Sitcom a collaboration between film, theatre students

February 09, 2009

An initiative combining the talents of Penn State students from the College of Communications and the College of Arts and Architecture is under way to produce a sitcom that will make its debut online and on Penn State Network Television (PSN-TV) later this semester.

With guidance from faculty advisers Naomi McCormack, an assistant professor in the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies, and Dan Carter, director of the School of Theatre, both film and theatre students have been in charge of writing, filming, producing, editing and acting in Penn State’s first continuing episodic situation comedy.

“I’ve been trying to get this idea off the ground for almost 20 years at three different universities,” Carter said. “It originally was conceived as a television series, but was fraught with difficulties because television has such specific requirements. Then Thom Woodley, a 2000 graduate of both film and theatre at Penn State, pioneered Web-based series, and that model made this suddenly doable.”

“Sitcom 304” is about a group of college students living together in a house at an unnamed university. Described as a college-level “Friends,” the show revolves around six roommates who all have quirky characteristics and are learning to deal with the problems of men and women living together. The title, “304,” comes from the address of the house.

“This is a very big part of something we’d like to develop -- a collaboration between theatre and film,” McCormack said. “This is beneficial for both colleges, and we’re hoping to see the idea develop and continue.”

Students from both colleges involved in the sitcom can receive independent study credits, and McCormack is working on making the project into an official cross-listed communications and theatre course.

“Film students need good actors and usually can’t find them, and theatre students love acting in front of cameras,” said Joseph Buszka, a senior science major, film studies minor and executive producer for the show. “All the film classes I’ve taken have been extremely beneficial, but this is the most hands-on and the biggest challenge to organize. It’s really come a long way, and there’s a lot of experience to be gained from this as a class.”

Three episodes of “Sitcom 304” have been filmed, and those involved with the series encourage people to attend tapings in the Pavilion Theatre on campus to be part of the live studio audience.

Upcoming taping dates/times are:

  • Friday, Feb. 13, 8 p.m.;
  • Saturday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m.;
  • Friday, March 20, 8 p.m.; and
  • Saturday, March 21, 8 p.m.
  • On-camera and behind-the-scenes personnel discuss details before a taping an episode of the show.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010