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Published: December 10, 2021

UT Students Have Major Movie Experience without Leaving Campus

While others were perfecting their tan and shopping for new bathing suits the week before Spring Break 2020, a handful of University of Tampa students were spending their days on a major movie set as interns and extras for Justin and Christian Long’s new movie, Lady of the Manor.

“This was a completely new thing for us,” said Justin Long about the UT collaboration. “We were learning from [the students] as much as they were learning from just being there.”

The Longs returned to campus on Dec. 1 for a two-part event. On Wednesday, Dec. 1, they participated in an intimate workshop with UT film students, followed by a screening of the film and Q&A in the Ferman Center for the Arts on Dec. 2.

Justin and Christian Long participating in a student workshop on campus.“This was a completely new thing for us,” said Justin Long about the UT collaboration. “We were learning from [the students] as much as they were learning from just being there.” Photo by Drew McDougall ’22

UT’s campus was a perfect location for shooting many scenes in the film on a tight budget, according to the Longs, and the help from everyone on campus did not go unnoticed.

“On a macro level, everyone seemed so professional, kind, hardworking and driven,” said Christian Long. “I can only imagine that is in some way a result of what they are learning [at UT].”

Crew member and film major Rose Caltrider ’22 was the extras’ production assistant on set. She ensured everything ran smoothly with student extras, recording their clothing for reshoots, escorting them to and from set and locking up the sets, which meant she stopped people from walking in front of the cameras until they called cut.

Rose Caltrider ’22  with members of the film crew.From left, actress Melanie Lynskey, Rose Caltrider ’22, Justin and Christian Long while working on the set of Lady of the Manor. Photo courtesy of Rose Caltrider ’22

While serving her position, Caltrider, from Baltimore, MD, got an inside look at all aspects of a major film production. She took advantage of any open opportunity to ask each department questions to further her knowledge on cinematography and film productions. On top of the hands-on experience, Caltrider said she is grateful for the opportunity to network. 

“I feel like I have my foot in the door,” said Caltrider. “It’s great to get this kind of experience to the point where these people trust me and know I can do the job.”

Aaron Walker, chair and associate professor of film, animation and new media, noted that working on such a professional set with famous, well-known people like the Longs elevates the professionalism and richness of the environment for students. They are continuously refining their skills.

“In the case of all of the students, they came to set their first day, and they’re pretty nervous,” said Walker. “ [Students] are getting their first real practical experience that will lead to their careers, and that really is the super direct benefit. If you show up on a set like this and do well, you’re going to build the connections that will keep you working.” 

Story by Kayla Lupedee '22, journalism major and writing minor


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