Students take hands-on learning to new level with self-made film

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“You never listened, now you will,” were the terrifying words from the mind of Gleich Honors College freshman Greyson Miles.

Miles takes control of his education by writing, directing and producing the short film “Smear”. The film will make its debut later this fall, helping to recognize the students of Webster University’s many talents.

The film follows the artistic and personal struggles of a teenage boy who is stuck in a small and complicated world.

“I grew up not being allowed to watch horror movies. My mom said they were evil and that I shouldn’t put that content into my brain,” Miles said. “But when I was around 12, I sort of started to become ‘rebellious,’ and I decided to go behind her back and watch some horror movies … I fell in love with the craft and the storytelling that can be found within them.”

Inspiration from Hitchcock can be seen throughout this film, highlighting the horror and “WOW” aspect.

Freshman Tripp Antill plays the main character, Marshall.

“I am looking forward to being in the film and acting again,” Antill said. “[I’ve] never played such an extreme character . . . [I] can’t wait to take on the challenge of it.”

Photo by Marianthe Meyers. “Smear” cast and crew at a meeting on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Several people working on the film are working outside their major, exploring new things that spark their interests. Students from other majors in the School of Communications and even students from the Psychology Department are collaborating with design and art majors to help perfect the piece.

“I don’t want anyone to feel constricted to a certain area just because of their major,” Miles said.

Also working behind the scenes, freshman Sabrina Henderson tackles the shot-by-shot storyboarding process. Drawing between 20 to 30 shots per minute of film time, the process mimics a sort of flipbook. Henderson explains that she is excited to put her story boarding to use and “help move the film forward.”

This film is more than a fun experience; it’s a learning opportunity for students involved.

Freshman Valentina Arévalo is part of the creation of the film’s soundtrack. Though her major focuses on songwriting, this involvement will allow her to grow as an artist and widen her expertise.

“I am excited to learn more about audio production and other elements that encompass songwriting,” Arévalo said.

Though this film is strictly student written, produced and directed, others have taken notice. As one of Miles’ professors, Gleich Honors College professor Emily Thompson has seen the film process move along.

“[Miles] has a talent for identifying the skills and passions of his classmates and finding ways to integrate these into the film,” Thompson stated. “This kind of modeling is much more inspiring than anything that my colleagues and I can present.”

Miles will be able to show his short film in the Gleich Honors College lounge in late fall. For more information, contact Miles at greysonmiles@webster.edu. This film contains topics of self harm, murder, blood, adult language and homophobia. Viewer discretion is advised.

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Riley Reed
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