Behind the Scenes Tales from Newhouse TV Show "Tilt"


smallWhile most SU students devote their weekends to tailgates, late nights on Marshall, and a whole lot of Netflix and Chill, the Advanced Television Production students in the Newhouse School have spent their time a bit differently.

For the past semester, twelve students in Professor Schoonmaker’s class came together to write, produce and edit six episodes of a television series called Tilt for their Newhouse capstone. At first it might sound easier than cramming for your Bio Chem final, but imagine a full semester jam packed with endless nights of wrestling with dialogue, writing screenplays, devising shot lists and 12-hour long shoot days– trust me, it ain’t easy.

“We put hours of thinking into every single shot, always thinking about our audience. As long as they’re able to shut reality away from their minds, merge into our story, and take something meaningful with them, I believe our goal as a production team has been accomplished," Tilt Director Lina Ortega said.

The Tilt writing team drew their inspiration from the emotion of vulnerability. While creating the show, the writers shared their individual fears and vulnerabilities with each other. Their personal and raw stories led to the creation of the show’s main character Claire.

Isabel Sherman not only stars as Claire in Tilt, but also co-wrote and produced the series along with Cori Rosen (yep, that’s me), Carling Mott, Allie Reeves, and Katrina Bartocillo. “We had to come up with an idea that resonated with a manifesto that we made the first weekend of our capstone. We didn't really like our idea at first but our professor said we should go forward because it was based on something that resonated with all of us," Sherman said.

Although the writing team struggled at first #writersblock, they came together to scribe the story of Claire, a senior in college whose life changes in the blink of an eye after she’s diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that leads to blindness.

Writer and actress in the show Allie Reeves said adjusting to the nature of working in a television writer’s room was a challenge for her– she’d only wrote shorts and feature films in the past. Allie remarks on her experience:

I had never written as part of a team before and I think that was one of the harder parts for me because we were always trying to incorporate five different point of views into one 10 page script which is a lot harder than it sounds. In the beginning we ran into a lot of problems because we all saw our main characters differently but as the season progressed we started to come together more and more.”

After all the effort and dedication this crew has put in this semester, they are more than excited to screen six episodes of Tilt at the premiere this Sunday. Post production supervisor Devin Carey is stoked for the public to finally see what the cast and crew have created. “Tilt is a pretty unique show in terms of storyline and aesthetic look. After putting so much work into a project like this, it will be gratifying to see how people receive it," Carey said.

Tilt premieres this Sunday at 5 p.m. in Newhouse 3’s Herg Auditorium and stars SU students Isabel Sherman, Allie Reeves, Joaquin Acrich, Jeff Matos and Brenda Muhammad. The series would not have been possible without the genius behind the camera: Chaochen Li, Rachel Heffler, Production Manager, Editor/ Eye candy Nick Claro and camera assistant Xiaojing Zhao.