Students score $1,000 prize in film competition

Josh Chilson

Josh Chilson

Anyone who scoffs at A/V kids for being nerds might think twice about them when they see how a few SDSU Media Production students turned their skills into a minute-long film worth $1,000.

Senior media production and history major Zeke Hanson and junior media production majors Tom Pickerill and Dustin Carlson combined their talents to create an award-winning video clip featured on the Web site

These students produced three short films for an online competition sponsored by NBC. There is a different challenge every week, and every week viewers of the site vote for their favorite clip. This Web site may be the basis for a future show on NBC.

The three filmmakers won the “Man of the Year” challenge. The Web site provided a clip from the movie “Man of the Year” in which Robin Williams, who plays a presidential candidate, presents his views in a debate. The students then had to edit in their own candidate to debate with Williams. Their final product was a fan favorite, won the weekly $1,000 prize, and is eligible for the grand prize of $100,000.

Their film clips also may also be presented on the television show “Last Call with Carson Daly” on NBC.

The trio is in it for more than fame and fortune, though. They have taken part in many film festivals together, and they enjoy any video project which allows them to practice their production skills. Pickerill said, “The more experience we can gather now the better prepared we’ll be for the future.”

The students have submitted two other clips, “Bachelor” and “Dude.” They plan to submit more videos to the web site in the future.

Others helped the three to make these mini movies. Videographer and editor of “Today’s Ag” Brian Stemwedel assisted the students with the software and editing aspects of production. Sam Hanson, a sophomore art major, and Chez Huntsinger, a sophomore English education major, both took on acting roles in these features.

All filming was done on campus using SDSU media production equipment.

“It’s great equipment,” Pickerill said. “These films are a good excuse to use it.”

Many SDSU students, such as freshman pharmacy major Meghann Rise, frequently watch online video clips like those on NBC’s web site. Rise particularly enjoyed the clip “Dude.”

“I thought it was clever. It’s especially cool considering that it was made by SDSU students,” he said.

Each clip can still be viewed on

“We’ve had a really good experience with this show. It was a great learning experience,” said Hanson.