It’s 10 a.m. on a Friday in December and IPR’s Edina campus is teeming with activity. IPR students and instructors, along with a team of film professionals, are gearing up for a day of production on Personal Space, a short film they are producing for this year’s Z Fest short film competition.
Digital Video and Media Production Instructor and Personal Space writer/director Andrew Hunt is familiar with Z Fest. His 2015 entry Clean Cut took home honors for Best in Fest, Audience Favorite, Best Screenplay, Best Comedy, Best Hero, and Best Prop as well as winning awards at several other festivals around the country. This year, he decided to shoot his entry on a teaching set.
“I’ve never taught and directed at the same time,” Hunt commented, as he hurried about IPR’s Edina Studios,”I’m a little nervous.”
Andrew spent the morning setting up a big board for students to see the outline of the day’s activities, checking on the Red Scarlet Cinema Camera fitted with a special periscope lens, and assigning students to departments as they arrive. His pro crew are matched up with their student counterparts and the shoot begins with a very tight shot of the brass tumblers of a lock clicking into place as a locksmith picks it with burglar’s tools.
DVMP student Audrey Swenson works as script supervisor under the eye of AD Evan Beaumont, while Gaffer Ben Enke takes charge of Production Assistants Owen Seaton, Megan Becker, and Jorge Fuentes. Ben Thorson works as 2nd Assistant Camera, so is in close proximity to Director of Photography Ryan Grams and 1st Assistant Tim Schroeder. Lindsey Lucht works as a grip under Dolly Grip Steven Hoff and DVMP High School Advantage student Robyn Ehrlich works in the art department under professional Art Director Jesse Golfis. There is even an IPR grad in the mix – Production Sound Mixer Jenilee Easter Park is a 2014 graduate of the Sound Design for Visual Media program.
“This kind of hands-on experience is so valuable… you can read about it a book, but to experience it first hand, watching the pros communicate and work together… it’s preparing me for working in the real world,” says Ben Thorson about the experience.
This type of educational experience – called applied learning – is a one of the basic tenets of the educational experience at IPR. Students are exposed to professional workplace experiences through in-class experiences, field trips, required internships, and extracurricular activities like the Personal Space shoot.
This year, two DV students even traveled to Costa Rica to shoot a promotional video for the Refuge of Love, a shelter for homeless women and children.
“We’re proud of the classroom experience we provide, ” comments Campus Director Norbert Kreuzer. “The expertise of our instructors, the curriculum they deliver – but there is nothing like getting out and experiencing the real thing – meeting the professionals who will one day be your peers – that’s what sets IPR apart from other schools.”
The sun goes down early in December and the day turns into night quickly, but this is the real world – the shoot is scheduled to wrap at 10 p.m.. At this point they’re on schedule, just hitting a quick dinner break, then returning to the studio for the next set-up.
Students will be here until the end, soaking in every moment of the experience and making sure they impress their professional mentors. After all, these pros are the very people who, one day soon, will be filling crew positions with IPR Digital Video graduates.
2/15/2016 UPDATE: See the teaser for Personal Space!