KPLR Hosts First Acoustic Showcase

by Ray Ashworth
Published in The Point Weekly on April 26, 2004

What could be better than a free concert?  That's what KPLR, the PLNU radio station, set out to answer this semester.  Taking its cue from pop culture, the station decided to add a new twist to PLNU's typical concert fare.

"It's kind of like 'American Idol' meets 'Musoffee," said Jesse Artigue, KPLR's promotions director.

The event, entitled KPLR's Acoustic Showcase, took place in May.  It featured student artists from PLNU performing acoustically, not only for an audience, but also for judges from the recording industry.  These judges critiqued each artist's performance, telling the performers what was good about their song, as well as what needs improvement.

"KPLR is all about the student experience, and we wanted our second event of the year to be constructive and helpful," said Jason Carter, KPLR station manager.  "Through the years we've developed contacts and resources, and figured we'd use them help out the students."

The panel of judges included Lori Lenz from Biscuit Public Relations.  She does PR work for several bands including Anberlin, Number One Gun, and Spoken.  Also attending was Cindy Suprenant, president of Indite Records, a new label in San Diego, and Chris Modl, PLNU senior who does artist and repertory work for Rolling Thunder Studios.

KPLR's music director, Lindsay Olson, was instrumental in getting these industry insiders to come.  Olson, who wants to work in the music industry, has made several connections from working as KPLR's music director for the past two years.  It was her job to secure the judging panel.

"I was nervous about it at first, but honestly, the executives were very excited," said Olson.  "I presented the idea, and they said it would be a lot of fun, which made my job a lot easier."

The Acoustic Showcase offered cash prizes of $50 for both the grand prize winner and runner-up.  The judges were given score cards to rate each performer and the performer with the most points in the end won.

While the Acoustic Showcase was a win for the performers, KPLR didn't forget about its fans.  Not only was the event free, but the audience had the chance to win plenty of door prizes from merchandise to local restaurant gift certificates.

Communications & Theatre

by Joseph Pena
Published in The Point Weekly on March 29, 2004

In just an hour, the Governor’s Cabin on the ship the Californian was transformed from a stop on the Maritime Museum tour to the den of the evil pirate captain, Marcetti.

The cast and crew of the student film “The Isle Nevis” prepared for its first shot of the night, a crucial scene in the pirate-period piece.

With the lighting and the eight bodies moving around in the 10 by 10 space, the cabin was 20 degrees hotter than outside.

“Constructing a captain’s cabin that’s accurate to the time period, factoring in space constrictions and a 104-degree temperature isn’t easy,” said Jared Callahan, junior and art director for the film.

It took time to get the room ready for the shot; the scene was elaborate, accentuated by the authenticity of the Californian, the ship docked in the San Diego Bay.

The clutter of props was impressive, everything from aged parchment to old books to a talking parrot.

The costumes were detailed, with characters and extras in tattered shorts, slathered in mud, hair caked with dirt and matted to their heads.

Crew members were coming in and out of the cabin putting the final touches on the set.

Director Jason Carter, senior, ducked out to get a breath of fresh air.

“Are we ready to go yet?” Carter asked. “We’re running 40 minutes behind.”

That’s all he has to say. Within minutes, the team gathers for the shoot.

A Whale of a Tale

The idea for “The Isle Nevis” started with a bank robbery plot formulated by Carter and Joel McGinty, senior, last spring.

“The idea wasn’t working, so Jason came to me one day and said, ‘There’s two men on a deserted island––go with it,’” said McGinty. “So we tossed around ideas and it turned into a pirate movie.”

In the fall, McGinty attended the Los Angeles Film Studies Center and Carter, Chris Roberts, senior, and Lindsay Olson, junior, adopted the project for COM210, a communications practicum course. Now, the group is using the film as a project for its field production class.

“I came back and the project became so much bigger than I thought it would be,” said McGinty. “Everyone just wanted to see how far they could push the limits.”

After rewrites, the script, originally a two-man pirate tale, evolved into a plot requiring four lead actors and more than 30 extras, for some scenes.

“We wanted to do something different,” said Olson. “I think the requirement for the project is a five-to-seven-minute film and we just wanted to do more. We wanted to do something no one has ever done before.”

The plot takes place in the imagination of a child. The child, Cole, pictures himself as a man, avenging his father’s death against the evil pirate, Captain Marcetti and chasing a hidden treasure on the island Nevis.

In the fall, Carter, Roberts and Olson formed FallenROC pictures and started pre-production and casting for the film.  Hundreds of people responded to casting calls in the San Diego Reader and on and more than 50 auditioned for the lead roles.

The support for the film started to pour in––the crew had no luck scoring product placement, but restaurants offered to donate food for cast and crew meals and the San Diego Film Commission helped the team score on-site locations on The Star of India and the Californian, waiving the permit fees.

“The only costs so far have been paying for security for the on-site shoot and the cost of some of the props,” said Olson. “Everyone’s been really good about supporting the project.”

With pre-production in the works for months, the cast and crew was ready to start filming. Last weekend, Carter and his team gathered for the first time to film scenes in caves along Sunset Cliffs. Despite a few setbacks (the lead actor broke two ribs in a sword fight), the crew was ready for round two of filming.

Battling the Elements

Shooting on the San Diego Bay posed the obvious challenge for McGinty, senior and cameraman for the film.

The airport less than a mile away didn’t help with sound. The passing sailboats and the downtown skyscrapers didn’t help with the camera angles.

“I’ve just had to play around,” said McGinty. “Shoot low, shoot high, have the extras scrunch in from the back--we want the background to either be all water or all sky.”

With the help of Daniel Cretton, PLNU alumnus and assistant cameraman, and lighting director Brian Ruark, McGinty’s night shots had an eerie moonglow and the lights from the houses surrounding the bay weren’t visible.

The communication and teamwork between cast and crew has been essential to the production, said Carter.

Carter said it’s nice to watch the project succeed and the student crew to take initiative in filming.

“Everyone treats students like they don’t know what they’re doing, and maybe they don’t always, but you have to know when you have a good project and run with it,” said Carter. “It’s nice to see everyone take jobs and do them well or step into a job for the first time and succeed.”

It’s inspiring to watch Carter, Roberts and McGinty work, said Olson.

“Those guys eat, sleep and breathe this film,” said Olson. “Their dedication is incredible.”

The crew and the extras consist of mostly PLNU students, but workers from physical plant and PLNU staff are also contributing to the project.

“Marty Coon [from physical plant] is amazing,” said Olson. Anything we need, he does. He’s been great about helping and he’s gotten guys he works with to be pirates for us.”

Lowell Frank, another PLNU alumnus and Cretton’s filmmaking partner, said cooperation is key to the production’s success. Frank and Cretton wrote, filmed and edited “Longbranch,” a short film that won best film at the Peach City Film Festival in Georgia. The film was also shown at festivals in Seattle, Austin and Tribeca, New York.

“To coordinate this many people, to have this many people show up all for free, all working toward one thing, on a Sunday at midnight is impressive,” said Frank.

“The Isle Nevis,” though not completed, has already been accepted to the San Diego Film Festival in September.

“I’m extremely impressed with the production value of this project,” said Cretton. “They had such a small amount to work with in regards to money and experience, but they’ve weaned everything they could.”

Communications & Theatre

Joshua Romero, a junior Media Communication major, was selected to attend the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) Foundation’s Minority Career Workshop in March 2004.

Romero will be traveling to New York to participate in this two-day program with approximately 100 other students and recent graduates that were competitively selected for the program.

“There is no doubt in my mind that my work last semester with video and journalism, as well as my blossoming work in radio, had a lot of weight on my application,” said Romero.

The program begins with a comprehensive orientation to the electronic media industry.

On the second day, participants have an opportunity to be interviewed by recruiters from approximately 30 major media corporations. Past recruiters have included ABC, CBS, NBC, and Viacom.

According to, as many as 28 percent of those attending a recent career workshop were hired, or secured an internship as a direct result of the event.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” said Romero. “Ever since I switched to Media Communications this past fall, I have felt like I have found my vocational calling.”

Romero is actively involved in KPLR, the campus radio station, and filmmaking activities within his classes.

“The Communication and Theatre department does well in preparing us for life after college and this is proof of what the Media Communication program can do for its students,” said Romero.

The IRTS Foundation is a charitable organization which offers educational programs and career assistance to those interested in the communication industry.

Communications & Theatre

Glance up from the campus parking structure and you'll notice an addition to the PLNU skyline. A new satellite dish was recently installed to allow Point Loma students Broadcast Journalism students access to the full resources of Cable News Network (CNN).

The Atlanta-based CNN makes its news feeds available free of charge to more than 100 universities nationwide. This is not the CNN programming that home viewers see, but the hourly raw news feeds that go out to television stations around the world for use in their own newscasts.

In addition to the raw video, students also have access to script material online and if necessary, live breaking news.

The video will be used primarily in the Television News class where students present live newscasts each week for the campus audience. This class is the senior capstone experience for 30 students currently enrolled in the Broadcast Journalism major.

“This partnership with CNN puts incredible resources in the hands of our students,” said Randall E. King, co-advisor, Broadcast Journalism. “They’re using the same raw materials professional stations use to produce news programming. When we put that together with good editorial judgment and hands-on training, it greatly enhances the credibility of our graduates.”

PLNU had an agreement in place with CNN more than a year ago, but the greatest difficulty was finding the right location for the type of dish required. Fortunately, Physical Plant director Richard Schult was willing to allow access to the plant building near the parking structure. This will also be a likely site for future dishes as the campus installs cable television service for all students.

Network Services manager Robert Joslin has also been especially helpful in finding the location and setting up video cables to bring the signal back to the television studio in Ryan Library.

Consulting engineer, Rad J. Corn, who assists KPLR, completed the final dish installation in early October. Students expect to access CNN material by the end of the month.

Communications & Theatre

by Tracy Nelson

Published in The Point Weekly on November 17, 2003

The most recent production at Salomon Theatre, Arsenic and Old Lace, brings together some unlikely characters to produce one delightful play.

Arsenic and Old Lace, a comedy adapted from the play by Joseph Kesserling, tells the story of Mortimer Brewster, just an average guy, and his very quirky family set back in the 1940s.

Mortimer has always known that his family was not completely normal. One of his brothers believes himself to be Theodore Roosevelt, while the other brother, Jonathan, believes himself to be an escaped murderer who looks like Boris Karloff. His two aunts, Abby and Martha, are just as sweet as can be.

But soon, Mortimer discovers that his two aunts have been secretly poisoning old men who come to stay at their house  and then burying their bodies in the cellar. And they actually consider what they do to be charity. Let’s just say that Mortimer is less than understanding about the situation and stumbles about throughout the rest of the play trying to figure out how to protect his aunts.

The plot thickens even more when Mortimer’s convict brother, Jonathan, and his intoxicated German accomplice, Dr. Einstein, return home in the hopes of stashing their latest victim.

The cast delivers an outstanding performance by adding humor to a dark and twisted plot.

Matthew David Curley, a senior Theatre major, playing Mortimer, is beautiful as a confused and panicky nephew trying to make sense of his family’s eccentric behaviors.

Likewise, Don Keenan, a junior Theatre major delivers a hilarious performance as Jonathan’s drunken, anxious partner with a heart. With his added German accent, accentuated by a tremble in his voice, Keenan consistently sounds both scared and nervous by his current situation.

Lastly, Greg Good, a sophomore Psychology major, playing Jonathan, performs with confidence. He takes charge of the room as a frightening and intimidating bully with makeup that makes him look like Frankenstein.

The performance would not be complete without excellent set designs and costumes.

The set design, which consists of the inside of a two-story house, focusing on the dining and living room, allows the characters to appear like they are moving constantly throughout the house, when in actuality the whole play occurs in one room.

The characters’ costumes and makeup are completely believable, whether they are intended to look like they are 70 years old, like man who hasn’t showered in days, like a patient of one too many plastic surgeries, or like a former president.

The play ran from November 11-15 and November 22, 2003.

Communications & Theatre

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, 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.”

Communications & Theatre