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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Students enrolled in the Film and Television Production Class at University School in Fort Lauderdale are being recognized for their film-making skills.

Out of 141 high school teams from around the country, they placed in the top four at The Student Television Network competition in March for creating a narrative film.

Each team goes in blind.  At the beginning of the competition, they’re handed an envelope with a phrase or topic, and a prop.  The film they create must incorporate both as a key element.

Inside this year’s competition envelope was the phrase “the big squeeze” and the prop they had to use was an orange.

“We all had our heads in our hands and we were just thinking ‘what are we going to do?’” said 11th grader  Eric Miller who was in charge of the team’s audio. “ How are we going to incorporate an orange in to a five minute film?”

There was so much to do.  The team had to agree on a storyline, write a script, figure out who was going to star in the film, shoot, find the right music, edit and create the graphics.

They also had to move fast because they only had 16 hours to complete the film  and the clock was ticking.

“The break came when Leon Lieberman, the main actor in the story, says ‘why don’t we make this about a restaurant worker and he’s just living a mundane life,’” said Miller.

Keeping it simple was key.  They decided on someone going through the same daily routine, day after day, looking forward to the simple pleasure of eating an orange but loses it when the store he goes to every morning to purchase the orange runs out of them.

The director said they went in well-prepared and even studied a previous entry.

“We watched it like seven times and took all the good stuff out of it and bad stuff out of it and smashed it into one and made our film,” said 10th grader Quinten O’Connell.

They also practiced with mock themes and props, using half the amount of time.  Their teacher said that gave them a lot of confidence that they could get it done in time on competition day.

“We got it in with about 10 minutes to go,” said Robert Adanto who teaches the Film and TV production Class. “Unfortunately, there were some schools who didn’t get theirs in.”

The film’s director says, he’s proud of their winning entry and their secret to success is simple.  They learned they have to work together.

And as for the future?  O’Connell said that’s simple too.

“I want to win first place next year!”


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