Posted tagged ‘first class’

Reflections of the Inaugural Class

December 10, 2009

This fall is a special quarter for JP Catholic. The first senior class will make history by graduating on December 12th from the first Catholic University built in Southern California in the last 38 years. The seniors have played a pivotal role in JP Catholic’s growth these last three years. Their example in embracing JP Catholic’s mission to Impact Culture for Christ has set the tone and culture of the school for all subsequent classes.

For many of the seniors, coming to JP Catholic in the fall of 2006 was a leap of faith. Steve Marshall, a graduating senior and class Valedictorian, was so taken by the mission of the school and its unique programs that he jumped into the inaugural class a month before the start of school. “I was one of the students who attended sight unseen,” Steve said. “It was a whirlwind! I thought it would be a miracle if I actually made it. It was one month between learning about it, leaving my native Missouri, and touching down in San Diego, a place I had never been before.” Most of Steve’s classmates had visited campus, but were undaunted by its newness. Graduating senior Chris Lane from Temecula, California reflected on his decision to come, “I always saw coming to a new school as kind of cool. What better way to get an entrepreneurial education than to be at a school that is entrepreneurial itself!”

JP Catholic’s unique mission to Impact Culture for Christ through the intersection of entrepreneurial business, media, and technology was the primary motivating factor for the seniors. “I was really interested in broadening my horizons especially regarding Entertainment Media first of all,” says student graduation speaker Matthew Salisbury, “and second of all getting an education that was really authentically Catholic.” Matt has taken the Mission seriously, becoming the show runner for a new JP Catholic web series, a scripted reality show that focuses on three women facing crisis pregnancies to be launched on January 22nd on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Matt has found the practical skills and faith formation he needed to deliver on his dream of bringing mainstream audiences closer to truth through compelling entertainment. He will graduate with several completed screenplays, extensive show running experience, and even a graphic novel under his belt. “It’s been really great,” Matt reflects, “to see us growing from an entirely new school to executing a 16 episode web series in a brand new sound stage.”

On the business side, the opportunity to Impact Culture through entrepreneurship was what drew talented students like Justin Wilga. “The business curriculum,” Justin says, “has really enabled us to build a company of our dreams and to make a positive impact in culture. It’s been awesome to be exposed to every critical aspect of launching a business, and have the confidence that we can do it.” Justin’s business, Creative Rhetoric, is a design and marketing company that focuses on helping businesses and non-profits tell their story more effectively. They have earned $3,000 this past quarter, and have $70,000 of work in the pipeline for after graduation. Justin’s confidence is not unwarranted. He has had real experience of knowing what it takes to gain and keep clients under the experienced mentorship of the faculty at JP Catholic.

One of the things that has most impressed the class of 2009 is how the school has grown over the course of 3 ½ years. “The school has grown by leaps and bounds,” says Steve Marshall. “Tim [Evans] and I made the first film ever here at JP Catholic in the first quarter of 2006, and that was before we had cameras! Now it’s nice to see fifteen sets of HD cameras, lighting and sound equipment, and a brand new sound stage downstairs. It was mind blowing how quickly we got all of that.” Mollie O’Hare, winner of the Impacting Culture Award, noticed how the school is growing not only academically, but also spiritually, “I think it’s really grown in its spirit through the last three and a half years. Our Scripture and liberal arts classes have really made a difference; we’ve really matured as people to the point which we can actually put JP Catholic’s mission into action.”

On December 12th, the new graduates will go out into the world to make an impact. When they do that, they’ll take along friendships that will last a lifetime. “Getting to know the people at the school has just been so great.” Mollie O’Hare states, “There are so many talented, creative minds. I’m just honored to be part of it all, and I’m just privileged that I was able to get to know these people for the time I’ve been here, so thank God for that.”

Our First Directing II Class

February 5, 2009

Professor Scoggins enters the room. He begins by introducing the course: “Directing II is basically Directing I on steroids.” We covered the outline for the quarter; each week, each of the nine students will make their own short film based on the criteria given in class. There will be less time for lecturing and more time for honing and practicing the application of directing skills. Extremely intensive and hands-on.

Professor Scoggins displayed an apt ability to unearth each of our areas of directing specialties. “Tim,” he told me, “your films have heart. They have a Speilberg-ish touch to them. Chris, yours have a Hitchcock edge. Patrick…you need to learn to take off the lens cap” (laughter).” He then told us what our biggest problems were in the previous quarter, such as sound or story, and suggested ways to grow in those areas this time. We were strongly advised to make our stories much less complicated. And make the stories in line with how we want to develop our skills. Professor Scoggins pointed out that the length of the film does not make the film any better. In fact, it is often the case that the shorter, the better. This is especially true for us as students. We need to focus on making deeper stories, not longer stories.

Since we did not have any films to review this time, Nathan lectured on some of the important things a director needs to remember; or just needs:

1. Every director needs a producer! Let him worry about logistics. If you do, it takes away from your creativity time.
2. You need extra time to edit. More than you think.
3. You need an Assistant Director! (For the same reason you need a producer.)
4. You need good sound. Cannot be stressed too much!
5. You need good acting. Or else your great script will be a bad movie.
6. And you need to take your time. Nathan outlined a typical day for him while shooting a feature. Each day you should get the most difficult things out of the way first, as well as the outdoor scenes. The easy scenes and indoor scenes can be done later.

The big question the director should always bear in mind is “What do I see, and why?” This question keeps you on track with the story, the character direction, the camera shot choices, the set design, and everything else. With good direction comes a good film.

In the last hour of class, Professor Scoggins told us our first assignment. This week we had to make a scene that takes place in a car. We went off on our own for twenty minutes to write it. When we came back into the classroom, we took turns pitching the story, and Professor Scoggins would help us decide on shot ideas, and talk about adjusting the story. By the time we left, we were ready and eager to make a car scene.