Reel World ExperienceGAMBIER, Ohio (June 16, 2011)
"The work is very tiring," said Aaron Lynn '14, "but I am learning so much and having a blast."
Lynn is among a dozen undergraduates and six recent graduates working as interns on location with Liberal Arts, starring writer and director Josh Radnor '96. Radnor is shooting much of the film at Kenyon through the end of June. The production recruited students through the Department of Dance, Drama, and Film. Their duties include finding props, recruiting extras, and carting camera equipment from scene to scene. "This just seemed like a cool experience that would look great on a resume," said Madeline Jobrack '13, whose job in the props department recently included securing product placement approval for Goose Island beer.
Radnor is on hiatus from his CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother to make his second feature-length movie, a follow-up to his 2010 Sundance Film Festival hit Happythankyoumoreplease. The cast for his new movie includes Tony Award nominee Alison Janney'82, Twilight star Elizabeth Reaser, stalwart character actor Richard Jenkins, and Elizabeth Olsen.
Notwithstanding the presence of stars, the students are learning that moviemaking is more about the grind than the glamour. Lynn spent much of recent days in the camera department moving equipment between locations and changing camera batteries. It's a heavy responsibility because one dead battery in the middle of a "take" can ruin the scene. "I am putting more effort into this movie than anything I have ever done," Lynn said, "The chance to be a part of something bigger than myself makes me want to work hard."
The opportunity dovetails nicely with the film major introduced at Kenyon last fall. While the College for several years has taught film courses and found students internships, the shooting of Liberal Arts on campus conveniently offers hands-on experience for some students. "In a normal year, (Thomas S. Turgeon Professor of Drama) Jon (Tazewell) and I would have to make dozens of phone calls to get one student one job in the industry," Assistant Professor of Film Jonathan Sherman said. "To be able to get 17 working in the business at one time is just an incredible opportunity for us and will help us build our career network of film professionals to benefit students in the future."
Like several interns, Samuel Barickman '13 is a drama major whose his experience on the Liberal Arts set has heightened his interested in moviemaking. "I love movies, but had no idea how they were made until now," he said. "Acting for the theater is so much different than acting in film, when you have to stay fresh, repeating the same thing take after take. This has been a real eye-opener for me. I don't think I'll ever watch movies in the same way I used to."
The movie centers on a 35-year-old man (Radnor) torn between college life and adult responsibilities. Even though the students are not being paid, many are being used as extras and may appear briefly in the final cut.