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Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - OU cinema studies students work on commercial shoot
By Katie Land, news editor

(From left) OU artists-in residence Michael Manasseri, Julien Decaillon and Ben Decaillon work with OU cinema studies student Jordan Reed on set.
All photos by Andrea Eis. 
Eight students in Oakland University’s Cinema Studies program had the chance to go on set and behind the camera this summer during a unique internship experience with a local production company filming a web commercial series for the Chrysler Group Ram Truck brand.

Through a partnership with OU artist-in-residence Michael Manasseri and his production company Made-in-Michigan Entertainment (MIME), the students were hired to work on and assist with the production and post-production segments of the feature.

“Experiences like this one provide an important link between the academic side of a cinema studies education and the commercial and professional world,” said Kyle Edwards, director of the Cinema Studies program.

“In this profession, most people have work that they do for themselves and work they do for others, and it is important for our students to differentiate between the two and to learn professional standards. It is a very different process to work for clients and agencies, which makes this internship a really great experience. It is very similar to the type of experience they will find after college.”

Ram Truck brand interactive manager Dennis Gustafson said, “We are always looking for quality, cost effective solutions for providing engaging website content. Working with MIME and the Oakland University students was a very rewarding experience.”

Oakland’s Cinema Studies program offers an interdisciplinary look at film history, critical theory and film production. Students armed with a cinema studies degree will be prepared with the critical-thinking and communication skills needed for a career within the film industry and a variety of related fields.

Cinema studies student Bradley Cooper assists with the script.
As production interns for MIME, students were able to participate in many technical aspects of production and worked alongside professional cinematographers, directors, producers, editors and crew, editors and crew, including OU artists-in-residence Benoit and Julien Decaillon. Additionally, two of the students are slated to observe post-production editing work over the course of the summer.

Cinema Studies major Bradley Cooper was able to accrue a wide variety of experience. From setting up equipment and props, managing cables and standing in for the actors, he was also able to sit in with the producers working on the script.

“It was a very involved role, as I was constantly working and communicating with the professionals behind the camera,” Cooper said.
Manasseri and Reed (right) work with equipment on set.

“The days were very long and very hot and exhausting, but I absolutely loved it. I've gotten a lot of experience from those three days on set, as well as a few professional contacts that have already reached out to me to work with them on different projects.”

Andrea Eis, associate professor in the Cinema Studies program, joined the students for the three-day commercial shoot, which ran for more than 13 hours each day.

“It has been wonderful,” she said. “Our students are so into the experience and so excited to learn. The professionals on set worked closely with the students and allowed them to ask questions and learn practical skills, such as the complexity of lighting a scene, or how to handle a lens properly.”

“These professionals saw our OU students as hardworking, efficient and professional,” Eis continued. “You can find a million students interested in working on a film set, but our students have the knowledge and skills to be helpful. These are qualities that people notice.”

Once production wraps, the Ram Truck brand and MIME will donate video equipment used during the shoot to Oakland’s Cinema Studies program for use in the classroom and in a professional setting.

For more information about courses, events, and internship opportunities through Oakland’s Cinema Studies program, visit oakland.edu/cinemastudies, or contact Edwards at edwards2@oakland.edu.

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.