Ohio University graduate John Swartz inspired students to start the film company Spin Cycle Films
Originally published in The Post.
Spin Cycle Films, a student-run film company, has already produced five videos available on its YouTube channel.
Kyle Henke, a sophomore studying screenwriting and producing, is following in the footsteps of John Swartz, an Ohio University alumnus and co-producer of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens.
“He told me he pretty much did exactly this: He got a bunch of his buddies together, and they all made films,” Henke said.
Last year, Henke and his friends decided to start their own film company — Spin Cycle Films — after meeting Swartz during their spring break trip to Los Angeles.
“When I got to talking to him, I was basically writing down everything he said and came back with the idea to try to duplicate what he did," Henke said. "Basically, the whole week kick-started the idea ahead one gear, and we started doing it."
The idea behind Spin Cycle Films came about from the first film the group created during last year’s 48-Hour Shootout, when teams make a short film within 48 hours.
“We did a kung fu movie in a laundromat and called it Spin Cycle,” Henke said. “The name kind of stuck around because we couldn't think of anything better to be honest.”
Since then, the film company has also made Support Group and Bowling for Sarah, a short Henke said was inspired by a scene he witnessed at a bowling alley.
"We've done a few other shorts in the time between,” Henke said. “A few of us just did a Doritos commercial, so we've been keeping busy."
Spin Cycle Films is also working on a 15-minute film titled One Stop Shop, which is set to release in January 2016.
“The basic premise of it is that a kid goes into a candy store and befriends the clerk behind the counter, and through a series of events the kid finds out that the clerk is selling more than just candy,” Henke said. “From there it goes on, but I don't want to ruin it."
The students not only record short films, but also documentaries.
“We shot a documentary in Cincinnati about the fire department and just going around there meeting the firemen and going to the firehouses was really interesting,” Logan Fouss, a sophomore studying screenwriting and producing, said. “I guess just going to another city bigger than Athens and adapting to that was a really good experience, and I’m hoping we can do more of that.”
The company wants to diversify the way it creates films.
“In our group, we really don’t want to stay in one format or one genre,” Fouss said. “We kind of want to expand and do different projects.”
While members of Spin Cycle have fun with the projects, they are also learning the business aspect of being in the film industry.
“Yes, we’re a group of friends, but we do operate on a very professional level I would say,” Patrick Evans, a sophomore studying integrated media, said. “We’re definitely doing more than what a lot of people in our major are currently doing, and I am glad to be a part of that.”
Audiences are one of the reasons the students make films, but it isn’t the main reason they create them.
“Personally, going out to LA was a big kick in the butt saying, 'Get up and do it because we only have four years here,' ” Henke said. “I just want people to see that we’re taking advantage of an opportunity and that they can too. It’s not the hardest thing in the world to get off your butt and do anything it is you want to do.”