Film Producers Club allows students to gain filmmaking skills

Courtesy of Avek Chuklanov on Unsplash

Filmmaking is a hobby for some college students, and Iowa State University offers opportunities for students to learn about the cinematic art form.

For years now, film enthusiasts worldwide have fallen in love with the creation of movies and are attempting to make independent films of their own. But what is an independent film?

“For me, an independent film is a movie where you are funding it out of your own pocket where you don’t have a big studio behind it,” said Dominick Ervelli, a senior in English and President of the Film Producers Club at Iowa State University.

For many film lovers, an independent film is the main way to get involved with filmmaking. It is usually a smaller project, so it allows filmmakers to try out the many elements of film, such as editing, acting and screenwriting.

One of the challenges in creating your first film is finding the passion to get started, and Ervelli highlights the importance of focusing on one idea and letting it inspire you.

“When you find an idea that clicks, you are way more into writing the script, actually filming it and making sure everything comes together,” Ervelli said.

An idea doesn’t necessarily need to be a story, but it can be a location or a rough draft of a character. Andre Hall, editor of the Film Producers Club and a fellow senior in English, shares an example of a recent project currently in development that demonstrates how a simple idea flourished into the production of a film.

“One of the club members went to a summer camp, and from there, we knew we wanted to use that setting,” Hall said.

For film enthusiasts looking to get started with film creation, Iowa State University has a lot of resources that will help you get started, especially when the goal is to have a small budget.

“What has been really helpful for me is that Iowa State has all the Adobe products on the computers on campus,” Hall said.

This resource allows students to save a lot of money if they plan to use programs such as Premiere Pro for editing or Aftereffects and Photoshop.

Additionally, equipment such as cameras, microphones and tripods can be checked out from the Parks Library, Hamilton and Pearson Halls. Hall adds that equipment can also be provided by the Film Producers Club, for which members must pay dues.

The Film Producers Club also hosts a festival called “48 hour film festival” every spring that allows students to practice their filmmaking skills. The festival takes place during a weekend where anyone can participate. Every year, the films submitted to compete must include a preselected object that shapes the story of the film and contestants have 48 hours to complete the motion picture.

“It is a lot of fun, and anyone can do it. The winner this year was a guy from Australia,” Ervelli said,

Iowa State also offers JL MC 307, a digital video production class that teaches all the ins and outs of video production at an introductory level.

Both Ervelli and Hall agree that for someone looking to get started with film, it is important to get your foot out the door and just start filming. Additionally, watching as many movies as you can will give you a sense of what your interests are and what specifically you want to film.

“Have a passion for it and also find people who also have a passion for it, and you will find yourself in avenues that are condusive to filmmaking,” Ervelli said. 

For Hall, the television show “Gravity Falls” was the project that made him curious about film production.

“My interest in writing grew from there, and I started watching other movies such as the Coen Brothers “Burn After Reading” and Ryan Johnson’s “Knives Out,”” Hall said.

Ervelli was also very inspired by Christopher Nolan’s films, which has leaned him to get started in video production.

“The filmmaker Edgar Wright, his movies are so fast-paced and frenetic, and that inspired me to try to make something like this,” Ervelli said.

The Film Producers Club meets every Thursday in Hamilton Hall, room 0169.