TCF classes to film series 'Senior Center'

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The University of Alabama’s TCF 437 class allows the students to learn about different aspects of production. Photo courtesy of Tanner Robbins

Hannah Widener

TCF 437, Specializations in Production Management, and TCF 451, Advanced Television Production, are classes exploring how one is never too old to still experience all the romance, comedy and drama life has to offer with their new web series “Senior Center.” 

The series follows Flora, who has been dropped off at a nursing home with her ex-husband by their children, who are attempting to get the two of them back together. What the children don’t know is that Flora’s ex-husband’s mistress is also a resident at the nursing home.

“Bonnie Gross, the writer of the web series, came up with the idea of a senior center from when she used to go visit different senior centers as a Girl Scout,” said Caitlin Peterman, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film and the producer of the series. “After working on her pitch she realized even though people in retirement homes are older, they still deal with the same drama that people of all ages deal with.”

“Senior Center” will follow other characters as well, such as Marilyn, who thinks the government is after her and is always trying to escape from the home, and Jerry, an older man who always flirts with women. The class is filming four episodes, the first introducing the characters. The last episode will end with the residents putting on a Thanksgiving pageant.

Maya Champion, who teaches TCF 437, said this class allows students to learn about different aspects of a production. Each student may specialize in location, filming, breaking down scripts, craft services, scouting and auditioning or management.

“We work in conjunction with Professor Adam Schwartz’s TCF 451 television production class,” Champion said. “Everybody in my class and his class got to pitch an idea.”

The class decided to go with Gross’ idea for their series. 

Filming and production has not started yet, and the group will fly most of its actors in from New York and Los Angeles. Unlike most shows, this web series will give actors who are older a chance to act and showcase their talents, Peterman said. The class is designed to give students experience comparable to working on set before they graduate.

“The students know what is required of them and get the opportunity to treat this project as if it were a real web series job that they would work on,” Peterman said. “What we learn in these classes are the things that we are going to be doing when we first start out in the film industry. Knowing what we know upon graduation can make a major difference when applying for different jobs. The telecommunication and film department prepares us for the film industry and gives us a leg up on the competition.”

Filming is set to wrap up Dec. 9, and the series will be available in January. In the meantime, Champion said she has the privilege of sitting back and watching how hard her students are working on this project.

“My students are amazing, and they’re one of the best classes because they’re so proactive,” she said. “I sort of gave them some guidance in the beginning, and they’ve really taken all the responsibility on their own and done all the work with very little help from me. They’ve been learning through experience as they go, but they’ve been so smart and really dedicated.”