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Production 2 Final Film Project Combines Forces of Entire Class

April 17, 2017 General, News Comments Off on Production 2 Final Film Project Combines Forces of Entire Class

by Phil Wilson, Program Director and Lead Film Faculty. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)

 

Rule: teaching a group of creative young people requires you yourself to be… well, creative.

One of the things I love about teaching is that it continually forces you to dream, invent, and design new methods and approaches for students to engage with their crafts. The students in this semester’s Production 2 course have lit frame recreations, produced a foley pit audio exercise, and edited a music video (shot by Music-Video-Director-in-Residence Jeremy Tremp). The bar has been set very high for all three projects, so for the class’s final project, I wanted us to do something big.

In the previous production classes I have taught, I have had the students write and shoot independent 2-minute projects called “scene studies.” These projects are shot by student crews within one class period, and they are often comedic, light-hearted, and a lot of fun to shoot. These scene studies are isolated pieces with no real connection to each other. So for this final project, I wanted to challenge the students to produce something that could be shot by multiple directors, with different student crews, and over many class periods, and still be connected by the characters and plot. So what did we come up with?

“Pitch Day” tells the story of two writers who have to formulate an amazing “calling card” scene for a hotshot student director headed for Hollywood. We start with a ‘writer’s room’ scenario where the characters sit around and say ‘what if?’ and pitch ideas. Those ideas are then, to use a film term, “Cut To:” as live action scenes. The scenes interact in a playful way…if a writer changes the location, our characters are suddenly shown in that new location. Near the end of the film, the team finally settles on a scene that they like…but Gandalf the intern spills coffee on all of the scripts. (Whoops). When he dries them with his magic, he inadvertently blends all of the scenes together into one final scene. The final scene is (hopefully) about as screwball as you can get, as it incorporates elements from past pitches such as low-budget Narnia, espionage, and terribly disjointed dialogue. Will the scene be a success? Will the actors hate it? Will our director use it to land his Hollywood dream job? You’ll have to keep an eye on our YouTube page to find out!

A number of writers have contributed to improving this project, including Maggie Nelson, Lisette Perez, Dexter Van Horn, Joe Stone, and our own Cinema Studies Professor Jeannie Berg.

Our film is Breakfast Club meets Groundhog Day meets Community. And hopefully, like many of our efforts here at HUAZ, sets a fine precedent for incoming Production 2 classes that embodies the “professional yet fun” approach we all have come to know and enjoy from our HU Pioneers.

 

(Pictured: Phil Wilson’s Production 2 class filming a portion of their multi-scene short film in the student lounge.)

HUAZ Helps Host Special Visual Effects Symposium

March 27, 2017 Events, News Comments Off on HUAZ Helps Host Special Visual Effects Symposium

by Jeff Berggren, HU Director of Arizona Operations. (Published in The Filmstrip, March 2017 edition.)

 

What could be better than appreciating the details of the excellent visual effects in movies such as Night at the Museum, Captain America, The Avenger films, The Great Wall, and Harry Potter? How about the opportunity to directly interact with the creators of some of the visual effects? That is the quick summary of what a contingent of HU AZ students did on Saturday the 18th of March.

The Huntington students joined other area college students, high school students from the Peoria Student Broadcasting Network (PSBN), media teachers and professors along with media industry professional for a special Visual Effects Symposium courtesy of Ignyted Artists and Bucci Entertainment Group. Guest speakers for the morning general session included Matthew Dean Russell (Producer, Director, and Screen Writer at BAKEDFX Studies in Los Angeles) and Mark Mathis (Idependant Feature Film Producer and Line Producer).

After the morning presentation at Harkins Theater, it was Huntington’s opportunity to host all attendees including teachers and students at our building for lunch. HU students had the opportunity to interact with media professionals from around the valley who came to the event. But the highlight of the day for many if not all HU students in attendance occurred after lunch when Matt Hartle (VFX & Motion Graphics Director of BAKEDFX Studios) let a special session in the HU Screening Room direct from his studio in Montana.

Hartle appeared via video link and then shared his computer desktop with the audience which consisted primarily of HU students and PSBN students. Hartle showed the details of some of his digital effects work from movies like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as a story board animation he is currently constructing for the new multi-million dollar Paramount Animation Studios logo. That was followed by a lengthy Q & A session with the students that resulted in Hartle pulling up prior projects from his extensive list of design folders on his computer much to the appreciation of the audience.

When asked about the quality of the day afterwards HU students where quite positive on the experience. Rich Sawyers, currently a graphic design major but moving to animation, thought Hartle’s presentation was very interesting and appreciated his detailed answers to the student questions regarding design process and software. Josiah Hunt, a film production major, summed up the symposium day in three concise words: “It was dope!” Well said, Mr. Hunt.

Experimental Short Film Project Brings January Term Class Together

January 16, 2017 General, News Comments Off on Experimental Short Film Project Brings January Term Class Together

by Phil Wilson, Program Director and Lead Film Faculty. (Published in The Filmstrip, January 2017 edition.)

A group of students tote cameras and film gear along a hillside as the sun approaches golden hour. They frame up their actor, who is contemplative, thoughtful, and enamored with the beauty that surrounds them. Beads of sweat form on the operator’s face as he lines up the shot. Sun streaks boldly through the folded hands of the talent, who has ascended a rock. She is now in prayer. Everyone is quiet, tired from the hike, watching the scene unfold. After a moment, the director of photography says, “OK, I think we got it.” The crew packs up and moves on.

A portrait of this year’s January Term (J-Term) project, called: “Hymn of St Francis.”

Project synopsis: “Hymn of St Francis” is an experimental short film that tells three overlapping stories through stunning visuals and vivid orchestral music.

Creative approach: while three college students read excerpts from their prayer journals to their small group leader around a campfire, snapshots of their lives are shown through a series of vignettes captured via quiet observational footage, majestic time-lapse shots, and aerial drone coverage. The film concludes with the leader reading the ‘peace’ prayer from St. Francis of Assisi.

Our J-Term students have been divided into three teams of five to tackle their assigned portion of the project. Actors have been cast from within the groups and have been charged with the task of writing the prayers. Directors and Directors of Photography have been conceptualizing and shot-listing while Producers have been lining up locations, props, and all other logistics.

Students have been out shooting day and night with drones, dollies, gimbals, low-light and 4.6K cinema cameras. They have been logging hundreds of miles, travelling to the the Imperial Sand Dunes, the San Tan and White Tank Mountains, Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Tonto National Forest. As their efforts will be collected and formed into the final piece in the coming weeks, I can’t help but be grateful for how they’ve engaged with reckless abandon on this project, which has shaped up to be an enlightening, bond-forming, cinematic adventure for all!

 

(Pictured: A stunning vista captured by one of the J-Term teams during their trip to Devil’s Bridge, Sedona.)

Why We Are Pumped for Spring at Huntington University Arizona!

January 16, 2017 General, News Comments Off on Why We Are Pumped for Spring at Huntington University Arizona!

by Jamie SanFilippo, Coordinator of Student Services. (Published in The Filmstrip, January 2017 edition.)

What an exciting first semester in Arizona! That atmosphere here is like no other. Students come to school every day with a drive, eager to pursue their passion in the arts. Just in those 5 months’ students grew and developed in their field, made lifelong friends, and produced some amazing work. To give a recap of our fall semester, and first one at that in Arizona, I thought I’d highlight some of the exciting moments we shared as a group of pioneers.

In September, we kicked off the semester with our first ever movie night! The movie was Phil’s choice, which had the students on pins and needles about what we were watching. We ended up watching a super funny documentary, The King of Kong. Students enjoyed it, but found soon after that they’d rather social than watch a movie. So the following week we started Game Night, which became a weekly event and included pizza and what came to be our favorite group game, Two Rooms and a Boom!

In addition to Game Night, we also had a virtual Rocket League competition with our home campus’ DMA program during Homecoming, went ice skating, carved pumpkins, had a Thanksgiving potluck, decorated ornaments and cookies, and to top it off went and watched Star Wars: Rogue One together.

To say I am pumped for the spring semester is an understatement! Upcoming events include a Super Bowl party, attending a spring training game, and a barbeque. We all look forward to sharing in more activities with the students this spring. I can’t give away all of the fun things we have planned, but rest assure that we will have memories to last a lifetime!

Are You Interested in Becoming a Filmstrip Movie Reviewer?

January 16, 2017 General, News Comments Off on Are You Interested in Becoming a Filmstrip Movie Reviewer?

by Sarah Wickenhauser, The Filmstrip Editor. (Published in The Filmstrip, January 2017 edition.)

Since they are students of a digital media arts school, the students here at Huntington University Center for Digital Media Arts in Peoria, AZ have a unique perspective on mainstream movies – which is why we love featuring student movie reviews in our school newpaper, The Filmstrip!

Starting with this spring 2017 semester, students will have the opportunity to accept “movie review assignments” so they can get to see a movie at the Harkins Theater next door for free! Each movie will be assigned by school staff, and there will be one or two review opportunities available each month.

Interested students will need to speak with Jamie SanFilippo or Sarah Wickenhauser to pick up a movie review form and Harkins gift card!

“Mortimer” Short Film Project was an Amazing Experience

December 1, 2016 News Comments Off on “Mortimer” Short Film Project was an Amazing Experience

by Maggie Nelson, film student. (Published in The Filmstrip, December 2016 edition.)

 

The Practicum class here at Huntington University Center for Digital Media Arts in Peoria, Arizona is currently working on the production of a short film called “The Amazing Mortimer”. Though I am not in that particular class, I was able to help out at the shoot anyway. Having never actually been a part of a short film to that extent, it was a great experience to have as a filmmaker hopeful!

 
I had never even touched a boom pole before, but with a more experienced guide in audio, I was quickly shown what to do and instantly became a part of the action. There were difficult moments trying to figure out where I—as a sound person—was needed, and trying to get cooperation from others, but there was general good cheer and friendly joking, even under the stress of trying to finish the shots required for the day.

 
I also helped Cara Wilson with set design. It was amazing to see what goes into making a simple room look realistic enough to be an old man’s living quarters. Newspapers from the 1800s were stuck to the walls, straw snowflakes were hung from strings attached to the ceiling, and a forty-eight star flag was suspended with ropes as a fantastic backdrop. Simple things like a half-played game of solitaire and a dirty plate with breakfast remains were all small details that added so much to the set as a whole. I learned that little features can always add something new.

 
Even though I was an extra grip, I was able to acquire good beginning skills in working with sound and set design during a shoot and I am very happy I was able to have that experience!

Homecoming Bash was a Huge Hit!

November 2, 2016 News Comments Off on Homecoming Bash was a Huge Hit!

by Jamie SanFilippo, Coordinator of Student Services. (Published in The Filmstrip, November 2016 edition.)

 

On October 7th, Huntington University had a Homecoming celebration, but not the typical 5K, soccer game, and activities that the main campus has in Indiana. For our first year in Arizona we saw it only fitting to host an event that encompassed what digital media art students do on their free time, video games! We connected virtually with our home campus’ DMA program and played ‘Rocket League’ in our screening room.

If you are unaware of what ‘Rocket League’ is, it’s a game that each player, 3 on a team, are a car and the objective is to hit a ball into your goal. First team in 5 minutes to score the most goals WINS! Overall it was an awesome opportunity for both locations to connect. The Indiana students gave us a run for our money this time, but we look forward to challenging them again and making this a standing tradition.

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Film Reviews

La La Land: A Study on Perseverance and Individuality

17 Apr 2017

by Phil Wilson, Program Director and Lead Film Faculty. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)   La La Land is an invigorating and romantic love letter to Hollywood. Its casts’ performances are natural and relatable, and the film features one of the most memorable opening sequences of any film …

Logan: A Thought-Provoking, Conflicting Film Experience

27 Mar 2017

by Sarah Wickenhauser, The Filmstrip editor and graphic design student. (Published in The Filmstrip, March 2017 edition.)   Because of the explosion of popularity superhero films have seen in popular culture, it has become increasingly common for superhero films to “break the boundaries” of their genre in an attempt to …

Marvel Studios Takes a Trip Into the World of Magic in Doctor Strange

1 Dec 2016

by Sarah Wickenhauser, graphic design student. (Published in The Filmstrip, December 2016 edition.)   Since Marvel Studios has made some of the highest-grossing movies in recent history, changing the formula that made them a success is a risky move. Did it pay off in this strange new addition to their …

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A Fan’s Perspective

1 Dec 2016

by Patricia Santiago, film student. (Published in The Filmstrip, December 2016 edition.)   “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a film about magic zoologist, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who finds himself in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards in 1962. He befriends a muggle (non-magical person) …

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

2 Nov 2016

by Dexter Van Horn, film student. (Published in The Filmstrip, November 2016 edition.)   Jack Reacher: Never Go Back stars Tom Cruise in his second time as the titular character, as well as Cobie Smulders as Major Susan Turner (love interest?) and Danika Yarosh as Samantha (his daughter??). In a …

Student Exhibit

Digital Painting Class Caricaturizes Huntington Crew

27 Mar 2017

by Sarah Wickenhauser, graphic design student. (Published in The Filmstrip, March 2017 edition.)   For the eight weeks since the spring 2017 semester started, Huntington University Arizona’s graphic design students have been studying a variety of subjects, from 3D sculpture to vector art to photo compositing…and in Daniel Sidler’s Digital …

Latest Graphic Design Student Projects Strike an Emotional Chord

6 Oct 2016 | Posted By: Sarah Wickenhauser

Since starting class the end of August, Professor Daniel Sidler’s graphic design students have been applying themselves to learning how to communicate clear messages with their art. Their latest project, to express an emotion in a piece of art, was evidence of what they have learned so far this semester! …

General

Production 2 Final Film Project Combines Forces of Entire Class

17 Apr 2017

by Phil Wilson, Program Director and Lead Film Faculty. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)   Rule: teaching a group of creative young people requires you yourself to be… well, creative. One of the things I love about teaching is that it continually forces you to dream, invent, and design …

Social Media Madness at HUAZ!

17 Apr 2017

by Jamie SanFilippo, Coordinator of Student Services. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)   After March Madness left Phoenix, HUAZ got into Social Media Madness! We made a goal with our students to boost our outreach efforts and raise more awareness across all social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and …

Schoolwide Events Enjoyed Amongst Students

17 Apr 2017

by Jamie SanFilippo, Coordinator of Student Services. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)   What a fun-filled month we’ve had at Huntington so far! It has been jam-packed with activities for our students, giving them an opportunity to hang out outside of the classroom. The first week, our ladies’ …

News

Production 2 Final Film Project Combines Forces of Entire Class

17 Apr 2017

by Phil Wilson, Program Director and Lead Film Faculty. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)   Rule: teaching a group of creative young people requires you yourself to be… well, creative. One of the things I love about teaching is that it continually forces you to dream, invent, and design …

HUAZ Helps Host Special Visual Effects Symposium

27 Mar 2017

by Jeff Berggren, HU Director of Arizona Operations. (Published in The Filmstrip, March 2017 edition.)   What could be better than appreciating the details of the excellent visual effects in movies such as Night at the Museum, Captain America, The Avenger films, The Great Wall, and Harry Potter? How about …

Experimental Short Film Project Brings January Term Class Together

16 Jan 2017

by Phil Wilson, Program Director and Lead Film Faculty. (Published in The Filmstrip, January 2017 edition.) A group of students tote cameras and film gear along a hillside as the sun approaches golden hour. They frame up their actor, who is contemplative, thoughtful, and enamored with the beauty that surrounds …

Events

Social Media Madness at HUAZ!

17 Apr 2017

by Jamie SanFilippo, Coordinator of Student Services. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)   After March Madness left Phoenix, HUAZ got into Social Media Madness! We made a goal with our students to boost our outreach efforts and raise more awareness across all social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and …

Schoolwide Events Enjoyed Amongst Students

17 Apr 2017

by Jamie SanFilippo, Coordinator of Student Services. (Published in The Filmstrip, April 2017 edition.)   What a fun-filled month we’ve had at Huntington so far! It has been jam-packed with activities for our students, giving them an opportunity to hang out outside of the classroom. The first week, our ladies’ …

HUAZ Helps Host Special Visual Effects Symposium

27 Mar 2017

by Jeff Berggren, HU Director of Arizona Operations. (Published in The Filmstrip, March 2017 edition.)   What could be better than appreciating the details of the excellent visual effects in movies such as Night at the Museum, Captain America, The Avenger films, The Great Wall, and Harry Potter? How about …