You’ve all probably seen “The Breakfast Club,” that John Hughes classic filled with ‘80s music and spastic, spontaneous dancing. Ridiculous? Maybe. Outdated? Not necessarily, thanks to a new genre of video mashup in which people from various cities in the United States and abroad perform the old dance moves to the contemporary rock song “Lisztomania” by Phoenix. A recent addition to this series features MSU and East Lansing and was created last fall by two PW seniors, Nina Elias and Bethany Tomaszewski, as their final project for WRA 417: Multimedia Writing. The video currently has over 2,500 hits on YouTube and was featured on MSU’s homepage, Facebook page, and Twitter stream.
Tomaszewski said, “It was Nina’s idea to do the video; she had seen the genre remixed before. The project sounded like it would be time consuming and difficult, but also really fun and rewarding—and it was.” The two worked together to shoot footage at their favorite spots on campus and around East Lansing and enlisted their fellow students, including PWers Laura Portko and Brendan LaCroix to provide the dance moves.
“We wanted to help show that Michigan State and East Lansing are worthy of international attention and that we have a really interesting area around us. We also wanted to dance and show the world that Michigan State knows how to have fun.”
Both Elias and Tomaszewski enjoyed filming together and learned a great deal about video production. Elias said, “I learned that lighting is something you have to think about all the time while you’re filming, because it’s a bit harder to fix in Final Cut Pro. Also, recruitment was harder than we had anticipated!” Tomaszewski added, “I learned that you should be proud of everything you post online with your name on it, because you never know who’s going to see it.” They are planning to submit the video at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum later this spring.
Dr. Bump Halbritter, the professor of WRA 417, had nothing but good things to say about the effort invested by Nina and Bethany.
“Nina and Bethany took on an ambitious project for first-time audio-visual writers (movie-makers), one requiring not only learning how to operate a video camera, but how to one: operate several cameras; two: choose locations; three: study, replicate and adapt shots from the other mash ups; four: secure equipment; five: solicit dancing talent; six: storyboard scenes; and seven: coordinate moving their talent and equipment from location to location. Then Nina and Bethany spent dozens of hours editing hundreds of clips into their final four-minute video. Not bad for first-time movie makers!”
Dr. Halbritter continued, “I cannot stress enough how impressed I am with the tenacity, resourcefulness, and industry displayed by Nina and Bethany. They saw and seized an opportunity to share their view of MSU with the world. They learned so very much by meeting the challenges of the “Lisztomania” project and are now in possession of the skills and acumen to meet and exceed the emerging needs of professional writers in the 21st century. The challenges of directing this project will not be unlike those Nina and Bethany may face when charged with creating innovative promotional videos for a non-profit agency, for example.”