By Nick Rallo (Director of Marketing & SMU Meadows B.A. in Cinema-Television, ’06)
The call time for the zombies in the Bob Hope Lobby was 10 a.m., and there was a 2:00 p.m. on-set call time for our cyborg assassin. This was the on-set scene during the production of a short film produced by SMU Meadows Film & Media Arts, Meadows Marketing and several of our all-star alumni. Embedded in the film, you’ll see a Nosferatu, a time-traveling cyborg, roving zombies, and our homage to the bunny costume from Donnie Darko (2001). The icons from science-fiction and horror are not arbitrarily referenced; They are homages to the iconic genres SMU Meadows Film faculty are teaching every day.
With SMU Film’s new Master of Arts in Popular Film and Media Studies degree, students will learn theories and philosophies of film and media through intensive examination of Hollywood film studio genres, the impact of organized fandom on the development of science-fiction and fantasy television series, the ways popular media have been vilified for political gain and more. No other M.A. film program in the United States focuses so intently on the relationship of popular media to cultural concerns.
In honor, the idea behind the short film began as an homage to a scene from Shaun of the Dead (2004), wherein Shaun, the lead character, blissfully ignorant of the zombie apocalypse that has laid waste to the streets, stumbles into work. From there, the Meadows teams, working with expert freelancers, fleshed out a concept that features a handful of iconic creatures and references to science-fiction, fantasy and horror. Each of the creatures was hand-crafted–in some way–for the short film.
One of the biggest challenges following graduation is the first step: As a student of the arts, what do you do with your degree in the first few months after graduating? In May of 2015, Meadows Theatre alum and star of Paranormal Activity Katie Featherston addressed the class of 2015, in a touching moment in her Commencement speech:
“You’re entering the world as a Meadows Alum, which means you’re part of a network of committed and deeply talented people who can be the foundation of your professional life.”