Kentucky Wesleyan College students create web series in first-ever class

This article originally appeared in the Owensboro Messenger Inquierer.

By Bobbie Hayse, [email protected], 270-691-7315, Twitter: @BobbieHayseMI

Internet TV — like content seen on YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, or Amazon — has been changing the way that people around the world watch media, and Kentucky Wesleyan College Assistant Professor English Tamara Coy designed an inaugural web TV screenwriting class this semester that helped teach 10 of the college’s students how to create their own pilot web series from script to screen.

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer/awarren@messenger-inquirer.com  Professor Tamara Coy talks about her screenwriting class which writes short films and has written three pilot scripts in the class at Kentucky Wesleyan College.
Photo by Alan Warren, [email protected]
Professor Tamara Coy talks about her screenwriting class which writes short films and has written three pilot scripts in the class at Kentucky Wesleyan College.

The class was an extension of her scriptwriting class, but in it students created short TV episodes by logging more than 100 hours into writing original scripts, producing them to completion, directing and shooting the episodes and in some cases even acting in them.

“They have worked seriously hard,” Coy said.

 

In the class, students split into two groups and worked on producing fan scripts of already-existing web series. Marx Pyle, a filmmaker from Evansville, wrote a series called “Reality on Demand;” and Ed Robinson, of Los Angeles, wrote “Pairings.” Not only did the two filmmakers allow students to create web series in the same vein of their existing projects, but they were also available to answer questions for students.

Pyle visited KWC during the semester and even participated in the shooting of one of the group’s episodes.

He said that the amalgamation of the Internet, cheap distribution and film equipment becoming cheaper has made for “the golden age of TV.”

“It’s becoming a much-more easy thing to create your own web series,” he said.

Robinson video-chatted with the classroom from California and answered some of their questions concerning the industry. Students asked about Hollywood, and what it’s really like to break out in the film industry in this country. He said they also had technical questions about his editing and writing processes.

Robinson said that Coy designing this class fit in with the evolution of current TV-watching experiences because “almost everyone under 25 consume a majority of their content online.”

“It’s the future of Hollywood and I’m excited that they are learning it now,” he said.

Pyle also said that web series have been changing the way that filmmakers “break out” in the industry. Rather than making a short film as a calling card, he said, a web series can help writers and filmmakers build up their fan base or act as a stepping stone for traditional television.

Reggie White, a KWC senior communications major from Chicago, said that he was interested in taking Coy’s class because he is interested in moving to Los Angeles after graduation and getting into film. He said the class has helped prepare him for the changing industry.

The students said that while they learned a lot during the class, it was also a fun experience because it was hands-on and gave them opportunities to work with a large group of people multi-tasking and prioritizing.

They had a saying on said, White said, PVOS: positive vibes on set.

“Everybody was just having fun,” he said. “No negativity.”

Coy said that a public screening of the students’ films is being planning for late February or early March of 2017 on KWC’s campus.