Posted: October 29, 2017 at 9:47 pm

 

 

WVU Senior Creates Student Based Production Company 

By Rachel Teter

Mad Street Productions is a student-run videography company that started as a way to pay the bills and make extra spending money.  However, within the last year, the small production company started representing big-name clienteles like West Virginia University’s football team.

Sam Thompson, a senior in the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University, is focusing on multidisciplinary studies. He began his college career believing broadcast journalism was his future, but after attending a meeting with the university’s film club he realized his true passion was the film industry.

Thompson said his life changed when he wrote his first script. He admits that it was difficult at first but then the words kept coming and one script after another was churned out.

“It started by just looking at a poster and thinking, ‘Oh that could be interesting.’ and that just sparked something inside me that’s been burning ever since,” Thompson said with a smile.

When the film club needed help staying active on campus, Thompson reached out to Eric Minor to be the club’s advisor. Minor is the Reed College Director of Student Careers and Opportunities.

Minor met Thompson when he was a sophomore broadcast journalism student in his JRL 386 class. He laughed saying that they butted heads a few times in class because Thompson wanted to focus on the art of filming and less on the journalistic style required for the course.

 

“The first video project in that class is supposed to be a simple sequential story. Sam and his partner in the class produced a hilarious short about the struggle to fold fitted sheets,” Minor said. “I wasn’t yet an experienced enough teacher to help him get the most of the class.”

Minor agreed to be the advisor for the club but had no idea how far the club would take Thompson.

“He was expecting students and what he got were professional videographers,” Thompson said. “We worked back and forth about a club concept and we had to show him what we were capable of.”

The club does not focus on watching films as it had done in the past. Thompson wanted the members to have hands-on experience making films.

Thompson refused to stop at the film club, though. He wanted to dive into his film career as soon as possible, thus the company Mad Street Productions was born.

The production company started as a way for Thompson and his friend’s Mikey D’Amico and to make money from videography as well as gain real-world experience.

“We needed money to obviously survive, pay rent, pay for food, gas… all of that fun adult stuff,” Thompson laughed.

Thompson did not want to have to work a nine-to-five job during the week when he could be honing his craft and getting paid to do something he loved.

“The production company pretty much was as a way to survive, but honestly if you don’t focus full time on it then you’re never going to be full time at it.”

Mad Street Productions has had gigs working on recruitment videos for sororities. Thompson said they could make up to $1,500 working on those videos, but they also took upwards of 30 to 75 hours to edit.

They are currently working with the WVU football team, mainly making their short social media teasers.

PAYING THE BILLS: Self-taught and self-motivated, one WVU senior is proving that paying your bills in college doesn’t mean putting your dreams on the back burner. By Megan Bsharah

Thompson said it all started with seeing a tweet about a job opportunity, and now they are sharing the field with the Mountaineers.

With a passion for not only film but football as well, Thompson had found a dream job opportunity.

“I’ve loved football for years and to be able to work with the football team while doing what I love has been a surreal experience,” Thompson said. “I don’t even know two and a half years ago that I liked film and to be doing what I am doing right now blows my mind.”

Multimedia Specialist at West Virginia University Football Douglas Cross, noticed how passionate Thompson was about the film industry when they first met.

“The work Mad Street is doing for West Virginia football has already exceeded expectations and we are excited to grow their involvement developing content for us in the future,” Cross said.

With a personal goal to make a career as a writer and director, this small production company has brought life-changing opportunities Thompson’s way.

Thompson doesn’t believe that the production company has any huge plans for the future because they want to stay open-minded to changes.

“For me, personally, the end game in this is just to make money to survive,” Thompson said. “I need to get from one student loan payment to the next until I find a bigger opportunity and we can all go out and make more money and do bigger things.”

Thompson wants his peers to open up to the possibility that jobs in college do not have to just be something that puts food on your table or fills your car with gas.

“Just do it. Whatever you want to do, just do it.” Thompson said. “I know it sounds so simple and so stupid but everyone can say they want to do something but most won’t actually do it.”

Thompson said it can be overwhelming to start. “You put it off until ‘this happens’ or until you find someone that can help you or until you learn something new.”

“Then you just keep waiting for that day to come and maybe it never does,” He smiled. “It’s better to at least go down swinging than just go down and standing with your hands at your side.”