- Associated Press - Monday, May 30, 2016

KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Eastside High School senior David McCallister and DeKalb senior Scott Kennedy created a powerful message about electronic device addiction and the grip technology has on our lives with a short video.

The video emerged from a state vocational contest where all entrants were tasked to use the topic of digital zombies.

Kennedy and McCallister, who attend the interactive media vocational course at Impact Institute in Kendallville, took the idea and ran with it, winning their category and earning a trip to Skills USA national competition next month in Louisville, Kentucky.

The video, which lasts about five minutes, shows a group of students captivated by their hand-held electronic devices. Kennedy appears as a young adult who takes away a device from one member of the group in an attempt to save him. Instead, Kennedy becomes entranced himself, until he is saved by the young man he attempted to save.

McCallister filmed it at an abandoned industrial site close to the Impact Institute, and Kennedy created a score, with music related to the action on screen.

“Ideas just started flowing,” McCallister said. “It would just build and build and build into this one specific plot point and the context of the story. I think we were able to convey the message very well.

“We wanted to give it an eerie feeling and how the technology is kind of taking over, and how heavily it’s impacting the youth,” he explained. “That was the point we wanted to get across.

“We had to book places to shoot at,” McCallister added. “We had to call seven or eight people just to get permission to be on location. That was really time intensive.”

“I’m a big sound guy,” Kennedy said. “There’s a chase scene and there’s a scene where the phone is ringing, so I wanted to set the mood by having that kind of background music.”

“I’m a little biased, but I thought it was pretty spectacular,” said instructor Jeannette Rinard. “Their idea was very well developed, and I think they created a video a lot of people can identify with.

“This is a really great team,” she added. “They think alike and act alike even though they didn’t know each other before they took this class, and they make a great team because their skills really complement each other well.”

Time management was an important part of creating their video for the state competition.

“For regionals, we had an entire week to make our video. For state, we had two days to script, edit, shoot and get permission where we wanted to film,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to get that post-apocalyptic kind of feel. We had everything mapped out; it was a matter of finding actors and getting the weather to cooperate with us.”

The first day they planned to shoot, there was a mixture of rain and snow. “Everything had to be turned in by 3 p.m. the last day, and that was the hardest part,” Kennedy said. “Once you complete it, you can’t just save it and post it. It has to process as a video so your image quality is the best it can be.”

By contest rules, they were not allowed to use their name or any identifying mark anywhere within the video, only a project number. They were interviewed by judges who asked questions about the project and paired those responses with the video.

“They’re not allowed to know your name (in advance),” Kennedy explained. “There’s a lot of little rules that could really make or break whether you get to the next level.

“You had to dress properly, wear a white polo shirt, black slacks and black shoes,” McCallister added. “You have to present yourself and the video as something you want to sell to them.”

Don’t be surprised if you see the pair working together at some point in the future. They both have plans to attend Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. School alumni have gone on to win Tony, Oscar and Grammy awards. Dave Arneson, who co-created Dungeons & Dragons, has served as an instructor at the school.

Kennedy has an interest in studio production and McCallister plans to study film production. Both are 20-month programs to earn a bachelor’s degree. Another benefit of attending Full Sail is there is no difference whether a student resides in-state or out-of-state.

While nearby schools offer studio and film production courses, none have the reputation of Full Sail, Kennedy and McCallister said.

“I want the best knowledge of programs, technology and techniques from people who have been using it for years,” Kennedy said. “Our curriculum (at Impact) is kind of based around Full Sail’s.”

While Kennedy wants to get into sound and scoring films or video games, McCallister wants to learn cinematography.

“I’d like to do post-production, how the video progress from when it’s behind the lens to seeing it on screen,” McCallister explained. “Basically, I want to be a film producer that is in charge of his own projects.

“From pre-production to post-production, seeing shot by shot how you’re progressing is fun, but seeing people’s faces looking at your shots, after all of your editing is done, is the best feeling ever,” he said.

“When you’re doing your own thing, you’re creating something in your vision,” Kennedy added. “It’s completely yours. It’s just really cool that you create something and it just gets bigger and bigger.

“It’s really cool that something we made as high school seniors has gotten to be shared so much.”

“It’s really fulfilling to see how the students have progressed since coming in here two years ago,” Rinard said. “When they come in, they tend to be really overwhelmed by all of it. It’s really awesome to watch them. It was an enormous amount of hours for them to finish it.”

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Source: The Kendallville News-Sun, https://bit.ly/22po5z6

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Information from: The News-Sun, https://www.kpcnews.com


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