The Madonna Student Advantage
The Madonna University experience gives Broadcast & Cinema Arts students a distinct advantage with hands-on learning, unique projects, and professors who care about their success. Students have direct involvement with production to learn and express their creativity. See below what makes the Madonna Student Advantage.
Broadcast & Cinema Arts Student Projects
Celebrate Michigan is a Public Service TV show taped in front of a small live audience that features special highlights of the Great Lakes State, ranging from charitable organizations to our natural resources, to business entrepreneurs to community newsmakers. The show is 100 percent produced by Madonna students – in other words their ‘homework’ airs each Saturday morning on Detroit’s WYMD-TV 20, a local affiliate of the nationwide MyNetworkTV.
Students run and manage every aspect of the TV show production, ranging from producing and directing, to all camera, lighting and sound.
Madonna students create 45 Celebrate Michigan TV shows per year that are 30 minutes in length. This project is just one example where Madonna students leave college with actual, tangible, real-world TV production work experience on their resume, giving them a huge advantage in job searching.
In addition to the highly-concentrated experience of television production all year long in the creation of Celebrate Michigan, Madonna journalism students also embark on a semester-long news broadcasting production of a 30-minute show under the guidance of Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame member Cheryl Chodun.
Each semester the class creates a 30-minute packaged news show. Completing the professional project involves all aspects of reporting, writing, feature story creation, on-air talent instruction, editing and post-production. The show then airs on public access channels in Livonia.
Multiple alumni can be found utilizing this expert news production and on-air training from their Madonna experience in each of Detroit’s local affiliate TV news rooms and others in northern Michigan, as just a few examples.
Each calendar year Madonna students create from scratch a full-length, Hollywood-quality production feature film from conception to public showing. Students work as a team to develop a plot, write a script, cast actors, do pre-production, scout filming sites, build sets, film, create special effects, edit, do post-production, market and premier the film at a Detroit-area movie theater, before hitting the film festival circuit. All in the span of 12 months Madonna students accomplish what most Hollywood production studios take three to five years to complete.
The first such film was called Gangster Report; the second was #Enough and the third, which premiered in late 2016, was Married on a Monday, a comedy about a quirky young musician that temporarily becomes a baker, a cowgirl and a princess to attain her goal of the perfect wedding, and to do so in secret from her maid of honor.
The student’s education is enhanced by award-winning Madonna instructors and their experience of the film world. They not only show tricks of the Hollywood trade to create a full-length film in one year, but Madonna staff bring in their industry contacts to be mentors working alongside each student, providing expert feedback and analysis throughout the making of the film – whether the role is script development, lighting, sound, directing, shooting, editing or one of many others. Students run the show and fulfill their titles as any other professional would in the creation of a full-length feature film.
The distinct advantage of Madonna’s BCA program is simply unique. Networking with pros in the industry before leaving school is a great advantage. And each year at least one or more Madonna students have impressed their mentors so much that the mentors hire them to work on a current film, even before graduating.
Dave Kilgore, professional actor
“Madonna University film students impress me, and they have done so with every project I've seen them on. The majority of quality work, creativity, camaraderie, and positive and professional attitude I've seen exhibited in Michigan feature film, has come from this group. I feel honored each time I have the opportunity to work with them, and I'm always amazed and proud of what these students are able to accomplish in such short time with such limited budgets. I'm talking script, casting, locations, shooting, editing, music – every aspect of the process of filmmaking.”
Access Hollywood is not just a popular TV entertainment show, it also best describes Madonna’s annual Hollywood Trip class.
Every year there is a trip to Hollywood to experience real studio work in action. In one example, last year students visited the ABC TV filming studio of “How to Get Away with Murder.”
During Spring Break, Madonna BCA students can participate in the Hollywood Trip as a three-credit class and take advantage of Madonna leadership’s professional networking inside track to Hollywood stars, producers, directors, editors, sound engineers, special effects programmers, music directors and many more. Several Madonna alumni work in southern California and open their doors to current students.
The general focus of the trip is for BCA students to gain inside access to Hollywood resources such as movie studio back lots, color correction labs, animation studios and post-production houses – that they wouldn’t be able to attain otherwise.
“We pretty much get VIP treatment on the Hollywood trip because our teachers have worked in the industry and know key people and we get to explore that,” said current Madonna BCA student Cristina Paglia, from South Bend, Indiana.
On the 2017 Hollywood trip, actress Dee Wallace came to the hotel pool where Madonna students were gathered to talk about staying inspired in the industry. Wallace has been in more than 100 films and is possibly best known for playing the mom in ET.
“She gave us a really good understanding of how actors feel towards the production side of making a movie, and how we can improve to get there,” Paglia said. “She was talking about don’t stop creating. It was just very inspiring.
“We learned so much on the trip. We went to a post-production house and saw how they do the editing and all the color correction. We got to go to Paramount and see all their archives and the old outfits they wore, film cans of movies, how they store them and preserve them. It was all pretty cool. We hit almost every aspect of movies; even a music composer came and talked to us.”
There have been tours taken at Paramount and other years trips to Red Studios, Disney Animation Studios, Sunset Gower Studios, Activision Studios’ motion capture facility; plus talks with Robbie Thompson, the Executive Producer of Supernatural, Disney star Kenton Duty, actress Mia Serafino and the best colorists in Hollywood to name a few.
All in all, Madonna students get a rare and unique inside glimpse at the movie industry.
Madonna University’s roots are based in service to others, which is core to the Felician Ministries’ mission.
The Broadcast and Cinema Arts department provides a practical way for students to serve others while also serving the best interests of their future careers, by participating in Service Learning Projects. By producing these 5-to-7 minute videos for charitable groups, non-profits on very limited budgets can now get their messages out to educate the general public about their organizations and services.
The personal and touching stories that Madonna students share about a charity’s activities and mission through their creative spirit and unique talents helps inspire others to think, move and act to help others in need.
Madonna’s Broadcast Club is one of the largest clubs on campus and brings together students from all walks of life, backgrounds and broad subject knowledge areas, who love being creative together. It’s a great way to tie in students from all areas of the Madonna campus – whether it’s just enjoying a movie night and pizza, or working on a collaborative project.
Movie Night is more unique than just gathering to watch a Hollywood film. Madonna’s expert staff talk to the club members about why scenes were shot the way they were or what was done in direction and production to capture certain emotions or create connected themes in each film.
The Broadcast Club is also the main player in the creation of the all-campus Lib-Dub each year, which has earned awards. Creating two movie shorts a year are also a highlight for members to express their creativity – whether they are a BCA major, or they study math, nursing or chemistry – because all majors are welcomed.
The Broadcast Club is a great way of connecting the university’s student diversity as a whole in a socially-inviting, creative environment.
- Madonna students assist in airing live hockey games from USA Hockey Arena
- TV, radio, and online streaming broadcasts of Madonna Athletics
- Production of TV and radio advertisements in coordination with Madonna University's Marketing Department that air regularly on multiple cable networks including CNN, AMC, ESPN, TNT, FSD, Food Network and more
- An annual "Lip-Dub" event that gets the entire campus involved, and one year won a regional Emmy award
- Professionally-crafted music videos that rival any in the industry
- Five Public Service Programs helping non-profits in our community
- Two 5-minute shorts as part of the Broadcast Club activities
Our students intern across the country in all areas of the broadcast and cinema industry. Past internships have included: Annapurna Pictures in Los Angeles; assisting former president of Walden Media, Mike Flaherty in Boston; Funny or Die TV series in L.A.; and Disney Animation Studios just to name a few.