February 28, 2005
by Shawn Donley
The Rebel Yell
Roaming the UNLV campus, you have passed it. Peripherally you probably thought it was a storage facility or an office for some small miscellaneous facet of UNLV. Tucked behind the Leid Library and next to the Department of Public Safety is UNLV's Film department. With a modest budget, the department is currently overflowing with 400-plus film majors demanding real set experience.
Unfortunately for film students, film and television productions under way in Las Vegas do not necessarily open many opportunities for film students. Luckily for them, the film department has created a solution. Back in the late '90s, people in the department realized the growing need for a curriculum-based program that would educate students as to what to expect on a set. The theatre department assembled plays under the supervision of their department's faculty, and the thinking shaped on the same for the film department.
In its fifth run, the Co-Curricular Film Project informs students about what to expect on a real life set. In previous runs, the head of the film department, Francisco Menendez, has directed the project with the students as crew. This time, however, individual students have been getting a shot at directing scenes on Friday mornings between 8 a.m. and noon. Under the control of Prof. Sean Clark, in charge of assembling this year's project, the production has begun to pick up at a furious pace.
Initially, the young directors were somewhat unprepared to have the spotlight on them, likely the result of the presence of a seasoned director being on the set. While writing for the series "Early Edition," Sean Clark tapped director Gary Nelson. Nelson's directing career spans from the TV series "Get Smart," the original '70s version of "Freaky Friday," to Richard Chamberlain's "Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold". While on the set, Nelson has been mentoring the budding directors, as well as pointing out faux pas that occur from time to time on the set.
This week, the production will be shooting the remainder of principle photography with students and Matt Skurow in the hot seat as director. He will be directing faculty member Michael Tylo in an eight-and-a-half page monologue of sorts with pick-up shots in the following weeks to come.
The department hopes that with more projects like these under their belt and ready for viewing, they can garner more support for the continually growing group of 400 film students now within the UNLV film program.
Currently the project is scheduled to shoot on Friday March 4, and may be in need of background extras. Keep your eyes peeled for flyers in CBC building A as to where and when shooting will be taking place.