Category: TCF News & Notes

Tuscaloosa News Covers TCF Zombies

More coverage of the TCF zom-com:

University of Alabama students film pilot episode for TV show about zombie chasers
By Ashley Chaffin

Published: Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:30 a.m.

The Super Skate on McFarland Boulevard turned into a dispatch center for a ragtag team of zombie chasers last week as production students from the University of Alabama Telecommunication and Film Department shot a pilot for their television show titled “Zom-Com.”

The show follows a team of people who go on various jobs chasing zombies to collect data about them.

“In the pilot, they botch one of their jobs and bring back incomplete data, so they don’t get paid as much,” Adam Schwartz, assistant professor in the TCF department, said. “To try to make up for that, they accept what is known throughout the zombie-chaser community as a suicide mission. The pilot follows them on that mission.”

Continue reading…

UA class filming zombie show in Tuscaloosa

“TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – They have plagued movies, television, and books for decades; but now, the zombie apocalypse has hit Alabama.

Around 30 of the walkers were spotted at the University of Alabama Arboretum early in the week. Witnesses say there was blood everywhere as the creatures stalked down through the woods towards a camera crew.

Yes, a camera crew. The zombies that have been lurking around the university’s campus this week are extras in a new television pilot called, “Zom-Com.”

The 22-minute program is a collaboration between two [TCF] classes at the University of Alabama. One, is an advanced television production class. The other is a zombie culture class.”

Read more and view video!

Q&A With Dr. Rachel Raimist, From Tuscaloosa News

This week we [the Tuscaloosa News] spoke with University of Alabama media production professor and co-director of Creative Campus Rachel Raimist. Raimist is well versed in video production and photography thanks to her schooling and various jobs in New York, California and Minneapolis.


Q:Who are you?

A: I am a mother, teacher, storyteller, media maker, mentor and professor with boundless energy who has been known to run the hallways of UA’s Reese Phifer Hall with everyone from singer/songwriter Gifted (who flew in to film an award-winning music video with TCF students), to the big man Shaq (who collaborated with UA students to produce an anti-binge drinking public service announcement that showed on the Jumbotron at the 2013 National Championship game). If I am not loaded down with camera bags, pushing a big yellow wagon of lights, or leading a herd of eager students running to and from filming locations, colleagues usually ask me if I am feeling OK… I’m that lady!


Continue reading…

TCF This Week

Andy Billings had a productive fall!  Here are a few new articles/chapters that were accepted for publication:

  • Billings, A.C., Angelini, J.R., MacArthur, P.J., Smith, L.R., & Vincent, J. (2014, in press). Fanfare for the American: NBC’s primetime telecast of the 2012 London Olympiad.  Electronic News.
  • Angelini, J.R., MacArthur, P.J., & Billings, A.C. (2014, in press).  Spiraling into or out of stereotypes?: NBC’s prime-time coverage of male figure skaters at the 2010 Olympic Games.  Journal of Language and Social Psychology.
  • Brown, N., Billings, A.C., & Brown, K. (2014, in press).  ‘May no act of ours bring shame’: Fan enacted crisis communication surrounding the Penn State sex abuse scandal.  Communication & Sport.
  • Billings, A.C., & Kim, Y. (2014).  The biggest spectacle on television’s grandest stage: Shaping viewer experiences.  In V. Girginov (Ed.) The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games (pp. 184-194).  London: Routledge.

Michael Bruce presented a paper at the 18th conference of the Arab – US Association of Communication Educators in Tangier, Morocco  and was awarded 2nd place English-language paper.  The title was: “Images of the Arab Spring:  A Visual Framing Analysis of Conflict Coverage on Five Transnational Arab News Channels.”

Michael has also been accepted as a faculty fellow at the 2014 NATPE Conference in Miami in January.

Andy Grace just returned from LA, where he participated in yet another screening of his award-winning Eating Alabama.

Zom-Com is propelling forward, with production to begin on December 2.  Please give a word of encouragement to Adam Schwartz, Matt Payne, and Maya Champion if you see them sleep-walking in the hall.


Latest episode of “Alabama Ghostbusters” available on Halloween

As reported in the Tuscaloosa News:

“Alabama Ghostbusters: A Web Series” cast members Bo Bearden, Brock Parker and David Railey on set in Tuscaloosa during the shooting of a scene for the series, which was written and directed by University of Alabama professor Adam Schwartz and produced by students in his advanced TV production class.

Brock Parker | The Tuscaloosa News

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 3:30 a.m.
The creators of “Alabama Ghostbusters: A Web Series” plan to release the latest episode of the fan series shot in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, for Halloween.

The Web series, inspired by the 1980s science fiction comedy, is co-written by University of Alabama film professor Adam Schwartz, a member of the statewide fan group Alabama Ghostbusters, and Nicky Stevens.

Read more…


TCF Zombies, Bringing Education to Life


By Misty Mathews

Telecommunication and film professors Dr. Matt Payne and Adam Schwartz have one thing on their brains: “BRAINS.”

Actually, that’s not entirely true, but Payne and Schwartz are each teaching a UA course this semester on zombies, cashing in on the monsters’ current popularity to provide students with culturally relevant instruction while teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the real world.

“What’s going to catch people’s attention is the subject matter,” said Payne, who is teaching TCF 444: Zombies in Culture. “At the same time, pedagogical utility is vital. It’s very important to us to underscore what the learning objectives are.”

Schwartz is teaching TCF 451: Advanced Television Production, in which students are producing a television pilot episode. He said the class provides students an experience that closely mirrors real-world production work.

“From the beginning we stress, ‘This isn’t a class project,’” Schwartz said. “I mean, it is, but it’s also for distribution in festivals. I tell my students that if they’re worried about the grade, they’re worried about the wrong thing. You have a job in this class, and there are very specific expectations for the job you are supposed to do. If you do your job, the grade will come.”

“This is not just about studying bogey men,” said Payne, who has previously published research on zombies in pop culture and film. “There’s real work going on here.”

Students will have a chance to use their audio/visual skills but also will learn about things like special-effects makeup and social media campaigns for promotion. In coming weeks the classes will participate in a special effects workshop by Montgomery-based artist Jonathan Thornton.

ZombieFace“Jonathan will give a basic workshop in how to make folks undead – makeup, special effects,” Schwartz said. “He will actually do most of the makeup for what we call the ‘hero zombies’ – the ones who are featured, close up. But one person doing the makeup for all those zombies would be too expensive and too time-consuming, so it’s an opportunity for students to be involved in doing the makeup for the ‘extra’ zombies and to learn from him.”

Payne and Schwartz wrote a script for the production class over the summer, focusing on creating a “zom-com” or zombie comedy. The pilot, titled “Zom-Com” (“Clever, right?” Schwartz said.), will tell the story of a group of zombie chasers (think storm chasers, but with zombies) who are working with various corporations to tag and study zombies.

“Unlike most zombie fiction that trades in a lot of overt gore, this group is actually a very humanitarian group, so what’s challenging for them is getting the data without actually harming the zombies,” Payne said.

Schwartz, Payne and their students held a casting call in September and also have secured two Screen Actors Guild-member actors for the pilot – Erica Schroeder, a voice actress best known for her work on “Yu-Gi-Oh” and “Sonic the Hedgehog,” and Dan DeLuca, who appeared in season four of HBO’s “The Wire.”

Students in the production class will also participate in portions of Payne’s zombie history class. Payne said the zombie is much more than just a monster, and he hopes he can help students appreciate that.

“Sometimes the monsters in our lives are the monsters we can’t see or recognize,” Payne said. “The zombie is an incredibly agile monster that creates a really nice shell for communicating or articulating a number of social anxieties – racism, sexism, militarism, class inequities.”

Payne’s class will examine a variety of genres and time periods, from the origin of the monster as a Caribbean voodoo monster to George A. Romero’s work – “the father of the modern zombie,” Payne said – to more current depictions of the zombie in the post-9/11 world.

Both Schwartz and Payne said they hope to shoot in locations across Alabama and make use of the physical and creative resources the state offers. They also said they hope to incorporate other departments and entities on campus for a truly collaborative final product.

Zombie“It’s really unique, despite the abundance of zombie media, to have this type of collaboration at a state university,” Schwartz said. “I don’t think this has ever been done before.”

The on-campus collaboration already includes Creative Campus, which gave Schwartz and Payne a “Creativity in Collaboration” grant to work with Creative Campus interns on the film project. They also hope to have students from the theatre and dance department involved in some capacity.

“The Creativity in Collaboration grant not only gives us $1,500, it also means we have a team of Creative Campus interns that will work in a variety of capacities alongside TCF students, including marketing, branding, makeup, wardrobe,” Payne said, adding that the Creative Campus students would also be involved in the special effects workshop.

The TCF 444 and 451 classes also recently held fundraisers at locations near campus, allowing more campus community members to support the production of the pilot, which will be entered for consideration to be screened at a number of prestigious film festivals.

Original posted here:

TCF Professor Selected for Emmy Seminar

RaimistThe University of Alabama’s Dr. Rachel Raimist is living proof that you don’t have to be in Hollywood to be a filmmaker, and people in L.A. are taking notice.

Raimist, an assistant professor in the department of telecommunication and film and co-director of UA’s Creative Campus, has been invited to participate in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Faculty Seminar Nov. 10-15 in Los Angeles. She is one of 20 faculty members nationwide selected.

“The seminar is put on by the education arm of the television academy, which puts on the Emmys,” Raimist said. “Things like industry work flow, the terminology, roles and crew positions, how things work on a set, how shows are produced, the technology – all that kind of shifts. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have faculty who are far removed from how things actually work teaching young people to enter this career field.”

Raimist said she has primarily worked on films, music videos and live events, so she is excited to gain even more knowledge to share with her students.

“I have a lot of students who love television and who hope to work in television,” Raimist said. “I hope getting to spend a week there will give me a current sense of the industry and a better sense of how our students could enter television as a career field.”

Dr. Glenda Cantrell Williams, associate professor and chair of telecommunication and film, said Raimist’s experience at the seminar will positively influence the entire department.

“This seminar is quite competitive, so we’re very proud that Dr. Raimist was selected,” Williams said. “The entertainment industry is always changing and growing, so having faculty spend time with industry professionals in Los Angeles keeps our curriculum fresh and up-to-date. The information Dr. Raimist brings back from this seminar will impact hundreds of our students.”

In addition to gaining knowledge to share with students, Raimist said she hopes the seminar will lead to more internship opportunities in L.A. for UA undergraduates.

Raimist is the third UA telecommunication and film faculty member to be selected for the faculty seminar. Dr. Kristen Warner attended in 2011, and Williams attended in 1998.

Capstone Video Project 2014

Crewing Up for Spring 2014!

TCF 442: Capstone Video Project

Course Instructor: Tom Cherones–director of Seinfeld, Newsradio, Reaper, etc.

Students will produce, shoot, and edit a 30 minute drama or comedy on location in Tuscaloosa.

Tentatively scheduled for 4 weeks in April *

MTWR 5:00-9:00 pm, plus weekends.


  • TCF 100,
  • One Production or Production Management Class,
  • GPA of 2.0 or higher

Class enrollment is by invitation only.

Students are invited to fill out an application and turn it in to the TCF office (484 Phifer Hall).

Deadline for applications is November 6 .

Students will be notified on or around November 15.

Applications available online or from the TCF Office (484 Phifer Hall).

For more details contact Dr. Glenda Cantrell-Williams:

Click here to download an application.

*actual dates yet to be determined.

Upcoming Sports Speakers

The Alabama Program in Sports Communication will be hosting two prominent speakers in the next two weeks.

First, FOX NASCAR analyst Larry McReynolds will speak at 1:00 this coming Thursday (10/17) at the Ferguson Theater.

Second, USA Today’s Christine Brennan will speak at 1:30 a week from Friday (10/25) at the Ferguson Theater.

Both events are free to all.

For more information on APSC events, go to: