Introducing Ben Roth.
Sophomore film major Ben Roth was recently selected to be the production assistant on the science-fiction special “Ghost Hunters Live.” Each Halloween, the series shoots a live special with this year’s being in Philadelphia. The Temple News talked with Roth about his passions, aspirations and the paranormal.
The Temple News: How did you get into film?
Ben Roth: My older brother got me into film back when I was in third grade. He was doing video projects and I was into art. I just wanted to be creative with school, so I shot little commercial for book reports, video projects and the like. In high school I got into the morning announcements program.
TTN: What was your favorite project growing up?
BR: [Emmaus, Pa.] had this local horror film contest each year, so I made one and it ended up tying for first place.
TTN: Can you tell us a bit about Ghost Hunters?
BR: I got an email a little while ago saying a friend’s roommate needed local hires for “Ghost Hunters Live,” which is a special that would be shooting in Philadelphia. Every Halloween, “Ghost Hunters” does a live investigation. I’ve watched the show since high school. I’ve always been very into the paranormal and all that. I thought, “Holy crap,” I could combine film and my love for the paranormal. So I sent in an application to be a production assistant and am currently wait-listed.*
TTN: What captivates you about the paranormal and the show?
BR: They try to debunk most of it, it’s actually a mix of scientific investigation and belief. There is no set answer for it, but they try to find them. You don’t just get something coming out and saying “I’m a ghost.”
TTN: When you hear “ghost,” what do you picture?
BR: I believe there can be good spirits and bad spirits. I think more of it scientifically. When I was younger, it was a floating figure like Casper. Now, it’s a bit more vague. One thing we talk about in T-Lights is energy preserved of people that have passed on. It’s really interesting. Some of these are called residual ghosts. Think of a record player on a loop: They just do this action over and over again. It is a piece of energy stuck in time.
TTN: Any ghost stories you’d like to share?
BR: I joined T-Lights [on Main Campus]. One time we took a Ouija board to Mitten Hall and we believe we made contact with a six-year-old girl named Liz from the 1940s. With Ouija boards there’s a lot of interference with everyone’s hands, but I was trying hard not to touch it, and it definitely moved.
We also did an investigation in Mitten [Hall] where we used [Electronic Voice Phenomenon] to find spirits. You record a voice and the spirits can communicate through the electronic device when you play it back.
TTN: Tell us about T-Lights.
BR: It is the only paranormal society on [Main] Campus. We’re trying to get our name out there. We’re kind of small. It started I believe in the 2008-09 academic year and eventually just snowballed. I’ve been in it since the beginning of my freshman year and now I’m the treasurer. An average meeting consists of coming up with a topic for discussion we all want to learn about. We take turns researching and presenting to one another. One week we learned about mythical creatures, another we had a speaker on UFOs, things like that.
TTN: What do you want to do after graduation?
BR: As of right now I would like to be an editor if I had to choose. I enjoy the whole production, but my strengths are mainly in post-production. I like trying to come up with different possibilities and ways to make it look good and get the point across. I’m down for anything in film, really.
TTN: Favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever done? And what are you doing this year?
BR: One year I dressed up as Alex from “A Clockwork Orange.” A lot of people were just confused, but I had fun with it. This year I came up with something to go along with “Sweeney Todd,” but if I get this ghost-hunting job I won’t have any time to dress up.
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*Editor’s note: Since the interview, Roth has been hired as production assistant for the show.