Communication Students Film Documentaries Abroad

Monday, October 8, 2012

Point Loma Nazarene University
Contact: Kalyn McMackin (760) 685-3312
Point TV: Channel 23 Public Relations Manager.
Advisor: Alan Hueth (619) 849-2358
Date: October 2, 2012
Written by: Kalyn McMackin

Communication Students Film Documentaries Abroad
This past summer, students from Point Loma Nazarene University’s  Department of Communication and Theatre traveled to London for a five week program that challenged students to plan, shoot, and edit their own film documentaries.

 “This opportunity gives them the skill set and knowledge that they can take with them and apply in both television and film programming,” said Dr. Alan Hueth, professor of Communication.

 What started in 2004 has since evolved into a semi-annual (or tri-annual) summer trip open to all students interested in television and film.

 “Students that go to London get some international travel experience, learn about things like international media, advertising, and documentary and propaganda,” said Hueth. 

 As part of the curriculum, students were required to watch, study, and analyze over 40 documentaries, then write and shoot two documentaries of their choice while in London. One documentary focused on street performers (or buskers, as they’re called in London), and highlighted the performances, thoughts, feelings (and lives) of three buskers. The other documentary dealt with the “Rise and Shine Ministry” about a man and his wife who are missionaries in London-- but also preach at Speakers Corner.

  “Going to London and making documentaries gave me a lot more experience,” said senior media communications major Chanelle Jewell. “Being in a small group allowed me to have one-on-one attention and instruction and, because I was practicing camera skills every day, it helped me grow a lot.”

 Jewell was a part of shooting the buskers documentary, and emphasized that the trip was more than just an opportunity to learn about filming and writing, but a chance to grow and gain new perspectives as a student.

 “I learned that the world is so much bigger and there's way more out there than I ever thought,” said Jewell. “Seeing different ways of living reminds me that I’m not the only person in the world and that I'm a small part of a big universe.”

 In an effort to fulfill his major requirements, senior Andrew Norbeck decided to return to London and take advantage of the opportunity to go abroad and film.

 “I was in London, once before--and when the opportunity arose to go back in order to fulfill some course requirements, I couldn't pass it up,” said the film studies major. “I am a senior graduating a semester early, and the classes I needed to complete my upper division courses were being offered through this program.”

 Receiving class credit, though, is only part of the benefits of such a program. Hueth, from past and present experiences, has seen the continual growth in students’ television and film work upon returning to PLNU.

 “Especially in terms of shooting and editing and just basic fundamentals, getting good quality stuff,” said Hueth.

  “Shooting and editing a documentary is a much more challenging thing because it’s long form program—then news.  And, for the most part, they are unscripted so it’s not like standard news. It’s collecting a lot of different interviews and b- roll, and shooting much more than you need, and then creating a story with it in the editing process.”

 Norbeck said he recalled working on a Super 8millimeter camera for his entire project, something he said challenged him “to plan his shots better.”

  In all, the London 2012 trip was a challenging educational experience that left students with a new set of skills and capabilities to utilize in the future.

 For more information on the London study abroad program, contact Dr. Alan Hueth at