A student-made film reaches the big screen

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The Advanced Creative Productions class at Oklahoma Christian University provided students the opportunity to create a film and to see their production on screen. The film, titled “Dead Tired,” was chosen to be a part of the “Trail Dance Film Festival.” 

The class had only six students in it, and was the first film production class of its kind offered at Oklahoma Christian. 

According to David Jurney, adjunct faculty for communications, the students probably worked harder in that class than in any other class they had.

“The goal we set when we started the film was to produce a film that was good enough to enter into a festival,” Jurney said. “And to do that on our very first try, I thought, was really cool. I was really proud of the students. It had to be about more than just a grade; it had to be buying into a bigger goal.”

There were 97 independent films chosen to be a part of the “Trail Dance Film Festival,” including “Dead Tired.”

“We didn’t enter into the student category; we just entered it as a short film,” Jurney said. “We wanted to get in at that level, and since it was a faculty and student production, we thought that was more appropriate.”

Most of the time, everyone in the class had multiple roles and served in multiple capacities because they were operating with a small crew.

 “I came up with the story idea, and I helped with the screenwriting,” senior Daniel Warren said. “On set I was the script supervisor, and I was also an actor when one of our actors decided not to show up. In post production I was a screen editor.”

Senior creative media major Emily Eldridge, the writer of the film, wrote the script over and over again until it was “good enough.”

“It was kind of surreal seeing a movie that I wrote up on the screen, and then people actually liking it,” Eldridge said. “I slaved over that. I wrote five drafts of the script and to finally settle on one version and have it on film, that was insane.”

Last fall, Eldridge also studied in Los Angeles, Calif. during the semester for a creative media internship.

“It really taught me about the film making process, because before, I had no clue,” Eldridge said. “It gave me groundwork for the sequence of events that take place going into the making of a movie.”

Working on a film not only takes time, but according to Eldridge, it forces one to become close to the people that are also working on the film.

 “It was also really fun because of the camaraderie,” Eldridge said. “You have to get super close to everyone you’re working with. There were a few arguments and spats, but we got through it. We became the closest little group on campus.”

Lack of sleep is something that most probably would not appreciate, but for Eldridge, it was the nights of little rest that yielded the greatest memories.

“We stayed up until 3 a.m. two nights in a row in Jose’s apartment, watching Nathaniel sigh his way through his lines as I fell asleep on the floor with a boom [microphone] in my hand,” Eldridge said. “We started to use ‘dead tired’ as a pun to describe how dead tired we were.”

Although “Dead Tired” is only 17-minutes long, the crew spent many days and hours working on and perfecting the film.

“We filmed in the semester, but the post production has been going on for about a year,” Eldridge said. “Dave [Jurney] still wants me to go back in and work on the sound, so it’s not even done. There’s so much work that goes into getting anything up on screen.”

Director of photography and senior Logan Rine said it was exciting to be a part of the entire process.

“It was something brand new to our school,” Rine said. “We’ve had a lot of students come through Oklahoma Christian and win many awards in the broadcasting department, but no one has ever gone to a film festival. It was a huge blessing.”

According to Rine, knowing that the school had so much faith in the communications department was humbling.

“We used top-of-the-line equipment,” Rine said. “The school had full faith in our creativity to go ahead and put an order in for a really nice camera that they’re using to shoot full-length motion pictures in Hollywood. I felt like they saw potential in me that I didn’t even know I had. It was nice to feel like someone had my back 110 percent of the way.”

Jurney said getting to the festival accomplished a goal they had set and allowed the group to enjoy their success.

“We worked really hard, and at the end of the day we have something that we’re really proud of,” Jurney said. “So a lot of credit has to go to all who were involved for buying in and working hard at it.”

Eldridge said she would encourage anyone who had the opportunity to create a film at a college level to do it.

“It’s really scary, and it challenges you a whole bunch,” Eldridge said. “It’s a lot of work but at the end, it’s something that you’ve created and that’s worth it, even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time.”

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