Lights, Camera ... Learn!

With four simple words — “Quiet on the set!” — all activity in the warm, dark gymnasium abruptly ceases. The fan stops. Crew members, aware of the creaky wooden floor, literally freeze. In the sudden stillness, Asbury University Assistant Professor Josh Overbay’s voice is audible: “Action.”

For dozens of Asbury students and alumni, the set of “Hope Bridge,” a film that is being directed by Overbay and produced by Rebel Pilgrim Productions, is both a summer job and an essential educational complement to the film production theories taught in the classroom.

Asbury students are working in the cast and crew for "Hope Bridge," an independent film shot in central Kentucky.
Asbury students are working in the cast and crew for "Hope Bridge," an independent film shot in central Kentucky.

“Students get not only the experience of working on a real set but learn to deal with the day-in/day-out pressure of working with other professionals and see how seriously they take their job,” said Overbay, who has directed 15 films and won 23 cinema awards. “It raises the stakes. For a lot of people, it has to be successful, so they’re participating in something that really matters.”

“Hope Bridge” is a drama about a teenage boy’s quest to understand the events leading up to his father’s recent suicide — a weighty topic with strong potential to be helpful for suicide prevention agencies and grief counseling organizations. The film stars Booboo Stewart, who also appeared in three of the Twilight Saga movies as Seth Clearwater, and Kevin Sorbo, best known for his role as Hercules on the television series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” The film’s producers anticipate a theatrical release in 2014.

Asbury junior Anna Phillips is working as the 2nd 2nd assistant director on the film. Just a few of the duties for a 2nd 2nd assistant director include screening questions for the assistant director and coordinating the flow of human traffic in and out of rooms where filming is taking place. She has worked on short films with other students before, but “Hope Bridge” is her first feature-length production.

“It’s been really fun to work on a professional set with SAG (Screen Actors Guild) actors,” said Phillips, a media communication major. “I did this to get an idea of if I really wanted to do this line of work, and now I’m leaning a lot more toward producing.”

Zack Brewer ’14 is no stranger to making movies; in fact, this is the second feature film he has worked on just this summer. Brewer works as the script supervisor and is tasked with maintaining continuity from take to take and representing the editor’s perspective on set.

“I’m learning how differently sets can be run,” Brewer said. “The two features I’ve worked on prior to this were with different production companies, and I expected things to be similar. But there are a lot of different ways to get a movie made.”

Brewer’s favorite aspect of filmmaking is writing, and eventually he’d like to direct. But as he heads into his senior year, he knows the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity to earn hands-on experience.

“Anytime you can be on a set, it will help you learn how to make movies better,” he said.

To learn more about Asbury University’s award-winning student filmmakers, watch samples of student work from the Highbridge Film Festival or read about the different programs in the School of Communication Arts, click here.

Filming locations for "Hope Bridge" included an elementary school, a family home and inside vehicles.

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