Valenti School students create semester short film
A group of UH Valenti School of Communication students have been putting their classroom expertise to the test as they embark on a journey to create a short film this semester.
These students have taken on responsibility this semester as they balance the many aspects of their lives, from attending college as students by day to short film producers by night.
“I wanted to write and produce my short film while I was still in school, so I reached out to my friends because I knew they were very talented and that is when the whole process started,” said media production sophomore Comfort Abiodun.
Abiodun wrote ‘This is Real Life,” and is directing and producing the short film.
The crew accumulated almost $5,000 in fundraising to transform the simple idea of the short film into motion.
“Before we asked for money, we planned everything we were going to need, like how much was equipment going to cost, how much is paying the actors going to cost, and that’s kind of what helped us reach that amount we asked for on Indigogo,” said finance sophomore Hannia Yeverino.
Along with donations that were collected, the cast and crew were able to apply for a grant to lock down their projected budget.
“Within CLASS, which is what Valenti is under, there is this supplemental dean’s grant, and you can apply for it for like housing for internships and all kinds of stuff,” said media production and English sophomore Autumn Johnson. “But it has to help you advance in your career, so that is what we applied for.”
Time was the utmost challenge for the crew of “This Is Real Life,” they said.
“Things happen, I feel like, on every set of every movie, every short film, every music video, something happens and you end up going over schedule. So that happened to us a few of the days we were filming, but we still ended up getting everything shot even though we did try to schedule everything ahead of time,” Abiodun said.
It was challenging for the crew to be able to shoot all while taking on COVID-19 precautions, but they were able to come up with a game plan that worked for them in the end.
“The main concern was you can’t have a whole background of extras or have too many people on set,” Abiodun said. “We had to keep a small crew, we couldn’t be in busy areas, we had to make sure everyone got tested before shoot days.”
On top of pandemic precaution, another possible obstacle these students were up against was balancing schoolwork while producing the short film.
“I had a test right before our first shoot date, and I was so worried I would fail it because there was a lot on my mind,” Yeverino said. “But it was good, I was proud that I can work on something I am passionate about (that) motivates me to do better in other parts of my life.”
Although taking on this project was time-consuming, some students believe the result is what is really going to matter.
“It felt almost like having an internship. It was a lot of time and hard work, but the result is worth it,” Johnson said.
These students in the cast and crew of ‘This is Real Life” were able to learn valuable skills teaching them more than a classroom could show, and now have hands-on experience in the career field they are seeking.
“I am a business major, so it was interesting being able to work on the budget of this film, and I think I would not get this experience in a classroom setting because we usually just do concepts, we don’t apply them to anything,” Yeverino said.
Also, these students can utilize the content they are producing and show it to future employers.
“I think that this will look really good on our reels, and I think I got to learn what a producer does and I have all this hands-on experience outside of the classroom,” Johnson said.
The short film is targeted towards young adults and is about a college student who doesn’t have her own identity and lies her way through all of her relationships.
‘This Is Real Life” will be premiering on April 30 and will be available to watch on YouTube and Vimeo for now, with plans to expand across more platforms soon.
Not only did career benefits come out of this experience, but some connections were made throughout the process.
“When you have ten (hour or more) shoot days in a row, you bond with people. So we all formed a huge friendship,” Abiodun said.