Two Film Classes Combine to Create Final Student Project

Professors Kelly Dolak and Addington added a new twist to their producing and directing classes this semester by combining them for a final film project.

For Addington's fiction film class, this is the final film the students will be directing. They have spent the last third of the semester working on this five to seven minute short film. However, this year, they had to pitch their projects to Dolak's producing class.

Dolak explained how the process of combining two classes for one project panned out.

"The producers would listen to the pitches and decided what director they wanted to work with," she said. "Then the producers would come up with a schedule, give script feedbacks, and figure out the props, actors, and locations they needed. They were like a pre-production production manager. They also went on set for production."

The combination proved beneficial for both the directors and producers.

"From a director's point, it gives our students a chance to focus on directing and lets their partner take care of the practicalities. It also gives them a second person to bounce ideas off of," said Addington.

For the producers, the project allowed students to have a more hands-on experience rather than learning in a lecture.

"We got to see how to produce a movie rather than just read it in a textbook," explained junior Lindsay Lewandowski. "We got hands-on experience for picking a cast and location. It was nice to see what it's like to work in a hand-on environment rather than in a classroom setting."

However, combining classes did create some challenges for both the professors and students.

"Keeping tack of everyone as the teams were being formed was a challenge," Dolak said. "Also, a lot of the producers are filmmakers, too, and want to contribute. It was tough to make sure both sides are being respectful and giving their vision."

Her students found that this was a difficulty when pairing up with a director to create the short film.

"A difficulty [of the project] was the distribution of responsibilities and working with a partner," said Erica LoGiudice, a senior. "My partner told me things I didn't want to hear, and I told him things he didn't want to hear. The class forces us to get past the difficulties that will happen in the real world."

Overall, though, both Addington and Dolak said they felt like a project as big as this one would really give their students the experience they needed to succeed, as well as the fact that the partnership would allow them to focus more on their specialty, either directing or producing.

"This project is the culmination of the whole semester and several classes before. It is their first chance to make a full short fiction film and is a stepping stone to their senior project," Addington said.

All 12 of the short films can be viewed on May 2 in the H-wing auditorium beginning at 3:00 p.m. The Media Collision awards will also occur in the H-wing auditorium on May 9 at 2:00 p.m.

"It was a really successful first time through, and we learned a lot," Addington said. "I hope [the students] learned a lot, and I think we have an idea of what we need to do differently next time."