Texas UIL Film Contest, Max Griffin
By Amy Ruggini
An Aubrey High School student in a red and gray letterman’s jacket runs through the school hallway. He has to get to the library and write an essay on the book “Lord of the Flies” before class. Will he make it?
This did happen, but only in Max Griffin’s imagination. With the help of a group of friends, the AHS junior wrote, directed, edited and produced a short film about a student who arrives at school only to realize he forgot that a book report is due that morning.
Griffin submitted “Lord of Reports,” to the UIL Film Contest and advanced to the state semifinals in the Division 1 Narrative Film category. He finished in seventh place, just one place shy of the top six awardees, which are invited to a film festival in Austin.
“I was proud of ourselves,” Griffin said. “For our first attempt, it really came out the way we wanted it to.”
Just missing the final round did not dampen Griffin’s spirits. The entire film-making experience only intensified his love of films and telling thrilling stories.
“I want to keep doing it,” Griffin said. “I have no interest in stopping. There is only room for improvement.”
Griffin heard about the contest in his film production and audiovisual class at the Advanced Technology Complex or now known as the LaGrone Academy. Right away, Griffin knew he wanted to enter. The fact that Aubrey didn’t have an established UIL film program didn’t deter him.
Griffin connected with Edgar Jackson, the AHS UIL adviser, who agreed to sponsor and assist him through the application process.
“Max is an outside of the box thinker,” Jackson said. “He does the stuff that he is passionate about, and he does it with excellence. He is a good example of the kids we have here at Aubrey.”
Griffin has always had a passion for movies and signed up for the audio and visual class as soon as he heard about it. It’s a two-year certification program for editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. He is hoping the certification and the films he is making will not only give him experience but also a portfolio for college. His goal is to attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in film.
Right after hearing about the contest, Griffin checked out a camera from ATC, went home, wrote a script and found a few friends to help him.
“Jacob Coppedge was a huge help,” Griffin said. “He helped me write it and was the star of the film.”
Jacob’s character in the film goes through the gamut of emotions when he realizes he forgot about a school assignment: surprise, anxiety, panic and then determination to complete the assignment.
Over a period of a few weeks, Griffin and his friends met after school to film scenes in school hallways and the library. He edited it over winter break and submitted the film in January.
Griffin said that he felt confident about his short film and felt a sense of accomplishment when he heard that he made it past the first round in February and then the second round in March.
“I was proud that I was able to organize a group of people for the first time,” Griffin said. “It was fun to get everyone together and for them to listen to me, and they captured what I asked of them perfectly.”
Griffin is back filming at the high school. He and his friends are working on their next film, which is a little more intricate with more props and outfits. Max is hoping to direct one or two films for next year’s contest, and one of his friends is talking about producing a film of his own.
The Aubrey UIL film program is growing.