Have you ever wanted to know a film actor? There is a good chance that you may know someone on campus who is, or at least will be, after the senior cinema majors’ film showing. The show will be on April 27 at 7 p.m. in Stratton Hall and admission is free.
All students in the School of Fine Arts and Communication take a capstone class to fulfill degree requirements. The film project acts as the capstone class for cinema majors. As the professor for the senior film project, Mr. Christopher Zydowicz acts as the producer for each film and ensures students are doing the project correctly. “This is the greatest capstone presentation on campus,” Zydowicz said.
“A senior project is a very complex project,” Zydowicz said. “This blends together a student’s ability to tell a story through music, through visuals, through dialogue, all of these things — it’s a very complex kind of art form.”
According to Zydowicz, making a student film takes students nearly their entire senior year. “A good senior project is all-consuming,” he said. But Zydowicz also pointed out that these students have been able to work on their films successfully while participating in other university activities such as serving as a society officer or acting in plays.
While the filming of the senior projects takes place during their senior year, students actually began work on the scripts well before that time. Mrs. Sharyn Robertson, head of the cinema department, said students officially write the script for the film their junior year. “As soon as their scripts are written in [their] screen writing class, they can move forward with [their films],” she said.
But, according to senior cinema production major Justin Snyder, the writing process starts well before the junior year. “It starts basically the minute you come into the world,” he said, “the minute you start understanding people.” Snyder said watching people and picking up on their habits and how they act influences the way he creates his characters.
For his film I’m Your Man, Snyder tells the story of a man who has won the heart of a girl, but is still trying to win over her father. The main character must decide how much he will change himself to impress the girl’s financially successful father.
Snyder said the moral of the story for the film is to be what God has made you to be, not to try to be someone you are not.
The idea for I’m Your Man is a result of a conversation Snyder was having with some friends about a different film. “Someone mentioned, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if a salesman tried to go and sell himself?’” It is from that one idea Snyder developed the script for his film.
Senior cinema production major Philip Neves’ evolutionary script process began when he wrote out the first draft of a script for his film Compromise during the summer between his sophomore and junior years.
“It is about whether your personal preferences should get in the way of doing what you know is right,” he said. In the film the main character’s sister needs rescuing, but the only way she can be saved is if he chooses to work with the government he is opposed to.
The senior project is not just about displaying the talent of the filmmaker, but is also about working with the crew and actors, many of whom are volunteers from the student body.
Snyder said he is not just looking forward to seeing the year-and-a-half of work he has put into his film come together, but also what others involved in his film have done. “I’m really excited about what my cinematographer has done and what my sound director has done, and the guy who wrote my music,” he said.
A third film, Church Behind the Wire, will also be part of the film show. Stephanie Greenwood, its director, graduated last semester and is currently traveling with the Galkin Evangelistic Team. Snyder said the film is the real-life story of two prison chaplains at Perry Correctional Institute, a Level 3 institute for males, located in Pelzer, S.C.
The film is about how the Lord has worked in the lives of the two chaplains. “It’s just an awesome look at three of the inmates of the church,” Snyder said. “The Lord’s just been really working in their lives and helping them minister to other inmates in that prison.”
Church Behind the Wire is also being used as a fundraising tool to build a chapel at the Perry Correctional Institute.