TMU’s feature film production gives opportunities to students through three accelerated courses

Danielle Gallegos, Perspectives Editor

The Master’s University’s (TMU) first-ever feature film, The Man from Nowhere, launched principle photography on Friday, Jan 3 on its campus in Santa Clarita, Calif. The first day’s filming took place inside one of the university’s buildings, but activity surrounding the launch stretched beyond what the naked eye could see.

TMU’s Cinema & Digital Arts majors weren’t the only one’s participating. The first phase of the project involves three TMU “winterim” courses the school offers for academic credit over the Christmas break: Winterim Production, Journalism Immersion and Content Marketing. The production course revolves around producing the film, while journalism and marketing courses focus specifically on PR and marketing, respectively.

“This is a major project for the school and for the communication department,” said Dr. Bob Dickson, the chair of the TMU’s Communication Department. “The more students we can get involved in this thing the better, and with something as comprehensive as a feature film, there are many opportunities.”

The journalism students are embedded with the production in order to capture the story and report on it.  The job of the marketing team, led by TMU director of marketing enrollment for online programs and adjunct business and communication professor Matt Frields, is to get the word out.

The marketing team consists of four marketing majors: Victor DeMayo, James Ingoldsby, Molly Laugherty and Jill Nunez.

“This is a practical expression of everything I have been working on in my major classes and just everything I have been learning” Laugherty said.

Each of the marketing students bring some measure of production or marketing experience into the project, and each will be relied on to bring that experience to bear on their responsibilities on and off the set.

“I had done the short film during last [year’s] winterim and I thought it would be interesting doing something different on set,” Nunez said.

To market the project, students have created an Instagram (@themanfromnowheremovie) and Facebook (@themanfromnowheremovie) dedicated to the film. They also plan to launch a website. On their social media platforms, members of the marketing team will be posting behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, cast and crew and actor bios.

The marketing students do not have a specific role. Rather, they are working together to respond to marketing opportunities and they arise. and are working as a team – anything from taking photos, creating a content calendar or posting photos by using slack and buffer.

“No one thing is just focused on one person,” DeMayo said.

The students are getting much hands on experience with all the work they are doing on set and constantly posting across various social media platforms.

“Prof. Frields created this [to emulate] an employment,” Ingoldsby said. “It’s good experience because I’m taking photos and creating content and marketing it to an audience.”

Frields said he wants his students to get a sense of the realities of working on a production and how to market it. He also wants them to experience how they can live out their faith and character, even under the pressure of working on a real set.

“This is the first time I am doing this with students and leading them through it,” Frields said. “The team is great and they are really motivated. It’s a great experience for them and it’s also really fun.”