Two years ago, the idea of creating and producing short films at Wayne State was just an idea.
Now, students are clamoring for involvement in the film industry and looking at Wayne State as an option to start their careers. Over the course of two years, film has risen to one of the more popular aspects of Wayne State College.
Dr. Michael White, currently in his third year as an assistant mass communications professor, started as an adjunct speech communications professor. Based on his background, he knew what he was capable of achieving.
“My background was different; I had a commercial television background doing commercials in advertising, training videos, and web videos,” White said. “Those types of things as well as films which have always been a passion of mine.”
White said his switch to mass communications was destiny, since he was already teaching a familiar subject matter and because of his background.
Two students that, upon meeting White, changed the name of the film game at Wayne State College; spring 2017 alumni Morgan Stough and Justise Rhoden-Brundage.
Stough and Rhoden- Brundage were both seniors looking to leave their mark on WSC. They first met White in prior courses.
“I had him [White] as a speech professor my freshman year and I thought he was a great professor then,” Rhoden said. “There’s a class that I had already taken under Maureen [Carrigg, former speech communications professor at WSC] when he came, he showed me the syllabus for that class I was really interested in it and I convinced him to let me take it again and repeat the credit,” Stough said.
It was during these first meetings with White that both Stough and Rhoden-Brundage gained respect for White and what he wanted to do with the electronic media program going forward.
Rhoden-Brundage especially, took a liking to White and knew that he had potential and convinced her peers to give him a chance as well.
“From day one, I thought he was a great addition to WSC. I knew he was a great fit for the college,” Roden- Brundage said.
The first two productions were “The End” produced by Stough, which premiered in the fall of 2016.
“The Captain in Me” was produced by Rhoden in the spring of 2017. The next set of films were “Orientation” produced by Brendan Smyth in 2017, and “Kerfuffle” produced in 2018 by alumni Natasha White.
Next were “Three Breaths Underwater” produced by Ben Bjorklund in the fall of 2018 and “Althea” produced in the spring of 2019 by junior Andrew Suiter. Last fall “Lovesick” by junior Kate Lundahl, and “The Offer” junior Shelby Hagerdon and sophomore Ally Boyd were produced.
Unfortunately, the history of film at WSC can’t go without the mention of “Vacation” which was supposed to be produced by anonymous.
White said the student left Wayne State College and never returned with the raw footage.
The film was never fully produced and therefore, never premiered. White also said this was a sad time within the program because the students who worked on “Vacation” worked immensely hard on this production, but due to anonymous leaving Wayne State, the film was never shown.
Lundahl hopes to produce a documentary next semester that she believes is a testament to all who are interested in degrees in film and media.
White also commented on the future of the electronic media program and where it’s going.
“Many students are coming to Wayne State as a destination to study film, which we never thought would happen,” White said.
According to White, there’s a need for more filmmakers and with Wayne State now serving as an option to jumpstart one’s film career, the sky is the limit.
“Write it down,” White said. “You have nothing until you have a script, bring me a script then we’ll talk.” White said.
Lundahl also commented that one should look at what classes they will need to take and how long they will be in college. The time spent here will gauge what you’re able to do here.
“What I would tell them is to search themselves and figure out if this is where they want to go,” Lundahl said.
Rhoden talked about all forms of media on the fourth floor including the radio station, Your Music Authority, 91.9 The Cat, and The Wayne Stater.
“Try it all, you never know what you’re gonna like until you try it,” Rhoden-Brundage said. Rhoden-Brundage also talked about self-confidence in this major.
Rhoden-Brundage stated that if you have solid examples of a radio show, news article or film, all three of those mediums show employers that you’re reliable and you’re independent.
Stough said Wayne State College being freer than other colleges.
“The best part of Wayne is, you have a lot of freedom to try new things before committing to a major,” Stough said.