Ever wondered what it would be like to make a movie? Not just a home video or a clip on YouTube, but an actual movie with a script, actors, professional equipment, special effects and an official world premiere? Students at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI are finding out first-hand.
Twenty-one students in the School’s Media Arts and Science undergraduate program have created an original short film as part of a course on video and production. The final product, titled Temporary Separation, is a 20-minute sci-fi mystery shot in high definition and finished on Blu-Ray with 5.1 sound and special features, including behind-the-scenes footage. It will screen at 5:00 p.m. on April 27 in “theater” 152 of IUPUI’s Informatics and Communications Technology Complex – a 200-seat auditorium with theater-quality projection and sound. The IUPUI and Indianapolis community are invited. There is no cost to attend or ticket required. A Facebook page (search “Temporary Separation”) in support of the film has been established.
The semester-long class project came together under the direction of instructor C. Thomas Lewis. Lewis, a film and photography industry veteran whose credits include production of DVD bonus material for the Harry Potter film series, envisioned the course as a completely immersive and collaborative student experience. “The idea was to give students hands-on experience in the filmmaking process, from development through post-production,” said Lewis. “To really do that effectively, I wanted to simulate those scenarios student filmmakers are likely to encounter out in the industry.”
To get the project off the ground, each class period operated like a production meeting, with students taking on roles commonly found on film sets. Every student created his or her own one-page film proposal to verbally “pitch” to classmates. A class vote determined the best pitch. Each student then acted as screenwriter, building on the premise selected and writing a script in their own choice of style and genre. The class again chose its favorite and, five revisions later, put out a casting call attracting more than twenty-five actors for the film’s three unpaid roles. Students also scouted shooting locations to bring the script to life, eventually filming on the rooftop of Dunaway’s Restaurant, in Walker Plaza on Indiana Avenue and even in a student’s own home. With the cast and locations in place, students logged extensive hours filming and editing scenes on an aggressive schedule. Several shots were captured using chroma key, or green screen, technology for special effects added later in post-production.
Final edits are currently in progress in anticipation of the film’s premiere this Tuesday, and excitement is building among the student crew and their classmates. “I have never had such an intense learning experience,” says student Ben Masbaum. “I can’t wait to just
sit back at the premiere and enjoy the show.”