July 24, 2016

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Medina grad competes in online contest for Red Carpet coverage

By John Benson

Special to The Gazette

And the Oscar goes to?

For 2005 Medina High School graduate Chad Courtney, who is currently a senior at Bowling Green State University majoring in film production, the eventual goal is attending the Academy Awards ceremony and perhaps hearing his name read as winning cinematographer.

While this dream may take years to accomplish, the Medina native spent the last few weeks wondering whether he’d be attending the 81st Academy Awards celebration this weekend in Los Angeles as the winner of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU “Oscar Correspondent Contest.”

“It was an online competition to create a video why you should go to the Oscars,” said Courtney, 22. “The contest required you have a correspondent and a cameraperson. I was the cameraperson. So we shot it, edited it, turned it in and got into the Top 10.”

After learning about the national competition from the school’s film department, Courtney said he teamed up with his friend Nicole Lovince, also a BGSU senior, to shoot a question-and-answer video featuring the correspondent interviewing herself about why she should be the “Oscar Correspondent Contest” winner.

“We started it three weeks ago with our video being around a minute in length,” Courtney said. “We set up a green screen in Nicole’s apartment, and I lit it. I had to reverse the lighting for the other half (of the interview) and then we edited it like she was talking to herself. We did it really fast, and it looked decent, but there were time constraints. We really didn’t have a lot of time to do it, but we submitted it and got a call a week later and found out that we didn’t make it.”

Viewers could vote online for their favorite college team out of the 10 semifinalists, which included Courtney and Lovince. Voting for the three finalists ended Feb. 20.

Courtney, who spent last summer working in Chippewa Lake as the first assistant camera operator on independent feature film “Closed for the Season,” said the entire effort was enjoyable.

With graduation coming this May, Courtney said he’s planning a move to Hollywood, where he’s already lined up a job with Shadowcast Pictures.

In his mind, the entire “Oscar Correspondent Contest” experience has cemented his career decision.

“I think it was just a huge confidence boost,” Courtney said. “I mean, it really let us know we were on the right track. In fact, they told us we got in the Top 10 even though over 100 different colleges had people submitting. So just the fact that we shot this in an apartment with three lights and a green screen, and like were able to get national recognition — it was amazing.”

Benson may be reached at ididhear@aol.com.