Last fall we had a chance to work with a number of students from the Honors College taking HON 401: Short Film Production. Wanted to make sure we took the opportunity to share the remarkable work, produced in teams within a short 5-week semester. They tackled technical challenges using LS checkout equipment, many of them for the first time. At the same time they kept their eye on the the shape of compelling stories. Really proud of their work.
Over the last two years, students in Dr. Mark Hamilton’s honors sections of BIBL 211: Message of the Old Testament have produced short films in teams. Groups of four develop short 4-5 minute video projects that reflect on themes such as lament, sacrifice, atonement, among others.
Once groups have selected biblical texts they consider how they respond “to the historical background, literary shaping, theological purpose, and interpretive history (i.e., the understanding of the text on the part of later readers) of the given text.”
Here are a few examples of their work.
Here are a few other elements of the assignment:
1. The video should not use footage created by other people. (So, no Lego Bible stories or similar things.)
2. The video should include appropriate voice work by all the team members and should show some measure of creativity.
3. The team should produce a script for the video and submit it along with the video.
4. The video should be well-informed by deep reflection on the biblical texts and themes on which students have been working.
In 2011 shy, unassuming Writing Center director Dr. Cole Bennett stunned audiences with his riveting portrayal of a shmarmy boss in their first promotional parody of The Office. This fall he returns in a more ambitious role inspired by the hoity grammarians at Downton Abbey.
The shorts were written and directed by Christina Johnson and Learning Studio alum Ben Weaver and feature student tutors from the Writing Center. Christina has been working with Dr. Bennett since she was an undergrad, finishing a BA in English in 2011. This last spring she was the first Masters candidate to defend a screenplay thesis to complete her MA in Creative Writing.
Christina is now an Associate Producer and Researcher for AMS Pictures in Dallas, working on a number of television and documentary projects including shows for HGTV.
Congrats Christina and Ben, and we’re looking forward to seeing bigger things in the near future.
This spring the Learning Studio worked with Dr. Houston Heflin as part of our first digital storytelling project overseas. We worked with Houston and his students before they left the States to begin thinking about media projects they would complete mid-way through the semester and then at the end, reflecting on their own experiences in East Germany.
It was also our first storytelling workshop entirely on the iPad. Students had access to a couple Blue Snowball USB microphones (that perplexed TSA officials going and coming) and all the photos and video they had taken while traveling. We had strong scripts in an intensive three-day timespan for their first project in April. Then each student reflected on their overall experience abroad in a final project in May. Here are a few examples of their work.
Al Haley, writer-in-residence and professor of English, was an alum of our very first digital storytelling workshop in 2011 and has been helping us lead faculty workshops on campus for the last year. His work with the scholarly storytelling group last December helped many of the participants see the potential of mixed media writing and storytelling in their teaching and research. Here are a couple of Al’s past stories.
A Bed in San Francisco
Down on the Farm
This semester Al asked students in his Creative Nonfiction Workshop and a new class on Micro-Narratives to produce their own digital stories as an extension of their other writing in both courses. Here are a few examples of their work.
Before June – Daniel Merritt
Blank Spots Fill Holes – Julia Curtis
Missing Home – Brittney Starkey
Ode on Napping – Luke Ramsey
Small World – Adrian Patenaude
Drama Ministry – Emmy Sparks
Mother Knows Best – Elena Kua