JumpView debuts “Campus Life” movie starring FDU
Scenes from 'Campus Life' include (clockwise from left): Becca (Hannah Hodson) trying to escape through the library, Ari (Jesse McCartney) removing glass from his skull and Ari, Arun (Ritesh Rajan) and Becca making a run for it. (All film stills courtesy of JumpView)
By Kenna Caprio
For 18 days in July 2012, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham played host to cast, crew and cameras.
Now, eight months later, members of the FDU community can watch the finished film, “Campus Life,” on JumpView for free for a limited time.
JumpView co-creator Michael Simon likens the platform to Netflix, with the potential to stream all kinds of film and television. Just like “movies on demand” through television providers, regular viewers can watch for just $3.99. The original concept for JumpView came from co-founder Kenneth Waddell.
“What we (the film industry) do today is just take television and film and stick it on the Internet, assuming that people will enjoy it,” says Waddell, who also directed and co-wrote “Campus Life.” “We’re not taking advantage of everything that the Internet offers — the ‘me-centric’ way we consume.”
Essentially, users watch a short “start film” and then can build their own viewing experience, choosing to follow characters and watch scenes that take place before or after the start film. Viewers have to follow two characters’ storylines all the way through to unlock the “end film.”
“JumpView frees us from the confines of the way we watch and engage with film content today,” says Waddell. “It gives viewers a brand-new way to watch and brand-new content for this format.”
The thriller “Campus Life” is the first content to grace the platform.
From Monday, March 25 to Monday, April 8, members of the FDU community can take advantage of an exclusive offer to watch for free.
Both Simon and Waddell suggest that viewers watch the JumpView tutorial first to get a sense of the platform before diving in.
“The start film occurs in the middle of our story,” says Simon. “At the end of the frat party, one of the characters literally explodes into thin air. And only four people see it. From there you can go back in time and watch all the characters’ stories unfold up to this moment or you can keep going forwards in the story. The more characters you watch, the deeper and more exciting the mystery becomes.”
The backdrop for that mystery is FDU and specifically, Hennessy Hall, which masquerades as a fraternity house in the start film.
Directors chairs decorate the College at Florham lawn in July 2012. Below, director Kenneth Waddell (in green) works with cast and crew. (Photos by Dan Landau)
But the Florham campus played an even bigger part in the movie — one often behind the scenes. More than 30 FDU students and alumni contributed to the film, mostly by working as extras and production assistants. Some took bit parts as actors.
“We hired (sophomore and theater major) Courtnee Basista as the FDU casting director,” says Simon. She was in charge of getting all the student bit player auditions and then telling us which ones she thought were best. She did an amazing job.”
Students also contributed ideas and suggestions to the production, relying on their knowledge of campus to enhance the film.
“We had FDU students jumping on board to work on the crew and be extras — it was like a home for us the whole time we were there. The mansion is like a character in ‘Campus Life,’” says Waddell.
Waddell is proud that “Campus Life” provided an opportunity for film students to get hands-on production experience.
“What I hope we passed on to the students, is the practical sense of ‘here’s what you do’ (to make a movie) and the excitement of doing something new,” says Waddell. “Hopefully, they walked away with a positive sense of ‘this can be done.’”
Simon hedges that if “Campus Life” does well and fans respond in kind, JumpView would be open to making “Campus Life 2” and filming again at FDU.
To take advantage of the JumpView offer, visit the website and click on “Campus Life.” Watch the free preview, which includes the start film and two clips of choice. To see the rest, hit “purchase film.” No credit card needed, just enter “FDU” in the coupon code field. Hit apply, and then submit. Pop some popcorn and dim the lights, because it's show time!