Southeast Missouri State University freshman Hunter Hempen, of Breese, Ill., has been
directing and producing short films since he was a freshman in high school.
Hunter is now a film and television major at Southeast. The accredited program was the deciding factor in Hunter’s college decision.
“Besides being a safe distance from home, I chose Southeast because of its credible mass communication program,” Hunter said. “I had heard a few things from students already enrolled in the program, and they said they were really enjoying themselves.”
Hunter is certainly ahead of the game in his film major in terms of hands-on experience. His movies are only short, amateur YouTube productions, but the creativity, film-scheduling and editing model that of a professional.
Hunter says he has already learned that film production is not quite as glamorous as it sounds.
“If any one rule applies to filming, it’s that nothing ever goes as planned. I’ve had run-ins with bad weather, broken equipment, rushed deadlines and scheduling problems,” Hunter said. “Consequently this demand for improvisation inspires the actors to concoct incredibly bright ideas with the director, leading to a whole new level of creativity.”
Some of Hunter’s videos have earned prestigious awards. In 2008, he made a video with friends that won the Wells Fargo Spirit Award, and he recently placed in the top 20 for a Samsung-sponsored “Destiny Calling Music Video Contest.”
Hunter’s favorite aspect of filming is editing which he said is what he would eventually like to do as a profession as of right now.
“The process of editing the movie is exciting simply because you experience it being pieced together just as you imagined,” Hunter said.
When Hunter is not filming a movie or going to class, he enjoys going to Buffalo Wild Wings or Student Activity Council activities at the University Center with friends and playing racquetball.
While Hunter has only been a student at Southeast for a little over a month, he has already taken advantage of several of the University’s free events.
“Something is happening somewhere on campus nearly all of the time. My friend and I went to Derek James’ concert in the University Center a few weeks ago. Never before had I experienced such an exciting, eventful Monday,” Hunter said. “Everyday yields some kind of new experience, whether it is good or bad.”
Last year Hunter was granted the Regional Achievement Award to attend Southeast, which provides him with in-state tuition plus 10 percent of costs rather than out-of-state tuition.
“The Regional Achievement Award has definitely aided my financial situation. As a student, I’m caught in a conflicting stage of being above average but not a complete genius. Scholarships offered by Southeast recognize that and help a large number of students,” Hunter said.
Although Hunter is not yet involved in any campus organizations, he said he is excited about the prospect of joining one.
“I consider getting involved on campus the next step of my budding college career—hopefully soon,” Hunter said.