J-School Professor Amol Pavangadkar's capstone film students from Spring 2020 created the movie "Breaking Up and Entering," and the film premiered in December.
Amidst the global pandemic, Michigan State University decided to transition the remainder of the 2020 spring semester to be completely online. Spartan students were grateful that their safety was considered as a priority, but defeated that their semester of hard work wasn't going to look like how they had planned.
Many senior students had been working since January -- writing, planning, and producing-- to create their final capstone film project. This course, taught by Professor Amol Pavangadkar, gave the opportunity for students to get hands-on experience within pre through post stages of film production.
When students were sent home in mid March due to COVID, Pavangadkar's capstone course had to be restructured. In-person film shoots had to be avoided at all costs and student's projects went from 15 minute short films to a 100 paged pre-production binder.
Julia Kiehle, one of Amol's senior capstone students at the time, was devastated when she realized the story she had been developing for months wouldn't be produced with her teammates.
After completion of the adjusted course, Pavangakar reached out to Kiehle to see if she was still interested in producing her short film idea during the summer months. Kiehle knew that taking on this project wouldn't look how it did prior to COVID-19, but couldn't miss an opportunity to bring her idea to a screen.
This was the beginning of Breaking Up and Entering, a comedic short about two men that double as best friends and robbers. From recruiting the crew to location scouting -- all 4 months of pre-production were done remotely thanks to Zoom.
Through virtual communication, Kiehle was able to source her director, Blake Gordon, and two Co-Producers, Rachid Chatti and Dylan Kissel. All meetings were held via phone call or Zoom call, which made the first day of production the first time crew members were able to be face-to-face.
Kiehle was able to pack an 18-page script into 4 days of filming. Production in a world with COVID-19 looked a lot different. Extra precautions had to be made including, the crew had to be wearing masks at all times, staying at least six feet apart on set, sanitizing hands and equipment constantly, and getting temperatures taken upon arrival.
The biggest struggle the crew dealt with was managing time. Not only did the crew experience minor day-to-day setbacks, but they also had to budget time for sanitary precautions as well. Taking sanitation breaks and wiping down equipment slowed down the production tempo, in addition to film during night hours, as late as 3 a.m.
Crew members were tired and started to slow down, but combated this struggle by keeping morale up and moving efficiently. At the end of the day, students were able to produce their senior capstone project that they were hoping to make during the semester.
Breaking Up and Entering allowed for students to get hands-on production experience, as well as some insight on how future productions will look like in a world with COVID-19.
The debut of this exciting movie project took place Monday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. The premiere could be viewed at this Zoom invitation:
Zoom Event https://msu.zoom.us/j/98277732811 Meeting ID: 982 7773 2811 Passcode: BUE