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Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park film alumni collaborate on new project

Poster of “Clawfoot” directed, shot, and edited by Point Park alumni.
Photo by Michael Day
Poster of “Clawfoot” directed, shot, and edited by Point Park alumni.

The saying about Hollywood being a small town is true, especially for these Point Park alumni.

The year is 2005. The digital age is starting to take off. Film cameras are a thing of the past, and cinematography is forever changed. Kevin Kauffman, Michael Day and Dean Fisher all chose Point Park because of its quick adaptation to digital media. They met in a film class in their freshman year and became instant friends. Little did they know that they would be making a movie together years later. 

Kauffman “caught the bug” for filmmaking during high school, making movies with his family’s camera for school and for fun. Being from Pittsburgh, he knew he had to go to Point Park.

“What I loved about the film program is that it allowed you to forge your own path,” Kauffman said. “There was a lot of creative freedom and hands-on experience from the start.”

Kauffman has worked on various projects, including “The Bridge to Nowhere,” “Todd vs. High School” and the movie “Popular.” He has also worked on music videos for rapper and Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa.

“One of the biggest things I got out of Point Park was that relationships will drive you,” Kauffman said. “You need to know how to work well with others, how to build relationships, how to stay in touch… You never know where a connection will take you.”

Fischer, a Lancaster County native, also fell in love with filmmaking when he had to make a video for his English class in high school. He was set to go to school in California, but decided to take a gap year, and found Point Park.

“I think I was meant to be with the ‘09 class,” Fischer said. “I was able to meet a lot of cool people that have given me community and made me a better filmmaker.”

Fisher’s work as a video production specialist and editor has taken him from Pittsburgh to Boston to, now, Burbank. 

“Point Park gave us experience in all aspects: editing, directing, filming,” Fisher said. “But the other half of our education was building a network and becoming someone you would want to work with… You will run into people you know.”

Michael Day, originally from Washington, Pa., double majored in film and Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management (SAEM) and has worked on several projects such as Netflix’s “Rogue Warfare,” Amazon Prime’s “Sisters” and a Pittsburgh film called “Warrior.”

“I had a blast at school,” Day said. “We had classes dedicated to shooting, being paired with senior mentors, learning how to work on set; other schools just teach theory.”

Kauffman, Fisher and Day stayed connected throughout their careers post-graduation and upgraded from the shorts they made together in school to films on the silver screen.

“Clawfoot,” a movie about an upper-class suburban housewife who is psychologically terrorized by a manipulative contractor, leading to a twisted battle of wits with deliciously unexpected results, made its premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California this past October. Day directed, Fisher was the number one camera operator and Kauffman was the main editor. 

“We were all taught the same, we know how each other work and how to work off of that so the whole process was so simple,” Day said. 

The actual filming of “Clawfoot” was done in only a few days all at one location with a really small crew and filming budget of about $500,000.

“It was quite crazy at times – long hours – we were editing on scene but working with people you know makes it fun and much more enjoyable,” Kauffman said. “It is crazy that we are still working together all these years later. We grew up together personally and professionally and have now known each other for half of our lives… Having that connection and the same wavelength is as good as it gets.”

Fisher initially turned down Day’s offer to work on the film but is glad he caved in.

“I got nervous because I had only done small projects up until this point and wanted it [the job] to go to someone with more experience,” Fisher said. “But you just fake it till you make it, and it’s led to more projects together, which I’m so grateful for.”

The three also worked on another film called “Fog of War,” a thriller and mystery taking place during World War II. The film is currently undergoing editing and was filmed before the actor’s and writer’s strike began.

“Point Park is a terrific place to find your voice, and they [Kauffman, Fisher and Day] are just a few examples of that,” Nelson Chipman, a screenwriting professor who taught these three, said. “Being collaborative and proactive starts here and will help you build the connections for your future.”

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