The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • 12:44 am
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • 12:44 am
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

SCENE@Pitt connects, inspires aspiring student filmmakers

The+executive+board+of+SCENE%40Pitt+poses+for+a+selfie+during+a+meeting.%0A
Courtesy of SCENE@Pitt
The executive board of SCENE@Pitt poses for a selfie during a meeting.

The film industry is a competitive field, so it is important for aspiring creatives to have a supportive environment that allows them to grow their connections and share their work, according to Hannah Burns. She said the Steel City Entertainment Networking Entity at Pitt has helped her make lasting connections with peers and professionals in the film industry.

“I’ve been able to work on as many student projects as I can, collaborate with new people, and learn how to face fears and send emails to people to connect with them because of SCENE@Pitt,” Burns, a senior film production major, said.

Burns said the SCENE@Pitt originated in the 2000s as “Pitt in Hollywood” but dwindled in members about five years ago. Film students revamped the club two years ago, and Burns joined as the vice president in the fall of 2022. 

“The mission of the club is to foster a collaborative culture in the film community at Pitt and connect students with people in the film industry,” Burns said. 

The club meets once a week, and meetings include anything from game nights to guest speakers to workshops. Julia Orff, a senior double major in film and communications, said her favorite workshop focused on story writing.

“I’m an aspiring screenwriter, so one of my favorite workshops we’ve done has been a story workshop where we got to work together,” Orff said. “We pitched some ideas and came up with creative stories, characters and plotlines. It was really fun.”

Max Christopher, a sophomore supply chain management and marketing double major and business manager of the club, got an internship last summer with a production company called “Goat Milk Fudge” through people he met at SCENE@Pitt.  

“I found out about an internship because a club member had recommended someone to me,” Christopher said. “I applied on the website and I got the internship.”

Burns said her favorite guest speakers were Pitt alumni who came back to talk about their feature film that premiered in Pittsburgh in 2020. She found their presentation “helpful” as someone who’s interested in the camera department of filmmaking.

“Sam McCoy, Hayley Ulmer and Sam Orlowski collaborated and made a feature film while they were at Pitt,” Burns said. “They came back to talk about what the process of producing the film and getting it funded was like.”

While the club’s reinstatement found success, Burns said it took a lot of work to bring the club fully back to life.

“Our past president, Aditi Sridhar, was awesome at getting people involved and making it a very welcoming space for the film community at Pitt,” Burns said. “We brought in local filmmakers and held workshops and panels and it kept people engaged. It was a bit of a process, but it worked.”

Orff said the club usually sees about 30 members per meeting, but there are more if they’re having a special event. She added that many of the members are film majors, but all majors are welcome to join.

“We see a lot of film majors,” Burns said. “We also see a lot of communications and theater majors and a lot of film minors. I know a couple of people who are dual majoring in business and film as well.”

Christopher said Pitt’s film community is on the smaller side, so SCENE@Pitt strives to help students within the community succeed. He described his experience in the club as “fun,” and added that the workshops and events have given him a chance to meet people and collaborate on projects.

“Pitt isn’t really a film school, not in the same way that USC and NYU are, so it’s good because people aren’t as competitive, but there’s definitely less people and less resources,” Christopher said. “Everyone in the club is looking out for each other and trying to help and collaborate with one another.” 

Orff said she feels inspired and supported by the other club members because they “make the best out of the resources they have.”

“In terms of equipment and connections, Pitt doesn’t have the same resources as big film schools in Los Angeles or New York,” Orff said. “What we do have is a lot of passionate students that truly want to go into filmmaking. When you bring those people together, I think really great things can happen.”

Orff encourages anyone who’s interested in film and TV to join SCENE@Pitt.

“SCENE is a great place. It’s a warm, welcoming environment that is really inviting everyone who’s interested in movies, film and TV,” Orff said.