Student films are an art worth watching. It’s the culmination of the creativity of already overworked students with a passion to make something memorable. On campus we see casting calls and posters for these films but this semester I’m fortunate enough to know a few people who are embarking on this journey for a class. I’m following the process from auditions to edits to it’s premiere in order to shine a light on the smaller scale means of creating a film.
The best way to begin this is to introduce you to the four student filmmakers behind On the Run.
(There are also a great deal of photos involving miniature horses. Through my extensive search of these fours’ social media accounts I found that the horses were the most appropriate means to convey just how sweet these guys are.)
Name: Mia Brabham || Age: 21
Name: Tyler Beatty || Age: 22
Name: Becca Malzahn || Age: 21
Name: George Blackwell Bridgforth IV (Wells) || Age: 22
What is your job in regards to this movie?
Mia Brabham: I am the producer of the movie. I basically oversee all positions and aspects of the production. I organize and am in charge of the paperwork, the budget, the cast and crew, etc. I will have a big part in the marketing of the film as well. Some producers have a large hand in the financing of the movie, but my position was more focused on the development and vision of the movie. When we began shooting in November, though, I let the director direct, the cinematographer capture, and the editor edit—and my job is to let them to their job.
Tyler Beatty: I am the Director of Photography, also known as the Cinematographer.
Becca Malzahn: I am the editor (of the movie and script) of On the Run!
Wells Bridgforth: I am the Director.
On a scale of 1-10 how excited are you to tell people what to do during shooting?
MB: Like, a 7. I get so nervous. Half of me likes being a boss, and the other half of me is like “Don’t step on their toes! Take feelings into account! Please everybody!” But I know I’m going to have to find a balance reeeeal quick.
TB: I’d be lying if I didn’t say at least a solid 7 or 8. They say you get to write the films you’re making three times: when you write it, when you shoot it, and when you edit it. Since my biggest role in making this film will come during filming, I’m excited to get everyone engaged as part of team to make it all come together.
BM: 10/10 – Technically I am the editor, but as a team we all have or hand in producing this movie. I am excited to not necessarily “tell people what to do,” but to encourage actors to act with a new purpose than they may have acted before and to help PAs evolve their skills as we evolve our own. This whole process is a learning experience for us and everyone involved. We have a great team, script, and work ethic – which is the makings of a great movie.
WB: I’d say 6. It’s exciting to be in charge, but I also know how it is to be told what to do, and if not done right, it can be offensive.
What’s your vision for this movie?
MB: We want people to hold their breath. We want to make people’s heart race, and to break hearts because of how much they love the characters. That’s the simple way of putting it.
TB: When I first heard the plot for the film, my mind was filled with countless images of suspense, intensity, and excitement. With these images in mind, I want to see this amazing story come to life. My vision, I would say, is to capture an audience in that edge-of-your-seat kind of engagement that has you leaving the theater with higher heart rate than you came in with. That would be awesome.
BM: Although this is a student-made film, I want it to be approached and perceived with the highest level of professionalism.
WB: My vision is a film that will keep the audience engaged and asking questions throughout. I want them to go through all the emotions. Being scared, nervous, anxious, angry, happy, sad, and confused. If we can produce something that causes people to go through all the emotions, then I will think it was a success.
Is there any particular thing you weren’t willing to budge on in the script or process?
MB: We are so lucky to have such a great production team. Literally, I love them. It’s great because I think we all have really strong opinions and we know when to stand our ground, but we’re all really compromising as well. For me, it was the script itself. It was a collaborative effort, but it was based off a short story I wrote—so seeing it get edited down was literally the hardest thing for me. I can’t even imagine the faces I was making when it was getting chopped down, haha.
TB: The one thing I don’t think I could stand is if this film took a cheesy turn, either with the script, the acting, the visuals, etc. It would be so easy for my team and I to throw together some romantic comedy (and have fun doing it), but I know this film has potential to be a real brain-teaser, and it’s going to take hard work and dedication for us to pull that off (we’re still having fun, though).
BM: Part of working on a team is making compromises when there are disagreements. We have been really good at communicating as a team and making those compromises and decisions when needed.
WB: Nothing that stands out to me, but I definitely had things that I have been very passionate about that have stayed or been cut.
Last movie you cried uncharacteristically ugly to?
MB: Fruitvale Station. I literally sat on my couch and ugly cried by myself for like an hour after the credits were done rolling. So enraging. So moving. That’s the best kind of stuff.
TB: Air Bud. Oh my gosh, if I ever had to call my dog stupid and tell it to go away and never come back… I just don’t think I could do it. (Honorable mention: I Am Legend, also due to the dog scene.)
BM: Last movie I cried at was the Katy Perry Movie. No shame about this.
WB: I definitely shed a tear during Legends of the Fall.
Favorite movie dance scene?
MB: I am tempted to say Cell Block Tango in Chicago, but I think I’m going to go with every High School Musical dance scene ever. I will literally never get over those movies. I am about to lose all credibility in my life for that but I am just being so real. HSM is a work of art. Thank you, Kenny Ortega, for making my childhood.
TB: The dance competition in Silver Linings Playbook, although I’ll admit I can’t think of many dance scenes off the top of my head. (I’m sure Wells is having a hard time with this one.)
BM: (500) Days of Summer.
WB: Either the rain dance in Step Up 2, the end scene in Shrek, or the dance scene from Perks of being a Wallflower.
What do you hope to accomplish from making this film (either emotionally/skills wise)?
MB: Well first, my goal with anything I create is to always create something worth watching that people enjoy. Whether that be by entertaining, informing, or educating. I haven’t made something strictly for entertainment in a while, so this is a fun little passion project that I’m super excited about. Wells and I always joke about how we can’t wait to see people gasp and be completely shocked when they watch our movie in December. But as far as skills, I’m excited because this is the first official film that I’ve ever produced—which is so much different than my YouTube videos or a small class project. I’m responsible for so much for than myself. I’m usually on the creative side of things—so being the producer (which is overseeing the overall vision, but is a lot more business-oriented) is hard for me. But I love a challenge, and I’m excited to gain a more business-oriented skillset to match my creative one!
TB: My team and I have already grown and learned so much since the start of this filmmaking process, and it’s just awesome to see that. As far as skills go, filming in the woods at night is by no means an easy task, and there’s no single way to go about it, so I’ll feel accomplished once we’ve finished and I can share my unique experience with others.
BM: I have already learned a lot about budgeting, scheduling, and the overall pre-production aspect of making a movie. Throughout the rest of the process I hope to gain even more insight and advance my skills of working in production and post-production in an efficient and timely manner.
WB: I hope to gain experience, and footage for my reel. I really want to know we impacted at least one person in the audience.
Favorite movie saga?
MB: Harry Potter, for sure.
TB: Lord of the Rings. All day. Everyday. In fact, I think I may go watch the second one after this…
BM: Probably Toy Story.
WB: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Land Before Time.
Gore or no gore?
MB: I think I’ll take a pass on the gore, haha. But I do love scary movies and thrillers! (Hence… On the Run.)
TB: In our film? There’s going to be a little here and there, but we’re not talking about making the next Saw film here. My rule of thumb for things like this is to simply ask yourself, does it contribute to the story, and if so, can you pull it off? If you said no to either of these questions, it’s just not worth putting it in there.
BM: A little gore spices up a thriller a lot – which is why we will have some blood and gashes in our thriller.
WB: Gore porn isn’t really my thing, but a Red Wedding here or there does kinda excite my soul. Is that bad…?
If you could change any scene in a movie to fit your fancy perfectly, what would it be and how would you change it?
MB: In every Zac Efron movie, I would take out the leading woman and put me.
TB: *Spoiler Alert* You know in The Life of Pi when the orangutan, Orange Juice, gets killed by the hyena when he’s protecting Pi in the raft? Yeah, I feel like that tiger, Richard Parker, could have jumped out and saved the day a second sooner, and then the movie would’ve been about how some guy got to hang out with a monkey on a raft in the middle of the ocean for a few months. That’d be sweet.
BM: I would make Marley live at the end of Marley & Me.
WB: I would change the end of the Titanic. If Rose is going to look her man in the eyes and promise to never let go, then never let go. You would probably still be saved, and Jack may or may have not, but at least the last thing you said to your true love wasn’t a lie.
James Bond or James Bond?
MB: I think I’m going to go with James Bond.
TB: Ehh, I think I’ve only ever seen like one Bond movie… awkward.
BM: Bond. James Bond.
WB: No, I’m good. Thanks though.