Students create bedtime stories you haven’t heard before

UW-Eau Claire students made short films with their takes on bedtime stories for this year’s 31 Day Video Project

Macey VanDenMeerendonk

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One submission, “Read ‘Em and Sleep” by senior Maxwell Harding, was about a father on a mission to find a copy of his daughter’s favorite Dr. Suess book so he could read her to sleep.

With only 31 days to prepare, UW-Eau Claire students worked with this year’s theme, Bedtime Stories, to produce short films for the 31 Day Video Project.

The project, hosted annually by the University Activities Commission (UAC), had guidelines that the judging was based on: Entries must be related to the theme in some way, between the time limit of one to ten minutes long, and include a line of dialogue and a prop that are both given ahead of time.

Tuesday night’s full Woodland Theatre held students and community members who were able to vote for their favorite films. A panel of judges assessed categories like best actor; best actress; best use of prop and line of dialogue; and best story.

Abigail Brandt, a first-year student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, said she got involved in the project when Nick Houchin, a senior business management student at Eau Claire, told her about the event.

Both Brandt and Houchin produced the short film “Dead Giveaway,” which won the audience’s choice award at the screening.

“He’s done films before so I was like, ‘Yeah I’ll be interested in (the video project).’ I’ve done singing, acting, kind of directing in the past so I kind of decided let’s try this,” Brandt said.

Twelve films played at the showing representing different interpretations of the theme. The range of genres presented included comedies, mysteries, horror and suspense, drama and action.

Abigail Driessen, a first-year psychology student, said she liked the differences each film brought in terms of perspectives from the directors.

“I think it’s really interesting how they all interpreted it (the theme) in a different way,” Driessen said. “They all came up with these amazing videos that showcase what they thought.”

Brandt said the inspiration for “Dead Giveaway” came when she and Houchin were playing a game of Clue. The idea was constructed into a script which then turned into cast hunting and crew finding.

Houchin said the preproduction started mid-January with mockups of the script and production efforts with finding props and costumes.
With their inspiration of the famous board game, other films took from well-known stories like “Pinocchio,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “The Three Little Pigs,” with their own spins on the childhood tales.

Driessen said she enjoyed being able to see students work and that it is cool the university holds these opportunities for students.

“I think it’s really cool opportunity for the people making the videos to show their work and get the experience,” Driessen said.

Katherine Langfield, a first-year geology student, said she thought the video project was a really good experience for everyone involved and space to showcase talents.

Brandt and Houchin said they were very proud of the end product of their film and were nervous and excited to show it at the event.

“Only Nick and I ever watched the film, except for the screening, so when it came up our hearts were beating fast,” Brandt said. “And then after that I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we showed this.’ We were really ecstatic.”

All films are available to be viewed on the UAC Film Projects YouTube page.