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Student Film debuts as Miller Movie

“Very early on, I think it was the second day of shooting; we were filming a key scene where our hero faces down the villain in his apartment. We spend a few hours setting up for the shoot and finally our actors get there. Martin Burch, the guy playing our villain, walks into the apartment, sees a cat, and immediately walks out. Turns out he's allergic and he couldn't be in the apartment, so we had to improvise. Tore down all the equipment and moved it... to the rooftop. It ended up being so much better, having this dramatic scene take place up on the top of a building against the black night sky.”
 

This is what Alec Robbins said was one of the biggest surprises while filming the student-produced film, The Day Job, which is under the label of the Western Filmmakers Association and has its debut as the Miller Movie this Thursday, January 26th at Miller Auditorium.
 
Robbins wrote and directed this film along with Daniel Kawka. They both came up with the general premise of the flick: a bank heist comedy.
 
“We gathered up all our friends, they gathered up their friends, and before we knew it we had a whole team of dedicated filmmakers working to make our vision a reality,” Robbins said.
 

The movie is about a bank robbery. The robbers mess up their latest job and end up getting hired at the bank they are trying to rob. A lot of WMU theater students were cast for the movie; Jessica Parsons, a theater student, was cast to be a bitter secretary and Michael Lopetrone is the lead actor.
 
“A lot of the time, Dan and I would just gather up our friends to be in videos, but now we had people who were actually taking their work seriously. This is what they want to do with their lives,” Robbins said.
 
Robbins is a stand-up comedian, and had a lot of funny friends. He had some of them try out (Trevor Smith, Chris Raby, Jason Elkins and Sohrab Forouzes, for instance) even though they aren’t actors. The film features other local comedians as well. Robbins said even he is in the movie, “embarrassingly enough.” Some students were able to get independent study credit for participating in the film but other than that everyone was donating their time to work entirely for the experience.
 

On paper, Robbins said that he knew how movies worked, but actually going out and doing it was a different story. Everyone learned a lot and got experience all different aspects of the film making process.
 
This week's HC Photoblog has pictures of that process courtesy of the Western Filmmakers Association.

“If you look at the end credits, you'll see a lot of names getting repeated, popping up over and over again for different jobs,” Robbins said, adding; “My own credits include writer, director, actor, editor, producer; one of our lead actors contributed an original musical score, another guest-directed a scene. It was intense.”
 
For a bunch of students that learned as they worked, Robbins said that everything went amazingly well; they made a movie. There is a ton of work that goes into a movie, regardless of quality. Things sometimes got pretty rough on set; Robbins said people were exhausted, angry, frustrated; but it made them ultimately closer. There was also a lot of stress. Everyone pulled through, though, and all impressed each other. 
 
Robbins said that he couldn’t be more proud of everything. He feels like a proud father even if their movie isn’t a Hollywood Blockbuster and just a Indie film. He can’t wait to show it to the world. The world debut will be January 26th at Miller Auditorium. It starts at 9:00PM and it costs $1 to get in with Student ID or $2 without.


Editor: Katelyn Kivel

Katie King is a senior at Western Michigan University majoring in journalism and minoring in anthropology and gender and women's studies. This will be her second year writing for HerCampus and before that she wrote for the Western Herald. She also wrote for L7 women's magazine in the summer of 2012. In her spare time Katie likes to hang out with friends, watch reruns of old shows and talk about why Chicago is better than Michigan. When she graduates she hopes to move to New York with her tabby cat, Ellie and write for a fashion magazine. However, she changes her mind quite often so who knows where she will end up!
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