November 2020

Director Nick Simon and Producer Bronwyn Cornelius (Untitled Horror Movie) visit Southeastern to give the inside scoop on the process of remotely filming their upcoming movie using only iPhones.

Southeastern’s Video and Performing Arts vocational teacher Janelle Canastra has provided many creative alternatives for her students to partake in remotely, amid the chaos of the global pandemic. She recently invited two filmmakers into the virtual classroom. These filmmakers remotely shot the entirety of their feature-length film on the iPhone 11s. The film’s director, Nick Simon, and producer, Bronwyn Cornelius, met with the seniors of the Video and Performing Arts program to give a detailed insight into what the unbelievable process entailed. Untitled Horror Movie is an upcoming feature length film about a group of actors, with a TV show nearing cancellation, who decide to film their own horror movie. Instead, they unknowingly summon an evil spirit during the process. Starring Claire Holt (The Originals and The Vampire Diaries), Kat McNamara (Shadowhunters), and Timothy Granaderos (13 Reasons Why), it is the first film to be entirely shot during the nationwide lockdown.

Simon discussed the difficulty of struggling to decide how to film the project amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The only feasible solution was to film remotely which would require more work from the film’s cast members. Luckily, in the film’s script, the actors never meet in person. Each actor was individually sent film kits consisting of lighting equipment, microphones, an iPhone 11s, and were given instructions how to set up each piece of equipment. They were even instructed on how to do their own hair and makeup. Simon and Cornelius used Zoom as a platform to virtually communicate with the actors and oversee the shoot.

Reflecting back on the experience, Simon noted how comical it was to teach the actors how to do the setup, something that is usually done for them by hired professionals, like themselves. The job of activating the cameras, synchronizing sound, and achieving the correct lighting set-ups, were all left up to the actors under the crew’s instruction. Even the fight sequences that happen in the film were choreographed over Zoom. The actors watched pre-taped recordings of action consultants performing the choreography and then followed tutorials that explained how to correctly perform the sequence. Simon also mentioned to the class how nerve-racking it was to identify every possible detail that could go wrong with the filming process.

The students were eager to absorb all the information that both Simon and Cornelius had to share about filming an entire movie while quarantined. They were given advice on how to improve their filmmaking skills, while at home, for future projects. Student Tyler Owens-Sumpter (Mansfield) found the experience to be “very informative and inspiring” and stated he learned “you don’t need super fancy equipment to be efficient and successful as a young filmmaker.” Fellow classmate Melissa Alves (Brockton) also enjoyed the time spent with Simon and Cornelius because it was resourceful with all of the information filmmakers shared with the class. They as well as the rest of their classmates, were grateful for the opportunity to speak with industry professionals and learn how to develop their future careers in film.

About Southeastern
At Southeastern, students choose from 20 career majors in preparation for life’s challenges and opportunities. Our school combines a rigorous academic curriculum with state of the art vocational and technical studies to help students realize their full learning potential. The schedule is designed to have students alternate between academic and technical coursework. This process promotes the integration of studies and helps bridge the gap between theoretical and practical experience.

The hands-on approach to learning helps connect students to education and provides the basis for life-long learning – an essential skill in today’s highly competitive global market. Upon graduation, students have the choice of furthering their education in any two or four-year institution or going directly into the workforce.

The Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School District consists of a four-year public high school and a post-secondary technical institute. The high school offers 20 career majors to students from Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxboro, Mansfield, Norton, Sharon, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater.

To learn more about Southeastern, please visit:

Submitted by: Christina Venter, Video and Performing Arts, Mansfield