Aspiring filmmakers Caleb Rogers and Tyler Goins are collaborating once again to construct a story of self-acceptance in their latest short film project, “Mirrors.”
“Piedmont has undoubtedly inspired my passion for film by allowing me to work with some of the most talented and creative students and teachers,” said Rogers, who has been fascinated by films for as long as he can remember.
“Mirrors,” is a narrative perspective of a young man struggling to find acceptance of his sexuality in himself and others. The first look of the film was presented at the Piedmont Symposium on April 6, 2022. A senior mass communications major, Rogers created the project based off of his personal journey of self-acceptance and is now taking the role of director in the production process.
Rogers is working in collaboration with Goins, who is the director of photography and lead editor of the project. In addition, the two are working with fellow mass communications majors Anya Olsen (assistant director), Rowan Edmonds (screenwriter), Anna Watson (screenwriter), Noah Aaron (screenwriter), Megan Schaefer (producer) and Jessica Sconyers (producer).
Senior Jordan Hicks is starring as the film’s lead – Alec – alongside freshmen Erick Fortner, as the supporting character, Henry. The two actors are tackling the transition of on-stage versus on-screen acting. During the Symposium premiere of the trailer, Hicks shared the adjustment he had to make from the “grand gestures” stage performance requires. Being behind the camera requires restraining some of the instincts he has learned in his life onstage, relying more so on “acting with the eyes.”
In addition to the trailer, a behind-the-scenes look was presented at the event that documented not only the production process, but flourishing relationships among the team. The entire team has taken to considering one another “like family.”
“My goal in making this film was not to win awards, but to tell an essential, compelling, and relevant story about accepting ourselves as human beings,” Rogers said.
Rogers anticipates putting the finishing touches on the script by the end of the semester as part of his television practicum and will finish producing the project in the fall. As for now, the trailer is available on YouTube.
“Mirrors,” is not the first time that Goins and Rogers have worked together. Past projects include “Paranormal Piedmont,” and their award-winning short film, “Overtime.” “Overtime” began as a class project and quickly evolved into something greater than Rogers, Goins, and their groupmates could have anticipated. Originally assigned to practice screenwriting, Rogers and Goins, along with Aaron Palmer, Chris Barker and Connor Creedon partook in a whirlwind production experience that from start to finish took three and a half weeks. Despite such a short production period, the team produced an award-winning piece.
“Tyler wrote the screenplay ‘Overtime’ and five industrious students tackled the production aspect. They spent a very long week, at all hours of the day and night, shooting in the Swanson Center,” said Professor of Mass Communications, Melissa Jackson, “It was wonderful to watch the camaraderie they developed. The results blew me away!”
The first award the group scooped up for their efforts was a silver Telly Award for the trailer of the film. Jackson submitted Palmer’s final edited version of the film to the Broadcast Educators Association annual competition, unbeknownst to the group, and they were awarded the “Award of Excellence,” placing right outside of third in the narrative film category. The project was recognized alongside entries from much larger schools, including the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, and Colorado State University. This experience has provided the opportunity for a few of the group members to travel to Las Vegas later this month to collect the award.
Looking forward, Piedmont University will be introducing a film major in the fall 2022 semester. The first student of this major will be Schaefer. Despite not being able to study under the major himself, Rogers played an essential role in bringing the major to the university.
As for Rogers and Goins, their bond seems to be one for life.
“Tyler and I are brothers, and I am confident that we will collaborate in the future,” said Rogers.
To view the trailer for “Mirrors,” visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU7pEB-hYw4