Law Student Wins Scholarship in Film Contest
Third-year law student Steven Luther recently won the One Less Worry Scholarship contest for his YouTube film on finding just the right summer job following his first year of law school. The humorous depiction of his fictitious choice between a public interest job and a large firm is titled “I Don’t Know What I’ll Do This Summer.”
Sponsored by the graduate school loan program, Access Group, Luther learned about the contest from JoAnn Eckrich, director of financial aid at Washington University Law who keeps tabs on scholarship opportunities. Open to law students, the contest was on the topic, "What Worries You About Law School?" Luther enlisted the help of his friend and law school alumnus Rich Finneran, JD ’08, in developing a script for the movie. The next step was casting, and Luther again turned to several other law alumni, including Jeff Drobish, JD ’08, and Doug Casarella, JD ’08.
“It was extremely exciting to win the $10,000 scholarship,” Luther recalls. “My friends and I devoted a large portion of last summer to creating the film and developing the voting campaign, and it was satisfying to see our hard work pay off. Really, though, the making of the film was far more rewarding than winning the scholarship. As a USC graduate and a longtime film fan, it was very satisfying to produce something of my own after having watched and critiqued so many films.”
Luther said that shooting was the most rigorous part of the process, taking approximately two weeks. “I was working full time during the summer, so I would shoot in the evenings after a full day, resulting in some 17- or 18-hour days and not enough sleep,” he said. “One of our primary locations was the business school, which gave the film a distinctive Washington U flavor. After shooting finished, my evenings were devoted to editing. Editing took approximately one week. Finally, when the film was full edited, I collaborated with Rich Finneran to write and record the music for the film, which we managed to complete in a single weekend.”
A panel of judges from Access Group selected finalists based on several criteria, including creativity, humor, and quality. After Luther's film made it to the finals, the competition hinged on who could get the most votes through Access Group’s Web site. Luther ended up beating out 98 other entries in the online voting of films posted on Youtube.
“Rich Finneran and I mobilized a ‘grass-roots’ campaign to get people to vote for the movie, using Facebook and a large e-mail list,” Luther said. “We sent a daily e-mail reminder with a link to vote, which was surprisingly effective. Our effort was successful and I was awarded the scholarship.”