At West College Scotland’s Greenock Campus, students in the Creative Industries: Television program use Celtx as the primary tool for their full-spectrum, highly collaborative training. Under the supervision of Curriculum Enhancement Lecturer Ray Caniffi, these aspiring filmmakers work together on conceptualizing, writing, planning, and executing their productions under tight timeframes.
We spoke with Ray, a veteran filmmaker and teacher, about how adopting Celtx has improved their program for instructors and students alike.
As his program covers much more than just screenwriting, Ray was seeking an affordable solution that could help teach the concept of building and managing interrelated production documents.
Before Celtx, students would use templated pro forma documents to manually move from one step of the production process to the next, requiring them to maintain exhaustive (and often repetitive) documentation records. This was a laborious process, but Celtx’s integrated project structure has largely automated it, helping students to maintain momentum and see the immediate outcome of the work they’re completing.
“For example,” Ray notes, “students would skip through their breakdowns because they were doing it on paper. [Celtx’s breakdown system] has helped them realize the significance and importance of getting it right, because it impacts everything else.”
Celtx’s pre-population functionality and step-by-step workflow has served to greatly improve the story development and planning phases of the student productions. As well, the collaborative nature of the platform has proven highly beneficial: students are able to work together at every step, regardless of time or distance.
“It’s been absolutely outstanding for us. It makes the work look professional, and it takes away an awful lot of repetition that the students were doing before because it automates the infilling of production documents. It’s really revolutionized [teaching the production process] for us.”
Celtx’s impact continues as the students go to camera. As Ray points out, the ability for them to have the app on their phone and easily ping things to each other via the built-in distribution system allows the students to “accomplish things that didn’t really happen previously, when it was all paper based.”
The benefits of the Celtx platform are not exclusive to the students. It provides teachers with an in-depth level of supervisory insight and control that was previously unavailable:
“I can leave them notes, and I can see when they last accessed their projects. So if they tell me they’ve been working over the weekend I can tell if they have. Which is brilliant! They don’t even try to string me along any more. It’s an absolute godsend on that level.”
Intradepartmental communication and coordination has improved as well. For example, part time instructors are able to remotely access student’s projects to ascertain where the students currently stand in the lesson plan – “It prevents us from contradicting or repeating each other to the students. This ability has completely revolutionized the manner in which we deliver the course.”
In summary, Ray describes the educational benefits of utilizing Celtx at an operational level as follows:
“It’s an extremely affordable, flexible solution with high-quality output. It’s revolutionized both the speed at which our students can work and the manner in which they work together. It’s dramatically improved the way that we as teachers can deliver and interact with the development process because we can do it at a distance, and it’s completely changing the way that we’re working in pre-production.
For me, that’s a big bonus. I was looking to increase the professionalism of the student’s work, but I didn’t realize it would offer us opportunities that we didn’t have before to work in different ways, and that’s very important to me.”
Click here to learn more about how your institution can benefit from implementing Celtx in the classroom.