Fisher Goes Hollywood: Students Write, Direct, and Produce Original Film
A group of dedicated and film-loving Communication/Journalism students have been hard at work all semester long on a challenging project posed by Dr. Todd Sodano, and they will soon be at the end of their game.
The students concepted and wrote a film called “Endgame,” which one student describes as a pharmaceutical thriller, and they are in the midst of filming now. According to the film’s website, it is about a “startup pharmaceutical company, Onados, that has struggled to make a name for itself. As a devastating parasitic disease begins to spread, Jessie O'Connor and Anne Bellvok, two scientists for the company, find themselves playing a game with disturbing moral consequences involving lies, deceit, life, and death.”
In last year’s Television Production class, Sodano assigned 20 students to collaborate and produce an original television series, which they called, “No Direction.” He said this year, he wanted to raise the stakes for his Advanced Video Production students.
“This is the first time I've assigned the entire class to produce a short film along with unique content that will be distributed across other delivery platforms,” said Sodano.
The students wrote the film and then cast themselves for the parts. They also elected classmates to sit in the director’s seat as well as direct photography. Other assignments include set designer, website developer, editor, costume designer, and behind-the-scenes blogger, among other roles.
“They have inspired each other to continue to elevate the quality of work they have produced. This class is a special, talented group of individuals,” added Sodano.
Recently, they also started an Indiegogo account to help them secure funding for the film production. They set a goal of $500, which would cover some of their production costs, including equipment and props, but also cover costs for the anticipated April 30 premiere screening and advertising. To date, the class has raised $655.
In total, there are 19 students involved in the production. The cast includes Julie Moslow, Amanda Whalen, Nick Donovan, Mike Droel, and Matt Berry. Other roles include:
Director - Nick Millard
Assistant Director - Liz Morris
Director of Photography - Patrick Harney
Gaffer - Kyle Shea
Sound Tech - Brett Vergara
Producer - Mike Donitzen
Production Coordinator - Aimee Schenck
Editing Team - Katie Meyer and Matt Sosenko
Transmedia Editing - Dave Van Gorder
Set and Costume Design - Erika Dangler and Sarah Grabar
Making-of/Behind the Scenes - Bill Walter and Mike Droel
Production Blog - Bill Walter and Mike Droel
Onados Website - Greg Bell
60-second Commercial - Patrick Harney and Mike Donitzen
15-30-second Teaser - Nick Millard
Advertising Team - Sarah Grabar, Nick Donovan, Erika Dangler, Brett Vergara
Event Planners - Julie Moslow and Matt Berry
According to the class’ website, they hope the film will “set the bar for future production classes at Fisher” and “demonstrate the skills learned in these classes and how they directly translate to professional productions.”
Rochester's Channel 8 stopped by the campus set during a morning of shooting and directing.
Other projects completed by this class this semester have included promotional videos for HBO On Demand, cooking videos that demonstrate their knowledge of practices in food TV production and of local restaurants in Rochester, and promotional videos that covered the annual Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference in New York City.
Director Nick Millard talks with classmates in between takes on the set of "End Game."
Students in post-production.
Students interviewing Dr. Sodano for the behind-the-scenes blog.