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June 9, 2014

SCA Family Stories: Edd Benda and Alex Bell

The Filmmakers of Superior Talk about their Process

Graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts is a time to make hard decisions. Some students turn their internships into entry-level jobs, some take some time off to write but, in the current, digital world, some students are jumping right in to make low-budget features.

SCA alumni, Edd Benda and Alex Bell, used their resources at the School to put together a production crew and start producing their new film Superior this June. Pre-production has started in Michigan but the two partners recently sat down with SCA Family Stories to talk about their process.

Let’s start with Superior. What’s the film about? Edd Benda: The film is about two best friends in 1969 who take off on a 1300-mile adventure along the shores of Lake Superior.

Where are you at in the process? Edd Benda: We’re the stages of pre-production, we have done our fundraising, we have all our department heads, our LA-based crew, we have all of our LA-based talent.

We are going to be filming in the upper peninsula of Michigan. A few of us are heading there to do location scouting and then the entirety of the production team coming form Los Angeles will be heading there June 19 for a month. We had press release go out in the state of Michigan.

How has the SCA community helped you both with the production of the film, Superior? Alex Bell: All of our department heads right now are classmates that we kind of grew up with in the SCA film school. The biggest thing that SCA has done for us and prepared us is learning to work as a part of a team and learning how to function as a crew on a set. Growing up we formed friendships and relationships. We feel very blessed to have just an all-star crew right now with people we not only have been able to work with for four years in college, but also spend life with and learn with. We’ve gotten to see their work, we’ve gotten to critique their scripts and rejoice at 310 screenings. It’s just life we’ve gotten to live together. When we go out to Michigan, we know the people and the work we’re going to get because we’ve got friends, co-workers, co-USC alumni who we trust and who we grew up with.


Edd Benda: He hit the nail right one the head. the biggest thing we’ve got from SCA is that we’ve got 11 people coming from Los Angeles, nine of them from the School of Cinematic Arts and the other two, from the school of theater. I think that’s a pretty good indicator of what our most valued asset is, coming out of USC.

How did you two put together your own production company, Beyond the Porch Productions?  Edd Benda: As much as we’d like to say we’re entirely self-made, we did start Beyond Porch together, just the two of us, but in that process was reaching out to professors, industry contacts, just a whole lot of different people that gave us advice on the best way to go about this.

What advice would you give students starting out at the School of Cinematic Arts? Edd Benda: The number one thing I would say is get to know anybody and everybody you go to school with and share your passion and find out what their passionate about and work really hard to build and maintain those relationships because they’re the people you’re going to be working with when you graduate.

Alex Bell: For me, the best advice I can give is to just start making projects. Whether, it’s shooting on your old video camera that you used growing up and grabbing your friends and going out to the desert and shooting something or whatever you can do. My advice is just to start shooting things, which is one of the reasons why we’re making this feature. We can wait until we have more experience under our belt or get older and have more contacts. There are a million reasons to not shoot things but my advice is just to go for it, give it a shot, make your own projects. That way, when you graduate, you’ll have more experience under your belt and so many more stories and people you’ll be able to call.

Where can people find out more about the film?