HTC Film student receives David J. Clarke Memorial Scholarship
HTC Film senior Tony Pape has spent years honing and translating his artistic voice into quirky, often absurdist shorts. He has been selected for a variety of film festivals, been awarded scholarships and budgets and, most recently, has been recognized by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). The chapter has selected Pape as a 2020 recipient of the David J. Clarke Memorial Scholarship for his short Dual of the Armless Wizards.
Pape’s path to Wizards and its accompanying scholarship started in his hometown high school in Madeira, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. Upperclassmen had the opportunity to take a ‘video production’ class, in which students would produce What’s Up Madeira?, a weekly show that would be uploaded to the school’s YouTube page.
“Usually, it was a glorified ‘morning announcements’,” Pape remembers, “Everything had horrible production quality … people were just trying to be goofy.” Once Pape enrolled, it quickly became apparent that he cared quite a bit more about the techniques of filmmaking than his classmates. “I’d take the time to say, ‘No, we need to stay. We need to shoot that one more time, but from a different angle.’”
Before long, Pape was Madeira’s resident “Video Guy.” After consistently contributing to the show, he became What’s Up Madeira?’s show-runner and director. With Pape at the wheel, the program underwent a re-branding, focusing on higher production values and featuring an SNL-esque tone. Pape claims to have directed and edited over 40 original segments before graduating.
Pape continued to develop his style at Ohio University, as he was accepted into the university’s Honors Tutorial College (HTC) to study film. Each semester, he would conduct a one-on-one class with a professor in which he would write, direct and produce shorts. His projects from this time, like The Killer and Anatomy, have been selected to be screened at a number of film festivals; including Reel Comedy Festival, Atlanta Comedy Film Festival, Austin Comedy Short Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival, Cindependent Film Festival and Chicago Comedy Film Festival among others.
“HTC has been pivotal,” Pape said, “As good as the university is with their integrated media program, I see so many students fall into the hole of wanting to direct or wanting to do X, Y, or Z. Since I’ve been in HTC, I have been lucky enough to say, ‘Why don’t you?’ I was able to do all these big projects that got me film festival selections … and that are littered in my reel. I was able to meet people who taught me how to operate on set professionally. It’s all because of the tutorial system.”
Dual of the Armless Wizards is of the most recent of his completed projects, as well as the one that caught the attention of NATAS. The short received the David J. Clarke Memorial scholarship, a $5000 prize. As Pape puts it, "Hey! We gave this kid money ‘cause he made a funny short about wizards with no arms."
As a senior, Pape is currently in the pre-production stage of his senior thesis, a pilot-episode for television. The show, Overdose, is a product of years’ worth of writing and a semester-long study of television screenplays. “It’s Arrested Development if it was really dark and super-hero-driven,” Pape said. With Overdose, Pape hopes to gain experience as a show-runner prior to graduation, ultimately selling the show or using it to find new professional opportunities.