Department News (8-31-15)

 Beyond, a department sponsored project which was produced by Matt Seimers, student directed by Hunter Phillips, and written by Drew Duncan, was recently accepted into the New York Television Festival, one of thirteen in the Drama & Dramedy category of the Independent Pilot Competition.  See the official list of selections at  The Festival “strives to construct new and innovative paths of development and talent identification, while simultaneously complementing the traditional television development model.”  Matt and Hunter plan on attending the festival in October.


 Media arts alum Drew Duncan made it into the semi-finalist round of the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship competition with her script specs Bob’s Burgers and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Nickelodeon is one of the most prestigious fellowship programs available, with a top prize of over $50,000. Kudos to Drew for this significant recognition.


 The Film Review Database, a project that Dean Duncan has been working on for the past several years in collaboration with the Harold B. Lee Library, went live last week.  The database is available at​  Originally, Dean worked with Julie Williamsen, and has most recently been working with Elizabeth Smart, the current Humanities Librarian, to coordinate the conception and launch of the site.  Media arts alum Jeff Groberg designed and coded the site, where his background in film was a great asset.  TMA students Amanda Barwick and Hunter Phillips did tons of great work on the site as well. The tone of the site is a positive, enthusiastic approach to popular culture, but with a scholarly foundation.   The database includes over 2,000 reviews, organized alphabetically under about 300 subject headings for use by families, film scholars and students alike.  At last count the reviews totaled over a quarter of a million words!


Jeff Parkin and Jared Cardon (both co-creative directors and co-writers) have been working on an educational Alternate Reality Game (ARG) called DUST, which has been funded by a 2 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. DUST was produced by Jared Cardon of Tinder Transmedia in partnership with NASA, University of Maryland, BYU and the Smithsonian Institution. DUST targeted middle school-early high school students with an immersive gaming experience centered on the mysterious collapse of adults following a cataclysmic meteor shower. The ARG ran for 8 weeks. The experience attracted over 2000 teens from across the country, who engaged with STEM learning through a series of mobile apps, browser-based experiences and interactive motion comics, “hacking” into NASA research databases to engage in collaborative play and scientific inquiry across multiple media platforms. Jeff Parkin also served as the co-lead designer.  The project mentored a large number of interdisciplinary BYU students, including many from TMA, who worked on the game through the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration. The game will re-launch in 2016 as free experience for educators and classrooms to use in STEM education. See more at NASA.

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Rory Scanlon was recently featured in a BYU news release in August:  The article highlights his work over the past “15 years pouring through archeological and anthropological records to discover what people dressed like during Bible and Book of Mormon times.” According to the article , Rory “used the help of more than 21 research assistants to compile nearly 1000 works into easy-to-use clothing guides.  The guides give a clothing history of ancient people. They also contain timelines of the cultures mentioned in the Bible and Book of Mormon and compare them to archeological records.” “The common Bible and Book of Mormon representations we see are typically inaccurate,” Scanlon said. “I was disappointed when I found out, so I started doing my own research. That research evolved over 15 years to be the expansive project it is today.”   Final_RoryS_V1_MG_0235

Moroni (Hill Cumorah)


The 4th Wall Dramaturgy has written two posts to illustrate the upcoming production of BYU Young Company’s Water Sings Bluewhich premieres September 25. Water Sings Blue is based on the book by Kate Coombs and is adapted and directed by Teresa Dayley Love. This “highly interactive show” involves audience participation and the art of visual comedy. To read more, visit You can purchase tickets by clicking here.


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