In Alumni, Awards and Achievements, College of Fine Arts and Communications

BYU CFAC alumni reflect on their return to campus for the Arts & Comms videos

BYU College of Fine Arts student works behind the scenes of Arts and Comms: Behind the Stories

Photo courtesy of Heck

When the College of Fine Arts and Communications was looking for a way to share the stories about what the students and faculty were working on during the pandemic, they knew they needed an exceptional video team to document all these achievements. The team at Heck, a video company based out of California with a new office in Provo, was eager to rise to the challenge and showcase the triumphs of the students and their mentors.

Phillip Goodwin, Becca Summers, Jared Cook, Michael Potter and Jessica Goodwin—all CFAC alumni themselves—worked together with CFAC External Relations and their team to brainstorm, plan, shoot and produce these videos on a tight deadline. In only ten days, the team at Heck filmed and interviewed the students and their mentors across Utah, New York City and San Francisco. 

A process that started in January was fully completed and polished by the end of April.

“We were excited to give back to a college that gave us so much,” said Becca Summers, who was the story producer on the project. “The level of talent that’s coming out of [the college] is incredible.”

Because the team knew that they wanted the videos to have the same kind of visual quality as polished documentaries from the start, they made a meticulous plan of how they would conduct filming before turning on a single camera. They drew inspiration from several different sources in order to fulfill their vision and capture the vibrancy, creativity and excellence of the college.

“It had to cover so many different audiences that we planned it really strictly on paper before we ever started the cameras,” said Phillip Goodwin, the writer and director at Heck.

The team’s goal was to congratulate the students on their incredible work by helping these stories show the good that the college was doing for them. They also wanted to promote the programs within the college to future students and demonstrate to donors the impact their generosity has on the college.

Jared Cook, the cinematographer on the project, commented that the creative process was a product of the best kind of teamwork. “Working with this team to create these CFAC videos was a dream, and there’s no question we made something really meaningful and special,” he said. “Plus, we are all BYU alumni so we all really cared about what we were creating.”

BYU College of Fine Arts student works with equipment behind the scenes of Arts and Comms: Behind the Stories

Photo courtesy of Heck

“I’m really proud of these videos,” said Jessica Goodwin, the associate producer on the project. “It’s exciting to work on something that showcases the college’s achievements, but these videos and the people in them are really compelling.”

When it came to deciding which stories to highlight, Heck worked directly with Assistant Dean Melinda Semadeni and the college External Relations office on several stories to pursue.

Heck interviewed numerous students and faculty about their projects based on a list of suggested stories that Ed Adams, the dean of the college, put together with the help of the External Relations office. Together with Semadeni, the team at Heck filmed four of the several possible stories.

“We narrowed down the stories to the four that were filmed,” said Summers. “We felt they exemplified different angles of hard work, growth and achievement within the college.”

“The stories evolved as we dove into the achievements of the students,” said Jessica Goodwin. “We learned about all of the people that supported them and explored the stories from all angles.”

Behind the scenes of Arts and Comms: Behind the Stories

Photo courtesy of Heck

During filming, the crew observed strict physical distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID among their crew and interviewees. To help prevent the spread of the virus, the team hired a local crew in New York to film the pieces for the TMA and Music videos.

“The most rewarding part of the experience was getting to know the stories of the students and faculty,” said Summers. “The care and devotion [the college] faculty give to their students is incredible. Seeing their love of teaching and desire to help their students grow was inspiring.”

With the final product complete, the Heck team members all agreed that making the videos for the college was a gratifying experience. Returning to their old college and campus brought back some fun memories. 

“I got to reunite a lot of school friends from ten years ago to come work on this project,” said Phillip Goodwin. “And it was like a dream team, getting to work with my film school friends and tell stories about our college.”

Cook added that he is “forever grateful” for the doors that BYU opened to him as a filmmaker. “It is incredibly fulfilling to see BYU continue to give these students once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that also make a difference in the world,” he said.

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