In a silent room above Drunken Bento on West McMillan Street, a man lay quietly weeping on a worn out couch. His black curls were spread around his head, and a single tear dripped from his right eye.
On that October night, the room was twisted in black wires and crowded with people, all watching in on the intimate moment. Matt Stalf, a University of Cincinnati electronic media student, looked in with a camera pointed straight at the man.
Joey Meisberger heard the crying through his audio recorder, which picked up the sound from Alex Huddleson’s boom microphone. Cameron Coyan hovered behind the camera, catching glimpses of the story as it came to life.
The group was comprised of UC electronic media students, and the man on the couch was Bartley Booz, a third-year acting student at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.
The students are using skills they developed through e-media studies to create a short film to cap off their time in the program. The short film, “Solitude,” is an idea brought to life by the four students. Each plans to finish their degree this school year.
Booz sat up on the couch, breaking out of his realistically performed depression, and laughed.
“Sorry,” he said. “You just can’t control which eye the tears fall from.”
Stalf wanted the tear to drip from his left eye instead of the right, which would enable the camera to capture it. Booz was handed a bottle of eye drops, which he is terrified of using.
“I initially wanted to do the independent study because I realized I am graduating this semester and wanted to leave a mark on the e-media department,” Stalf said. “I have always wanted to do a full student-based production while at UC, and now seemed like the best time since I have honed my skills throughout the years in e-media.”
Huddleson came up with the original story idea.
“Alex had the idea for a podcast of a guy that went on a trip and returned to find everyone missing,” Coyan said.
The story revolves around Jack Khavo, a medical researcher who discovers a life-saving key to rejuvenating cells. A car crash puts Khavo in a coma, and his life’s work — the very thing that would have saved him — is rendered incomplete. In Khavo’s “coma world,” we see him stuck in an apartment, unable to get out.
The film will tentatively be shown Dec. 3 at 7 p.m in MainStreet Cinema.
The group used their various talents to edit the script and contribute ideas, but Coyan earned the title of author.
Each member of the group has to wear many hats in the production and editing processes.
They hope the final product will make them proud, and even anticipate the possibility of it winning an award.
The students will submit the finished film to multiple big-name festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival in France and South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
In the meantime, Meisberger enjoys working on this labor of love.
“I think an adventure like this is great experience for our future careers and will lead us into a finished product that will be good to show the world our potentials.”