DePaul Athletics Partners With College of Computing and Digital Media to Offer New Film Making Course

Eric Henri

Students walk on the Quad, located on the Lincoln Park campus.

While everyone was sheltered in their homes during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, a student-athlete from DePaul wanted to show how his team still trained amid all the restrictions and protocols.

But there was no definitive way to produce, edit, and publish a video capturing these workouts for the public to see.

Until now.

The student-athlete pitched his concept to Brad Riddell, associate professor of screenwriting at DePaul, with the goal of bringing his idea to life. Riddell declined to release the student-athlete’s name during an interview with The DePaulia.

After months spent figuring out all the logistics of this project, DePaul Athletics announced on April 14 it was partnering with the College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) and the School of Cinematic Arts to deliver a new documentary course to undergraduates. cycle.

“The result of this partnership will not only provide our filmmakers with valuable experience and portfolio material necessary for future careers in the industry, but it will also serve to elevate DePaul’s athletic programs and empower student-athletes. a platform to share the causes and issues that are important to them, ”said Riddell.

The idea matched what new athletic director DeWayne Peevy was looking for in terms of brand growth for the sports department. When it was introduced to Peevy and DePaul athletics, they were sold on the partnership.

“When DeWayne Peevy was hired as the new athletic director, he was looking for feedback, he was looking for opportunities, he was looking for faculty and student support to build the program and spread awareness of the program and empower student-athletes,” Riddell said. “So it seemed like a natural fusion. “

The class will be launched in time for the next fall term. Students will form teams to work with Riddell and the Sports Department to create short, non-fiction, candid films telling stories about DePaul’s sports teams and student-athletes.

“The intrigues that varsity athletics fosters around diversity and inclusion, teamwork, passion and perseverance are often unmatched,” said Taylor Stapleton, senior associate athletic director of DePaul’s Generation of revenue and strategic initiatives. “The challenge for sports departments is to find ways to tell these unique stories in a meaningful way. Thanks to the School of Cinematographic Arts, we have found a natural synergy. Few sports departments are fortunate enough to have such an accomplished and nationally renowned film school on their campuses. “

The idea for the course was first developed in the CDM department before being presented to Peevy and his team. Riddell’s specialty is more screenwriting than directing movies, so he needed his department’s help in preparing the proposal.

“[DePaul] the track and field was really excited, they had a few notes and a few ideas and then it kind of became a thing, ”said Riddell. “It was a process of fine-tuning the cinematic aspect and making sure everyone was okay, and the athletic aspect and making sure everyone was okay with that. . “

Since this class will be considered a pilot program, it is up to changes and modifications if something does not go as planned. But the initial plan is for the sports department to talk to its student-athletes to uncover potential storylines that can be told in film form.

“The demand for filmed sports entertainment has never been higher,” said Gary Novak, director of the School of Cinematic Arts. “The partnership between the School of Cinematic Arts and the Athletics Department will allow DePaul film students to gain valuable experience creating this type of content while telling the compelling stories of DePaul’s talented athletes.”

DePaul athletes will not have to participate in a video they are not comfortable with. But the sports department will be talking to different teams and athletes to determine who might be interested in participating in the projects.

“Therefore the [athletic] department will offer us some ideas, [and] teams of students will form around these ideas, ”said Riddell. “I hope that we will have several teams to work on several stories. Some of them may be only a quarter – follow a season, follow an athlete – while some of them may be longer, some of them may last a whole year.

Riddell said he could foresee a situation where students would work on a project for several terms if that’s what the film demands. According to Riddell, students can repeat the course.

“We’re going to meet every week to move the process forward, plan, outline, make sure we’ve thought through everything,” he said.

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