Shared prop closet to open in effort to increase accessibility for RTVF students


Allie Goulding/Daily Senior Staffer

Students working on a set in Locy Hall. The Undergraduate Radio/Television/Film Student Association plans to open a new props closet in hope of reducing waste and making film production more financially accessible.

Amy Li, Development and Recruitment Editor

The Undergraduate Radio/Television/Film Student Association plans to open a new closet for Department of Radio, Television and Film students to share prop resources and increase financial accessibility for students while eliminating waste within the department.

Students will be able to donate props they no longer need and rent out props other students have donated –– free of charge –– from a communal storage space near campus.

The project is a response to reusable props sitting idly in storage while new props are purchased only to be used once or twice, said Madeline Hertz, the co-chair of URSA. The Communication senior added that URSA is looking into a storage space near Green Bay Road and hopes to open the closet by spring of 2019.

Communication senior Jen Schonberger said she believes the closet would decrease waste in the RTVF department by having a consolidated place to keep and share resources.

“I had a gallon of fake blood sitting in the basement for like a year just because I used it on one set and didn’t know what to do with it,” Schonberger said. “So I think having a prop closet is a really good way to eliminate waste in the community.”

Hertz said she has personally experienced the issue when she worked in production design and hopes the new space will alleviate the stresses of purchasing and storing new props for students.

“I’ve had random props littering my space,” Hertz said, “and sometimes they’re really odd things where you go like, ‘Maybe another designer could use this.’”

The closet also aligns with URSA’s long-term goal of making production more financially feasible for RTVF students, Hertz said.

In addition to the props closet project, URSA is also trying to make productions more affordable by negotiating with RTVF administrators to make the Media Arts Grant –– a funding system to support NU student filmmakers –– more accessible.

For the grant program, students are required to front their expenses and receive the grant through reimbursements, which poses a financial burden for filmmakers who cannot afford to withdraw large sums of money, even temporarily.

“It’s not feasible for people to front $1,500 for their movie and get it back in reimbursements,” Hertz said, “so we’re working on that to try to find a different way for the Media Arts Grant money to be given to students, and the prop closet is another way to help with that financial accessibility.”

Beyond the group’s efforts for financial accessibility, however, Andrew McCabe, a Communication junior, said he is excited to increase creative options for students as well. The closet will bring a new collaborative element to the RTVF department, he said.

“As a film major, we only have certain equipment,” McCabe said. “Props are where creativity comes to play. It’s exciting to see how people are going to collaborate. We’ve been waiting for something like this for a while.”

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