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Motion pictures student hits different note with senior project

Belmont is full of overachievers.

Students who have studied their craft and understood their assignment but go out of their way to make something truly original. Senior Garrett Thompson is one of those students.

A motion pictures major and music minor, Garrett Thompson decided to take on his senior capstone project for the film school by writing an original musical — a task far greater than the normal assignment of writing, producing and directing a 10-20 minute film. Thompson wanted to go above and beyond.

“I love musicals, and I always have. I just love the idea and the ridiculousness of people just bursting into spontaneous song and dance because it’s just so out there. I wanted to have something that was indicative of my time in the music school as well, and I was like, ‘oh, I’ll just do a musical because because that’ll be easy,’” Thompson said, laughing.

Thompson’s love for musicals was not the only thing pushing him to pursue film. His idea about the importance of film also drives him to do what he loves.

“One of the things that, recently, I heard that I really, completely agree with is film as a form of literature,” Thompson said. “When people really put the time in to make them a work of art, like they should be, they really have that same potential to do what good literature can do.”

For Thompson, this idea of artistic filmmaking isn’t just a broad concept. Thompson draws from various artists of the film industry to create a product that is original yet familiar.

“I really enjoy Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’ and ‘Young Frankenstein,’” said Thompson. “Kind of on the other end of the spectrum, I really love Disney stuff, so a lot of Alan Menken. You can tell influence from there pretty heavily.”

Though drawing from artists like Mel Brooks and Alan Menken may seem to make the project easier, Thompson assures it has not been without its trials.

“The things that I was most concerned about going into the project were casting and locations. There’s a whole other element to casting the entire thing when you throw in the idea that they also have to sing and not just act,” said Thompson.

Through these trials, the professional status of his crew encourages Thompson.

“As far as assembling a team, I’m really blessed because most of the people that are on my crew, now, approached me and said, ‘I want to work on your film’ which is huge that I’m not going and begging people to be part of it,” said Thompson. “I couldn’t ask for a better crew. They’re just  absolutely fantastic.”

The locations, crew and cast have been lined up, and now the final preparations are being made to film Thompson’s senior capstone. For the aspiring film maker, Thompson has some words of advice.

“Just make a lot of content,” said Thompson. “Eventually, you’ll find that diamond in the rough and you’ll be able to continue on, and you’ll find the people that enjoy it and will support the rest of your work whether it be literary, music or film.”

Article and photo by Kelby Bibler.

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