A new class at the University of Saskatchewan has students from a variety of backgrounds coming together on an ambitious film project titled Paper Airplanes.
Creating for the 21st Century Screen is a new one-term class looking to show students different ways of being creative and working in a group. 11 students participated in the class and were tasked with creating a web series for their term project.
As a small group, each person had to take on four roles so that scheduling conflicts would not affect the shooting of the series. There was even a group assigned to screenwriting that met and what was originally meant to be a series of small web videos quickly grew into an 85-page script.
Paper Airplanes is being filmed in four separate shorts, but the project is crafted as one interlocking feature film about campus life that holds a key theme of sleep deprivation.
“It was kind of ironic since we’re all suffering from sleep deprivation making this film,” said crew member and director Sarah Grummett.
While they are still holding a lot of the plot close to their chest, the film seems to be taking a deep look into student life and its strains. The students were able to partner with a group of fourth year drama students to participate and work alongside the film.
For Jesse Fulcher-Gagnon, who plays Seth, his character is “a good guy who is just a bit lost right now.” Fulcher-Gagnon felt being involved with the project provided him with invaluable experience for his acting career.
With use of the viral format and the small number of students involved, the main point of the class beyond the making of the film is making one that is creative. The form of having individual stories that link into one larger whole is a large part of that.
The students involved had to be very innovative in getting the filming done as they would often have 18-hour days which they had to balance with their individual classes.
Paper Airplanes had a total shooting time of three weeks, during which all involved had to pull many all-nighters to make sure they weren’t falling behind. Some students even just had to accept they would be falling behind in class knowing they could catch up in time for finals.
The project became about more than the class. Everything involved went above and beyond what was expected, and the series became a passion project for the students. The mark of a truly inspiring class is one that can compel students to do far more than what was expected.
Students have learned what they are good at in regards to working on film and whether or not they’d like to delve further into the film industry as a career option.
“I definitely know that this what I want to do and that I am able to do it,” Grummett said. “It’s not as impossible as people would think. Anyone can get their friends together and make a movie; it’s all about the storytelling.”
It will be interesting to see just where Creating for the 21st Century Screen goes from here and what Paper Airplanes will bring to the class. For those who are currently involved it has definitely awakened some inspiration while bringing some valuable on set experience.
Those involved in Paper Planes are currently in the editing stage of production ,and will have something to hand in for the end of class.
All of the students involved are going to continue the project well beyond the term and are planning on working through winter break to tentatively release the feature in December.