Bryce Johnson, Theater and Film
Thank you very much for the grant received from the Office of Research and Creative Work. I am writing to report on how that grant was used to finance my project, Center Stage, a thirty-minute documentary film on Ruth and Nathan Hale, founders of the oldest continuously-running center stage theater in the country.
Production began in July 1993, with taped interviews of Ruth and Nathan Hale and members of their family. We gathered archival information from family photographs as well as newspaper articles as far back as the mid 1940s. In November an all-student film crew traveled to Glendale, California, to interview television celebrities who got their start with the Hale theaters, including Gordon Jump, Richard Hatch, and Ellen Wheeler. We also gathered footage of live performances. This trip was made possible in part by the time, equipment, and raw film stock donated by filmmaker Paul Jenkins.
In December we shot more live performance footage at the Hale Centre Theatre in Salt Lake during a show which turned out to be the final performance of Nathan’s life, as he was in the final stages of bone cancer. On-camera interviews of Ruth Hale took place in February just after Nathan’s passing, and shortly thereafter the transcriptions of all the interviews were used to write the final script.
Archival photography, original music, and voice talent recording took place in March, just before the final edit. On April 8 and 9, Center Stage showed at “The Final Cut,” BYU’s annual showcase of student films.
The $1000 grant from the Office of Research and Creative Work was an invaluable contribution to the making of Center Stage. The money went into the film account, which was used to pay all of the production’s expenses, including: raw film stock, film processing, equipment rentals and fees, travel expenses, post-production personnel and facilities, and video copies. In all, the production cost about $10,000.
As soon as additional funds are secured, the film will undergo a final revisionary edit, and then it will be complete. The film will be submitted to festivals and competitions throughout the United States. It will also be available on video through the Hale Theaters.
Once again, my sincere thanks for the funds contributed by your office. If you would like a video copy of the finished film, I would be happy to send one to you.