by Scott Heitman
Published in The Point Weekly, November 24, 2003
Plans are currently underway for a film that will be produced, shot, and edited by current PLNU students. Although the shooting isn’t planned until February 2004, pre-production for the project started several months ago.
The film, titled, “The Isle Nevis,” came about as a project for COM210, a communication practicum course. The class is structured to allow students to get hands-on experience through working independently on projects.
“We created and designed it through our practicum project,” said Lindsay Olson, junior.
Media communication majors Olson, Jason Carter and Chris Roberts, both seniors, chose to start a move production company, FallenROC Pictures, and have begun work on the film.
Carter acts as production director, Olson is the Chief Executive Officer, and Roberts is the director of business relations and finance.
With the script in the final stages, the details of the plot are still being worked out between the three.
“All I can say is that it’s an action/adventure period piece. It’s really a combination of Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, and MacGyver,” said Carter.
Many other people are involved in the project besides the students participating in the communication practicum course. A group of more than 15 students from different majors have been invited to participate as part of the crew. These roles include camera operators, sound engineers, gaffers, grips and makeup artists.
Many of the students involved will be taking COM442 next semester, a field production course taught by Dr. Alan Hueth, professor of communication. They will be looking forward to gaining experience, as well as credit for the class.
Hueth, who has been a professor in the Communication and Theatre department since last year, said he is looking forward to working with the students on the film next semester.
“The students have a lot of creative skills,” said Hueth, referring to those who will be involved in the field production course. “It won’t be just me teaching the class, we’re going to learn a lot from each other.”
A casting call has been sent out to students on campus as well as throughout San Diego County. An ad in the San Diego Reader and an on Mandy.com, a website that advertises casting calls for production companies, has encouraged more than 30 people to audition so far.
FallenROC Pictures is looking for people to fill three main roles: the villain, the hero, and the hero’s love interest, as well as several people to play extras.
“There’s already been huge interest from the public,” said Jared Callahan, junior media communication major, who will be directing the film with Carter.
According to Callahan, hundreds of people from the community as well as those involved with the San Diego Actor’s Guild have responded to the ad.
“A lot of the scenes are going to include a ton of extras,” said Callahan. “I want to see all of Young Hall participate in that.”
Auditions are scheduled to take place on campus for the next two days. Try-outs are being held in the TV studio.
One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way between the students and their film career success is the task of generating funds.
Roberts has taken on the task of organizing the financial aspects of the film. According to Roberts, PLNU’s financial involvement with the film is still being negotiated.
“As far as the school is concerned, this is a student project for a class, which means that they (PLNU) can have their name on it, but we are on our own for fundraising,” said Roberts. “We’re looking to local businesses for support as well as asking friends and family for help.”
Because FallenROC has opened an account with PLNU’s business department, contributors are able to write off their donations as tax deductible. Those who supply money or equipment to the project will also be recognized in the film’s credits.
According to Carter, the estimated budget for the film is $12,000.
Many of the expenses are due to the fact that the students are starting this film from the ground up. Props and sets are needed to be built, wardrobe and makeup purchased, and the sets need to be catered, all of which cost money, said Carter.
FallenROC’s ultimate goal is to see a new film program develop at PLNU as a result of their movie. Currently, students with a film emphasis in the media communications department are required to spend a semester in Hollywood through a program called Los Angeles Film Studies Center (LAFSC).
“No one is being paid to being this movie or to work on it,” said Roberts. “Any money that is made will go into the program so that future projects will have a head start.”
As well as gaining valuable experience in filmmaking, students are looking forward to having a lot of fun with this movie.
“It’s going to be require a huge time commitment but it’s also going to be a blast. We’ll be shooting all the coast, in caves, and we’ve already got permission to use the Star of India,” said Carter, referring to the 140-year-old ship in San Diego’s harbor that holds the world record for “the oldest sea-going vessel,” according to The Guinness Book of World Records.
Carter also boasts that the film will have an originally scored soundtrack as well as professionally choreographed fight scenes. A representative from 20th Century Fox will also be on hand during the filming phase to make sure the set is safe and that electricity is readily available.
“Even though this is a student led project, we are trying to be as professional as possible,” said Carter. “This is something that we’ll be able to keep and enjoy, but it will also look great on a job resumé.”