Winterim 2021 ropes three courses in to produce and market a Western short film – By Alex Nunez

Students and professors from The Master’s University got to shoot the Western short film “Reckoning” for this year’s Winterim production program. For one week, students partook in either a production, journalism or content marketing course and headed south to Landers, Calif. where they would occupy a Western film set for three days of shooting.

Students spent the first two days of the project on campus, attending meetings and preparing for the days they would be on set. On Jan. 6, students and professors traveled to Landers, where they stayed at a hotel about a 30-minute commute from the set. Each day began at 5:30 a.m..  

The production students worked up close on set as they learned the ins and outs of filming. When signing up for this class, the students selected their top three production departments that they would prefer to work with.

“Those students will spend that week working with a department in an intensive, hands on experience,” Professor Matt Green stated, the writer and director of “Reckoning.” Departments included camera operations, lighting, audio, production, hair & makeup, costumes, etc.

While the production crew worked on filming, the other two courses worked on documenting the process.

Aside from playing the character of Claude in “Reckoning,” Professor Matt Frields, the Director of Marketing & Enrollment for The Master’s University online program, also teaches the content marketing course. This is the second year for the course.

“The students’ primary role is to collect content of everything that happens here over the week. But they also consider who this content is being developed for,” Frields said. “They met for a few days, decided who their targeted audiences were, and now it’s a matter of tying in the content that they have collected and where they are going to use it later on.”

Students in the content marketing course will decide where this content will go so that way it can reach the audiences that they had decided to target.

While the content marketing was doing that, Dr. Bob Dickson, professor and chairperson of The Master’s University Communication Department, was heading up the journalism immersion course for the week.

“This course allows students to become imbedded journalists,” Dickson said. “You are blending into the whole environment, which is truly an immersion experience. You don’t get assigned stories so much as you go out and find them. That, to me, is one of the things that shows the growth of the journalism component.”

The journalism immersion course, which consisted of two students, allowed them to fly under the radar, watch their subjects and gather intel to create content that will be released throughout the semester of spring 2021.

One of the newer things this semester was a documentary team. This team of five students captured each and every aspect of the three Winterim courses to put together a documentary that all students of The Master’s University can enjoy and be informed by.

“I just really hope we can capture the fun and excitement, and give people a read idea of what it was like to be on this set,” said Ethan Gentry, a TMU student and director of the documentary team.

The footage of the documentary, along with the short film, will be passed on to students taking specific editing classes this next semester. It is in those classes that the film and documentary will be prepared to be viewed by the student body of TMU and the public.

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