Inside the Artist’s Studio: Getting behind the lens of student filmmaker Scott Kulicke

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Author: Jeremy Childs

Scott Kulicke arrived at Occidental with plans to study creative writing; a few short years later, he’s already stepping into the film industry as a screenwriter and filmmaker. Along with fellow seniors Ian Bradley and Joey Massari, Kulicke has shot two videos for Programming Board this year, operating under the shoestring budget characteristic of student films.

“It makes you get creative when you’re working with a budget of what you’ve got in your pocket,” Kulicke said.

Between Occidental’s student-run television series, unique Media Arts and Culture (MAC) program and location near the heart of the American movie industry, independent filmmaking has always had a presence on campus. A recent collaboration between Occidental’s Programming Board and the three MAC seniors has brought student film under a new spotlight.

All three students fulfill a different role during production: Bradley directs, Kulicke films and Massari edits. They take turns performing in front of the camera and have started enlisting their peers to join them. Their latest projects
promote Programming Board’s major student events: September’s on-campus dance “GLOW” and the upcoming fall concert featuring Chance the Rapper. The videos have now amassed a combined total of over 1,400 views, a sign of popularity among the greater student body.

According to Kulicke, the three found inspiration for the GLOW promo when they saw a video of Kate Upton dancing to “Cat Daddy” by The Rej3ctz. They decided to emulate the video by having a shirtless Massari hold glowsticks and pose as a bikini-clad Upton. Kulicke has cited the video as his favorite project to date.

“It was a hitter on campus certainly and [Programming Board] liked it,” Kulicke said. “They’re our employers now.”

For Kulicke, the decision to become a filmmaker was not an immediate one. Originally an English and Comparative Literary Studies (ECLS) major, Kulicke found that he was dissatisfied with the department’s lack of creative writing opportunities. With ECLS classes’ intense focus on literary criticism and analysis, Kulicke felt the major offered few chances for students to display their own creative works.

“I knew one of the forms [of writing] I wanted to do was screenwriting. I was frustrated with the [ECLS] department because I started to want to share my stuff with the Oxy community, and I had a hard time finding an outlet for that,” Kulicke said.

Now a MAC major with a screenwriting emphasis, Kulicke is pleased to have the chance to make videos with his friends and broadcast them to the student body for immediate feedback.

“I’m doing stuff in a way I’ve never done in my life. I’m working on projects. I have an output that’s entirely my own. It’s a sense of productiveness,” Kulicke said.

Upcoming projects for Kulicke include a music video for student-band Campus Security, a biweekly CatAList show featuring RAW Records artists and more promo videos for Programming Board. He is also working on a feature-length screenplay for his senior comprehensive project.

Kulicke encourages other students to collaborate with filmmakers on campus as well.

“Even though we’re super busy, everyone in the film department is always really happy to sign up for one more thing. If people want a video component, just walk over to Weingart – there are students that are eager to work,” Kulicke said.

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