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Commentary Relays Edition

Filmmaking (everything, actually) on a budget

Chris Veninga creating films Photo Courtesy of Chris Veninga | Staff Writer

What are some stereotypes people have about college students? Busy? Stressed? Party animals? Though these all may apply, I think the one that has been persistent for decades now is “broke.” 

How many jokes are there about living on a diet or ramen and anxiety? Or being in debt for the rest of your life? Ha ha! 

Anyway, I could write an entire article about the unfairness of the American financial situation these days. However, when it comes to education and what we put into it, we truly are in a hardcore “spend money to make money” era of higher education. Many students like me are aspiring to make a living off of the art they create – whether that be visual art (like the short films I’m working on), painting, written art or the art of securing the bag (I’m looking at you, business students). 

In the Digital Media Production world, you have to produce high quality content – not only for your classes but for yourself. As someone who desires to work in the film industry, I was told by my advisor to create three short films by the end of the school year. This is because many people working in the film and media/entertainment industry want you to show them reels, a compilation of your best work. Immediately, I panicked. After all, he told me that in September after it took me eight months to complete one film. How was I going to find the time and money to make at least two more? 

As college students, we need to create what we can with the resources we have. How many of you have been asked to do projects and assignments with stuff you don’t have access to, or have to go through some arduous process to get to it? I do believe that ingenuity is what gives us the power to create art on a budget. 

Two short films later (and planning at least two more), I’ve spent a minimal amount over six months. Finding people who are just as passionate as you are about the things you work on is vital, and finding the tools you need to create your art is imperative; I was able to borrow everything I needed from professors, other students and clubs. This included lighting, camera and sound equipment. Yes, I had to spend money on props and had to figure out several people’s schedules to find the perfect day to film. But I’d like to think that the outcomes were worth the time and stress.

Thinking about who I know and who can help me has led me to be successful even without spending that much money. Yes, any film professional would probably tear my work to shreds but I’m proud of what I made with the resources I had. And as college students, what you know is important, but who you know is even more so. 

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