Communication majors to produce, direct, premier professional-level short films this spring – By Katie Barton

Master’s College Electronic Media majors enrolled in Directing II this semester will release two short films on April 19, with the help of a hired crew of film and television industry professionals.

Directing II is a capstone course that takes Electronic Media students through the entire process of producing a film, from pitching a storyboard to directing on set. At the end of the course, students possess material they can show perspective employers in the area of video production.

Matt Green, professor of Directing II, came to TMC in the fall of 2014 with a desire to give his students real-world experience.

“The whole idea is I want the students to be able to leave here with stuff they can immediately have on their resume,” Green said.

Bob Dickson, professor and Communications Department Chair, is always looking for ways to improve his students’ classroom experience with hands-on learning opportunities.

“That’s one of the things I love about Professor Green,” Dickson said. “His commitment to connecting students to the realities of what it means to be a professional in video production. He’s always thinking of how to bring that reality into the classroom.”

Eight teams of students from Directing II pitched storyboards to Green and Dickson in February.

“We had criteria,” Green explained. “We looked at how professional the presentation was, whether or not we wanted to embrace the subject matter and … whether or not we felt the students that presented it could pull it off.”

Green and Dickson selected two films to produce. Cammy Ylo, a communication major, was among the four directors chosen.

“My co-director is Kelli Clark,” she explained. “We spent about 20 hours preparing our pitch. We had five minutes to go to Professor Dickson and Professor Green and just tell them, ‘This is our story and this is why you should pick us to direct.’”

Ylo and Clark received the scripts for “Murder of Crowe,” their short film, on Feb. 17. Green worked alongside another screenwriter to develop the story. The next steps include auditioning actors from the Screen Actors Guild and scouting locations.

Jeff Caparula and Kimberly Smither, co-directors of “Life of Death,” also received the green light from Green and Dickson. The rest of the class will take crew positions, helping the directors shoot the films over the course of two days with a hired crew. Because both projects involve professional cast and crew members, all students will receive IMBd recognition for their work, and the films will be officially registered in that database.

“Murder of Crowe,” and “Life of Death” are set to premiere in the dorms spring semester, 2015. More details to follow.

By Katie Barton 

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