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Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

A group of current and former mass communications students brought back four awards for a short film they filmed and edited in 48 hours. 


Headed by instructor Cory Byers, the students created “Recipe for Disaster” for the 2019 St. Louis 48-Hour Film Project. 


Ashley Mitchell won best makeup, while Jennifer Hodges won best actress. Both are former mass communications students. The film as a whole won the audience choice award and best film in its category.


According to a few students who participated, the wins go beyond learning in the classroom or any production.


“I feel like the program has definitely made me more creative and helped me pay more attention to details within the media,” said senior mass communications student Michael Watkins of Chicago.


Watkins was an actor in the 48-Hour Film Project for the first time this year. Byers recruited him and Monica Buschor, a former mass comm and theater major from Bloomington, Illinois.


Byers typically brings a similar team each year, filling positions with new people as needed. He has been participating in the project for at least seven years. After several years, he said he’s learned what qualities he needs within his team, and the awards come through.


Although she has graduated, Buschor said she still finds herself reaching out to Byers and other former professors.


“It’s the professors that do it for me,” Buschor said. “It’s a memorable experience.”


Watkins and Buschor said the awards are also a memorable experience and they both had good feelings about “Recipe for Disaster” after its conclusion. In 2018, the team won three awards. However, it’s dangerous to expect any, according to Byers.


Festivals like the 48-Hour Film Project are intended to a challenging and creative outlet for students in production tracks of mass communications. The team is made up of actors, editors, designers and film and audio production crew. The mass communications production track, as well as other mass communications tracks, train the people behind the content people consume. 


“All the content created has to be created by somebody. That’s what we teach basically — content creation,” Byers said.


Content creation isn’t limited to just filmmaking or writing. Mass communications offers many skills that involve creating something. Watkins is in the media production track, while Buschor just graduated from the advertising track. They both urge people within the program to be willing to step out of their comfort zone and do more than they expected.


“Don’t be afraid to change,” Buschor said.


Watkins and Buschor both consider this program to be very creative and an outlet for your ideas. 


“I would say that this major has honestly just taught me to try something and it’ll probably work out. And if it doesn’t, so what?” Watkins said.


Buschor is now a video editor for a video house and Watkins is interested in filmmaking and camera work. 


To see “Recipe for Disaster,” please visit


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