Study Abroad News

Cinematic Arts Student Works on SyFy Show


by Julia Howell

Zombies: the buzzword for sci-fi drama this fall. SyFy has introduced a new show from the producers of “Sharknado,” set during a zombie apocalypse. A virus has spread throughout the country, wreaking havoc and destroying civilization. The only hope is to take a living survivor with the antibodies to a lab across the nation. What is the infection? ZN1. Zombie virus. The show, titled “ZNation,” has taken a formidable amount of technical and behind-the-scenes work to launch its first season. Sam Read, a senior cinematic arts major at George Fox, has been a substantial part of this effort

After Read worked in Los Angeles last semester during an off-campus experience for film majors, he came home to Spokane for a summer job. He was then hired as a voice production assistant for the new show. “They would shoot all day long and then the runner would bring me all the cards and hard drives they had on the camera,” said Sam. “It would be my job to consolidate all of it, and make sure it was all backed up.” He also hand-created a library of around 500 different sound tracks, including voice effects, which the producers will use for the duration of the show. “I brought a whole bunch of voice actors in and did voice-over stuff to try and get cool zombie sounds,” he said. “So if you listen to the show, it’s probably one of my zombie sounds that you’re hearing.”

Producing sounds for such a show can be challenging because no one knows what a zombie should sound like. Read and his co-workers had to think creatively at times to make the voice acting sound realistic. The process “was all kind of haphazard,” said Sam. “[We used] whatever came out of somebody’s mouth and then it actually worked pretty well.” He said one of the most interesting sounds to engineer was a zombie baby in the first episode. “My partner and I did a bunch of crazy stuff—flipped it backward, pitched it up…and what you hear on the episode is a product of that,” said Sam. “The director wanted the baby to sound like it was scurrying around, so we recorded his rat.” Although he enjoyed creating somewhat unconventional sounds, Sam’s true passion is for blending sound effects, music, and dialogue into a seamless track for each episode. “What I enjoy the most about this process is the mixing stage, where you bring all the elements together,” he said.

 He still occasionally does contract work for “ZNation,” but Sam is now focusing on his classes. He plans to graduate in December and continue sound work in Spokane. Although he has the talent and skills for working on feature films in L.A., he would much rather invest in the growing culture of his hometown.  “I want to bring back to Spokane what I’ve been doing in L.A. and [have] learned in my education at Fox,” he said. “Just investing in Spokane as a city—I think that’s huge.”  “ZNation” airs on the SyFy channel Fridays at 10 p.m.

Vamos a España: Brutscher twins share study abroad experience


by Kelsey Vaughn

Sisters Brenna and Chandler Brutscher have a lot in common. Besides being identical twins, they are studying the same things—both are Spanish and Art double majors—and share a passion for travel. However, this semester, they no longer share the same dorm room, as Chandler is abroad with the Semester in Spain program. “I think about the term ‘living vicariously’ through someone,” Brenna said of being separated from her twin. “I kind of feel like I’m reliving parts of the experience as I see her photos.” Another thing that these sisters share: their current separation is a repeat of last fall, when Brenna was on the same study abroad trip that Chandler is on now.

The Semester in Spain program is one of the study abroad options for Spanish majors. For four months, students live with host families in Seville and take classes at Acento de Trinity, a facility run by Trinity Christian College. All classes are taught in Spanish, contributing further to the immersion experience. Students also take short trips to other parts of Spain. Brenna was able to travel to Toledo, Granada, and a few other cities, seeing the best of Spanish art and culture along the way. She made friends with Spaniards, lived with Spaniards, and embraced a Spaniard lifestyle. Now, her sister has embarked on that same journey.

“It’s been a challenge to keep up with the native Spaniards and get ‘the gist’ of what they’re saying,” Chandler said of her time in Spain so far, “but it has been a huge blessing to meet new people and learn a new way of living.”  Brenna’s memories of the trip seem to echo that sentiment. Although adjusting to the language was difficult—she described her frustration at feeling like she was “backsliding” for the first weeks—it was worth it to be fully immersed in a different culture. And the language skills come with time, of course. Hearing Brenna’s description of her progress would make any second language learner jealous: “it’s cool because instead of thinking in English and translating it into Spanish, you start to think in Spanish and speak in it.” In a way, there is a parallel between the language proficiency gained through studying abroad and the relationship that the Brutscher sisters share. When Chandler communicates with Brenna, there is no need for her to “translate” her experience so that Brenna can understand. For instance, when talking about the view from “Las Setas” (shown in the accompanying pictures), both sisters know exactly what that view is like and have their own memories attached to it.

Communication is made all the easier by the bond of sisterhood and friendship that they already share. When they look back on their semesters abroad in Spain, there is no doubt that the experience will have been made all the richer by their ability to speak a common language of understanding.

George Fox Student Honored by the Scholars' Semester in Oxford Study Abroad Program

Jennifer Newman
Scholars' Semester in Oxford honors George Fox student Jennifer Newman as a winner of the de Jager prize for academic excellence.  Jennifer studied abroad in the fall of 2013 at Oxford University.  Jennifer is a senior Political Science/Philosphy Major.  
In Jennifer's own words:

"One of my favourite moments at Oxford was a quiet and solemn one. I was sitting in Duke Humphrey's library in the Bodleian (the library where they house the ancient special collections, and also the library where they filmed Harry Potter.) Furiously reading and writing a paper in the middle of term, 1 sat back and sighed in a moment of pure weakness and feeling of defeat. I sank low in my seat, shut the laptop, and closed my eyes. When I re-opened my eyes I was staring at the leather-bound books in front of me. I realized, in that moment, where I was. Looking around at the ancient books that were older than my country, the Latin inscriptions lining the walls of the donors to the library hundreds of years ago, the crests of the schools on the painted wooden ceiling. I sighed again, but this time in awe. I was sitting, frustrated, where many of the worlds' greatest intellectuals have sat frustrated before, as students. I was inspired and uplifted by my surroundings, knowing that I was in a literally awesome place for scholarship. With that, I finished my paper."