The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and McMicken College of Arts and Sciences debut an original series of film shorts, Good Mourning, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, in the Tangeman University Center’s MainStreet Cinema.
Good Mourning is set in a universe where death manifests itself as a government agency. Apathetic Andy Abramczyk is approached by two agents and given one last day to live as he chooses. In his final hours, Andy meets Charlotte, a teenage runaway who is in danger after witnessing a murder. A whirlwind of events brings the pair together, cultivating a friendship no one will forget.
Assistant Professor of Electronic Media (E-Media) Lakshmi N. Tirumala knew that he wanted to try something different for this fall’s Studio CCM class. Studio CCM enables selected seniors to work in collaboration with students and professional colleagues from across campus in bringing an aspect of E-Media to a creative performance. This could include collaborating on video production of a fictional narrative, drama or opera; digital projections for a concert, drama and musical production; or an audio recording and distribution of a CCM concert. He thought that a cross-college partnership would be great real-world experience for his students, so he pioneered an unprecedented collaboration uniting CCM’s Division of E-Media and Department of Drama with McMicken College’s Department of Creative Writing.
The class was designed to allow a small group of dedicated students to come together for one semester to create a video piece, from concept through completion. What the students came up with was more ambitious than that. A three-episode series, Good Mourning, came to life in an exciting, chaotic and hands-on learning experience.
The Studio CCM course included only eight students, three creative-writing majors and five e-media students. In the initial phase, the team worked tirelessly to craft the perfect idea. The creative-writing students took concepts from brainstorming sessions and turned them into written scripts. They presented their work and made countless revisions, tweaking, adjusting and perfecting the written framework that would eventually blossom into three 10-minute-long video shorts.
The team spent about a month and a half fleshing out the ideas and scripts, then they began a swift pre-production phase. In just four weeks, they held auditions, cast all of the roles using talented volunteers from CCM Drama, gathered props and scouted locations. When the camera started rolling, they only had a month left to complete the project. The students eagerly gave up hours of free time to make their vision a reality. They completed all of the filming in an impressive and frenzied eight days.
In the end though, the team members are incredibly proud of their work. Fifth-year creative-writing student Spencer Hoffman is an example. “This is hands-down the best thing that I’ve done in school,” he says.
Hoffman is the author of both the first and third episodes of Good Mourning. He says that this experience has helped solidify his career path and made him more determined to follow his dreams. “You never really know what you know until you have to teach someone else,” he says, explaining the challenges and satisfaction that come from working with a diverse group of students on a project like this.
Tirumala was also full of praise for his students. “This was the perfect group for this project,” he says. “It is a class that I would love to offer every semester.”
A rough cut of these shorts will premiere on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in TUC’s MainStreet Cinema. The team expects the final cut of Good Mourning will launch online in January 2014.
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11
MainStreet Cinema, Tangeman University Center
University of Cincinnati
Admission is free and reservations are not required. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Parking and Directions
Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.
For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.
CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Community Partner: ArtsWave