Topics: Immersive Learning, College of Communication Information and Media, Emerging Media

April 5, 2010

The sandy shores along Lake Michigan, the quiet serenity of the state's rolling countryside and the bustling business environment of downtown Indianapolis are being marketed anew to Hollywood movie makers, thanks to an immersive learning class at Ball State University.

Promotional videos created by a class under the direction of Robert Mugge, the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball endowed chair in telecommunications, are featured the centerpiece in a 12-month e-marketing campaign recently launched by Film Indiana in hopes of enticing filmmakers to the Hoosier state. The videos are posted at

"The students did an incredible amount of work traveling around the state to shoot video of places that would make excellent locations for feature films and other projects," said Mugge, internationally recognized for his tireless and prolific work producing award-winning films about traditional American music and musicians.

"In the end, I believe we've created videos that could entice producers to consider Indiana," he said, adding that, "without a doubt, Indiana is blessed with a great many remarkable locations as well as extremely talented individuals — many of whom have been educated here at Ball State."

In addition to work created by Mugge's students, the opening segment for each video was developed in 2009 by students from a class taught by telecommunications instructor Chris Flook

Film Indiana, created to bolster the state's growing film, television, commercial and new media industries, will also host the videos on its Web site ( as sales tools for studios, production companies and independent filmmakers seeking the best place to shoot their films.

Mugge and his students also have created a nine-minute informational documentary about Film Indiana, focusing on its director Erin Newell, a 1999 Ball State graduate with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She spent nearly a decade working in the film industry before returning to the Hoosier state to lead Film Indiana. 

Newell believes the new videos not only will showcase the state's abundance of excellent locations, but also the friendliness of the state's residents and business community.

"Hoosier hospitality is common knowledge across the country," she said. "Out-of-state filmmakers' perceptions of Indiana are that we are nice, down-to-earth and genuinely excited about bringing filmmaking to the heartland."

The videos also promote the state's talented crew base, its accessibility and enthusiasm for movie making, said Newell, who expects that students may have additional opportunities come their way in future years as a result of the long-standing partnership between the university and Film Indiana, and Ball State's leadership in emerging media.

Indeed, educational initiatives to support Indiana's film industry are part of Ball State's Emerging Media Initiative (EMI), a planned $17.7 million investment focusing the university's historic strengths in this area to accelerate benefits to the state of Indiana and give students innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities.

"I enjoyed both being able to share my 10 years of field experience and the opportunity to mentor students who are preparing to go into a line of work I am very passionate about," Newell said. "Ball State's partnership with us should give students a rich experience in video production and prepare them for even greater opportunities upon graduation."