Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

'Ghostbusters' Movie Inspires University of Alabama Web Series

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

'Ghostbusters' Movie Inspires University of Alabama Web Series

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | Who ya gonna call? The correct answer is still "Ghostbusters."

When a group of University of Alabama students had to scramble to salvage an advanced TV production project last fall, that was the call they made.

They decided to create "Alabama Ghostbusters: A Web Series," which on Monday debuted its third episode online.

For UA professor Adam Schwartz, who writes and directs the episodes, and the other devotees of the 1984 science-fiction comedy who strapped on homemade proton-packs to play parts, the series is their contribution to a supernatural universe that has captivated their imaginations since childhood.

Brock Parker plays one of the paranormal detectives in the Web series and is head of the state fan group Alabama Ghostbusters. He said he has been hooked since he saw the movie in theaters as a child.

"It was just funny," he said. "It was one of those movies that has been able to come across generations."

For Schwartz, the movie starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Sigourney Weaver was the right blend of comedy, science fiction and horror peopled by characters who were fun to watch.

"It's one of the reasons I got into filmmaking," said Schwartz, a professor of telecommunication and film. "I wanted to tell stories like that."

Schwartz wanted the series grounded in a basic story about supernatural detectives, but he wanted to explore new stories and new characters in the "Ghostbusters" universe while avoiding pitfalls such as outright reproduction of scenes from the original movie or special effects extravaganzas without plot or character development.

"We didn't want to make it that way. We don't want them busting ghosts in the first episode. We want to build," said UA student Brandon Sparks, who served as producer of the three episodes released so far. "It kind of tests our ability as filmmakers to keep a person entertained without special effects."

The nine-minute Web episodes, available on the Alabama Ghostbusters' YouTube channel, follow the story of three ghostbusters, played by Brock and two other members of Alabama Ghostbusters, who are stuck in the boring routine of preventative supernatural maintenance until the unexplained disappearance of a young woman interrupts the monotony. …

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