With graduation on the horizon, Park Scholar seniors reflect on their time at IC
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Posted on behalf of Siobhan Cavanagh '12
Four years in high school leads to four years in college and for a cinema major these four years lead to Senior Thesis.
As a cinema major in Ithaca you take two entry-level cinema production classes and at least two advanced cinema production classes. You then take everything you have learned until this point and create a professional quality film that you submit to film festivals and use in your portfolio. The film can be however long you want, any genre, by yourself or in a team.
You get total creative freedom.
For my thesis film I am doing a stop motion animation that will be about 5-6minutes in length. The films in my class, though, range from documentaries, to war epics to short comedies. Since your thesis film is so important it winds up consuming most of your time. The stress of the filmmaking process brings the class together and thus you wind up working on several films in exchange for crew for your own film. This is also a great place for cinema majors of any year to get involved in a more professional production. Since these films are made on a larger scale and with more sizable budgets, they need larger crews. It is a great place to learn more about the different roles in filmmaking as well as making connections.
It was by working on several thesis films that I found my niche in production design. I also made connections with several alumni that now work in Los Angeles for companies like Nikelodeon and Imagine Entertainment.
This semester I am helping several of my classmates with their films. Since I am interested in production design, I help create a visual style for the films. Being a Park Scholar, making my own thesis and working on several other student films isn’t quite enough. I was also production designer for the David Ames Award Film. The David Ames Award gives one student film $5,000 to create a film. The way awards are picked is any Ithaca College student can submit a script for consideration. From there a group of finalists are picked and they must submit a budget plan. Thus the winner is chosen by quality of script and effective use of funds. This year’s winner was Adelaide, a film about a mute girl in the 1800’s who is being given away for marriage. It was my job to create a visual design, purchase props and dress the set on location. We filmed for six days over spring break in Lancaster Pennsylvania. We had fourteen hour shooting days and all stayed in the same house. It was an exhausting whirlwind, but I loved every minute of it. It was a great experience especially for working on my production design skills.
There is so much to do in Ithaca as a film student. Whether you are working on your film or someone else’s, there are so many possibilities to get involved. I encourage all cinema and television students to work on thesis films, as well as other advanced production class films, to help perfect your filmmaking skills and to make lasting connections. It will not only prepare you for your thesis, but will give you a pretty impressive resume. At the precipice of graduate, I have realized that working on films outside of class has really helped to prepare me to take that next jump in to the working world.
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