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Student Stories!

Updated: Oct 3, 2019

We have a problem in the Department of Cinematic Arts: we have too many students doing amazing things and not enough space in which to tell the world about them. So we're deviating from a focused feature on one student to give you updates on three remarkable students in one fell swoop.

Senior BFA student Rachel Jewetts spent most of last summer at Donut Media, a very successful YouTube channel that focuses on cars. She said this about the experience: "I worked with one of the producers to secure shooting locations (we got to shoot on the top of the Petersen Automotive Museum), schedule meals, prepare production boxes, transport equipment, organize the budget/receipts/paperwork, keep shoot days on time, and run errands. I got connected to Donut through an acting professor who used to work with one of the producers.  It was really informative and interesting to see the YouTube side of media. I enjoyed my time at Donut and learned a lot about production, advertising, clients, and cars, but I want to pursue narrative storytelling in the future. Even in secular storytelling there are themes, morals, characters with faith, and room for conversation, and that is something I am looking forward to in my next steps. I called this my first official 'big girl job' and that it was. I had to meet deadlines, be proactive, and hold my own."

Caleb Burdett at Loch Lomond, Scotland (Photo: Jessica Grove)

Senior BFA student Caleb Burdett "wanted to travel to Oxford because I knew it would be a chance to practice being a scholar in an academically rigorous environment. This expectation was definitely met! The most impactful parts of the academic environment at Oxford were the tutorials and the academic independence. Spending one-on-one time with a professor each week in tutorials meant I was getting expert input on the ideas and research I was engaging with. And the academic independence meant I could work at my own pace, doing work at my own standard, writing about 10-12 pages a week consistently. In my tutorial on European Cinema, my tutor took me through Weimar cinema, Italian Neorealism, and the French New Wave. For each I would practice the art of film criticism, analyzing just one facet of a film (even just a scene or two) with a detailed and careful eye. It was great practice for writing within the discipline and for carefully engaging with the film as a text. The study abroad experience really was important for my faith development. One of my tutors at Oxford was an Anglican priest, and as such had a significantly different background than my American evangelical context. Additionally, the culture of 'church' was very different in Oxford (and if I may generalize, I think in the UK as a whole). There was a sense of ecumenism and spiritual family that transcended the different traditions from high-church Catholic to low-church protestant. And there was a recognition of the work and movement of the spirit of God that I honestly hadn't noticed in the states. Honestly, being away from America gave me hope that the church isn't as backwards and barren as I had assumed based on my previous experiences."

Recent Cinematic Arts graduate Amy Rose Lowery secured a position at Soma Games, a visionary company of Christians who make video games and not, as they clarify, a"Christian video game company." Amy explains, "I met Chris Skaggs and John Bergquist of Soma Games at the Global Game Jam hosted by APU Games last winter. It turned out I had network connections with them, and they just so happened to be looking for a narrative writer. They liked my portfolio, and by the time I graduated in May, I had a job with Soma Games! I moved to Newberg, Oregon and began work on their biggest project: turning the classic children's book series, Redwall, into a series of video games. Along with Soma's head writer (it's just the head writer, myself, and one other writer on Soma's narrative team), I have developed, written, and edited the scripts for the next two games in their current series, The Scout, and will soon begin work on their next game series, The Miner, as well as an interactive visual novel. Since beginning work at Soma Games, I have also founded my own independent game studio, Archosaur, and am currently serving as the creative director on a small indie team developing a role-playing video game set in a cyberpunk fantasy world. Working as a game writer has been my dream since long before I decided to attend APU's film school. It is my career goal to continue to pursue game writing, moving up in the industry with hopes of someday writing for either a Triple-A game studio or my own!"


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