SHARE

Potential donors to Hillsdale College have been viewing the same pro­mo­tional video for the school since 2004. That will change with the pro­duction of a new video, set to be shot later this month and com­pleted by June 2013.

Man­ifold Pro­duc­tions, Inc., a D.C.-based film company, will produce its third video for Hillsdale since 1990. The school had videos made in 1990 and 2004 and decided that it was time for an update, said William Gray, Hillsdale College mar­keting spe­cialist.

“Obvi­ously the college has changed a lot over the eight years since the last video,” Gray said. “We have new buildings, the Kirby Center, online learning. Those kinds of things will be reflected in the new video.”

Like the pre­vious films, the movie will last about 15 minutes. But unlike in pre­vious years, there will also be a six-minute version and a two-minute trailer-type version, used as a teaser to entice viewers to watch the full-length film. Hillsdale lead­ership and Man­ifold are still dis­cussing how best to use the trailer.

But despite updates on the latest pro­mo­tional video’s content, Gray said its focus will remain the same as the last two: the college’s mission.

“I think the important thing to high­light is that the things Hillsdale hasn’t changed is its prin­ciples,” Gray said. “We stay true to what we’ve been doing since 1884. There are dif­ferent things to talk about but the under­lying message is very similar.”

The director and pro­ducer of the film, Michael Pack, traveled to Hillsdale on Sept. 8 and stayed for a week, scouting potential loca­tions and inter­viewing stu­dents with asso­ciate pro­ducer, Dan Curl. Pack agreed with Gray in that the new film will stay true to the unchanging values of the insti­tution.

He further elab­o­rated that the video is for donors to watch, not for potential stu­dents to view as a recruitment tool.

“The purpose of the video is to help Hillsdale raise money, espe­cially money they don’t get from the federal gov­ernment. It’s designed to reach people that have never heard of Hillsdale,” Pack said. “Because of the prin­ciples it stands for, and not just the pretty place, Hillsdale is unique. That’s what all three films have in common.”

Gray said this video is played pri­marily at off-campus func­tions and recep­tions, often as an intro­duction or prelude to a speaker like college Pres­ident Larry Arnn.

While the scouting crew was on campus, they were busy. The Sept. 11 memorial service and the top of Central Hall were high­lights of the crew’s tour of Hillsdale.

“They went every­where,” Gray said. “We visited lots of dif­ferent class­rooms in Lane, Kendall, and Stro­sacker. We went to the sports complex, observed prac­tices from sports teams such as tennis, football, vol­leyball, track and field. Every­where they wanted to and could go, they went.”

The purpose of the scout trip was to come up with a shooting plan so when Man­ifold returns on Oct. 20, the five-man film crew will be ready to shoot.

“Several dif­ferent groups of stu­dents were inter­viewed — about 50 in all — so Man­ifold could get a sense of what Hillsdale stu­dents are like,” Gray said.

These inter­views were not filmed, but pho­tographs were taken for ref­erence in the film-planning stage. When the film crew arrives to shoot, several of the inter­viewed stu­dents will be asked to par­tic­ipate in a filmed and loosely-scripted classroom session, staged in Kendall.

Senior Travis Lacy of Oklahoma City was one student who par­tic­i­pated in the interview session, but has not yet received notice if he will be used in the actual pro­duction.

Lacy was ini­tially emailed by Gray and, with a group of roughly 10 others from all classes, met one evening in the Dow Center for over an hour. Each student went around the room and gave their response to two dif­ferent ques­tions.

“The first question was to tell the story of how you ended up at Hillsdale,” Lacy said. “I said that my dad threw the Princeton Review and the ISS on my desk my junior year of high school and said, ‘Do your research and pick 10 we will go to visit, and we’ll go from there.’ Hillsdale ended up winning the contest.”

Lacy, a student ambas­sador for three years, said he has seen the 2004 film a few times when it has played in the admis­sions office for waiting parents.

Pack said he enjoyed his return to Hillsdale after almost a decade of being away.

“I had a great time vis­iting Hillsdale, as always. Having not been there in eight years, I was amazed at the new buildings and how it has changed. It looked great,” Pack said. “I love meeting stu­dents. They’re a great group of young men and women.”

Man­ifold usually pro­duces doc­u­men­taries, Gray said. One of its most recent and popular films is a doc­u­mentary entitled “Redis­cov­ering Alexander Hamilton,” which appeared on PBS. They have also done a doc­u­mentary on George Wash­ington.

“I am drawn, like I hope my audience is, to the prin­ciples Hillsdale stands for,” Pack said. “It delivers a great, tra­di­tional edu­cation to stu­dents, and I think the student body reflects that.”