Film: Truth in Motion
This past July a group of fine young and enthusiastic filmmakers converged on Living Water College of the Arts for an intense introductory study of film production, faith formation and intellectual study. The “Truth In Motion” Film program introduced students to the world of film by having them shoot their own short films after spending a week shadowing the professional crew of Eric Spoeth’s “Waiting for Waldemar”.
Story is king! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s not special effects. It’s not fancy new cameras. It’s not an A-list actor. Story is where it’s at. If you can master the art of good stories, you will already be making better movies than most coming out of Hollywood today.Mr. Jake Schmiedicke
The summer program emphasised the overwhelming importance of “story” as the most essential component of any great film. Liberal Arts instructor, Mr. Jake Schmiedicke, emphasized, “Story is king! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s not special effects. It’s not fancy new cameras. It’s not an A-list actor. Story is where it’s at. If you can master the art of good stories, you will already be making better movies than most coming out of Hollywood today.” And so it was that the students entered into their 4-week immersion to discover the art of story and film.
Living in community, the students were engaged in the foundational principles of the College: Faith, Art and Reason. Fr. Leonard Revilla MFVA guided staff and students with a joy and faithfulness that was contagious and felt far beyond the confines of the College. His ministry, in his own words, was a “ministry of presence”; a ministry that taught us about the “story” of our redemption & salvation that is the same yesterday, today and forever. He celebrated daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration, lead morning and evening prayer, provided opportunities for confession and spiritual direction and helped the students immerse themselves in the truth of our faith. Fr. Leonard’s ministry was not limited to the spiritual life of the students but he also shared his expertise in television and media, utilized regularly in his work with EWTN.
In addition to being grounded in the truth of the faith, the students were encouraged to inform their minds through study of the Liberal Arts and develop their concepts of beauty, truth and story structure. Mr. Schmiedicke used Aristotle as the main classical author, along with modern authors. He taught screenplay structure, characters, dialogue, and much more, always bringing it back to the principles laid out by Aristotle. The class proceeded as a discussion, as well as some direct instruction by Mr. Schmiedicke on the art of screenwriting. In just one week, the students moved from the basic concept of a story to developing it into a complete screenplay for their short films. In this short time period they were able to simply hit the tops of the waves of what could be explored, but it provided them with important aspects of creating a film.
Of course no matter how good a story is, it can impact nobody if it is never told. Eric Spoeth did a marvellous job of providing technical instruction to the students, both personally and with the help of sessional instructors. Instruction came in the form of workshops covering: lighting, camera, sound, how to coach actors, directing, film set etiquette, screen play writing and set decoration. These workshops were extremely valuable preparation for being mentored by the film crew in these very disciplines on the professional set of “Waiting for Waldemar”.
The professional mentorship opportunity allowed the students to work in 2 of their areas of interest for 3 day blocks. Areas of training included Sound, Gaffer & Grip (Lighting), Hair & Make Up, Set Decoration, Assistant Directing, Location, Camera and Costumes. The mentorship was well received by all and a key component of the student training this summer. However, appreciation of the mentorship was not one-sided. The professional crew witnessed the compelling fruit of the College program and the richness that the students themselves brought to the film set. This led some to say, “I originally agreed to work on this project in conjunction with the College because of Eric Spoeth, but experiencing what I have I would be involved again because of the College.” This is quite the testament to the benefits that the College can make to engage and transform the culture.
Drawing on the success of this summer program and the powerful effect film can have on culture, the College is embarking on establishing a full-year Film Program. Using this powerful media, we can inspire and inform the culture and world about the truth and beauty of Faith, Art and Reason. We encourage all of you to be part of “the story” of Living Water College of the Arts as we move forward in this direction. Help us create “master storytellers”. We invite your prayers, financial aid and involvement in the promotion of the College to your family, friends, church and community at large.