Metro Tech Students Co-Produce Short Film with Alumni and Local Screenwriter
Oklahoma City – Students in various programs at Metro Technology Centers recently got the opportunity to co-produce and create a short film alongside Digital Cinema program alumni and local film industry enthusiasts and professionals.
The short film titled, “Future Tense,” directed by Samuel Carrillo, digitally produced by Thomas Orquiz and written by Dr. Timothy Daly, completed filming in November. Organizers of the project hope to debut the film at festivals in 2023.
A Sketch of the Story: Located deep within the frozen tundra of Antarctica stands the current residence of Quantum Physicist, Miles Oblander. When Miles discovers a coded warning from the future out of the ice, he finds himself challenged with deciding his fate.
Pre-Production: Thomas Orquiz graduated from the Digital Cinema program at Metro Tech in 2020. Since then, Orquiz has worked for Telemundo Oklahoma, and currently, KOCO News Channel 5.
“The Digital Cinema program prepared me to get real experience in the field,” Orquiz said.
“I enjoyed having the creative freedom to experiment with my artistic abilities.”
Metro Tech Digital Cinema Teacher, Harry Wolohon, said he has always encouraged alumni to reach out post-graduation for support and collaboration on any of their film endeavors.
“I try to tell my students that just because they graduate, it doesn’t mean it’s the end with this program,” Wolohon said.
“If they have projects they want to collaborate on, they are always welcome to come back and collaborate on those ideas.”
Before the opportunity to produce “Future Tense” at Metro Tech presented itself to Wolohon, Orquiz was approached with the idea by former co-worker, Carrillo, whose girlfriend works as a medical assistant alongside Cardiologist at INTEGRIS Health Baptist Medical Center, Dr. Daly.
“One day, I was talking to one of my medical assistants about a full-length film I had written, and she mentioned that her boyfriend had film directing experience,” Daly said.
“That’s how I met Sam.”
After Carrillo met Daly, it was time to find a digital producer and there was no hesitation to recall his connection with Orquiz. According to a press release about the project, sent to CapitolBeatOK.com, Carillo knew that because of his time at Metro Tech, Orquiz had the right connections and resources to bring the idea to fruition in the form of a short film.
“The film community in Oklahoma City is tight-knit,” Carillo said. “I knew that the program at Metro Tech was a great one, and I knew that Thomas, being an alumnus, could be our digital producer and help us get the right resources that we needed. The budget for full-length films can get ridiculous. I think being able to ask favors from the connections that I have built is what helped us make this short film at this scale.”
Once connections were made and plans were discussed, it was time to gather the materials to make the film, including the set that would be built by students in the Metro Tech Residential Carpentry Program.
“I decided to reach out to the Carpentry instructor, Glenn Sanders to have his students build the walls we needed for our set,” Wolohon said.
“They did awesome, and luckily, Dr. Daly donated all the wood needed to finish the project.”
After the set was complete and moved from the South Bryant Campus to the Digital Cinema Lab at the Springlake Campus, it was time to gather props, some of which, required being designed and handmade.
That’s when Metro Tech Graphic Design Teacher, Deirdra Roberts stepped into task her students with the project of creating a fictional energy drink for the film.
Although all of the students presented creative designs and ideas, it was the design of Graphic Design Student, Karla Maldonado, whose design for the drink, “Dragon Energy”, was chosen.
“The main character drinks this certain brand of energy drinks, and that student really knocked it out of the park.” Wolohon said.
Other props were donated by Dr. Daly and included common bedroom items such as, books, commodities, records, electronics and more.
However, another of the more significant props was the “McGuffin”, a device that sends messages to the main character from the future. This prop was specifically 3D designed by Digital Cinema Student, Peter O’Loughlin, and crafted by a third-party company, Shryock Fabrications.
A majority of the film was produced in the span of a weekend. Digital Cinema students mostly performed average crew duties such as, lighting, heavy lifting and sound, but got the opportunity to shadow and collaborate with Orquiz, Carillo and Daly along the way.
“I could tell that the students really wanted to be there and they put in a lot of work,” Carillo said. “We’re really grateful for that.”
Although Dr. Daly has seen his fair share of patients and hospital rooms, this was one of his first opportunities to work on a film set.
“The students got a lot of experience and so did I,” Daly said. “They were great during the whole process.”
Although Orquiz has worked in various professional film settings since graduation, he credits his time at Metro Tech for preparing him for this project.
“I wouldn’t have been able to handle the pressure that came with the making of this film had it not been for my experience at Metro Tech,” Orquiz said.
“It meant a lot to shoot this film back at the place where I got my start.”
Present Tense: Post-Production
Now that filming has officially wrapped, Wolohon will spend the next semester having his students edit and piece the film together before film-festival submission deadlines.
“The plan is to have it finished with effects and everything by February,” Wolohon said. “Just in time for the submission deadline for the deadCenter Film Festival.”
Wolohon has hopes that this opportunity won’t be the last. In fact, he believes this may be the beginning of something bigger and better.
“I hope in the future we can leverage this to explore the opportunity to offer a third-year program for recent graduates where they can use the time to collaborate with the high school students,” Wolohon said.
“Giving the students the chance to see what they could be someday and work so closely with someone that has an obtainable career in the film industry like Thomas is valuable.”
About Metro Technology Centers: One of the largest and most diverse technology centers in Oklahoma, Metro Tech has four campuses offering short-term, career and customized business training. Campuses are located in South Oklahoma City, Northeast Oklahoma City, the Will Rogers Airport and Downtown Oklahoma City.
Pat McGuigan, founder and publisher of CapitolBeatOK.com, is a supporter of Oklahoma Education, including CareerTech projects. He prepared this story for online posting, working from a press release sent by MetroTech. Pat is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a state-certified teacher in 10 subject areas, and has worked as a classroom teacher or substitute in public, charter and private schools.
CapitolBeatOK.com is an independent, non-partisan and locally-managed news service based in Oklahoma City.