May 26, 2005
By David Urano
Four-nineteen may just be a number to most people, but for a dedicated group of video production students serious about telling stories, 419 represents the pinnacle of their college careers.
Each year, Ohio University undergraduates enroll in TCOM 419, Narrative Production 1, taught by Frederick Lewis. Here they select scripts, choose crews and talent, create a budget and tell their stories.
Pre-production actually begins during fall quarter with TCOM 432, Advanced Scriptwriting, also taught by Lewis, a documentary filmmaker. "In this class students create a script adaptation of a short story and also write a 15-30 page original script," he says. "I select the best 10 or 12 scripts, and then in 419 the class chooses five that they want to work on.
Selecting the scripts is the easy part. Actually making a narrative film, however, is as creatively and logistically complex as it is collaborative. Crews generally consist of students from telecommunications, art, design, music and theater. They learn to work together, as a team, to achieve the best possible outcome. "People in the cast and the crew are held accountable for their jobs to get these films produced successfully, just like in the real world," says Scott Ivers, the director of "The Devil and Billy Markham," one of the five films being made. "These films can't be produced by one or two or three people. We rely on each other to keep the process working smoothly."
And that's important because the goal is to produce five film festival-worthy shorts; one misstep could seriously affect the final films, compromising their chances for wider distribution.
How'd they do? Judge for yourself. The premiere of the five TCOM 419 films is Friday, June 3, in Siegfred Hall's Mitchell Auditorium. There will be two screenings, one at 6 p.m., and the other at 9 p.m. You're bound to see something you like.
This story features creative activity, applied knowledge and active engagement.
David Urano is senior media producer with University Communications and Marketing.