Film seniors practice what they’ve learned

June 4, 2014

film1 film2Two months of preparation, 14 hours of filming, and a couple more months of editing will yield five- to six-minute films, entries into the Broad Street Film Festival, and a resume piece for senior film students as they prepare to enter the world of filmmaking.

Alumnus Matthew Rogers discusses some of the fine points of filmmaking. Prof. Chris Clark, head of Bryan’s film and media program, said although the senior project was not required this year, he recommended it for the experience. “I wanted them to write a script and produce it as a capstone project,” he said. “It needed to be something do-able in a day. I told them to create a good story, and they realized helicopter scenes and bank robberies were not do-able.”

Seniors Nicole Thomas and Derek Batt took up the challenge and began the process in the fall semester, researching and writing the scripts, then filming was scheduled in January.

Mr. Clark said alumnus Matthew Rogers, a filmmaker in Knoxville, Tenn., offered to film the students’ work “on a camera like the one they’re filming ‘The Hobbit’ on. That sold them on the project.” Mr. Rogers provided his services without cost to the students.

Nicole said in addition to writing the script, the students had to choose a cast, recruit a production crew, secure locations and handle all the details that go into making a film.

Nicole Thomas with her actors. With a story involving a basketball player and coach, she needed an actor who could play basketball. But just a few days before filming, her basketball player actor had to drop out. The other main actor recommended a friend who stepped in to the role. “He was very nice to work with and very talented, but he wasn’t a basketball player,” she said. “But he made enough shots for the film.”

Nicole’s film, “Just a Game,” tells part of the story of her grandfather’s role in helping integrate a school’s basketball team. Derek’s film, “Okay,” is about a young man meeting death unexpectedly

With digital filming complete, the students are in the process of editing their two-plus hours of files to the final five- to six-minute films that will be entered in the Broad Street Film Festival in Chattanooga.

“This is an excellent opportunity for young filmmakers to get a taste of what the professional world expects,” Mr. Clark said. “We’ll be requiring a senior project like this beginning next year, but I’m glad Nicole and Derek chose to make the effort to get this experience.”