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Filmaker and Teacher 2



On the Set

Perkins and his wife, Frances, also a filmmaker and an instructor at UW Fond du Lac, practice the all-hands-on-deck teaching method. The husband-and-wife team believes in their teaching mission so much that they have shelled out more than $10,000 of their own money to cover past production costs. They rely on grants, donations and the kindness of industry professionals such as Mike Hartzel, film professional from Minneapolis and an UW Oshkosh alumnus. Hartzel has used his vacation time to be the director of photography on several productions.

"When my wife Frances, who is also a producer, and I decided to do our first production during the summer of 2005, we decided that we either could do it with no budget, hardly any crew and do it ourselves, or we could bring in students," Perkins says. "It is going to cost us some more money, but it's going to create this wonderful collaboration that for us in the long term will pay dividends."

Once on the set, Perkins wears only his directing hat. “It’s very much a teacher-student relationship in preproduction, but once we’re in production, we all become filmmakers,” he says.


Tractor for Sale

a honky tonk tale of love, loss... and a tractor

the story of a farmer who has forgotten his wedding anniversary and has to sell off his prized tractor for money to buy a gift for his wife - this is when the adventure begins...

22 Minutes - Black & White

written & directed by Troy Perkins
produced by Frances Perkins
cinematography by Mike Hartzel
music by The Honky Tonk Twisters

starring:  Fran St. Andre, Kathy Hannah, Dannon Raith, Chris Greuel, Bob Ekdahl, Gary Zurbachen, Abby Koker

video platform video management video solutionsvideo player

From Student to Filmmaker

By the third day of the shoot, Perkins can feel a change in the air.  "Probably the most exciting thing about these productions aside from seeing the actors perform the words that I've written are the students taking that step, seeing them change before your eyes from student to professional filmmaker," he says. "It's at that point that they start telling me what I should be doing. And they start saying, 'Wait, you missed that,' or 'Listen we have five minutes and we have to get the shot off if we want to make the day.'"

RTF student J.P. Russell doesn't mind the grueling schedule of a professional shoot. "Troy gives the positions of responsibility to students and expects them to come through and do their job," he says. "It's really cool to say I was assistant camera on this indie film shoot."

Field work: Bryce Scherer, 1st AC (assistant camera), Mike Hartzel, Director of Photography on camera, Justin Bricco, actor in background, and Nate Haban, 2nd AC with the clapper on the set of Brothers.

Russell says that professional experience will benefit him when he's looking for job after graduation. "Being in the media industry, you have to have a reel of some sort, and very often with employers, you're just showing your student reel," he says. "That may not impress them all that much. But with Troy's project, you can actually show them the product, and it's not just you and your friends out there with a Handycam. It's an actual professional shoot that you've been on and that you've had a big position on and you were able to make that project happen."




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