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Photo provided by Sydney Hosek. Taken on set of Hosek's film, 'The Orchard.'

Film organizations work together to create films, connections

Film, integrated media and screenwriting and production are just three of the many majors at Ohio University, but within each of them, a plethora of opportunity to gain hands-on and profitable experience is available through organizations such as AVW Studios and Rough Cut Collective.

AVW Studios and Rough Cut Collective function similarly, with several students being involved in both clubs and the only major difference being the genres of films they produce. 

“AVW Studios has been pretty well known to make a lot of like comedies and light-hearted lower budget productions, whereas Rough Cut Collective typically has higher budgets for their productions and it tends to be able to do more dramas and serious films,” Akira Jakkson, a junior majoring in integrated media, said. 

Regardless of the means of production, film, integrated media and screenwriting and production majors alike are furthering their future careers outside of the classroom by utilizing a great deal of their freetime to cultivate paramount projects.

A majority of the short films students produce are shot in their freetime, on the weekends, with set days lasting sometimes as long as 15 hours, depending on how long the script is and how many film locations the crew plans to wield. 

Jakkson said he has worked on around 10 films throughout the duration of his time at OU, and the same can be said for both Sydney Hosek, a junior studying integrated media and Nathan Mild, a senior studying screenwriting and production. 

Jakkson, Hosek and Mild have not limited themselves to solely one trade while working on multiple sets, and have instead dabbled with several to determine where their primary interests and passions lie. 

“I feel like I've tried to do every role at least once or at least that's kind of my goal, to try and get my foot into everything at least one time,” Hosek said. 

Hosek has directed, produced, been on set decoration, set design and served as the prop master and script supervisor, but without question, her favorite thing to do is screenwriting. 

Recently, Hosek wrote a period piece – essentially a piece that takes place in another time period – set in the 1890s, titled The Orchard, which she produced independently with the assistance of other fellow students, using the university’s equipment and renting additional equipment through a rental house, such as Ohio HD

Hosek was most eager to see how people would interpret her writing while on set and during post-production. 

Similar to Hosek, Mild also prefers screenwriting over every other aspect of filming, and the two even recently collaborated in writing a script for a film currently in the production process titled Holly Jolly Christmas which Mild summarized as a “Hallmark parody.” 

“The idea just sparked from a Reddit thread about a girl who still believed in Santa Claus at 19 years old, and then it kind of snowballed from there,” Mild said. “It wasn't a Hallmark parody at first, but it was just like a script of what would happen if a girl still believed in Santa and she met her boyfriend's parents. Then, we kind of turned it into a parody by playing on those tropes and stuff.”

Jakkson served as the director of photography for the second time ever on the set of Holly Jolly Christmas and shortly came to realize this was his favorite role, following this experience along with being the director of photography on another film Mild wrote for AVW Studios titled, Flyman

“(Flyman) was my first time being director of photography, and I was really excited that he (Mild) reached out about having me be the DP for this film (Holly Jolly Christmas),” Jackkson said. “It was a lot more daunting than the first time, but it was very, very fun. I got to play around with more equipment like using dolly shots which I did not get to do before, and we had a whole segment where it was handheld and just it had a lot of variety to it, and it was a lot of fun to put together.” 

All three film enthusiasts agree that given the amount of time and energy filming requires, it can often be difficult to balance schoolwork and a social life on top of their productions.

“I've definitely neglected classwork for film shoots, but I kind of justify it because that's a more valuable experience for what we’re going into, and it looks better on a resume,” Mild said. 

Nonetheless, these projects are rewarding for both the students, the film program and potential viewers in more ways than one. 

“I definitely think (the most rewarding part) is the connections that you make with other people, and also the very tangible production experience that you get from being on a set,” Jackkson said. “You get a certain level of experience from your courses, but there's only so much that you can kind of create in a classroom before you just have to go on to a film set and experience it for yourself.”

At the end of each semester, residents of Athens and Ohio University students are able to experience first handedly the work these students, like Jakkson, Mild and Hosek, have put into film this year by attending a screening premiere of their short films. 

The space allows students to identify if working on film sets is something they would be interested in, whether it be acting, writing or directing; students from all majors are welcome to join AVW and Rough Cut Collective as a way to step out of their comfort zone and engage in a new hobby that reaps a multitude of benefits. 

“We're all media arts and studies majors, and something that I think is really cool about our school is that we're very open to anyone being a part of it,” Jakkson said. 

The film program is open to collaboration. The programs have perceived advantageous outcomes by teaming up with theater majors when actors and set designers are needed, as well as those involved with music when it comes to scoring music samples for the films.

The spring premiere will be held on April 29 at 7 p.m. at the Athena Cinema and will showcase films from both AVW Studios and Rough Cut Collective along with some independent films. 


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