While many students were either returning to Upland for the fall or seeing the campus for the first time, there were a handful of film students that didn’t.
Seniors Lucas Bertsche, Evan Melloh, Drew Dayton, Abby McCormic and Kendra Copeland were pursuing their dreams in Los Angeles, California.
Rising COVID-19 numbers in the fall of 2020 caused for the program to be delayed and plans to be changed for many students. The film department was eager to be able to resume the program this past fall with some conditions of the program. When students were notified about the opportunity, the five students grabbed at the opportunity.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, each member of the group was able to pursue a different aspect of film production.
While mask mandates and various requirements are less common in Indiana, COVID-19 is addressed far more seriously in L.A. and most of California. Throughout the trip, the five members worked remotely and, when working in person, were required to mask at all times.
Regardless of the requirements of masks, the students chose to be grateful for the chance to be studying film in L.A. Their time in the program allowed for differentiated opportunities for each individual. They were able to explore internship opportunities in many concentrated areas of film.
This helped to make the experience unique to each member of the group.
Bertsche used his time to study film editing. He worked for a company called Interloper Films, and he was tasked with editing and working on a film called “Last Flight Home,” a documentary film that details the life of the director’s father.
In addition to working at Interloper, Bertsche also worked with Broken Road Productions. There, he read scripts and shared his thoughts and opinions with company executives.
“I learned it, which will (be) invaluable going forward,” Bertsche said.
Melloh, on the other hand, was pursuing an internship in screenwriting.
There, he worked at a similar company to Bertsche at which he would review scripts that were sent to him. He worked for Propagate Content and Mandalay Entertainment.
Dayton’s focus area was in becoming an agent for actors, and possibly a career in voice acting as well. In this time, Dayton was able to spend time learning in his internship about this area.
Furthermore, two more students, McCormic and Copeland, dived into other items of tv and film production: Set design and directing. McCormic was able to spend time pursuing a career in set design, and Copeland is pursuing a career in directing. Both of these experiences were unique to the students because they were more hands-on and allowed for students to be placed on a real set.
Through all of their experiences in L.A., they were able to gain valuable connections with many people in their respective industries.
However, with a lot of work came time to squeeze in a lot of fun moments as well.
Bertsche and Melloh were able to attend a John Williams concert.
In addition, they were able to go to the movies quite often, seeing films such as “No Time to Die” and “Dune.” One time in particular, while at the red carpet premiere of the film “Red Notice,” Bertsche got within feet of actor and star of the movie, Ryan Reynolds.
In addition, they were able to tour some of the more touristy sights in and around L.A. including the Warner Bros Studios, Hollywood Boulevard and many trips to the beach.
Through their experiences on this trip, they were able to gain valuable insights on their calling, as well as just have a lot of fun doing something they love doing.
“It was a semester that I will never forget, and I am so glad to have gone,” said Melloh. “And even though I missed Taylor and its people, the experiences and contact I made in the industry were well worth the trip.”