While many twenty-something-year-olds are discovering what they want to do with the rest of their lives, there are some young men and women who have been fortunate enough to determine their paths early on. And at twenty-one years old, senior Carley Burgess has discovered that her greatest passion is working in the film industry. As she plans to pursue this aspiration, she still has a variety of career paths she is also considering.
“Right now, I have a lot of dream jobs,” Burgess said. “Writing for Pixar, filming for National Geographic, writing and directing a feature film or doing videography for a nonprofit. I think to sum it up accurately, I want to make a difference in the film industry, especially for women in film. In the next year, I plan to move to Atlanta to help accomplish one of those dreams, but for now I hope to work on as many films as I can and help promote women in film.”
By earning a degree in media and information with a minor in fiction filmmaking from Michigan State University, Burgess is doing just that. After enrolling in her senior capstone class “Creating the Fiction Film” with professors Bob Albers and Jeff Wray, she has been given an opportunity to work on a special project that has not only impacted her college career but has also influenced her experience as a burgeoning woman in the film industry.
In this class, Burgess has become one of the many Spartans involved with the production of On The Way Up, a 25-minute short film debuting in late April. It was even her idea that sparked the creation of the film.
“Every individual in class had the chance to pitch an idea that we would develop into a short film,” Burgess said. “Once we all presented, we then went through a voting process which then later concluded into picking my idea for the film.”
Written by Burgess, Colin Riley and Colin Williams, the film is based on the story of Sophia, a young woman who is forced to reevaluate her relationship with her boyfriend as well as reassess her own life after his attempted suicide.
“I’m most excited for people to watch and hopefully understand Sophia’s story,” Burgess said. “I believe a lot of people could relate to her life, being in the position that she is in in the film.”
With 16 students officially enrolled in the class, Ryan Besel, co-producer for On The Way Up, explained that there are at least three times the amount of people involved with the film. He, along with the rest of his team, is more than appreciative for everyone that has been involved.
“The thing that excites me most is for people to be able to see all the hard work each and every one of us put into this project,” Besel said. “I can’t wait to finally share it with the world and get feedback that will undoubtedly be less critical than our own. We all had very high standards for this film and I hope that shows at the premiere.”
For Burgess and Besel, this film has become quite the accomplishment. With a lot of time spent directing, writing, casting, editing and promoting the film, they could not be more excited for its one-night premiere in the end of April, followed by showings at several film festivals, one being the Traverse City Film Festival.
“I hope that On the Way Up will help people as much as it’s helped me,” Burgess said. “My fellow classmates and I have put in hours and hours of hard work to tell this story.”
For more information, follow the film on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook @OnTheWayUpFilm.