*Possible spoilers ahead*
In student filmmaking, where creativity intertwines with ambition, The Anchor Newspaper embarks on a riveting journey behind the scenes of a captivating cinematic creation. Today, we sit down with the minds behind a student-made film, delving into their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. “Disappearing Act” is a three-episode web series created by the students in FILM 335: Transmedia Storytelling.
The inspiration for this project was the themes found in the graphic novel by Kristen Radtke, “Seek You.” Director of episode three, Devin Miller, explained the process he and his team underwent to conquer this idea. “We needed to read the book ‘Seek You’ that focused on loneliness,” Miller says, “we were assigned to adapt the book without actually adapting the book. We were supposed to use the same themes.”
The three-episode narrative follows Alex (Charley Kid), Jessie (Annaliese Curry) and Charlie (Findlee Abraham), as they become involved in the search for their missing college classmate. “Many different mystery stories inspired this project,” said Amber Walker, the writer of episode one and the director of episodes one and two. “We started with the script, and three people wrote an episode. Once the script was written, we started revisions and found the actors. A few people submitted demo reels, and we picked who we felt fit the roles best,” said Walker. “You always want people to see what you make and it would be great for people to watch it. The main target were college students and when we were writing them, we tried to be cautious with the ages of the characters.”
To accomplish a unique viewing experience, the students in FILM 335 created a B-plot for their episodes. Alex, Jessie and Charlie can be found on Instagram, with Jessie also seen on TikTok. “Jessie gets canceled because she pretends to be Avery’s best friend for attention; that’s where the TikTok and Instagram are important for the B-plot,” Elizabeth Woodie, the creator of Jessie, explained. The students reminisced on their time filming when talking about the social media aspect of the story. “For the TikTok, I came to set and in between takes, I would get the actress to make a TikTok, so people would just look over and see her dancing in the corner,” said James Immordino, the co-creator of the B-plot and the student behind Jessie's TikTok page.
“It was a lot of fun to learn about videography and timing. You must learn to do things on the fly because that's important.” Miller explained when talking about the lessons the class learned during filming. “The biggest difference about this set is the role changes. Because of how shooting worked, we all worked on different episodes the same day, so we often had to switch which hat we were wearing,” said Ricky Ares, writer of episode three.
Importantly, student and team member Tai Bacani spoke about communication. “We're all learning how to communicate with each other. When we switch roles, we need to learn how to communicate our visions and bring those roles into one piece of work we’re all working on,” she explained.
The students in FILM 335 highly recommend this course to the students at RIC. “It's very much hands-on and go for it, class,” said Ares. “And you can hopefully have fun,” Professor Sibielski added.
If you’re interested in viewing episode one of “The Disappearing Act,” you can view it here. Episode two premieres on Dec. 6 and episode three follows on Dec. 13.
The Anchor would like to thank the class of FILM 335 for speaking on the creative process behind “The Disappearing Act.” The class would like to thank Charley Kidd (Alex), Annaliese Curry (Jessie) and Findlee Abraham (Charlie) for their dedication to this project.
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