Baylor's BEST Lands Role in Movie Project DevelopmentAug. 1, 2011
Baylor's Business Excellence Scholarship Team (BEST) program is a two-semester accelerated strategic entrepreneurship course that requires a diverse group of accomplished and academically excellent students to address real-world business issues. Students engage in critical projects for companies and gain genuine comprehensive experience while businesses get fresh creative consultants.
Last fall, the BEST team of Connor Schaars, Ryan Shook, John Steen, Emily Underwood, and Amy Wofford were asked to develop a nontraditional albeit professional business plan for the 3 Preneurs Entertainment LLC feature film adaptation of Elmer Kelton's classic Texas novel, The Time It Never Rained (TTNR). The three entrepreneurs who make up 3 Preneurs Entertainment (Alicia Gibson, Jourdan Gibson, and Lorie Woodward Cantu) introduced a project which included such elements as market research to identify the target audience, exploration and analysis of current events to derive the current mood and political sentiment of the country, and generation of ideas for distribution and promotion of the film on a tight budget.
3 Preneurs challenged the students to write the plan as if they were submitting it to a banker or venture capitalist for funding. The investors would be encouraged to expect a return on investment but also would be asked to invest in the diffusion of a powerful message.
Although written in 1972, The Time It Never Rained powerfully mirrors many important issues of today. The underlying theme asks Americans, is a sense of security worth trading individual freedom and responsibility for? The novel not only tackles the role of government in private life, but also immigration, race relations, and environmentalism. According to BEST student Amy Wofford, "Through our research, we found that only 26% of voters think the U.S. is heading in the right direction. We believed that the film adaptation of the book will capitalize on the opportunity to provide a message of hope, optimism and perseverance in a time of economic tribulation. The projected release date of this film is the fall of 2012, before the presidential elections."
Partnering on the movie project's development was immensely valuable to both the 3 Preneurs team and the student consultants. Producer Lorie Woodward Cantu, who co-wrote the script with J. Brian Elliott, a senior lecturer with Baylor's Film and Digital Media Department, commended the students' "enthusiasm, professionalism and their intimate knowledge of social media and its potential for direct marketing." As for the students, the project was a profound learning experience as well as uniquely interesting. In addition to exposure to the film and entertainment industry, the BEST team gained a deeper understanding of group dynamics, teamwork, time management, and the dedication it takes to transition an idea into a successful venture. The experience was all the more meaningful because of the positive and timely messages conveyed.