Dec 13, 2021
Florida Southern College’s film program embodies the principle of engaged learning through hands-on experiences.
Students in Prof. Tim Register’s introduction to screenwriting course, “Storytelling for the Screen,” dive into the fundamental practices of screenwriting in a myriad of ways, from group brainstorming to drafting their own screenplays.
Prof. Register prides experiential, real-world learning practices in his class. This semester, he is pushing the boundaries with his students by inviting them into the screenwriting process with the script and production materials of a television series that is set to air next year, “Preach,” a series that he wrote and produced.
“Preach” follows the ministry of a war-torn United Methodist minister, Carl ‘Preach’ MacNicol, who is gifted a chance to redeem himself as he seeks to control his inner demons. Rev. MacNicol embarks to lead his small congregation to practice selfless love within their community. Prof. Register hopes that the series will call its audience to the same loving acceptance of their neighbors in today’s world.
Modeling the spirit of teamwork, “Preach” has truly functioned as a collaborative FSC project. The series has involved FSC film students, recent graduates, and a wide range of alumni with Prof. Register at the helm.
Prof. Register regularly brings his professional projects into the classroom, allowing his students to hone their skills and react to real-world scenarios. Numerous students engage with “Preach” in hands-on, classroom learning experiences that foster skills in script writing and re-writing, acting, filming techniques, production and post-production editing, and more.
At the close of this semester, after the students in his screenwriting course had viewed and worked with materials from season one of “Preach” in both edited and raw forms, Prof. Register brought in his co-writer for the series, Glen Gonzalez. The duo led the students in brainstorming narrative arcs, script structuring, and plot pacing for season two of the show!
Throughout the process, as students pitched their ideas and worked together as a creative team, Gonzalez and Prof. Register reflected on their experiences in the writing and production processes to anchor key learning points for the students.
Gonzalez and the students discussed the differences in the writing and production processes, and he emphasized the importance of viewing the story from both angles.
“As writers, take any opportunity you can to get involved in the production process, witnessing your story come to life,” Gonzalez counseled the class.
Gonzalez and Prof. Register repeatedly reminded students to ground their creativity in the entire production team, advising flexibility in the ideation and writing process.
“The story isn’t just your own,” Gonzalez said. “At times throughout your writing and production process, a multitude of different things from production issues to audience or investor conscious will redirect and reshape aspects of your narrative. And I can promise that some of your best moments and narrative arcs will come from those shifts.”
“Exactly! You are never finished writing until it makes air,” Prof. Register agreed. “You’re not finished writing because something will happen on the set, or an actor or production assistant or member of the art department will have a better idea so that, if you’re willing to be open to it, you are never finished writing.”
“Preach” has turned out to be a huge success for Prof. Register, and none of it would have been possible without the team of FSC students, alumni, and faculty who took part in the project. A major cable network has recently purchased the show, richly returning the support of investors like Steve Maxwell and the Barnett’s. “Preach” aims to touch the hearts of a vast North American audience with its message of personal transformation and love for one’s neighbor.
Prof. Register intends to continue using the series and other film projects to build relationships with students as well as provide experiential classroom teaching moments, internship opportunities, and early career experiences for FSC film graduates.
“You know, God willing, season two of ‘Preach’ and beyond happens, so that I am able to continue incorporating my students on future projects and helping them hone their career skills,” Prof. Register said.
Learn more about engaged learning at FSC.
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