This June saw the return of the show Balls of Tin with their second season. Balls of Tin is a web series created by Professor Rachelle A. Dermer (Communications Media) under her production company, postHysteria Productions. Dormer’s idea two years ago: to create a professional project with an entire crew of alumni and students from Fitchburg State. This project’s goal is to educate students on a professional micro-budget set. The average student film is ten to twenty minutes and is shot over a few days. Whereas Balls of Tin season two’s run time will be around three hours and is shot over thirty days.
Rob Kemp ‘22 has worked on both seasons of Balls of Tin, first as a student and now as an alumnus.
“Balls of Tin is an incredible opportunity for not only students but alumni like myself," Kemp said. "After working on the first season, it really gave me the confidence to work on my first set after graduation. Now, I get the chance to pass on the same wisdom to students.”
Fitchburg State University has a reputation of producing great technical workers on sets. But Balls of Tin has provided an opportunity for writers to be fostered in a professional writer’s room. Led by Buffy Cautela ‘22, writers are getting hands-on experience writing for serialized television for the first time.
“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to run a writer’s room," Cautela said. "My goal is to write for television, and running a writer’s room at such a young age has been such a unique learning experience that many of my contemporaries have never come close to.”
The Balls of Tin experience has given students the skills to potentially pursue careers as writers if they chose to do so.
Students and alumni alike can learn how to operate in roles that would often take years to elevate to on professional sets. It is a unique resource for Fitchburg State students and shows no sign of slowing down.
“We have big plans going forward," Dermer said. "The goal is to do another show next summer. We also have a feature in development, as well as a slew of shorts. For every project we will always fill our crew positions with Fitchburg students and alumni.”
The executive producers are alumni Zed Eisenhaure ’20, ‘22, Rob Kemp ‘22, Buffy Cautela ‘22, and Andrew Baj ‘22. Additionally, students and alumni were invited to participate in the writer's room alumni include Emma Jacques ‘22 and Aidan King ‘20, student writers were Allison Thompson, Ania MacIndewar, Cameron Barry, Caleb Huston, Emily Gelinas, Alyssa Fields, Tyler Merritt, Kyle Lindfors, David Nugent, and Nick Dickerson.
Directing this season are alumni Rob Kemp ‘22, Buffy Cautela ‘22, and Andrew Baj ‘22; and students: Kyle Lindfors, Darcy Lally, and Allison Thompson. Student directors have been paired with seasoned directors for a positive learning experience while maintaining high production values.
Also on the production team are alumni Bella Berardi ‘21, Gianna Valenti ‘23, Julia Chamberlain ‘22 and students Brendan Smith, Marissa Cloutier, Owen Thayer, Kaitlyn Mobilia, Molly Flanigan, Cole Wilkinson, Seth Rigby, Emjay Hanson, and Joe Czajkowski.
On the post-production team are students Joe Czajkowski, Alyssa Fields, Jeremy Allik, Emily Gelinas, and alumni Colby Molleo ‘22 and Jonah Perlow ‘22.
Students and alumni also comprise much of the cast. Returning this season is alumni Jake Casper (Boston Strangler) as McKenzie Davidson and joining him is alumni Mirabelle Flint ‘22, helming the cast as Lindsay Milann, Buffy Cautela ‘22 plays Robin, and Andrew Baj ‘22 plays a new character, Kyle; students cast are Lip Mangrum as new character Joe Dash and Dave Appolon as new character, Linzee Romann.