TU-produced public service film racks up awards, more than 3 million views
What started as an opportunity for Towson University faculty and students from the College of Fine Arts and Communication to gain real-world experience creating a public service video for the campus community has become an opportunity to showcase TU talent.
“Just Another Day: How to Survive an Active Shooter Event on Campus,” a public service video commissioned by the TU Police Department and Office of Public Safety, was created by faculty members and students from the Department of Electronic Media and Film in partnership with other departments in the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
The video has surpassed 3 million YouTube views and won five regional and national awards since it was released in August 2018.
In May the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter announced that the film is a nominee for the 61st Emmy Awards. It is one of two nominees in the informational/instructional program category.
As the only university in Maryland with a nomination, TU stands out among a list dominated by regional news and sports networks.
“The Emmy [nomination] brings name recognition to Towson University, and also to the Department of Electronic Media and Film,” says Joseph Kraemer, an assistant professor and director of “Just Another Day.” “It’s a nice way to show what we’re capable of—our students and our faculty—on a high level.”
“Just Another Day” was written by EMF Assistant Professor Marc May, produced by Adjunct Instructor Marco Kathuria and executive produced by Department Chair Michael Angelella, with sound design by Lecturer Adam Schwartz, score by Associate Professor Elsa Lankford and cinematography by alumnus Kyle Deitz '14.
It’s also a great resume-builder for the TU students involved.
“Most of the students who worked on the film have graduated and are in that area of transition in their careers,” Kraemer adds. “This is something they can put on their resume, having worked on, so far, an Emmy-nominated project.”
The recognition comes at a moment when TU is building its momentum and gaining awareness beyond Maryland and the mid-Atlantic. “I think this is just one little piece of a much larger movement and growth for the university,” Kraemer says.
“If it wins, we'll get that statuette like you see in the daytime Emmys. I see it as a culmination of what’s been a wild year for the film,” he adds.
Produced by the Department of Electronic Media and Film, the 12-minute video makes a significant departure from the university’s previous campus safety training videos by placing the viewer into a dramatic portrayal of an active shooter situation on campus and illustrating three survival strategies: avoid, deny and defend.
“I think it found so much success because of the timeliness of the message and, unfortunately, the fact that these mass shootings keep happening,” Kraemer says, noting that the video hit 3 million views shortly after the workplace shooting in Virginia Beach on May 31. “I think people connect with it because it tells a story and it's centered on the survivors.”
While the video is TU branded and was made to the TU Police Department's active shooter protocol, Kraemer notes that the message is universal. “I think other schools, colleges, business—anywhere people congregate—can use it.”
The success wouldn’t be possible without the support of TU leadership. “I’m very grateful Towson put up the money for this,” Kraemer says of the university's decision to hire the Electronic Media and Film department rather than an outside video production company. “It came from the president's office and [President Kim Schatzel] came to set with the [former] TU Police Chief Bernard Gerst. We’ve always felt very supported [by the university] throughout this project.”
“Just Another Day” is one of several submissions by members of the TU community to receive an Emmy nomination from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter. (View a full list of nominees here.)
The winners will be announced at the 61st Emmy Awards on June 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The awards will also be live-streamed on the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter website.
This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.