Chicago State University students are producing an original TV pilot called, The Chill. The dramatic program revolves around the lives of students at a fictional urban college set in Chicago. The plot contains a rich mix of romance, suspense, and, jealousy. The student production will complete shooting in December and is on track for a Chicago premiere in February.
The script features Khrystian “Khrys” Hill-Carter who leaves his small town of Raymond Mississippi for the windy city lifestyle of Chicago. Khrys quickly falls in love with Tiffany, the president of the student government, but her boyfriend, Marcus Seabrooks, an accomplished DJ, isn’t too fond of the new kid on campus.
The Chill is written by Omar-Karim Strong, a senior at Chicago State majoring in Media Arts and Communications. When asked what inspired him to write, he explains, “I wrote this script in a television class. I based the premise for the show on prime time dramas like The O.C., Beverly Hills 90210 and Degrassi. “Khrys” was based off my own personal experience, and Toni was based off my older brother. I added flaws to the characters to make them more interesting and complex. I would like to pitch it to a network for future consideration.”
Darren Davidson is directing the project. Davidson, a senior in the Program in Communications, Media Arts and Theatre at CSU has directed several other student projects as well his own independent productions. His film, Boil, recently won third prize from the Chicago International Film Festival. “Directing The Chill has been a great opportunity to collaborate with other creative people at CSU. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s the best way to learn the craft of filmmaking. We plan to enter the finished production in several international festivals.”
Dr. Christine List is the faculty overseeing the class production. “We are committed to giving our students as many real world experiences as possible. In this TV Producing class, we’re shooting, editing and also creating the press for The Chill. Students learn the responsibilities of each crew position on the set. They understand what it takes to produce a show from the initial development stage through the distribution of the finished project. We’ve also arranged for several Hollywood producers to be Skyped live into the classroom. In December, our students will have the opportunity to speak with Kathleen McGhee Anderson, the Executive Producer of Lincoln Heights.”
The CMAT program at CSU provides training for students in fields related to Communications such as acting, radio, television, screenwriting, public relations, communication studies, digital filmmaking and multimedia. CSU students have won numerous awards and scholarships, including the Robert Guillaume Scriptwriting Award, Black Harvest Film Festival Audience Choice Award, The Women in Film and Television Scholarship and the Chicago Association of Black Journalists Scholarship.
In addition to a full range of communications courses, the CMAT Program offers internships at media corporations throughout the region. For more information regarding a screening date, contact the production staff of The Chill at Facebook and on Twitter @thechill95. For information on the Program in Communications, Media Arts and Theatre, contact the chairperson, Dr. List, at 773-995-2280.