Writing, producing, shooting, editing and submitting a short film all in 24 hours sounds difficult, but a group of MU students may have mastered it. Their film, “10 O’Clock News,” created during MidnightRun24, was recognized at the Allentown Film Festival on April 15 as a finalist for the College Shorts portion of the competition. The film was awarded first place and “audience’s choice” during the annual MidnightRun24 event and is the first Midnight Run entry to be recognized outside of MU.
Vanessa Anders, junior, Gasser Abousaif, graduate student, Trinity Johnson sophomore, Tyler Gillmer, sophomore, Steven Armstrong, sophomore, Megan Rapone, sophomore, Erin Funston, junior, Julianne Miekley, sophomore, Nicole Dalton, sophomore and Christian Arcarese ‘22, also known as Plugged Back Out, were all part of the group that created the “10 O’Clock News” short film.
Anders talks about the short film, “Our film is about a vampire who works as a news anchor and is subjected to harsh treatment from his coworkers that leads him to commit the ultimate act of revenge. It is based on the prompts presented by Professor James Machado during MidnightRun24. We had to use a vampire character, a candy bar as a prop, and ‘Make sure you bring your receipts’ as the required line of dialogue. These prompts had to be used in the film for it to be considered.”
To be successful in MidnightRun24, groups have to be able to work in high-stress situations. “We really learned the importance of prioritizing time while not compromising the story we wanted to tell and the visuals we wanted to showcase. I think we learned a lot about how to work well in a highly stressful and timed situation, especially when all of us hadn’t slept since the morning before. I think that we came together as a group and learned to balance all our different personalities and abilities to make one big, cohesive team. MidnightRun24 really made us get creative with our resources and locations,” Anders explains.
Machado recognizes how MidnightRun24 can prepare students for the real world and help them become successful after MU, “Working professionally in media production is fraught with a lot of adversity. Every decision, creative or technical, must be made wisely to maximize efficiency and deliver the desired effect on the audience. MidnightRun24 is a real-world simulation of the pressures encountered when working on a crew or on a postproduction team. Moreover, because the work is confined to a 24-hour period, students can’t procrastinate or delay their decision-making. The clock is running, and the deadline looms.”
After putting in the hard work throughout the 24 hours of MidnightRun24, Anders says that it is surreal to be recognized outside of MU. “I think I speak for all of us that it still doesn’t feel real that our film is being recognized outside of Millersville. We are honored to be considered for the Allentown Film Festival and are incredibly happy to receive such recognition.”
Machado recognizes the challenges the group worked through to get to this point, “I couldn’t be more proud of the students who participate in MidnightRun24. It’s not easy. There are creative challenges, the difficulties of collaboration and the confines of the competition to contend with. This particular group’s vision and ambition to apply for consideration at the Allentown Film Festival is additionally exciting. I’m so happy for them,” he says.
Anders acknowledges the opportunity she has been given by Machado and understands that this is just the start of the group’s careers and successes outside of MU. “I want to sincerely thank Professor Machado for organizing such a wonderful event and giving us the space to experiment, fail, learn and have fun during the process,” she says.
“This competition is truly exhausting (in the best possible way) and is made more difficult by the high levels of problem-solving and creative thinking required to achieve the task at hand.,” says Anders. “Yet, it is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things any filmmaker, or anyone for that matter, can do. It forces us past our limits, which is the only way for us to grow, learn and improve at our craft. This is just the beginning for us though, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!”