JaKayla Cornish

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University hosted a table read for potential roles in an upcoming film, which is based on the life of a man who was notorious for crashing A-list events, including the Grammys and Hollywood movie premiers.

Studio South Holdings, a film production company based in Greenville, S.C., hosted the table read Sept. 14, in order to look for talent for its upcoming film “The Uninvited,” which is based on the book by the same name by Craig Schmell, a man known for crashing some of the most well-known events dating back to the 1980s.

Bert Hesse, the CEO of Studio South and producer of the film, said the company has been working on the film’s script for the past year-and-a-half.

He told students at the event interested in writing, in order to build an understanding of their characters, they should become as knowledgeable about the subject matter as possible.

“Don’t be lazy and write something that is going to get people’s attention,” Hesse said. “Anybody can do it. It’s an art, it takes work. So, if you love it, it’s a craft and develop it.”

Hesse, who has also produced the horror films “Night Feeders” and “Cold Storage,” said the use of cultural awareness and creativity in writing are tools that can bring a work to life. 

The partnership between Winthrop and Studio South has created some special learning opportunities for students.

Winthrop student Astro Phoenix Alford, a junior theatre major, read for a number of characters in the film, including the role of “Jane,” the main character’s ex-girlfriend.

“Theater and film acting are not complete contrasts, but there are a lot of differences. So, even though I am a theatre performance major, I am learning so much, but I do want to translate that to film and television. That is the goal, I hope to pursue that in the future,” said Alford.

The table read also drew professional actors, including Greenville native Cannon Reese, who is chasing his dreams of being on the big screen.

“There’s so many people trying to live with the purpose or through their parent’s shadow and not living out who they want to be. And that’s something that I want to succeed at and show others that even if you’re from a small town that you may never heard of, you can really obtain and be anything you want to be,” Reese said.

In preparation for the reading, Reese said he spent three weeks reading over the script and studying the vocal intonations and speech patterns of the characters in various movies.

Hesse, who has spoken at Winthrop a number of times, said he tries to help students as much as possible, by providing internships and other opportunities.

He said there are “human-truths” that are meant to be told in a story and that you must have lofty goals, in order to distinguish a story from everything else that has people’s attention these days. 

“Everything at a certain level has to be great,” Hesse said. “It can’t be mediocre, because if one aspect of the whole process is mediocre, then you just wind up with a good story and we’re trying not to do ‘just good’ movies.”

He said the table reading was very helpful for the producers and auditions for “The Uninvited” are likely to happen by the end of of the year. Filming is projected to begin next fall.