Mississippi students’ time travel film competing nationally

Published 6:16 am Sunday, June 20, 2021

If you could go back in time and provide crucial information to your past self, what would it be?

That is the plot of a short film titled “Jimmie’s Time Quest,” being submitted under the Video on Demand category to the national Technology Student Association (TSA) competition this summer by Neshoba Central High School students.

The Neshoba Central students, Ethan Harden, Kathryn Dreifuss, William Schmid, Jacob Goforth, Wayne Weaver and Aiden Collins (all rising juniors and seniors), worked together to make the short film happen in just a couple of days.

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The students won first place earlier this year in the state-level TSA competition in the Video On Demand category with a movie trailer they made titled “The Boy and his Key.” The trailer focused on a young boy, equipped with only a book, backpack, key and his wits, who receives a treasure map in the mail and is tasked to find a gemstone somewhere in the world.

The plot of the short film that is still in production for the national competition focuses on the protagonist, Jimmie McGill, a boy who failed high school. Luckily, he meets a wizard who has the power to send him back in time to tell his past self to do better in school and change the future, or else he will fail and be forced to drop out.

A montage ensues, and Jimmie’s past self brings his A-game and changes the past with his hard work. When Jimmie returns to the present time, he receives his high school diploma.

Collins, Harden, Schmid and Weaver act in the film, while Goforth and Dreifuss do the photography, sound, directing and editing.

“The best part about the whole process was having my friends together and filming,” Weaver said. “Winning first place in the state TSA competition and competing in nationals is just the icing on the cake.”

Weaver got into acting a few years ago because he enjoys entertaining people and hopes to go into the entertainment industry in the future. He plans to attend Millsaps College and major in English.

Dreifuss, who plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, said winning the state competition was unexpected and she is excited to take part in the national competition.

“I’m glad our hard work paid off,” Dreifuss said. “I didn’t think we were going to win, and I was so excited to find out we did. The project was also a great bonding experience.”

Dreifuss said she started working on making different kinds of videos in seventh grade and still makes videos now, mainly for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. She has also made videos for Neshoba Central and hopes to be a movie director in the future.

Harden, who is not yet sure where he will attend college, said working on the project is fun, and he got to socialize more with his friends and see how talented they all could be when working in a group.

“Winning first place was a bit surprising, but I humbly accepted it and enjoyed it,” Harden said. “It was a fun experience, and I wouldn’t go back to change a single thing about it.”

Schmid said he enjoyed participating in the film and encouraged students to join TSA in the coming years.

“Getting into it and investing your time in TSA benefits you and helps you hone your skills,” Schmid said. “I enjoyed this project, and I hope we win at nationals.”

Schmid has been interested in photography and film work since he was younger, and he hopes to pursue a career in that field. He also plans on attending Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

Collins plans to attend East Central Community College and is thinking about majoring in digital media and design.

“I’ve been interested in entertaining people, especially through videos, similar to Wayne’s interest in entertainment,” Collins said. “This film was right up my alley, and I’m confident we will win nationals.”

Goforth said he has always been into camera work, writing, filming and audio mixing, which inspired him to join the film project. He hopes to attend Ole Miss and major in writing.

“I’m glad my teacher, Sedera Anderson, got us to do this because it was overall a great experience,” Goforth said.

The Technology Student Association is a national organization of students engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.

TSA competitions include categories such as animatronics, architectural design, cybersecurity, fashion design, and technology. It spans nationwide, with high schools from throughout the nation competing to see who can create the best project out of each category. The national competition begins on June 24.

Anderson, TSA Teacher of the Year and the engineering and robotics instructor at Neshoba Central, said she is proud of the students for putting together the film so quickly. She said the on-demand video category is one of her favorite categories in the competition, and she is thankful that Neshoba Central has the proper resources to take part in that category.

“This competition pushes students to think fast and get something pushed out in a timely manner,” Anderson said. “It’s exciting to see them be that creative so quick. I hope they do great in nationals since the national competition is at an entirely different level. It will be a challenge, but the talent is there, and I’m confident they’ll do well.”