Jenni Beaver will likely be the only Morningside College student in her class to graduate and begin her first feature film within the exact same month.
But the 19-year-old senior is already one step ahead: she’s planned to host auditions for her movie “Mar and Me” at 6 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 21) in the Klinger-Neal Theatre on Morningside College’s campus.
Beaver said participants do not need any experience, but asks that they do have a passion for acting. “Just come and have fun,” she said. “We want this whole experience from the auditions to the finished product to be nothing but pure excitement and fun for everyone involved.”
With the script already finished, Beaver said production will begin in May and extend until June.
Beaver’s “Mar and Me” is a murder-mystery about mother and daughter who move to Le Mars, Iowa, to open a bed and breakfast and find out that a murder occurred in the house that they bought. The two women then attempt to solve this murder that happened during the 1950s.
“I love murder-mysteries and I want to kind of ease myself into creating murder-mysteries because I don’t really have the resources to create an elaborate plot necessarily,” said Beaver. “The characters, Marsha and Charlotte, are based on my mom and me because we have a really close relationship.
“And I know that if we bought a house that had an unsolved murder happen in it, we would definitely want to try and solve it. That’s what inspired the story.”
Is this a final project for the Mass Communications major? Surprisingly, no. Creating a movie was just something Beaver wanted to do. Although she doesn’t know what exactly made her want to be a filmmaker, being exposed to and working with video cameras at college certainly had a fair bit of influence.
“I started out as a writer,” she said. “But I enjoyed the video aspect of it. This [past] summer I actually went to a film school down in Texas and have been itching to do something and decided what better time to do my first big project than after graduation.”
The school taught Beaver how the words in a script translate to the film itself, which piqued her interest in cinematography and what it takes to craft the perfect shot.
An organization called Positive Note Network, which was founded by Beaver and her mother Joanie, will help produce the film and provide equipment for filming. Positive Note Network regularly produces a magazine every two months, films interviews and uploads vlogs on YouTube with the idea of bringing positivity to social media and traditional media.
Beaver isn’t expecting her film to be a blockbuster hit by any means, but she does see it as a first step into the world of film.
“It’s such a giant animal to tackle,” she said. “I want to get rid of the nerves of doing something this big.”