For the 9/11 Student-Journalism Project, 21 handpicked J/MS majors had to travel the state to interview and film children of those who died in the Twin Towers collapse a decade ago.
While they were filming the survivors, someone was making a film about them.
Jason Scharch, J/MS 2011, now a production assistant at AOL Studios in NYC, spent the months from last January to August filming J/MS students in the classroom and as they went into homes where families lost a parent a decade ago.
He spent the summer editing his moving footage and showed the professional completed 25-minute documentary in September when the department held a formal wrap-up of the Project at the Alexander Library.
Now he is looking into submitting his project to the Rutgers Film Festival and attempting to make it into larger, full-length feature.
Scharch was not actually enrolled in the 9/11 Student-Journalism Project course. Rather, he made his film as part of an independent study with professor Ronald Miskoff, one of the two 9/11 course instructors.
“I actually started off by meeting with professor Miskoff weekly during last fall to prepare our pre-production game plan,” recalled Scharch. “We needed to decide what equipment we would be using, what we would film, and how the piece would be structured.”
During the spring semester he attended every 9/11 Project class and organizational meeting, his video camera in hand. He accompanied the class to the tour of Ground Zero in May and went with the students on their interviews.
Scharch said he couldn’t begin to estimate how many gigabytes of information he compiled.
The biggest challenge, he said, was “combining all of these various stages of the class and all of the individual experiences into something that wasn’t haphazardly thrown together, but a concise, powerful, and an accurate description of the course’s mission and achievements as a whole.”
His work in the class and in other courses at Rutgers earned Scharch a Summa cum Laude distinction at graduation.
During his four years, Scharch worked as a video assistant for the Rutgers football team and supervised the Rutgers University Television Network as public affairs manager.