My Work At Columbia College Chicago
Tucker O'Neill / May, 2017
Over the course of five years at Columbia College I have grown immensely on an artistic, professional and personal level. At school I took courses in photography, cinematography, writing and editing, but eventually landed on my current path of directing. As a director, I had the opportunity to take on projects big and small which helped me slowly find my voice as a storyteller.
While I worked on projects in the professional world as an editor and director, this page is devoted to the work I created in school. I find these to be the most creative and provocative pieces I have ever done. From the beginning you can see I was drawn to dramas and stories on a small and personal scale, and over time I fine tuned my craft and began to develop a stronger point of view. Additionally, you can see my photography as the backbone behind my films.
Below is a collection of my best work over the last 5 years.
Horror | October, 2012 | 2 Minutes
A short horror I wrote and directed for my college applications. Shot in one night with the help of some of my closest friends, the film highlights my early draw to drama and suspense as a director.
It won the Best In Show category at Campolindo's annual film festival.
Thriller | January, 2014 | 2 Minutes 30 Seconds
A short thriller I co-created with a classmate during my 'Intro to Production' course. The silent film was an exercise in basic visual storytelling and was my first experience shooting on film.
"Side By Side"
Documentary | April, 2014 | 9 Minutes
A short documentary that looks at the lives of two individuals, separated by over 80 years of age. Produced for my second production class. One of the only doc pieces I made, I enjoyed the freedom documentary production gave me.
"On The Clock"
Action | December, 2014 | 4 Minutes
This quick and fun action film was created for my 'Image Design' course. The purpose of the exercise was to design a film with no dialogue that is led entirely by visuals. I wrote, shot, directed and edited the film.
"One Night In Chicago"
Lyrical | January, 2015 | 3 Minutes 30 Seconds
Explore the streets of Chicago at night. A side project I made over winter break in 2015. I had been doing a lot of street photography at the time and was inspired to create a film that page homage to that art.
"Before Midnight" Scene
Drama/Staged | May, 2015 | 9 Minutes 30 Seconds
A scene from my 'Directing 1' course. 'Directing 1' put a heavy emphasis on directing actors and developing a scene rather than focusing on production or cinematography. I chose a scene from Before Midnight, a film I had been studying at the time. While only a simple stage production, this piece is one that I am most proud of.
Drama | December, 2015 | 19 Minutes
My first experience writing and directing a dialogue heavy film. This passion project helped me discover the kind of stories I wanted to tell. The film is about two friends who unpack their relationship over the course of a night. Here is a short clip from the 20 minute short.
"Durex: Exorcism" Spec Commercial
Ad | January, 2017 | 30 Seconds
A spec commercial I wrote and directed as a side project. Doing a commercial was a whole new challenge because it forced me to condense a story into 30 seconds.
This was a collaboration with The Control Room, a group of directors who make short films, spec commercials and music videos. I went on to work with them for over two years, collaborating on over a dozen projects.
You can learn more about the Control Room here.
"Half Way Home"
Drama | May, 2017 | 9 Minutes
Half Way Home was a film I wrote and directed for my 'Scene Study' course. The purpose of the course was to create projects that were auto-biographical. This film was an exploration of a real friendship in my life. It proved to be difficult to make such an personal piece but also helped me gain confidence as a writer and director.
Europe Photo Series
Drama | November, 2017 | 14 Minutes
Knuckleball is the product of over a year of hard work in Columbia's capstone Practicum class. Over 75 students worked on the film that I directed.
The film tells the story of Matt, a high school pitcher, who must take control of his life back from his abusive father. It was one of the most challenging creative experiences of my life, but also, the most rewarding.
Knuckleball premiered at Columbia's Manifest Arts Festival and won the audience choice awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actor (Danny).
"Like We Used To"
Drama | May, 2018 | 8 Minutes
Like We Used To was a collaborative effort between myself and Columbia's first ever B.F.A. class. The film tells the story of a family who must cope with a recent tragedy by trying to carry on a Christmas tradition.
Like We Used To is still in post-production and has yet to be finished. A link is not yet available but will be available by the end of May. The video you can see now is our pitch to Indiegogo investors.
An exit interview and portfolio piece produced by Columbia College. My interview was featured on Columbia's website.
My photo Arch was selected as the official graduation photo. It was incorporated into the design of Columbia's 2018 Commencement ceremony and featured on the stage, signage and booklets. I officially graduated Columbia on May 13th, 2018 with a B.F.A. degree in Directing for Cinema.
The artist statement for the photo is as follows:
Arch is part of a larger series of black and white street photography that focuses on documenting the cityscape around me. While Chicago is full of iconic landmarks, my challenge as a photographer is to present a unique perspective to the images that people know so well. In this case I framed Alexander Calder’s famous Flamingo sculpture in a way to put it into the context of the towering buildings around it, diminishing it’s scale. I see the photo as a portrayal of the importance of understanding human scale and paying homage to the classic Eames documentary with the same theme, Powers of Ten.
The next couple months will be busy; submitting my work to festivals, directing another short film, finding a job and moving cities.
Three of my films Half Way Home, Knuckleball and Like We Used To have been completed and prepped for festival releases. Over the next couple months I will be submiting them to short film festivals. Over the next year these films will be shown to audiences around the country.
I am currently in pre-production on another short film titled "Hunting Trip". This thriller follows the story of a rural family torn apart by an dangerous marriage. The dark subject matter and stylized visuals are a departure from my usual personal dramas and comedies. I will be collaborating with a close group of peers including Patrick Hyatt (DP for Knuckleball), Sarah Baniak (Producer for Like We Used To) and Will Barboza (Writer for Knuckleball). Shooting will take place the last weekend in June.
In early July I will be taking a road trip across the country that will lead me to my new home, Seattle, WA. While there I will seek jobs in entertainment and film and continue to produce film and photography content as frequently as possible.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years. Your encouragement has made it possible for me to pursue storytelling with confidence. I couldn't have done it without you!