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Media, Journalism & Film Department Blog

COAL announces Homecoming master class schedule

The College of Arts and Letters will host its annual master class series on Oct. 16 as part of its Homecoming event schedule. Presenters include alumni from music, theatre and dance, and media, journalism and film. The master classes are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

Sarah Tannehill Anderson

Sarahtannehill andersonBMus, 1996

Sarah Tannehill Anderson is an accomplished singer, pianist and violinist. She lives in Kansas City and performs with the Bach Aria Soloists, Lyric Arts Trio and the Kansas City Chorale. She is a featured soloist on the Chorale’s Grammy-winning album “Life and Breath.”

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Susan Hiland

Susan-Fox-NewsBS in speech/electronic media, 1981

Susan Hiland is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She co-anchors FOX 4 News at 5 and 9 p.m., and has worked at WDAF-TV since 2000. Before that, she was the morning anchor at WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut, and worked at news stations across the Midwest.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 12:45 to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Jennifer Moore

SU15JenniferMooreStandingGraduate student in international relations, emphasis in diplomacy

Jennifer Moore is an award-winning journalist and writer based out of West Plains. She is the coordinator of theatre and events for MSU-West Plains, and she recently gave Missouri State’s 2015 summer commencement speech. Moore is getting her graduate degree from MSU in international relations.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez

paolaBFA in dance/performance, 2008

Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez is a dancer, teacher, activist and community organizer who has travelled throughout the U.S., Colombia, Brazil, Cyprus, France, Canada and Mexico to share her craft. An intersection between art and personal experience, her work explores issues such as relationship, gender, race, identity, awareness, kinesthetic listening and touch.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 3:45 to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

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Students to help professor reimagine his short film

Media, journalism and film assistant professor Harrison Witt is putting his award-winning short film “Chemical Nurse” on the operating table this spring as students help turn it into a feature film.

Harrison Witt at the camera

Pulp novel collection inspires film

Witt wrote and directed the short film in 1995 as a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.

The low-budget, B-movie comic thriller was set in the swamps of Louisiana, inspired by the pulp novels Witt collected. He used dialogue to establish a soap opera tone.

“To have a melodramatic dialogue doesn’t cost you anything and that immediately puts you in a genre,” he said.

The method worked and “Chemical Nurse” won first runner up in the Best Short category at the South-by-Southwest film festival that year.

Putting an Ozarks spin on things

Witt has rewritten the script into a full feature film, set this time in the Missouri Ozarks.

Keeping with the 1950s B-movie style, the film will follow a young nursing student who interns at a remote outreach clinic that experiences an outbreak in bizarre medical conditions as a result of fracking and nuclear waste.

Andrew Twibell
Andrew Twibell

Students provide support crew functions

Students in MJF instructor Andrew Twibell‘s classes will carry out various aspects of the production process, starting with pre-production in the spring 2016 semester. Twibell will be editor and producer.

In that class, students will learn production design techniques from Twibell and Witt’s wife Amy Witt, a professional production designer and set decorator who has worked on sets such as “The Tree of Life,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003) and the movie and TV versions of “Friday Night Lights.”

During Twibell’s summer production course, students will work with Witt, Twibell and other professionals during a five-week production schedule. And post-production will begin in fall 2016.

Learning from professionals key

"Chemical Nurse" (1995)
“Chemical Nurse” (1995)

Witt said students are able to take away practical advice and techniques from watching a professional work.

“So much learning in film production has to happen on set. One thing that’s difficult to demonstrate in the classroom is how to walk into a space and figure out how to shoot the scene, to say ‘I’ve got 30 minutes to get this scene in the can. How am I going to do it?’

Students in these courses will learn a professional work flow that will prepare them for their other projects.

Building a reputation for film production

Witt, who has worked with the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, said he is confident it will be film-festival worthy.

“The more we can get our films out there, people will become more interested in Missouri State and see what we have and what other films have been made here,” he said. “I think we’re going to continue to amplify a culture of professional filmmaking and media production.”

Harrison Witt
Harrison Witt

From English degree to filmmaking to teaching

Witt said he was bit by the filmmaking bug while getting an English degree at the University of Kentucky in the late 1980s. He returned to graduate school nearly a decade later in Texas to turn that passion into a career. He has worked as a gaffer, cinematographer, lamp operator and more.

Witt’s career took another turn when he started teaching courses and workshops in 2005. He decided to make that a full-time gig and found a place at Missouri State in fall 2015. Witt still works in the film industry with recent titles including “Two Step” (gaffer), “Thank You A Lot” (director of photography) and “Death Proof” (company electrician).

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‘Back to Campus’ offers guide to campus, Springfield

Back to Campus 2015The staffers of Missouri State’s The Standard were up bright and early this morning to distribute this year’s Back to Campus issue.

The student-run newspaper, led this year by Editor-in-Chief Eli Wohlenhaus, mailed out 3,500 copies of the award-winning special section to first-year freshmen and entering transfer students before the semester started. They are now taking to the streets to hand deliver the rest over the next couple of days.

What is in this issue?

The 2015 Back to Campus offers academic-related advice such as how to interact with professors, a Bear Line shuttle guide and locations of computer labs, as well as health and safety tips, the best Springfield hangouts and a preview of this year’s sports.

Fun facts about Back to Campus

Did you know ….

  • At 128 pages this is the largest Back to Campus section on record
  • This is the second-largest advertising revenue year for Back to Campus
  • Year after year, The Standard wins awards for its Back to Campus section

Find your copy today

Check out newsstands around campus for your copy of this week’s paper and the Back to Campus section.

Want to work for The Standard?

Each year, students are invited to work at The Standard while developing their skills in reporting, copy editing, advertising sales, design and photography. Contact advisor Jack Dimond by email or at 417-836-8467 to see what positions are still available this year.

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Sports journalism students’ broadcasts to air on ESPN3

Valley on ESPN3This fall, students in a new media, journalism and film class will have the chance to learn from one of the nation’s largest sports media conglomerates.

Students to produce broadcasts, commercials

ESPN will air sports broadcasts produced by sports journalism (JRN 300) students on its online streaming service, ESPN3.

Led by MJF Instructor Leonard Horton, 10 to 15 students will produce national coverage for multiple collegiate sports in collaboration with local company Hite Media Services.

Horton, who started teaching at Missouri State in 2013, said his students will be working with graphics and running cameras during live events, where there is little room for error.

“I had to make sure I picked students that were savvy, that knew a little bit about sports and a little bit about how live production works because you don’t get a chance to do it over,” he said.

In addition to live event broadcasts, Horton said the students will produce commercials to run during airtime: “ESPN is giving us free rein to really be creative … within certain guidelines.”

ESPN, MVC partnership brings educational experience

The opportunity comes as a result of the Missouri Valley Conference’s partnership with ESPN to broadcast sporting events from MVC—the athletic conference in which the Bears and nine other schools compete.

The co-branded program, “The Valley on ESPN3,” is part of as part of a 10-year extension of the MVC’s media rights agreement with ESPN. It will provide valuable educational opportunities for students who attend schools in the MVC system, said MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin.

“A key aspect of this new campus-based production model will be the involvement of students in academic programs — broadcast media and journalism majors — providing hands-on experience that will translate to opportunities for our graduates to gain entry into television media,” Elgin said.

Technical, professional aspects help students build resumes

hortonHorton said his students will build graphics, use quality equipment, learn how to tell stories within each sport and more. Professionals in the field will guide them, including Horton — formerly a broadcast journalist — ESPN’s staff and local company Hite Media Services whose team already produces games and commencement ceremonies at MSU.

Students from MVC schools who participate in the ESPN3 programming will also have their resumes moved to the top of the list should they apply for jobs at ESPN after graduation, Horton said.

“This is a 300-level class, but it’s more than worth the money they’re paying for tuition,” he said. “Getting to work with professionals. Getting to work on a live sporting event that’s seen all over the world. It’s a practical experience that you can’t put a price tag on.”

Volleyball first up on list of broadcasted home games

According to Missouri State’s press release viewers can expect to find all home volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games this fall on the ESPN3 platform.

In subsequent years of the agreement, Missouri State and others will roll out on-campus production of all home men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball and softball games as part of the league package, in addition to special programming, features and Olympic sport coverage.

ESPN3 is available for free on U.S. college campuses and military bases.

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Calling all new arts and letters students!

COAL BearWear StudentsCOAL kicks off convocation day with New Student Lunch

The College of Arts and Letters will be welcoming its newest members to campus with a free lunch on the Craig Hall patio from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 16.

Who says there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’?

The luncheon will give new students the opportunity to mingle, find out about student organizations and engage with the college’s faculty and staff. In case of rain, the event will be moved inside Craig Hall.

COAL alumnus to give convocation speech

After grabbing a bite to eat, students can head over to the JQH Arena to hear from one of COAL’s successful alumni, actor Kyle Dean Massey, at the New Student Convocation starting at 2 p.m.

Massey, who plays Kevin Bicks on ABC’s “Nashville,” graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. He is known for his starring roles on Broadway in “Pippin,” “Next to Normal,” “Wicked” and “Xanadu.”

Come out to the New Student Lunch!

Date: Aug. 16
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Location: Craig Hall patio
Contact: Associate Dean Mark Biggs by email or at 417-836-4984


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MJF professor uses film to illustrate urban evolution

Dr. Andy Cline set out to write a book about the changing landscape of urban communities — particularly the mass migration of suburban residents to more central neighborhoods within walking distance of commerce. That idea evolved, and now he will soon release the first cut of his full-length documentary film, “Downtown”.

A 15-minute version, title yet to be determined, will be submitted to the New Urbanism Film Festival. If accepted it will show in Los Angeles Oct. 8-11.

Students become the teachers

Cline, an associate professor in media, journalism and film, recruited several former and current students to help him complete the film project. A photojournalist in a former life, he said he admittedly knew little about filmmaking before beginning “Downtown.” He has relied on the expertise of his crew to teach him the ropes. What he does know is a good story when he sees it.

Urban renewal at crux of trend

The New Urbanism movement is not terribly new. For the last three decades, people have been fighting the sprawl of suburbia and advocating for sustainable living. Many larger cities have reverted back to its roots of mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods.

Springfield is finally catching up.

CAndy Clineline said baby boomers — his generation — and millennials are flocking to downtown areas to escape the confinement that comes with maintaining landscaping and driving miles into town for work and entertainment.

“It doesn’t take many from America’s two largest generations doing a thing to make a trend,” he said. “And in a place like Springfield, the movement of 250 to 500 people can cause a Heers, a Sterling, a McDaniel to get built. They can’t build stuff fast enough.”

Springfield exemplifies national struggle

“Downtown” will detail the difficulties and opportunities metropolitan areas face as more residents seek out sustainable, human-scale communities. The scope of the documentary’s reporting is national, Cline said, but the stories are based in Springfield, a microcosm of the trend at large.

“Springfield, while it’s not Portland, Oregon, it’s also not the armpit of America. It’s somewhere in the middle. We are struggling with the same things that many urban areas are struggling with, and similar things are happening here in terms of this trend.”

One interesting topic explored in “Downtown” is ways trust is established in urban areas where people of all socio-economic backgrounds converge. How do you create an environment where all feel comfortable to work and play?

Research develops from filmmaking experience

Cline will be on sabbatical for the fall semester to wrap up the full-length version of “Downtown,” as well as to explore the First Amendment issues he’s encountered as a documentary filmmaker.

“As a journalist I am used to operating in public with complete freedom. Point a camera at anything I want to point a camera at. Well, boy, did I find out that doesn’t go with documentary filmmaking. But my contention is that it should. It is more like journalism than it is like movie-making.”

He said he hopes his sabbatical research will result in more First Amendment protections granted to documentary filmmakers.

Turning this experience into an MSU course

Cline said his work on “Downtown” has inspired him to incorporate documentary filmmaking into his work as an educator. He’s developing two new film projects to work on with students as part of classes offered at Missouri State.

Next summer, he and geography professor Dr. Paul Rollinson will take a group of students on a study away trip to the Trans-Siberian Railway. His students will film the trip.

He will also begin work on a full-length documentary about the impending student debt crisis and the potential it has to undermine the economic well being of an entire generation.

Donate to the cause

Cline has funded the making of “Downtown,” produced by his company Carbon Trace Productions, mostly out of pocket. He has received in-kind donations from individuals and from the Doug and Linda Roller Foundation. Visit the MSU Foundation site to make a donation to the project. Contact Dr. Cline by email for more information about “Downtown” or future classes associated with his projects.

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Tickets are now available for ‘Show-Me Chefs’ fundraiser

Tickets are now on sale for the Cooking with Care Gala on Sept. 25, raising money for a second season of media, journalism and film web series “Show-Me Chefs.”

MJF will partner with Care to Learn for the event, to be held at 319 Event Center in downtown Springfield. It will include a multi-course meal prepared by the first season’s chefs. There will also be live entertainment, silent auctions and a chef-showdown competition. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Season one airs day after fundraiser

The first season featured eight local chefs who faced off in a seven-episode series to air Sept. 26 on KOZL-TV.

Show-Me Chef's Cooking with Care Gala

Get event tickets online

Tickets can purchased through Eventbrite or the Show-Me Chefs Facebook page. Proceeds will benefit Care to Learn and film production for the next season of “Show-Me Chefs.”

Event details

Date: Sept. 25
Time: 6 – 10 p.m.
Location: 319 Event Center
Tickets: $100 for general public, $40 for students or $150 for VIP tickets with cooking showdown privileges (limited number)
Connect online: #showmechefs

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‘A Little Help’ wins LA Webfest award

A little HelpThe media, journalism and film department’s second Web series, “A Little Help,” took the top prize for theme music at the 2015 Los Angeles Web Series Festival, also known as LA Webfest, in April. The music was composed by David Greathouse, who also played Dan in the series.

The four-part series had three other LA Webfest nominations and has been selected to screen at the 2015 Miami Web Fest on Oct. 1-4. It won a bronze Telly Award earlier this year.

About ‘A Little Help’

“A Little Help” was an interdisciplinary effort across the College of Arts and Letters, from digital film and media production, electronic arts and graphic design, to journalism, communication, and public relations.

The series follows comedian Ringo who hopes to pursue his dreams in New York City, but his efforts are thwarted by his dysfunctional friends and family, including his pot-smoking parents.

A group of students, led by screenwriting graduate student Kevin Shabel and digital film senior Nich Peltz, wrote the script, while MSU students, faculty and staff joined community actors to comprise the cast. After more than 250 hours of post-production that also involved a team of students, faculty and staff, the series was launched in July 2014.

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‘Show-Me Chefs’ raising money for season two

Media, journalism and film students are cooking up big things with their reality cooking competition series “Show-Me Chefs.” Eight local chefs will face off in a seven-episode event to air Sept. 26 on KOZL-TV, but students are already looking toward the second season.

Cooking with Care Gala

The media, journalism and film department will partner with Care to Learn for a fundraising event, Cooking with Care Gala, on Sept. 25, to raise money for season two.

The event will be held at 319 Event Center in downtown Springfield. It will include a multi-course meal prepared by the first season’s chefs. There will also be live entertainment, silent auctions and a chef-showdown competition. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Show-Me Chef's Cooking with Care Gala

Get tickets online

Tickets can purchased through Eventbrite or the Show-Me Chefs Facebook page. Proceeds will benefit Care to Learn and film production for the next season of “Show-Me Chefs.”

Event details

Date: Sept. 25
Time: 6 – 10 p.m.
Location: 319 Event Center
Tickets: $100 for general public, $40 for students or $150 for VIP judges
Connect online: #showmechefs

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Funding needed for student-produced series

Students in Rich Amberg‘s MED 597 Advance Studies in Media, focusing on producing a web series, will start filming “Limbo” this month and are using Missouri State’s online fundraising platform to help fund it.

The money raised on MSU Crowdfunding will pay for costumes, makeup, set dressing, props, location fees, equipment rentals and special effects. Donor perks include film mementos such as a poster or a signed script.

About ‘Limbo’

“Limbo” is a darkly comedic story that explores the world between heaven and hell. The protagonist Katie finds herself in Limbo after suffering an accident. In order to move on, she must embrace her fate as a case worker for the recently deceased and team up with Billy, a bitter hippie counselor.

How to contribute

To help the students reach their goal of $3,000 by June 20, or to find out more about the film, go to the group’s crowdfunding page.

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