Students work on producing the short film, "Fairy," which will air on WIPB. Pictured is left Hayden Goldsworthy, middle Marissa Anderson and director Elijah Brand. Allison Griffith, Photo Provided
Immersive class allows students’ work to air on WIPB-TV
Editor's note: Ryan Shank is the video editor at The Daily News.
Thirty counties — that’s the amount of area student productions will be broadcast to all because of a new immersive learning class.
Cardinal Cinema, an immersive telecommunications class, has partnered with WIPB-TV, the PBS station for Muncie, to produce two one hour-long programs derived solely from student work.
These programs, consisting of two documentaries and two short films, will be aired in May said Dan Lutz, WIPB-TV acting general manager.
“[Ball State] has never had a course where students produce work specifically for WIPB. This allows the students to create things that are broadcasted to a wide variety of people rather than just showing it in a classroom,” Lutz said. “It’s good for the institution, it’s good for the station — we can show the Muncie area the good things students are doing.”
Lutz said the class gives students academic credit and control of the filmmaking process from start to finish.
“WIPB has given us complete creative control. They have let us do our own thing,” said junior Elijah Brand, director of one of the short films. “Then entire thing from beginning to end is student-made.”
Brand said because the class has given students the control, they have to work together to make these four films happen.
“We have put in our work outside of a classroom together. We have an idea, then we have a project we have to complete as a crew,” said senior John Osterhoudt, director of one of the documentaries. “This class lets people make their ideas into video. We get to really test ourselves and grow.”
While course adviser Chris Flook teaches the course, he said it is mostly student run.
“The students make my job easier. I need to get the hell out of the way and let them do what they do,” Flook said. “The whole team is extremely talented. Those four directors are some of the most talented, hard-working individuals that have come through our program.”
Here’s a synopsis of the four works:
Documentary: Jim Davis
Director: Ryan Shank, senior
This documentary will focus on Jim Davis rather than Garfield, said producer Emily Holland.
“Jim’s life reflects Garfield’s too,” Holland said. “The director wanted to show both Garfield and Jim through focusing on Jim.”
While Holland hopes the documentary will show Jim Davis’s life, she also hopes it will impact viewers.
“I am working with crazy talented people,” Holland said. “We want to create something that viewers will watch and be inspired by or relate to it.”
While Holland wants to inspire viewers, she said she has been inspired by her crew.
“It amazes me how much talent the people have that are in the class — I learn something from everyone. From PA’s to producers, everyone has different experiences and talents,” Holland said. “In the college atmosphere, everyone works together. We have set positions, but no one is better than anyone else.”
Documentary: Our Universal Language: Music and the Human Soul
Director: John Osterhoudt, senior
Osterhoudt was at his roommate’s saxophone concert when he noticed the power and the connection the music had on him and the audience.
“I saw the emotion of music and I thought, ‘Well, music is just vibrating waves of energy.’ I wondered what impact it has on human body and what does it actually mean,” Osterhoudt said. “So, I had an idea for this documentary. This is something I developed completely from things I am interested in, and it’s a story I want to tell.”
Osterhoudt said the documentary will focus on music’s ability to connect people together. While he has been a part of immersive learning projects before, he has never been a part of one where it is solely his idea that is being made into a documentary.
“It is kind of nerve-racking to know this will be shown on WIPB because it is 100 percent my idea,” Osterhoudt said. “This makes me much more vulnerable because this is such a special project.”
Short Film: Whispers
Director: Zoe Taylor, senior
The film, which is inspired by the movie "Get Out," will be a thriller.
A recent college graduate avoids her struggles by cleaning up an abandoned home. However, as she stays there, she begins to hears whispers that force her to confront issues of her past.
Taylor wrote this film to parallel some of the struggles she as a student is facing as she prepares to graduate.
“With this film, I want to bring awareness to struggling as soon as you graduate. Being lost after you graduate isn’t that bad of a thing,” Taylor said. “Even through struggle, you will still come out of the other side.”
Taylor is unsure of how her ideas and themes will play out for a large audience.
“The fact that I am creating something that people who I have no control over, I am not working for a client or for Ball State, it’s just my work I am putting out there, it’s exciting and terrifying at the same time,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t be able to do something like this without my crew. I am just one small cog in a large machine.”
Short Film: Fairy
Director: Elijah Brand, junior
The film, which was written by Brand, will be a psychological horror that follows a troubled college-aged girl who is haunted by her past.
“My hope is this will make a really solid project that will leave the audience feeling their time was well spent and that they were well entertained,” Brand said. “And hopefully they will be a little creeped out.”
While Brand recognizes this film will be shown on WIPB-TV, he said his focus is on the story.
“My main focus is just to make as good as a story as I can from beginning to end,” Brand said. “When I think about the fact that it is going to be on WIPB, it is really cool — I am glad to have that opportunity. But, I try just to focus on the story.”
It is because of the strong story focus that viewers will be drawn into the film, said producer Erin Stanis.
“It shows an original idea, maybe something no one has ever seen before,” Stanis said. “I think the goal of this film is to create something that is different, interesting and a little bit dark.”