIC may also produce feature length documentaries with appropriate funding.

FAQ: How does VIC producer/director identify participants to appear in the videos?
During the pre-production process we meet prospective participants or on camera subjects from the community that our partner and others introduce us to. These meetings are discussions that we have to research the topic, understand complex perspectives or pre-interview potential subjects for the video itself. We spend hours in this pre-production phase to determine which individuals will best speak to the heart of the issue. All people who appear in the video sign depiction releases that give VIC legal use of their voice and image. Before we interview the subject, we clearly explain what the video is and how it will be used, and ask the subject to assist in developing materials for the on camera interview. For a thrity minute video, we typically film fifteen hours of interviews.

FAQ: How are the videos distributed?
The partnering organization is responsible for the majority of the distribution. Besides hosting on our website, VIC is not responsible for distribution, but will work with the partner during duplication and initial stages of dissemination which may include a video premier and summit on the University campus. We create a distribution plan during the proposal phase of the project that includes a budget for DVD duplication (about 2000 – 3000 copies). Distribution may include hosting the video on a website, providing free or low cost DVDs through screenings and summits, using county agencies to distribute to schools, and mailing DVDs. When the product is free we encourage agencies to duplicate copies. When additional funds outside of the production budget are available, VIC will work with partners to create ancillary educational materials that can be printed or downloaded from the web. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible.

FAQ: What is the relationship between Cal State San Marcos and VIC?
VIC is a program of California State University San Marocs and is aligned with the mission and values of the university including intellectual inquiry, community engagement, innovative research and cultural diversity. VIC’s Director is a member of the university, and a tenured full professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. VIC’s professional projects are funded with a mixture of external funds and university support. VSAR 306 Video in the Community is a college course that is offered through the Visual and Performing Arts Department at the University, and is the vehicle for most student productions. Students who have taken this course work as interns on professional productions, and often are paid technical staff after they graduate.

FAQ: How can I support VIC?
You can support VIC by giving us feedback on our video productions, obtaining copies of the videos and integrating them into educational settings, telling us how you use the videos and what their impact is, becoming a community partner, and providing financial and material support. If you would like to provide financial support to VIC’s operating expenses or a specific project, please contact the VIC Director. Because VIC is a program of California State University, San Marcos, a 501(c)3 organization, your contributions are tax deductable.