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July 3, 2013

Hollywood company films ULM communications professor's script

Hollywood Casting and Film, located in Los Angeles, Calif., filmed a short comedy script written by Christopher Mapp, ULM assistant professor of communications and director of student publications.

As a result of the collaboration, HCandF has also named Mapp a member of its advisory board. Part of this role will require him to provide more scripts for the company.

"Not only is this a wonderful opportunity to fulfill a lifelong personal ambition, but it helps make me a better teacher of writing in the classroom," Mapp said.

"I think it's a good example of how faculty can merge theory and application for the benefit of our students."

His script, "The Non-Traditional Student," focuses on an interaction between a male professor and an older female student who misunderstands his efforts to be polite, inventing a one-sided relationship as a result.

Over the course of the comedy, the student both invents the relationship and experiences its destruction.

HCandF chose "The Non-Traditional Student" for inclusion in its "On the Couch" series, in which actors perform new scripts in front of a live audience of 40-50 other actors, writers, producers, and casting agents. The performances are recorded, allowing actors to use the clips in demo reels to secure future employment.

Roger Rignack, an actor who has had roles in the television series "Mad Men," "Dexter" and "Star Trek: Next Generation," played the part of the professor in Mapp's script.

"By creating a dream-team of talented directors, writers, and cinematographers, we're creating an incubator for local actors to launch their careers," said Vinay Bhagat, founder of the casting studio.

Mass communications major Shelby DeSoto from West Monroe, currently enrolled in Mapp's scriptwriting class, aims to be a screenwriter herself and works as an intern at Rodney Ray's R-Squared film studio in Monroe.

She said of Mapp, "Now he is able to take the critiques he gets and apply them to our lessons. It has given him better insight on what to expect and what producers are looking for. He's been there and is doing it now with his scripts, so he's living it. It's helped me realize what they're looking for and that you have to just keep trying – you can't quit."

Mapp said, "I am extremely grateful to Hollywood Casting and Film for recognizing my works and allowing these characters to come to life in the studio with working Hollywood actors. I'm also thankful for my new role as an advisory board member, which will allow me to provide more scripts."

Mapp holds the Vernon "Bodie" McCrory First Amendment Professorship in Mass Communication at ULM.

He has earned a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and will complete his Ph.D. at Louisiana State University in August.

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