June 5, 2020

Film majors conquer challenges caused by campus closure

While the Webster University campus has been closed, film major Brooke Kinsley has focused on film making. Other film majors, however, feel the shutdown has created barriers.

Film student Brooke Kinsley has spent her time in self-isolation creating her own movie. She has felt inspired by the time alone, feeling she can dedicate more time to the film she’s been wanting to make.

On March 18, Webster University announced the decision to switch to online learning for the remainder of the semester.  Kinsley’s experience in the new online classroom has been positive but some of her classmates have struggled to adjust.

“I’m a film major and I have no film sets to be on,” Kinsley said. “This helps me prepare and take time to make a film that I’ve been wanting to make for a bit.”

Kinsley’s film features a story centered around mental illness and the personal toll it took on her life.

Due to the ever-changing situation of COVID-19, film students are no longer able to meet on set. Kinsley says that by focusing on scriptwriting as well as her upcoming film, she has been able to stay sane and active.

“With the quarantine, I am able to really closely analyze and make it as perfect as I can make it,” Kinsley said.

She said that much of this story is inspired by her own experiences in a mental institution. Her own personal journey to a mental disorder diagnosis makes her even more motivated to perfect the content of the film.

“My hope is to spread awareness,” Kinsley said. “I hope to make the film and inspire those to get help because it’s okay to need it.”

Her unwavering hope has helped her to continue creating despite the challenges she has already faced. She is already making plans to reach out to scriptwriting majors with a goal to begin shooting in the summer.

“The operational changes necessitated by this pandemic have created difficulties and new challenges for every member of our community,” a statement from the university said.

This motivation is not universal among other film majors. Sophomore Megan Sander notes that her experience has been much less exciting.

“Since we can’t make any more projects, it’s been quite uninspiring for me,” Sander said.

The closure of the media center at Webster nailed the coffin shut on Sander’s ability to create larger projects. She said that the lack of access to good equipment has created added challenges for her creative abilities. Final projects and assignments that she was looking forward to were canceled due to the COVID-19 concerns.

“We can’t really do a live production without being in the studio, so it’s just a bummer my group’s idea never got the chance to be made,” Sander said.

Sander describes her feeling of disappointment as more than just sadness.

“I would describe myself as somewhat heartbroken,” Sander said. “I’m missing a part of me because being on set was so consistent for me.”

For Sander, these missed opportunities go beyond work experience. She values the hands-on experience just as much as the close relationships she has made this year.

“I’ve mainly been working with the same general group of people so building closer bonds with them with every new set gave me a sense of security,” Sander said.

She said a  loss of set time has put a damper on a year that she hoped would be full of new opportunities. No set and no access to equipment has created new challenges for both film students, but they have tried to remain positive through uncertain times.

“I truly think this is all meant to happen right now so I am making my peace with that,” Kinsley said.

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