He Made a Zombie Film in Comm Arts: CA 155

Last spring, then-freshman Sam Acker was hard at work directing and filming a movie with a small cast and crew about a zombie apocalypse–learning cinematography, studio lighting, website design, and Photoshop. Now, he feels more confident than ever about the career doors opened to him by learning these lucrative skills in Comm Arts’ newest class, CA 155: Introduction to Digital Media Production. 

“I know now that the skills of camera work, podcasting, web coding, and videography that we learned in CA 155 will be beyond helpful in any career, and probably even a necessity that I will love to exploit!” Acker said. “I already know this was probably the best class of my college career!”

Last fall with funds from the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates, Comm Arts debuted CA 155 under the direction of new Professor Eric Hoyt. The large undergraduate course, originally conceived for freshmen, is now open to all undergraduate students campus-wide. 

From Comm Arts to Chemistry and everything in between, CA 155 trains students from a variety of majors in practical skills that will be important in any career.  

With an emphasis on digital video, sound, image manipulation and website design, students learn in small, hands-on labs how to use the tools of digital media production to tell a story, communicate with an audience and articulate their artistic perspective. Along the way, in the course’s lecture component, they explore the aesthetic, ethical, legal and design issues faced by those producing media in the field.

“These are skills that will benefit you as competency in digital media production becomes a requirement in a wide range of academic disciplines and career paths,” Hoyt said. “Past students have obtained campus jobs as videographers and multimedia editors utilizing skills they learned in this course.”

“CA 155 was a blast!” Acker said. “Learning about all the different kinds of media wasn’t boring group projects or tedious lectures, but an experience that made me feel a lot more comfortable for the future.”

Junior Hannah Fergal also found the course transformative: “I loved CA 155. I learned so much about digital media and production, from simply learning how to correctly hold a camera to creating my very own webpage using HTML & CSS.”

She added: “CA 155 inspired me to pursue a major in Communication Arts with a concentration in Television, Radio and Film. Could not recommend a better introductory class!”