MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism senior and documentary filmmaker Tyler Channell is headed for Hollywood.
Channell’s short film, “Enough is Enough,” has advanced to the final round in the Social Justice category of the Campus MovieFest, which bills itself as the world’s largest student film festival.
“Enough is Enough” tells the story of WVU sociology professor Daniel Brewster, an openly gay man who champions issues of social inequality. In the film, Brewster chronicles his struggle with “coming out” and the subsequent depression that coincides with this difficult process.
Channel graduated from Williamson High School in 2010 and is currently a senior broadcast journalism student at the school of journalism at WVU.
“The hardest part of making this film was deciding what to cut,” Channell said. “I have three hours of great footage from my interview with Brewster.”
The contest rules are strict: Films can be no longer than five minutes and must be filmed in only one week. Channell says he did seven different edits before he landed on a version he thought was perfect.
“I wanted people to really connect with Brewster,” he said.
That’s where his journalism education has really benefited him.
“As a television journalism major, you have to focus your story and put the spotlight on an ordinary person that viewers can relate to,” Channell said. “My classes have taught me how to focus a story like this.”
WVU News has been Channell’s favorite experience in the school. The course provides students the opportunity to report, write, shoot and edit television news stories for the program. They also serve as on-air anchors, producers, directors and technical crew during newscast tapings at WVU’s professional television studio. Channell served as executive producer for one semester and said the intensity of the class was like no other.
“It was a real-world experience, and you were able to see the results of your hard work on display,” he said.
For his own projects, Channell said he enjoys finding stories about people who overcome obstacles and better themselves.
“I try to find the human aspect of the story,” he said. “I show the audience a person’s humanity. At the end of the day, everyone is human, and we all connect on that level.”
Channell already has an impressive resume, having worked for shows like Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0” and the History’s Channel’s “Hatfields and McCoys: White Lightning.” After graduation this May, Channell plans to attend graduate school, then start a career as a documentary filmmaker. His ultimate goal is to direct major motion pictures.
Channell will travel to Hollywood in June to attend a screening of all the films selected for the final round.
“Enough is Enough” can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/1fZpDaq.