While many students departed Southern’s campus in lieu of a vacation trip, more than a dozen intrepid film students stayed to work on the annual tradition of a spring break film project. This year’s short film was a little different than previous projects, which made for a challenging but exciting film set experience. The story, a vignette of a larger project entitled The Boonies, focuses on an energetic camp counselor recounting the legend of Daniel Boone around a campfire to several eager Trailmen campers. Meanwhile, another diabolical legend lurks in the woods: the ravenous Manwolf!
About 20 film students ranging from freshmen to seniors volunteered to participate in the project. The project was produced and directed by outside professionals working in the industry, which gave the students an unique opportunity to learn from experienced leaders. Christian filmmakers Torry Martin and Marshall Younger wrote the script for the project, with Torry producing and acting in the film as well. Working with Martin and Younger was a beneficial experience for students who wanted to network with other Christian filmmakers. Sam Napod, a junior Film Production major, had a particularly positive experience:
“Working on the spring break project was surprisingly revitalizing. Being able to work on a film with friends and professors giving their undivided attention and efforts was a huge learning experience. Though we were constantly working, it was fun work.”
The students got to work on something that more closely resembled how a film production would operate in the industry which helped break up the general routine of student projects. Several SVAD faculty members contributed as well; David George directed the photography, Jesse Rademacher showed his acting chops, Nick Livanos edited footage, and Mark Comberiate helped facilitate the whole production by managing the logistics of the shoot.
The actual production spanned from Sunday to Thursday for a total of two pre-production days, three days of production, and a half-day wrap. The first two days were dedicated to prepping for the actual shooting, which involved plenty of planning, costuming, set dressing, location arrangement, casting, and making sure everything was as ready as possible when the cameras started to roll. While the production had been scoped small, it quickly turned into a very art production heavy affair. The project was shot in several locations including Ledford Hall, the Student Park and Goliath Wall. The wardrobe design received plenty of attention as the Trailmen donned detailed uniforms and the legendary Manwolf transformed into a beast of the night.
Tuesday marked the start of principal photography including capturing day and night time scenes starring the Trailmen kids. While the crew had expected to finish most of the shooting in one day, the Trailmen cast left earlier than expected, and they had to do a second shoot day on Wednesday to finish the Trailmen scenes. The final day of shooting culminated with a scene shot in the Student Park Cave! The crew was generally pleased with how the footage turned out and everyone is excited to see how the film will be handled in post production.
Finishing a large project on schedule and on budget was one of the biggest takeaways from this year’s spring break project. The students had a passion to see things through and they accomplished what they set out to do in the narrow window of time allotted. Congrats and thanks to all the students, faculty, and pros who helped make this year’s spring break production a success!