Films Attached Below:
Stay With Me Theatre2Film3
(313) Choices Theatre2Film1
Not on Website: Sorta Late Theatre2Film2,
Background of Theatre2Film:
I created the Theatre2Film project (T2F), as an experiential learning laboratory for my acting students, designed to explore the intricate balance between theatre and film performance. I was also interested in engaging two separate, but connected disciplines, performance, and media production, facilitating the exchange of foundational concepts, and creating a unique interdisciplinary educational environment. One of the byproducts of T2F is a lasting connection between the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), and the College of Music (COM, contributing the soundtrack and score). T2F is the first original fiction feature film to be produced at a university, as a project conceived, written, directed, crewed, and performed entirely by students (with professional mentorship). Ultimately we created four feature films.
The project was the culmination of years of exploration and research, beginning with my time at university, and continuing as an actor of stage, film, and TV. I so firmly believed in the educational impact of T2F, that I conjured a “Field of Dreams” approach to the project, i.e., “If you build it, they will come.” In the fall of 2014, Theatre2Film was officially added to the department of theatre's season. We had a rough outline of a script, no university collaborators, and no funding. A grant proposal for T2F was rejected, and within forty-eight hours I secured funding from members of the Lansing community who recognized the far-reaching benefits of the project as a springboard for forging professional connections for our students and community. CJ Valle, a 4th-year theatre student, took on the role of head writer, having no formal training, she proved to be an incredibly gifted storyteller/writer. David Wheeler, an instructor from the Media Sandbox, was the first faculty member to come on board, seeing the value in a student-created feature film. We agreed that T2F would be a transformative educational experience, uniquely preparing our students for careers in the entertainment industry.
In January of 2015, we work-shopped the script with a student writing group, as pre-production began on the film. I cast the play, and we began rehearsals, accompanied by staged readings to obtain feedback on the script. The actors were able to work from a solid theatrical foundation and create memorable characters for the stage. After closing the production, we immediately began filming on the weekends. There was no formal university curriculum or class created for Theatre2Film. All of the students, CAS and CAL, committed to T2F in addition to their scheduled course loads and other responsibilities. T2F shot on seven consecutive weekends, typically starting on Friday at 5 P.M. and ending on Sunday at midnight. David and I were consistently blown away by the student’s enthusiasm and dedication to Theatre2film. Editing began in May, ending in mid-July in time for the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF). Independent filmmaker Michael Moore had been made aware of our project and reserved an official slot for our film at TCFF. Mr. Moore is the founder and president of TCFF and has supported us from the beginning, even participating as an enthusiastic moderator for T2F2. We premiered all four of the films at TCFF.
David Wheeler and I mentored every aspect of the project, logging countless hours to ensure T2F’s success. T2F has enhanced our students in developing multi-faceted artists, adding to their achievements as actors and filmmakers in a continually evolving industry. T2F also created an interdisciplinary collaboration between Theatre, Film Studies, Media and Information, Media Sandbox, and COM. Many students refer to Theatre2Film as the most relevant educational training they received in their four years at MSU.