The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (OURCA) offers some amazing funding opportunities, including the prestigious Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. This program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue research and creative activity under guidance from full-time faculty mentors during the summer. Accepted applicants are paid to work for ten weeks with their mentor and alongside students of similar ambition and varied disciplines as they attend professional workshops and faculty seminars.
One such fellow from SURF 2016 was Sho Shrock-Manabe, ‘19. A Creative Producing major at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Sho spent the majority of last summer working on his film project, tentatively titled, “The Harvest: A Virtual Reality Experience.” Sho first had the idea for this virtual reality (VR) horror experience more than a year earlier, when he became fascinated with the idea that, if you look at a corner long enough, things will start to appear on the edges of your vision.
Since that kernel of an idea, the project has expanded to become an interactive, cinematic virtual reality experience, with an eight-person team behind the scenes.
follows the protagonist—YOU, the viewer—after being kidnapped by a deranged farmer who hates technology. The farmer has done this before and he shows you trophies of past kills, including a bloody VR helmet. Sho hopes the project walks the line between creepy and goofy, harking back to the tone of 1980s horror films. Because of the tone and the cutting edge nature of the project, Sho and his team have a wish list of some well-known horror icons they hope to entice to hop on board to play the farmer.
Sho said of his early interests, “I’ve been a storyteller since high school.” As he progressed through his first year at Chapman, he began producing 360-degree videos, including some public relations pieces for the university. With
not only is he jumping into virtual reality but also into his first narrative piece. With a new medium, bigger scale, and a larger team to manage, Sho’s ambition was supported by OURCA’s SURF program and by mentor Professor William Kroyer. He was able to devote a massive amount of time to his project, while learning from an experienced filmmaker. And he was paid the fellowship to do it!
Of SURF, Sho said, “Every meeting, there’s a reminder that other people are going through it as well.” He found SURF a supportive and eye-opening environment that exposed him to fields and projects “outside the Dodge bubble.” He highly recommends it to other students.
Sho and his team will premiere
in time for Halloween on Friday, October, 28, 2016 at the Digital Media Arts Center (200 N. Cypress St. Orange, CA 92866). If you would like to experience a
first hand drop by any time between 6 pm – 11 pm. Like the project
, and follow them
If you’re a student and would like to learn more about SURF, or other ways to fund your own research or creative project, head over
to OURCA’s website
to see funding opportunities!