F&MAD Short Script Winner, "Camel," Currently in Production

April 18 2018

This year the U of U Film & Media Arts Department held their very first Short Script Competition. The 1st place award went to Dylan Bassham for his script "Camel," which follows the struggle of a young man in a hostile, addictive world. "Camel" is currently under production by the new Filmmaking II class and is scheduled to premiere shortly after graduation in May.

Everyone who enters this competition has only four criteria they must follow for the script: It must be 10-15 pages in length, it must take place is three locations or less, it can only have 2-4 speaking characters, and it must take place in the present day. Aside from that criteria, the situation and genre of the movie is entirely open. The winners were selected in a film class who read all of the applications and narrowed them down to the top ten. After the votes were tallied and the class discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each script, they decided to award 1st place to "Camel."

After the script was chosen, the production team immediately got to work. The director and the writer met together to refine the work.Film Faculty member, Connie Wilkerson explains, "Working together, they can refine the story making it visually and/or emotionally stronger." In addition to the director and writer, she explains, "The cinematographer brings knowledge and experience about ways to create the images needed; the production designer creates the look of the physical world that the film occupies; and the sound designer starts the process of analyzing what film requires." After the pre-production details were sorted out, audition calls were sent out through casting agencies, online bulletin boards, and flyers. "Camel" was cast in early November and began filming in February.

The students of the Filmmaking II class were each interviewed and expressed what position they would be interested in fulfilling on the production team. After interviewing each of them, watching their reels, and reading director's concepts, Wilkerson chose the student director, who then subsequently selected their picks for cinematographer and production designer. Wilkerson then chose students to fill the rest of the crew, based off their listed alternate interests.

The class only regularly meets twice a week, which has been a challenge in the filmmaking process. "For example, part of the action in this script takes place in a dorm room which, among other things, needs to be flooded by the fire sprinkler system. That's tough to pull off in an already existing location for a number of reasons," Wilkerson explains. "This led to the decision that we would build the dorm room as a set to make everything easier to control and repeat for different camera angles." Wilkerson said that this is the first time scenery has been built by the Film and Media Arts Department and that the students have been consistently coming in on the weekends, in addition to their four hours of class time a week, to finish the product.

Shooting began in late February at a location directly east of Saltair, and then on set shortly thereafter. Once shooting is complete, post-production will take over. After editing and adding effects to complete the film, the students in charge of marketing will get to work creating posters, social media advertisements, a website, and a behind-the-scenes documentary.

Submissions for next year’s F&MAD Short Script Competition are currently open to all U of U students from now until June 30th. Anyone interested in more information can find more information here.