Cougars in Motion, a Kean organization dedicated to the filming process, has recently started meeting again for the 2018-2019 school year. While it has been active for about four years, this club has given students a creative outlet and the opportunity to become immersed in the world of film.
Junior Geffen Siegel is the current president of Cougars in Motion. He joined the group in the first semester of his freshman year at Kean.
“I just figured going into college that I should join a club because that’s one thing I never did in high school,” Siegel said. “It’s just a way to meet people, and at the time I was undecided so I was feeling out areas of interest.”
Siegel noted that being part of the club ultimately played a part in deciding on and declaring his major: communications with the media and film option.
Aside from connecting students with a common passion, the club allows its members to obtain real field experience as they film and edit their own videos. They are also given a large degree of freedom in choosing topics that interest them instead of being confined to certain themes.
“It’s just dependent on what would be interesting or engaging to make and then watch,” Siegel said.
Some videos made by Cougars in Motion in the past include one on race and diversity done in collaboration with a sorority during the 2018 spring semester, as well as multiple short horror films done in the spirit of Halloween. While students have not been able to view the club’s completed videos in the past, Siegel said that they’ve been discussing making them available to the public within this semester.
Meetings take place every Tuesday in the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Room 311. What is accomplished in these meetings depends on the week. They can include anything from discussing the progress of projects, refining ideas, handing out prompts, or giving lessons on filming skills.
The majority of Cougar in Motion’s members are from the media and film major. However, the group also attracts students from some less obvious areas of study.
“We have a few art majors, psychology majors, and computer science majors,” Siegel said. “I think the ones who are outside of the major usually stick more because it’s not something you’re constantly doing on a day-to-day basis."
Siegel hopes that, despite how much experience in filmmaking students have upon joining, they will leave with a thorough set of skills and work they can be proud of.
“I would hope that people get a greater understanding and appreciation for filmmaking, even if they’re just an occasional viewer of it. In the end really, we hope that you make a product you can really show off and enjoy,” Siegel said.
Furthermore, students can gain proficiency in making the films themselves. Siegel also believes that participating in Cougars in Motion has benefits that reach into other important aspects of life.
“My mission personally is trying to get people to really think creatively and independently when it comes to not just film but approaching things in general,” Siegel said. “It’s an outlet for people, so whether they come in and don’t know anything about filmmaking or their thinking is very straightforward, we just get people to broaden their horizons.”