Digital Film Duo on to Nationals

KISD Career Center pair going to national competition
06/18/2019
By: Todd Martin
The scene opens with two filmmakers standing on the set. They have a two-word prompt, a four-word statement of required dialogue and 24 hours to make a film.
 
With nothing to go on but the term “dry run” and the phrase “great minds think alike,” Dominick Carozza and Cassie Greer were on their way at the state Skills USA competition in digital cinema production.
 
Actually, the pair had a lot more than a vague assignment to go on.
 
They competed at the state venue the previous year hosted at the same Corpus Christi hotel. They knew each other from two years of audio-visual courses at the Killeen ISD Career Center and, coincidentally, the previous year in another state where their soldier dads happened to be assigned.
 
So maybe Carozza and Greer should have seen the foreshadowing on the wall and not been so surprised when their names were called as the state champions, qualifying them for national Skills USA competition June 24-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.
 
A year ago, the digital film-making duo finished 13th at state. This time around, they applied lessons learned.
 
They talked in advance about potential story structures to build a sort of mental template. They avoided traveling far from the hotel, especially since the event took place on a rainy day. “We spent more time writing,” Carozza said, “that’s the most important part.”
 
Another key component was their classmate Bailey Greene, competing in extemporaneous speaking and on his way to a national qualifying performance, and a strong actor willing and able to participate.
 
Carozza and Greene played the roles of a struggling screenwriter pitching a quirky, confusing, genre-changing idea and a skeptical director listening, responding and rejecting the ideas. Greer used her technical skills behind the camera shooting and editing.
 
“We’re a good team,” Greer said. “He’s creative and I’m technical.” She said they spent more than two hours planning and about six hours filming before she got down to the tedium of eight hours of editing through the night.
 
Both knew their end product was far superior to last year’s effort, but still, in the bleary light of day and a packed venue of talented students, they didn’t expect to take first place. “We were falling asleep when our category started,” Greer recalled. “They announced third and second and then our team. Our group went crazy. It was exciting.”
 
“We were pretty shocked,” Carozza said. “We knew we did better than last year. I was confident.”
 
Now, the two Killeen ISD Career Center seniors get a last hurrah to go for a national title before traveling into the sunset. She is going to the University of Southern California to study film. He is going to Sam Houston State University to study mass communications.

Photos by Mike Bartoszek
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