Sophomore Brendan Nyhan, a theatre major, is pursuing a career in film and acting. He has big plans for his future career after graduation, involving his dream to be a professional actor.
Originally from San Diego, he said he hopes to move to Burbank, Calif., near Hollywood to find an agent and pursue acting in the film industry capital of America. He said he hopes to break into the drama film genre, but sees comedy as his fallback plan.
“My passion is for drama, but comedy is really what I’m good at,” Nyhan said.
Prior to this year, Nyhan had planned to transfer from Whitworth to another school because Whitworth has not created a film major or minor program for students interested in acting on-screen as opposed to on-stage.
Though Whitworth does not currently have a degree program in film production and acting, several professors and departments offer courses to make up for the lack.
Theatre department instructor Brooke Kiener recommends the Acting for the Camera course for students with interests similar to Nyhan’s.
“It’s a one-credit class that’s open to anyone on the campus,” Kiener said.
Kiener said experience in film and acting is not necessary, but it does help to have a background in that area.
“We are mostly investigating audition techniques,” Kiener said. “We use some television and movie [techniques], all of which I have used in my experience.”
Kiener said the department isn’t lacking in its focus on camera-acting work; some classes they offer encompass the skills and techniques necessary for students who want to go on to work in movies or television after graduation.
“We don’t have any plans to offer any coursework for people who want to go into television,” Kiener said. “But many of our students do go on to do TV work.”
She mentioned that everything taught in those programs gives students the basic skills they need to work in TV or other acting facets.
The theatre department is not the only one incorporating film-related classes for students; the English department also offers courses such as Intro to Film Studies and World Cinema, which both give students insight into the literary aspects of film careers. Though those courses do offer the in-depth study of films, they are not focused on the acting and production elements of film-making.
Nyhan said he hopes to expand on those course options to give students a chance to understand film-making from a production standpoint. With the help of professor and film enthusiast Leonard Oakland, Nyhan was able to create his own opportunities to learn more about film at Whitworth and to give other students with similar interests a chance to join in.
He created the new Film Club this year at Whitworth. He said he hopes to give other students interested in acting a place to exercise their passions and develop their skills in film production before graduation.
Nyhan’s film club has inspired others to join in, including senior David Dennis who is the treasurer of the film club this year.
Dennis is a journalism and mass communication major who has a passion for film production. He said he hopes to work in that industry after graduation.
“I’ve loved movies my whole life and my intention is to work in film after graduation,” Dennis said. “I would probably go into the producing side of it.”
Dennis said many students wanted to become active members of the Film Club once it started, which shows that there was a definite interest among Whitworth students.
“The Film Club is a good way for students to start doing that [learning about film production],” Dennis said.
Since the club has been such a success with students already, the group has many different skill sets to bring to the table including equipment, writing, acting and producing skills. The club will soon begin to create and produce a short film, featuring the unique abilities of the students involved.
For those interested in learning more about the film club, contact Brendan Nyhan at firstname.lastname@example.org or David Dennis at email@example.com.
By Rachel O’Kelley
Graphic: Eva Kiviranta