Temple students film thesis project at Eastern

“Are you guys making a movie?”

This was the question when a film crew from Temple University set up at Bryn Mawr College and Eastern University on the weekends of Feb. 17, Feb. 24 and Mar. 3. Their purpose was to produce a 30-minute film, The Paradigm Shift.

The project is a senior thesis for Temple senior and director Jonathan Barr.

Barr decided to film at Eastern on his father’s recommendation. Barr’s father attends church with Eastern Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences Betsy Morgan.

Generally, when media is made on campus, a donation is made to the Student Aid Fund. In this case, Morgan negotiated to have five students selected to be Production Assistants instead.

She contacted communications professor Kevin Maness, who supplied her with names of students interested in film.

“We got the best deal because of you guys,” Temple graduate student and producer Sam Holdren said about the P.A.s from Eastern.

The P.A.s were senior communications majors Amanda Dawson and Kelly Harrington, junior communications majors Sarah Silveri and Chelsea Zimmerman and senior English major Tim Olshefski.

Dawson, Harrington and Olshefski each spent a semester at the Los Angeles Film School Center. They each had their own film experiences in L.A., including acting and directing.

In addition to supplying the P.A.s with DVDs sampling the Temple student films of 2006, Holdren spent over an hour going through his production book with them.

The P.A.s each had goals on the film set.

Harrington wanted to know about casting in Philadelphia. Holdren supplied her with six different Web sites to explore. Her goal is to stay local and to own a production company.

Dawson fulfilled her goal of learning lighting. On the fourth day of filming, she was able to arrange the lighting according to directions given to her.

Silveri wanted to see the production process. She learned about lighting from Temple senior Christian Alsis, who spent 10 minutes on set with all of the P.A.s explaining lighting differences.

Zimmerman had worked on a 30-second film shoot for CBS 3 and wanted to compare that experience with the experience of doing a larger production.

She said the experience is very similar except for running overtime in the Temple production.

Olshefski had experience in post-production sound and had the opportunity to control sound during production on the first day of shooting.

Also, Eastern’s theatre department got involved providing becoming extras.

These actresses were sophomore English major Tara Quinn, sophomore sociology major Allison Kohler, junior theatre major Natalie Cisternas and senior English major Mary Cromwell. They heard about the filming through Director of Theatre Mark Hallen.

“It was amazing how much time and effort they put in filming a minute and a half scene,” Cisternas said. “All the camera angles, lighting effects, different views to see things; it was all so fascinating and time consuming.”

The filming took between 12 and 13 hours every day.

Dawson has advice for those considering a film profession.

“Get involved. You’ll know right away if you like it or not,” she said. She plans to move to Los Angeles in 2008.

The plot of The Paradigm Shift is a classroom of college students with an opinionated professor (Dr. Collins) who asks them to write a plan to assassinate the President of the United States. It is loosely based on true events from the Vietnam War, according to Morgan.

Although most scenes are filmed at Bryn Mawr College, Eastern scenes feature Morgan’s office and Walton 3.

There will possibly be a viewing of The Paradigm Shift on campus in early May. More information on that is to come.

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