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SUNY Buffalo State's award-winning student news outlet since 1913

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SUNY Buffalo State's award-winning student news outlet since 1913

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School Haze: TFA Senior Pilot Project 2023


Each year, the Television and Film Arts Program offers 15 students the opportunity to be part of a community of aspiring filmmakers while gaining experience in pre-production, production, and post-production. The pilot episode created for this semester’s senior project is School Haze, and you have a chance to see it on Dec. 9 at either North Park Theatre or Warren Enters Theater!

Working on set every year since I was a freshman with the seniors has been a valuable hands-on learning experience. The project includes applying for head roles as if it were a real job: Executive Producer, Director, Assistant Director, Director of Photography and so on. This semester I worked as a makeup artist and production assistant.

“A trio of friends decide to sell drugs in order to save their boarding school singing club, but soon realize how in over their heads they are…” the School Haze logline reads.

Director of Photography Jackson Kuffel hopes to reach other students with common goals and aspirations. He wants students to know that they don’t need to have experience to help out on set. The best part of filmmaking is that there are so many areas for students of all interests to fit in, including technical and artistic acts of service.

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“Working on a project of this scale was the culmination of our college experience,” said Kuffel. “We’ve learned to be auteurs over the course of our education and making a TV pilot teaches us how vital collaboration is to telling a story that is better than the individual efforts of any one person. Learning qualities such as teamwork, efficiency, and patience are essential for making it in the film industry.”

“My favorite part of the pilot every year is people of different skill levels and experience learning together,” said Assistant Director Tyler Ineson.

No matter your major, interests, or expertise all students are welcome on set that are willing to help out. This project has taught me that having a good relationship with your peers, and being open to ideas no matter the circumstance, is the key to a smooth production.

“Remembering that this is still a class project above everything else. It’s easy to fall for this grand idea of what the pilot is and could become but you have to keep in mind we’re all still learning,” said Director Ian Hagerty.

While the seniors aim for greatness, they are also realistic in the sense that it’s still a student film and most likely one of their first times working on a huge production that they built from the ground.

“We all get to work so closely together in major roles after sharing the same class for a year. While it’s insanely stressful, it also helped a lot of us bond in ways we couldn’t imagine, which I’m appreciative of,” said Script Supervisor and writer Debonair Patterson.

It’s important for all departments to work together towards their common goal, which is perfecting the film they are making.

Production Designer Anna Logan and her phenomenal team worked tirelessly putting together the set decor.

“I had a great time on set. Did that mean everything went to plan? Nah. Was I happy with all the decisions made? Hell no. But I learned that sometimes you just have to accept disappointment,” said Logan. “But there are things on set that I can’t control, and that’s okay.”

I’m so proud of all the seniors for their dedication to this project and more than excited for my class next year to create our pilot episode. You can catch School Haze at 11:30am for $10 at North Park Theatre, and at 7pm for free at Buffalo State University’s Upton Hall Warren Enters Theatre.

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About the Contributor
Cydney Ramos
Cydney Ramos, Staff Writer
Cydney Jade Ramos is in the Television and Film Arts Program here at Buffalo State University. She is extremely passionate about directing and filmmaking. She enjoys creative and critical writing which drew her to The Record. If you're interested in seeing more of her work, her Instagram is cydjadeproductions!

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