As the world navigates the complexities and uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic, many look for different outlets to escape the current reality. One TCNJ graduating senior turned to the art of digital storytelling to channel his emotions and share a motivational message.
While working on a sound design assignment in COM 312: The Art of Editing this semester, Jake Leuzzi ’20, an interactive multimedia major, said he was inspired to produce a video that “created a sense of imagery in the anxiety” that many are facing during this unprecedented time. Watch the video.
“The time we are living in currently is dark, unknown, and quite frankly frightening; especially for the students of TCNJ who are planning to move onto the next chapter in this book we call life. The sense of connection we are so used to has been absolutely diminished,” Leuzzi says. “I believe the development of sound creates emotion and feeling when watching a video. It enhances the experience for the viewer and lets them connect to what they are watching.”
The short film opens up with a visibly distraught Leuzzi watching media coverage on the coronavirus.
“The sound design aspect behind this film is a build-up of those feelings of unease, until I reach a climax of such angst that I need to get up and walk away,” he explained. “The real powerful message comes right at the peak of worry. I open my back door into the beautiful imagery of nature and birds chirping and am overwhelmed with an instant sense of peace and calm. I then fade into visuals of what I feel express my thoughts about how we need to tackle the adversity we are faced with. One has to change their perspective on how they look at life and appreciate the fact that we are even able to have this experience in the first place.”
Lorna Johnson-Frizell, associate professor of film/video and digital media production, who teaches the Radio, Television, and Film Specialization course in the Department of Communication Studies, said the film “encapsulates so much of what we are experiencing and it has a beautiful message.”
Leuzzi said making this film from home and maintaining a six foot distance between the actors was challenging. He had to adapt by using a lot of still frame shots and a tripod in order to film and act at the same time.
“This experience of having to try new things just diversifies my talent and sets me up to have more options to create my visual stories in the future,” he explained.
After graduation, Leuzzi plans to continue to create content for businesses through his digital marketing agency, travel, and seek job opportunities.
“My true goal is to take a leap of faith and move to California, attend grad school at UCLA or USC where the opportunity for creators is boundless,” he says. “I believe networking in this area will open the doors to let me create visual stories that inspire others to be their true selves and actually be present in life.”
– Meaghan Resta