Five junior film and media arts majors were flattered and humbled. Their self-run organization, Wandering Studios, recently earned third place out of almost 500 nominations for a Philadelphia Geek Award, in the category “Streaming Media.”
Their project, “Panel by Panel,” is a web series that features comedy shorts that poke fun at what the project’s writer, senior Daniel Foster calls “the geek world.” It first premiered in the Fall 2013 semester.
“It is cool to know that we were one of the top nominees,” Connor Griffin, Wandering Studios’ founder and president, said.
Senior Connor Griffin and Vice President Brendan Grant created Wandering Studios during their senior year of high school after they began crafting short films.
“When we got to Temple, I said, ‘We should make this a bigger thing,'” Griffin said.
Almost a year after saying that, Griffin and Grant turned Wandering Studios into a student organization in the Spring 2014 semester.
“We are slowly getting bigger and bigger,” Chris Murray, the group’s treasurer, said. “It allows us to make more content.”
Foster said he wanted to make the show similar to the hit CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” but with a twist that he calls “the anti-big bang.”
“I wanted to make a show that embraces [geek culture],” Foster said. “I think we found a good audience by embracing our quirkiness and being weird. I love super heroes. I love how more socially accepted it has become to be into that kind of content.”
“Panel by Panel” featured two five-episode seasons.
“The first season was like, ‘Oh, I have an idea for an episode.’ Then we went out and shot it,” Foster said. “The second season was our big arc overall, and it was more of a validation of what the project was.”
The group has made attempts to provide its audience with edgy material.
“There was an episode where [the characters] were on a heist because they adversely stole panties from another character and they were finding way to return them,” Foster said.
One of the main goals for the group was to successfully produce a comical satire of geek life.
Foster said he wanted to wrap up the second season by making the “geeks,” which is what he called the various characters in the show, grow up.
“I wanted us to paint the second season in a different light,” Foster said. “These guys are having fun, but they are immature individuals. We wanted to show how you eventually have to put away your lightsabers and grow up.”
Since Wandering Studios received a nomination for the second season of “Panel by Panel,” they have been getting more recognition on social media sites like their Facebook page, YouTube channel and their website, Wanderingstudios.com.
“It is still early, but I think we will still get more attention the more it gets out there,” Griffin said.
Members said they hope the attention will draw more students to join their group. They said they are always looking for and welcoming new members.
“We pride ourselves in being a community, so it is more than just a student organization – it is a group of friends who become really tight and close,” Griffin said.
They said plan to shoot at least one short film a month aside from other random projects they come up with.
“We’re always looking for actors,” club member and junior film and media art major Jacob Mattern said. “They have to use me in every project because we don’t have enough.”
The group said they believe that some students may know about the organization but are afraid to join.
“People are afraid of speaking up and think they will never get picked,” Murray said. “We like to rotate so everyone gets a chance to do everything.”
As the semester starts, the guys are hoping to see new faces join the group and come to their weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in room 253 of Morgan Hall South.
Wandering Studios believes it was rewarding to have the opportunity to be recognized in the Philadelphia Geek Awards.
“A nomination is an award in itself,” said Murray.
Karlina Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org