Hope Holmberg, Campus Editor

Students can now immerse themselves in the art of the production of a documentary through communication (COM) 414, a documentary class being offered to seniors in fall 2010.

The class will be taught by Professor David Sholle and will revolve around the planning and production of documentary video.

The documentary will be produced through the Humanities and Public Engagement Documentary Unit, which is a new unit funded by a grant from the President’s office and headed by Sholle.

As a result of the grant, the President’s Academic Enrichment Award, the class will have access to advanced equipment including cameras, lights, tripods and an advanced edit station, which will be used in the class.

“We have our own room in the building that they can edit in and so forth,” Sholle said.

Every year, the grant is awarded to either individuals or an organization.

In addition to new equipment, the $75,000 they received from the grant provides funding for the travel and expenses the production of the documentaries requires.

Sholle is individually working on two documentaries right now.

“Since I love making documentaries and teaching, it’s exciting to have students working on projects and seeing them through,” Sholle said.

Sholle said this class has been a success in the past.

“Doing a documentary is like doing a good essay in a class but your doing it in the form of film,” Sholle said.

Junior Jesse Couch, a mass communication major, applied for a spot in the class. Since he enjoyed COM 211, a different documentary class taught by Sholle, Couch said he is enthusiastic about the idea of taking COM 414.

“I’ve always been interested in film making and that is what I kind of want to do,” said Couch. “My main interest is cinematography.”

Eager to gain more experience behind the camera, Couch is pleased that the class would give him an opportunity to focus on one big project opposed to the several smaller ones had to work on for his COM 211 class.

“If you are working on a larger scale project, you definitely get more time with the camera,” Couch said.

Senior Meg Schneiders, a mass communication major, also applied for a spot in the class.

Schneiders likes the concept of working in small groups in the class. She said it would enable her to have a more hands-on experience through the whole process of making a documentary.

“I thought this would be a really great experience as far as production before getting into the field,” Schneiders said.

Schneiders looks forward to having more in-depth experience with using the camera, directing and producing.

“I think it’s a good class,” Richard Campbell, director of Miami’s journalism program said. “I would recommend it.”

Campbell said the class gives students a chance to exercise their abilities in both writing and telling a story.

“I think in this day and age, if you are interested in being a writer at all and telling stories it’s good to be able to tell stories on different media platforms in different ways,” Campbell said.

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