Students learn about future of film industry


The film industry is synonymous with the bright lights and big city that come with the glamour of Hollywood. Actors, actresses and directors are household names, and yearly awards shows honor the best films of the year.

This stereotype can be intimidating for people looking to enter the industry, but Ryan Bruce, graduate student in English, and Bret Palmer, a former K-State student, spoke in Nichols Hall to a group of students about their experience starting a creative production company, Element 35.

Bruce and Palmer are co-artisic directors of Element 35, and are currently living in Manhattan and Kansas City respectively while trying to start their company.

“If you want to make a film in Kansas it’s so much more accessible here, I can just go to a bar and after 30 minutes the owner will be like ‘yeah, you can use this place,’ whereas in Chicago I’d have to get a permit and bribe somebody,” Palmer said.

The company’s focus is currently split between films and photography, but the pair said they want to grow the film aspect, and their goal is to create a feature length film.

At any given time, Element 35 is working on several different short film projects, and Bruce said he and Palmer pick projects based on how the short films contribute to their skill set necessary for the feature length film.

Bruce said they mainly use K-State alumni and students for the films, but if more actors are necessary they use their relationship with K-Staters to recruit other actors.

“When we started filming, people came out of the wood work and said, ‘you’re filming?'” Bruce said.

The presentation was geared toward showing students that working in film is a real possibility, and students need to utilize their resources and networks.

Some of the clips shown to the audience were filmed with an iPhone.

“The technology is so accessible now, some of it is in your cellphones,” Palmer said.

Bruce echoed Palmer’s message of attainability and held up one of the cameras they brought as an example.

“All the technology is out there,” Bruce said. “Parts of Black Swan were filmed on this exact same camera.”

Palmer and Bruce met at K-State, and said a theater major was a positive for potential directors and producers because theater teaches students how to write a good story.

Neither Palmer or Bruce have been to film school, but Palmer said they have made enough money so far to cover expenses and to upgrade equipment.

“It helps to have a solid website,” Palmer said. “People don’t know our backgrounds, we’re theater people; if they like the work they contact us and we just say ‘we’re professionals’ with some fervency.”

Nahshon Ruffin, junior in theater, said she enjoyed the presentation.

“I’m in theater, a lot of people don’t think there is any future in theater, but there is if you’re passionate,” Ruffin said.