Montana State University

MSU film students make elite eight in national funny video competition

December 7, 2009 -- Carol Schmidt, MSU News


Nick Andrews of Helena (from left), Logan Triplett of Kalispell and Shane Dowaliby of Whitefish, all juniors majoring in film at Montana State University, can make even a random moment at a coffee shop seem funny. The three students have made a short film that is in the final round of online voting in the National College Funny Film Competition with voting ending at noon Dec. 9. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Online voters have until noon Wednesday to vote for three Montana State University film students who hope to be named winners of a contest to name the funniest college video in the country.

Nick Andrews of Helena, Logan Triplett of Kalispell and Shane Dowaliby of Whitefish, and their film, "Sunday Morning," have made the final round of the National College Funny Film Competition. The competition ends at noon Dec. 9 and can be found online at the National College Comedy Competition Web site. Select the green box on the right to register your vote. Participants must register to vote, but can vote once every five minutes.

"We're hoping people just sit there and vote all day," Triplett said.

Four winners will be selected from the eight semi-finalists. Semi-final winners receive a trip to the final screening at the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colo., in June. Audience members and online viewers will vote for their favorite Funny Filmmaker to determine the winner, which may be shown on national television.

"Plus, it's just a great honor," Andrews said.

Andrews points out that the contest is a pure numbers game. That could be a hurdle to the Montana State team, which hails from a lower population area and is a smaller institution than the schools for other finalists, including University of Oklahoma, University of Mississippi and Michigan State.

But so far, the online competition has worked well for the team and their production company, Little Baby Films. The trio, who met a year ago when all were sophomores in the MSU School of Film and Photography, entered three films in the initial round of the competition. Two of their films made it into the second round. Their film "Heaven," made the quarterfinals. The top eight filmmakers were then asked to make another funny video to the theme "Things that suck about college."

"We learned on Nov. 13 that we had two weeks to make another film, right when we were working on our junior film (at MSU)," Andrews said. Within a few days, they had the idea for "Sunday Morning," a video review of a memorable college Saturday night.

Although the three have only worked together for a year, they seem to feed off each other's energy with non-stop one-liners and story ideas. "Funny things happen throughout the day and we write them down," Triplett said.

The three say it is hard to be funny on cue, but they all keep notebooks of idea, pictures and scenes. Each has his own role in the team.

"Logan is our eyes," Andrews said of Triplett, who operates the camera. Dowaliby and Andrews are the writers, editors, directors and actors.

Andrews said their involvement with the competition came when Rooftop Comedy, promoters of the contest, saw a Little Baby Films video posted on Vimeo and asked them to enter the contest. The trio and their young company have now made nine films.

One of their professors, Dennis Aig, said that the three's work is very good.

"It is very much a point of pride for both the School of Film and Photography and MSU that their film outlasted entries from the film programs at USC, NYU, and UCLA," said Aig, who taught the trio screenwriting last year.

This is the second time that Andrews has been on a national stage. He was selected last year for an mtvU college race across the country, ala "The Amazing Race." He was selected for that show as a result of videos he made while still in high school in Helena.

Triplett, who started making videos after he was injured in a skateboard accident ("The broken ankle turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me." ), said one of his high school teachers showed him Andrews' "My Hands Are Bananas" video before he came to MSU. Dowaliby said he got into film and video through skiing in Whitefish.

The three say they are now working on three or four more films and have already started work on their senior film, which isn't even due until next year. "And, we're going to make a music video," Triplett said. Their work can be tracked on Little Baby Films' facebook page.

Aig said the three are definitely worth watching.

"(Sunday Morning) is especially good because it is an ironic look at undergraduate social life from the perspective of three guys who are still part of it. It is as if we are watching a film Judd Apatow might have made when he was a student. With Shane and Nick acting in it as well, we are definitely looking at something worthy of SNL - The Next Generation."

Dennis Aig (406) 994-6216 daig@montana.edu