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The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance


Freshman Filmmaker

By Megan Swanson '13

Editor's Note: Megan Swanson ’13 chose Bradley because of its Interactive Media program. She hopes to have a career in film, and managed a head start last summer as one of only nine students selected in a national competition to produce a film in Chicago. Now it’s time to cast votes for her group’s movie, The Substitute.


Megan Swanson (center) works with crew members on her group’s movie, The Substitute, for the Fresh Films competition.

I was recently involved in the Fresh Films Competition where the teens replace the pros. It is sponsored by Out of Control Airheads and Slur-pees. When I was in high school at Glenbard South in Glen Ellyn, I was involved with the multimedia club. Our supervisor sent me an e-mail in April about a group in Chicago producing a film, but there was a catch: You had to apply for the position just like a regular job. Out of thousands of applicants, I was selected to be part of the crew. Only nine were chosen, and I was one of them!

We started our casting calls on July 19, auditioning hundreds of aspiring actors from all over America. Some people from movies such as The Dark Knight, Cheaper By the Dozen 2, and Americas auditioned. It was a tough job to narrow it down to fewer than 20 people. On July 21, we finalized our cast and secured our shooting location at the Chicago Academy of Performing Arts.

The day finally came, and I was thrilled and also exhausted from the pre-production work all week, but that didn’t stop me from wearing jeans, a black t-shirt, and gym shoes on the hot set for 12 hours, doing every job on the set. All of us, cast and crew, were sweating due to the heat in July, the school not having air conditioning, and those bright hot set lights. Our featured actor was Rob Riggle, who played the immense cop in our movie. Rob Riggle is known for his roles on The Daily Show, The Hangover, Step Brothers, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, and various roles on SNL.

The next day the crew gathered again and edited the movie in just one and a half days! It was the most intense week of my life, and I loved every minute of it. Now it’s almost time for the voting! Starting September 3, vote for my movie, The Substitute, or “Chicago team.” We are competing against teams in New York and Los Angeles. Our film is about a psycho substitute teacher who has a restraining order from the school, and he kidnaps the teacher and takes over the class. Will the kids think he is cool or out-of-the-world crazy?

The voting system is bigger than American Idol as millions of people vote every second of the day for a week! You can vote as many times as you want until September 9. Vote, vote, and spread the word! Vote again and send me to the Dallas Film Festival! Please visit and vote for CHICAGO!