Dodge College often gives its students the opportunity to travel the world, to see exotic places, and to capture it all within their film lens. However, there are plenty of times that we also play host to students from all over the globe, to learn about how films are made here.

The last two weeks were one of those times, where in conjunction with the Seoul Institute of the Arts, several Korean students stayed with us to learn more about American filmmaking culture. The class, taught by Professor Tom McLoughlin here, is made up of two parts: the first, where Chapman students travel to Korea, and the second, where the Korean students come here.

seoul arts exchange

The goal of the course is to produce a short film in each country, using the tools and crew that the class has at its disposal, while also allowing students on both ends to get a taste of the culture.

Before the class even began, both sides met via Skype, to begin discussing their scripts and also their itineraries.

“It is very different when compared to typical Chapman productions because the Dodge director and DP actually made the film in Seoul, while we produced the film for the Korean director and DP,” said Michael Stanziale (BFA/Creative Producing ’17).

The groups were tasked with all the usual pre-production work for making a movie: casting, location scouting, scheduling, budgets, and more, all while two of their key creatives were 16 hours ahead on the other side of the world.

“You can imagine how tricky it is to line up Skype calls, let alone make a film together!” said Stanziale.

seoul arts exchange

However, aside from just making the film, the students all agree that it is a lot more than that. Being able to immerse yourself in the culture through their food, their lifestyle, their art, and more, is a valuable experience. It also teaches the students how to communicate creatively, given the language barrier between the two countries.

While the Korean students were here, they were given time to explore Chapman University, and Orange, along with the greater Los Angeles area. McLoughlin also took them on excursions to Universal Studios, Warner Bros. Studios, Panavision, Fotokem, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, the Hollywood walk of fame, and a Dodgers game.

“However, the one thing they are most excited about was In-N-Out!” said Stanziale.

seoul arts exchange

While over in Korea, the Chapman students were able to experience a different way of life, and really see how the country is different than here. They were even able to visit a de-militarized zone that forms the border between South and North Korea.

“As part of this excursion, we visited US military checkpoints, the Joint Security Area, and technically crossed about 6 feet into Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It is just one of those things that few people will get to do in their lifetimes and was jam packed with fascinating history,” said Stanziale.

But what Stanziale took away most is that young people are young people, no matter where they are.

“Our lives are drastically different and yet we have so many of the same interests and general angsty adolescent feelings,” he said.

seoul arts exchange

While at the end of the day, both sides did get into spirited debates as to how the films should go, in the end, they were able to negotiate and decide what would work best for all of them.

Overall, though, these are the types of experiences that Chapman University, and Dodge College, love to offer their students, in order to help them gain real-world experience. We have plenty of fantastic travel courses coming up, so be sure to keep an eye out for these exciting opportunities!