This May, eight Trevecca film and television students traveled to Midlothian, Texas, for a unique opportunity to visit the set of “The Chosen” and learn about what it takes to create and produce a successful television series.
“We were blessed to have the opportunity to spend time inside the soundstage and explore many of the sets used for the show,” said Trevecca associate professor of film and television Seth Conley, who coordinated the trip and accompanied the students. “We were also able to tour and chat with the costuming department and visit the city set for Capernaum, a full outdoor city with houses, markets, a boat dock on the lake, city walls, stables and a synagogue.”
Students had the opportunity to speak with those involved and get an up close and personal look at the degree of professionalism and skill it takes to work on a set.
“They shadowed in the area where the director of photography, script supervisors and others were monitoring the footage,” Conley said. “They also got to watch several hours of the shooting of scenes. They saw the director on set, heard the first assistant director call the shot, watched the set dresser prep the set for each new camera angle and much more. They got to see how a professional set is run quickly and efficiently.”
The Trevecca team was impressed by how welcoming the cast and crew members were, taking time to learn more about them and even inviting them to participate between scenes, a rarity in the closed and fast-paced world of television.
“Often film and television sets can be challenging to work on, but the culture for ‘The Chosen’ is quite a bit different. The crew was incredibly professional and remarkably specialized but still took time to welcome us on set,” Conley said. “We met so many people who took the time to come over and introduce themselves. One actor took it upon himself to learn our students' names while the set dresser allowed our students to help out during scene changes.”
Students applied and were selected for the visit with the understanding they would watch all three seasons of the show and participate in research and presentations leading up to the trip.
According to Carter Adams, a junior film and television major, the camaraderie between the students on the trip was one of the most enriching parts of the experience.
“It was cool because we all want to pursue this kind of career, so it was special to go through the actual experience with a bunch of people who were very passionate about it,” Adams said. “We would head back to the hotel at the end of the day and talk about everything we got to experience.”
For Lara Augustine, another junior film and television major, the trip served as a source of encouragement as she considers a future in the industry.
“The opportunity to be on a full-scale film set was unlike any experience I have ever had. To be able to see the things I have been learning these past few years being done by professionals in the field gave me a new perspective,” Augustine said. “Seeing the working set in action was a reminder of the dedication and patience this work takes, and it made me more excited to grow and learn.”
Conley said the students have described the experience as surreal. He believes the trip was successful in helping them become more confident in their understanding of the work that takes place on a set and the concepts of communicating and executing the vision for a production.
“The Chosen” follows the life of Jesus through the eyes of those who knew him best and has found an unprecedented following for a Christian show, garnering more than 300 million views worldwide. Adam Drake, a Trevecca alumnus, serves as first assistant director and arranged for the visit.