Media teacher at Riverside secondary school, Mike Schoenhals is collaborating with other media and drama teachers across British Columbia on the production of a live-action-comedy film based on the well-known role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. The film will be submitted to a multitude of film festivals across all North America at the end of the school year.
This local specialist group has been working together for 18 years, making a high-quality original film every year, except for recent years because of Covid-19’s interruption. The group is composed of 12 current members who are media or drama teachers from various schools and districts in BC, or friends of group members who have the necessary skills and experience. Although the core group has been together for 18 years, new members come and go. The current production is written and directed by Schoenhals and features nine actors, many of whom also take on roles behind the camera due to the small size of the group.
For this group, the process of making a film usually lasts as long as the school year. September and October is the start time for planning and script writing, and the rest of the year is slated for shooting and editing the film; this latter part goes throughout or up until May or June. When they usually finish production and are ready, they submit the film to festivals. The group is on schedule and is making good progress in completing their goal. “We are more than halfway, but we still have a good chunk left, so around 60 percent finished,” said Schoenhals. “The lack of budget pushes us to get really creative with how we get resources and equipment.”
“The lack of budget pushes us to get really creative with how we get resources and equipment.”
Making this film comes with many challenges, the main one being a zero-dollar budget, meaning that all equipment, props, and costumes would have to be improvised out of things that they own or acquired through connections with people they know. Having no budget, however, has not lowered the quality of the film as shown in image A. “The lack of budget pushes us to get really creative with how we get resources and equipment,” said Schoenhals.
The film is expected to perform well and can be viewed along with previous films from this group on Mike Schoenhals’ website using the password rapids. This will be a new experience for the group as this will be their first-time combining animation with live action in a film, but the results will be far from disappointing. The production looks like it will be completed and ready to present for June! Get ready and excited for what Schoenhals calls, “probably our best film yet!”