Meet the crew behind the ‘How to be a boilermaker video’
They nailed it
On April 21, Mallory Gieringer, a senior studying film debuted her short film on YouTube titled Guide to Being a Boilermaker with Eric Emerick. The video displays many of the highs and lows boilermakers experience while at Purdue and the friendships you form along the way that make it all memorable. Actors Eric Emerick, a senior studying theater and Roberto Mantica, a Purdue alum joined her on the project. They talked about their personal highs and lows, their passion for filmmaking and their experience being a part of the Purdue community.
Why did you decide to make this video?
Mallory: I’m in short film production for TV class with Adam Weatherford. When I first heard about the class I was really excited to do it because it would give me the opportunity to try different types of projects. Before I had done a short film and smaller things for my French cinema class. But I wanted to do something that was different. I was given this video assignment in February and we started filming in February.
How did Eric and Roberto join the project?
Mallory: I saw Roberto for the first time during Matt Westbrook’s film screening. He sat a couple of rows in front of me and I kept him in mind. He stood out for me for his acting. Different people I talk to say he brings a certain energy to the set and certain level of passion you can’t help but get amped up about. When you’re looking for the right actor for anything it’s all about who you pick. I don’t like to do a lot of directing in the moment. I knew if I told Eric to go do some stuff he would give me what I wanted. It was really easy.
Roberto: Within the first year I had known Mallory, it translated from doing a small film project to doing a documentary in India about cancer all within about six months of knowing her.
One night, she was zoned out staring at her computer and I was like “what’s up?” and she said “there’s something missing, I don’t have the meat of this story yet” and I was like “Okay, what kind of meat do you need?” We started spit balling ideas. And to be honest, there was definitely a part of me, after hearing so much about Eric, I was like “I need to meet this guy, I haven’t worked with him yet.” So I was like, “are you missing me?”
Eric: It was really cool meeting Roberto and filming that same day. I had heard so much about him from Mallory and had seen some of his work. We hit it off immediately, we found that we were very similar. It’s actually weird how we are already completing each other’s thoughts and we reflect energy off of each other.”
How did you get into acting at Purdue?
Eric: I left agricultural engineering to be an actor. I was like this is cool but I don’t want to do this. I just landed in acting and it turned out to be something I love doing and now I get to work with great people, creating things. It’s the same idea as engineering, I’ve always wanted to create things, and just now I’m using a different approach. I’m sharing things that I love and I’m passionate about, especially Purdue.
Roberto: Initially I had no interest in college, I just didn’t want to do it. It was Purdue’s theater that reached out to me. A Purdue graduate judged my international production of a small play we did. We traveled all over the place with it. He said ‘I would like to give you the contact information of a professor at Purdue University.’ I came here with my mom, we visited the campus we got to meet with the professors and I was sold.
Why did you choose Purdue for film?
Mallory: I chose Purdue because I wanted something that was small. I saw the opportunities here and I think that has helped me excel at what I do. Having the opportunities, and being able to recognize them when you see them. There are so many opportunities for film students, it’s just about going out there and getting them. That’s been the biggest benefit at being at Purdue, the opportunities it’s given me.
What was the most challenging part?
Roberto: For Mallory, probably dealing with us, keeping us contained.
Mallory: Because I’m a senior, I’m taking all these film classes and balancing five different productions. It was a matter of putting aside and organizing my time so I gave my attention to each project. This one specifically was a lot easier and fun because I didn’t have a shot list or top down. I wrote the script and that took some time but for the most part it was a delightful project for me to do because it was spontaneous and fun and it allowed me to capture the fun of production.
Eric: I’m in 19 credit hours, I was a production assistant for one play and in another play. That’s 24 hours a week of rehearsal when you’re in the rehearsal process. Six days a week for four hours a night along with classes and we have this small window of time to get filming done. I had to do voice over. There were times when the weather was perfect and we had to go right away. When it’s a labor of love you find the time for it.
How long did it take to make?
Eric: For two and a half minutes of the video, you don’t see everything we did, you don’t see everything Mallory did. She shot like five hours of footage. And that’s just raw footage, that doesn’t even factor in watching it all or editing it all or deciding which parts go in the video. Then you get two and a half minutes from collectively 40 or 50 hours of work.
Mallory: I think editing is where the magic happens, because you can get good footage but the magic of the mix really happens during editing. The music was probably what took the most time. But for me as an editor it has to have the right groove, it has to hit something emotionally in me that makes the edit come together. I will buy my music usually, but it’s so worth it because once you mix the music and see everything you’re like ‘yes, that’s what I was going for.’”
How was Mallory as a director?
Eric: She’s good at identifying people to bring on the team, she needs to add that to her resume. One of my favorite things about working with her is that Mallory has been able to spread herself very thin but effectively. She is not only the peanut butter, she’s the jelly. She’s been able to reach all the different angles in this industry very quickly. It stems from her ability to do the technical side of this job but also an uncanny ability that can’t be taught, her deeper intellectual understanding of other human beings.
Roberto: One of the things about Mallory is she came into this with nothing. And usually that’s a really dumb idea. Sometimes it takes a really brave person to try a dumb idea. When you look at this career, it might just be the craziest of people who find success. It’s been a wild thing to watch Mallory grow.
What are your favorite parts of the video?
Roberto: We needed to film in a classroom so we walked into a Spanish 202 class.
Eric: I was like, “AYY! COMO ESTAN MIS AMIGOS!?”
Roberto: The door was open and we asked everyone “is it was alright to film here? You don’t have to do anything just sit in the background.” And we sat right next to them like it was our own class.
Eric: Everyone laughs at the ‘this flower doesn’t even smell’ comment. It was completely improvised, it was just me being stupid. I was just like I’m going to smell this. It was still really cold that week and those were the first flowers out. Also the Mackey shots were all so great.
We filmed the entire Wisconsin game and I just got people riled up. I ran up to people and said ‘who’s house? Our house?’ or ‘yeah let’s make some noise!’ I was just doing the things I love doing around here. We wandered around campus and said hello to people. And that was the best part, creating something about something you love.
What are your career goals?
Roberto: Having pizza with George Clooney. But really, when I was really young I had a mentor that I looked up to and was like an adopted parent. She told me “never forget the bottom of our feet are called soles for a reason. The more shoes you allow yourself to walk in the richer soul you will have in your own heart.”
I never forgot that and it has continued to grow with every project or character I have been a part of. Inspiring others to walk in other shoes and allowing people to walk with you is another way to enrich the souls around you. I have been so fascinated with a simple 2 minute thing like this can be an opportunity to express something far more beautiful than what the original project had intended. Friendships can be made out of nowhere. I will be happy if I can do something like this again and again.
Mallory: Making a film is a matter of being able to express myself. I want to be able to keep doing what I’m doing and making different projects and films that people can connect to on many different levels. Whether it’s something like this or it’s a short film or a full length film I want to make something that connects with audiences and inspires others to think, feel and enjoy cinema.
Eric: For me it comes down to what I really want in my life which changes every time. When I was sixteen I was thinking about being married by now and having a family. That changed for me, I realized that I’m way more about creating and finding out more about what it means to be human and asking the big questions that are really hard to ask, that most people won’t even have the courage to ask themselves and will live their entire lives never knowing an answer to. I really want to ask those questions and push those boundaries and issues and figure that out. Even if I don’t come up with answers I want the questions to be asked. I wanted to change the earth for the better but then I realized I could do something more. I can change hearts and minds. I want somebody to say because of you I didn’t give up. I want everything I do to be positive. The day I die I want the world to be a better place because I lived.”
What do you want people to take away from this video?
Mallory: Sometimes you need to stop and notice the person sitting next to you in class who is maybe struggling. They don’t have to necessarily be struggling in class but when you find those avenues that you can open a conversation with you’ll be surprised the friendships that can come out of that. When you know how to help others and take that time, a lot of budding friendships come out of that. And a lot of the time there are potential best friends sitting around us and you don’t always make the effort. I can honestly say what has made my experience here at Purdue so good is that I stopped to look at the person sitting next to me and I said something casual or offered to help with something. Because you’re better when you can helps someone else be better.
Roberto: I agree, that was the mission. I believe the video we have displays that really well. In this video we are able to show not only that you’re not alone but that you’re better with others and you’ll find even better things about yourself. Things you never thought you could do. One of the reasons we had my character struggle with grades was so to open an opportunity so that Eric could make the effort to reach out and say, ‘I can help you.’ I think if more people could do that, this world would be such a happy place. because more often than not you don’t even know that you could save someone else.
Eric: It’s all about the attitude that you approach life with. The reason that I have loved my experience at Purdue so much is because I decided to love it. I talk to other people in my classes and they hate it here. They have a bad attitude about their environment. If you don’t like things about your environment either work to improve it or switch your attitude and have a positive outlook because then everything falls into place. Anytime I’ve had a bad attitude everything around me goes wrong. I love what I do and where I am and my life around me is a happy experience. That’s what I did in the video. I was love what’s going on, I’m participating and interacting with others and helping others. If you do these things and have that attitude, life stars to get pretty good. Think yes, things might not be perfect but why not be the optimist and strive towards the ideal.