Students take talent to big screen

Lily Wiest • Managing Editor

It started out as a simple D-Town project. Less than a year later it was being shown on a theater screen to a city full of people. Phil Frentsos’s music video for the song “Teenage Problems” had quite a journey. It was one of three short films chosen to be shown in the Ohio Shorts Youth Division at the Independents’ Day Festival in Columbus.

Every year the Wexner Center hosts a film festival for youth and adult filmmakers, and every year Mr. Schey encourages his D-Town students to submit their own short films. Last year he pushed the contest even harder than before, inspiring Frentsos to create a video specifically for the competition.

He was originally planning on doing a fictional short film, but when his friend and fellow senior Elijah Welch asked him to create a music video for his new song he changed the plan.

Welch, or The Psalmist, is a Christian rapper who writes and produces all of his own music. He appeared in the “Bands You’ve Never Heard Of” column of the Talisman last year.

Frentsos said that he picked Welch’s song because he thought it “had a purpose. [Elijah] puts everything teenagers deal with in life and turns it to a religious standpoint,” he said.

Welch himself said he feels called to write songs of substance and that he wrote “Teenage Problems” because he feels that many of the issues teenagers deal with go overlooked.

The video itself is roughly four minutes long. It switches between close-ups of Elijah singing and shots of teenagers holding signs with words like “Depression,” “College” and “Body Image.” The end shows Welch burning all the signs, reinforcing the message of the line “letting God handle all these teenage problems.”

Frentsos said he was inspired by the purposeful videos of Ryan Lewis, best known for his work with rapper Macklemore.

“I turned to him for motivation,” Frentsos said.

He said that he tried to emulate Lewis’s slow-moving shooting style, which is evident throughout the video.

“[Phil]’s very thoughtful about the way he uses tracking shots,” Schey said.

Schey also praised Frentsos’ story-telling ability. From a technical standpoint he said the video stood out to him because of its “great shots, great angles and such a quick pace of editing.”

Frentsos said he was motivated to do his best work not only because of the competition, but also because it was promoting his friend’s music.

“Elijah really wanted it to be good,” he said. “I wanted to do good for Elijah.”

The festival itself took place on the weekend of September 20. It was a huge event, and several streets were closed down in preparation. They featured independent music, film, art and food. The Ohio Shorts films were shown on Saturday.

Schey said he was “surprised at the scope. It’s pretty cool…to think that they’re talented enough to be viewed in that setting,” he said.

Welch said he found the experience “humbling.”

The boys are each moving forward in their artistic work. Frentsos will continue to use what Schey called his “intuition” for film in D-Town again this year. Welch has joined him in D-Town and is currently talking to a label about producing his music more professionally.

Click the link to watch the video on Youtube.