Controversy in the Soundstage

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Controversy in the Soundstage

Last week, a pirates’ den was built in JPCatholic’s soundstage for Marielle Cuccinelli’s Directing II final. The immense structure has gotten in the way of other operations and, as a result, questions have been raised on the purpose of the soundstage.


Since the school moved to its current location, no student has built a set decoration of this size. Headed up by JPCatholic Junior Anton Weidner, it took the group almost a week  to build the structure. They finished the night before it was needed. Marielle, the director of the project, commented, “I was really worried that we didn’t have the time or resources to make it look good. Even right down to the night before shooting there, it didn’t look legit. But it turned out amazing! Once it was assembled, lit, and set decked [decorated], it really looked great and I’m really happy with the end product.”
The short film, “Washed Up”, cost approximately $1000. According to Cuccinelli, the cave cost about two-thirds of the entire budget. The team built the giant structure with wood, chicken wire, cardboard, and newspaper. One idea was for the cave to be built in the school’s warehouse, not the soundstage. However, the school doesn’t allow film shoots in the warehouse. The heatwave isn’t suitable for long set hours and action scenes. The cave was also supposed to have been built with panels so that when they finished filming, it could be moved out of the warehouse and used by other students in the future. Marielle said, “The panels ended up being too big, so we are breaking it down in the soundstage and it will be gone by Wednesday [August 15th].” The panels have since been taken down and stored for future use.
“A lot of students have been irritated by the space the cave takes up in the soundstage,” Marielle commented. “Students in the musical in particular have expressed displeasure with the fact that we’re doing this. It’s completely understandable; however, the first purpose for which the soundstage exists is building sets for films, not as a classroom or a theater, even though that’s what it’s mainly used for at present… I hope also that now that it’s been done once, students will start taking advantage of the soundstage more and experiment with set building.” Professor Angie Bitsko, the director of the school musical was unavailable to comment.

Many hope that this is going to start a new desire to build sets in the soundstage. Anton Weidner said, “I would love for this to become a more prominent thing here at JPC, but in order for that to happen we would need to have some classes or independent studies for us students to be able to have access to the tools and possibly materials. I hope other student get crazy ideas of set pieces to be built and go for it, and hopefully they will ask me to help them do it. This is something I enjoy doing and would love doing again.” Until there is a space for film students to build these props, students will need to share the space. Even though it is a soundstage and should be taken advantage of, there are still other groups that need the unit. Professor Simon, who oversees operations in the soundstage, declined to comment on the matter.

Photo Credit: Meg VonFeldt



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