by Michelle Rainer
Go down to the basement of the Bryan Building on the Loyola Campus, and you might be surprised to stumble upon a full sound stage, some professional actors and an editing suite occupied by the students who are running the show.
It's all part of the final projects in Advanced Television Productions, a Communication Studies course taught by Professor Nikos Metallinos. The class produces nine short television programs, all written, directed and produced by students, and Metallinos says that the local media is taking notice.
"We provide 90 per cent of the people in the industry in Montreal," he said. "The industry likes Concordia's mix of the academic and the practical; our students are very professional.
"We are promoting the university in the best way possible," he added. "These programs are going to be aired."
With that in mind, Metallinos said that the students in the class are carefully selected. They have to take two prerequisite television courses, have good grades, demonstrate that they're able to work with others, and have enough time to commit to the project.
"They're going to represent us in the real world, and we don't want to send someone to CFCF-12 who doesn't even know what a camera looks like," Metallinos said.
On May 4, there will be a screening of the works at the F.C. Smith Auditorium and Global, CBC, Videotron and other heavyweights will be present to scope out the student talent. What they won't see is the hard work that went on behind the scenes.
"We've been working pretty much every day for the past couple of months," said assistant director Stephanie Finkelstein.
Finkelstein and her two project teammates Dave Pickup and Julie Allaire were on the set of their production, The Way Home, a drama about two runaway teens. From the editing booth, they watched the action on a wall of television monitors, directing the actors and camera operators through a microphone.
The convincing set and props didn't come cheap. The university provides each of the three project groups in the class with $300, but it's up to the students to raise funds to finance the rest of the cost.
Finkelstein was quick to point out that it's all been worth it. "If you want to work in television production, there's no better way to learn," she said. "The fact that we have a hand in every part of the production means that we're going to be prepared to do just about anything and we're not going to be scared of it."
Pickup, who directed the show and wrote the script, agreed. "It's interesting to actually take something through the creative process from beginning to end," he said.
The screening on May 4 is open to all Concordia students, faculty and staff. The videos will also be shown in the student category of the Montreal International World Film Festival this summer.
Photo: Director David Pickup gives instructions on the set to actors Jason Pollard and Dahlia Kurtz.
Copyright 2000 Concordia's Thursday Report.