Page 5 - 3rd Issue

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By Leigh Rice
Jason Knowles, who joined William Woods University
this fall to teach flmmaking and broadcasting, hopes
to propel students to create quality flm projects to
display in flm festivals. By exposing his student’s work,
Knowles hopes to create a name for the students and
the university.
“I see an opportunity to create a top program for
the university,” he says. With a strong curriculum,
Knowles, who is the art division’s clinical instructor of
tech and media production, aims for his students to
begin thinking critically of the flms they are making.
Working closely with professors Melissa Alpers-
Springer and Joe Potter, Knowles and his flm students
are currently casting theatre students as actors in their
movie projects. And with the help of Dr. Greg Smith,
assistant professor of English and flm studies,
Knowles hopes to transform the way the flm
department operates academically.
“In the past there has been a huge disconnect between
teaching the history and theory of cinema and the
facilitation of actual flm production classes,” he says.
“Also, many colleges rely too much on technology today
instead of techniques. Technology by itself does not
solve the problem, it is just a tool.”
Knowles says current research studies conducted by
several educators in flm are starting to reveal the
benefts of combining these two areas within individual
courses. They have yet, however, to see an entire
program integrated 100 percent. He hopes to see
WWU become the frst in the area, if not in the nation,
to do this.
In his production classes, Knowles tries to impress
upon his students the importance of their characters’
feelings and providing the audience with a chance to
relate to these emotions.
“The story has to drive techniques,” he said. “That’s
your foundation.”
Knowles says he has seen some really good stories ma-
terialize from his students this semester. Some of their
projects include:
• the story of a mixed martial arts fghter caught in a
love triangle by Aaron Griffn and Chris Norton
• a flm centered around an insomniac by Sarah Knapp
• Calvin Hawkins’ action-oriented flm about a high
school student that is being chased for reasons he
can’t understand
In Knowles’ Production 1 class, his students focus mostly
on documentaries. The importance of concentrating on
the real-life subject’s emotions, though, is still foremost
for the flm professor.
Some student documentaries include:
• a look into live-action role-playing padded fghting and
the attraction for people by Lincoln Purvis
• the torn labrum injury that is common among
baseball players; how it affects players and their
careers by Gianni Randazzo
• an addiction to the video game “Call-of-Duty” by Kristy
Pluchinski
• a look inside domestic violence through the differing
perspectives of survivors, social workers, hospital staff,
police offcers and the offenders by Kelly Maurer
“We’re beginning to move away from the spectacles of
YouTube and Google video. We need to focus more on
flms that make an emotional and informative impact on
audiences, in theaters and at festivals,” he says.
Knowles believes by getting his students involved in flm
festivals, he will construct a system of networking.
“It’s not just what you know, it’s also who you know,” he
says. “Knowledge and networking must work together
in our feld to ensure success. At festivals, doors will be
opened and connections made. Also, students will be
able to see other flmmakers’ work evaluated and judged,
which is great because the constructive criticism will
help them become better flmmakers.”
He adds, “At flm festivals, you may get job offerings and
fnd people to collaborate with. Nowadays, your crew will
not necessarily be on set, but rather scattered all over the
globe.
Knowles Aspires to Create
Top Filmmaking Program
Jason Knowles works with students in hs flm-making class, including
Aaron Griffn (right).