"The Plunge" Production Blog

Happy Holidays from the cast and crew of “The Plunge”!

Progress Report #4: That’s A Wrap

After weeks of preparation and five days of shooting, “The Plunge” is officially ready to be edited into a rough cut to submit for the Wisconsin Film Festival.

I want to personally thank every single person involved in the project, including:

  • The cast and crew who worked so hard around their finals to help during the shoot
  • Madison businesses like State Street Brats, Fair Trade Coffee, Mactaggart’s, the Kollege Klub, and the Memorial Union
  • UW-Madison students who provided sets and acted as extras

This project was an unbelievable experience and I am confident that every single student involved learned a tremendous amount. I cannot wait to see what the editing team comes up with, and we look forward to screening the film next semester. Below please find pictures from the shoot. Have a great holiday break and see all of you in 2012.


Chase Ellman

Executive Producer, “The Plunge”

President, UW-Hollywood Badgers








Weather Report: Cold.

Finals under way.

Time to shoot “The Plunge”.

The Plunge: Starring Colten Zacharias, Nicholas Van Brunt, and Abigail Taubner

Colten Zacharias - Josh

My name’s Colten Zacharias.  I’ll be working, have worked, on this project as both an actor and a writer.  If I could pick just one, I would; but I can’t, and luckily don’t have to, so I won’t.  This project has already been one of the highlights of my young college career, and I have a feeling the best is yet to come. I am a sophomore Business major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but this kind of creative enterprise is my true passion.  Business is a livelihood; art is my life.

If you are a younger brother, you will appreciate The Plunge. If you’re an older brother, you’ll appreciate The Plunge.  If you’re from New York, Madison, have lost a job or lost a family member, been alienated, been down, loved and been loved or hated in return…well, you’ll like this project, or at least feel for it.  It has something for everyone, and something real, something a little deeper than the last sit-com your eyes somehow managed to choke down.  And that opinion is not biased, said the writer.

Nicholas Van Brunt - Adam

Nicholas Van Brunt will be playing the part of “Adam” in the upcoming UW Hollywood Badgers production, The Plunge. Nicholas is a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  He has appeared in several local productions, including Likely Productions short Phantom Farm, as well as J.D. Walsh’s web- series Battleground. Nick is most excited about tackling the more cankerous aspects of the character of Adam”, and he is looking forward to being part of such an impressive project.

Abigail Taubner - Isabel

Hi Everyone!  My name is Abby Taubner and I’m playing Isabel in “The Plunge”.  I’m a sophomore here at UW-Madison studying Theatre, and also starting to delve into Business with hopes of getting a Marketing Degree.  In my short one and a half years here, I’ve had the honor of playing Alice in UT’s You Can’t Take It With You, Bird in UT’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers, Young Violet in CTM’s A Wonderful Life, and getting involved in 1-UP, UTA, Humorology with my sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, and several other odds-and-ends projects. I can’t believe the work put into “The Plunge” so far- you guys have a real treat in store for you!  I’m so excited to start knocking out filming with the awesome cast and crew.  With such a passionate team behind this project, I can’t wait to see what us Badgers can accomplish!

Cast Bios and Pictures Coming Soon!
Introducing…Your Crew For “THE PLUNGE”. Comprised completely of UW Students.

Logan Cascia - DP/Cinematography

Logan Cascia was born in Glenview, a northern suburb of Chicago in 1990. Inspired by his father, an artist and graphic designer, Logan has explored various materials, media, and techniques from sculpture to cinematography and music composition. Logan co-founded Cascia Films, LLC, with Greg Ellis in 2008, and has been responsible for the direction and production of several award winning short films, screening in international film festivals. He enjoys creating inspirational documentaries and dramatic narrative short films and music videos, while studying cinematography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Amanda Marzolf - Production Assistant

Hey Badgers! My name is Amanda Marzolf or Mandi for short.  I’m currently a Senior at this wonderful school majoring in Communication Arts: Radio/TV/Film.  I’ve had a few Communications and Marketing Internships around Madison, but I’m really excited to finally focus on the film aspect of my major by working as a Production Assistant on the set of ‘The Plunge’. The script and the general story the production team is trying to tell has grown so much and really reflects, I think, what family means, what it means to live here in Madison and finally our club The Hollywood Badgers.  I think you all will really love all the hard work everyone has put in and the final product created by Badgers for Badgers (and the Wisconsin Film Festival). 

Niamh O’Neill-Culhane - Production Assistant

Heya, I’m Niamh O’Neill-Culhane a junior studying Communication Arts - Radio/TV/Film. This is my second year as a part of the UW Hollywood Badgers and I’ll be a production assistant on The Plunge. I also co-direct a sketch comedy team called Manhole here at Madison. I’m very excited to be working on The Plunge. The scale of this project is the largest student production I’ve ever been a part of and it is great to be surrounded by people who are so passionate about the filmmaking process.

Nicole Boss - Production Assistant

Hello all, my name is Nicole Boss. Currently, I am a sophomore studying Communication Arts: Radio, TV, and Film. I am one of the many Producers Assistants for this delightful project. This is my first time working on a short film, and I am super pumped to be working with the rest of this wonderfully creative team! With such a dedicated and ambitious group, I look forward to creating something that I think will be truly amazing.

KC Walker - Production Assistant

I interned for the product integration and placement firm Liquid Thread in Chicago two summers ago. We created original content for companies like Blackberry, Kellogg, Samsung, and GM for film, television, digital and print. This past summer I interned for the Today Show in NYC. There I was on set and on shoots, writing scripts, researching, and working in the control room to do everything needed to create a successful show each morning. I am excited to be creating a film that is created entirely by students. I’ve been awed by how professional and knowledgeable the entire team has been. I cannot wait to be a part of the final outcome.

Máire Jacobs - Original Screenwriter

 Hi all, my name’s Máire Jacobs and I’m the original screenwriter of The Plunge. I’m a junior at UW Madison majoring in Communication Arts. My focus and one true love is television, and I spend most of my time watching/yelling at every show I can get my hands on. (Hey, with my major, it’s practically homework). 

I’m looking forward to seeing the success of The Plunge, and I hope it will be a great starting point for the many successes UW-Hollywood Badgers is sure to have in the future.
Don Moser - Gaffer

 Hi everybody! My name is Don Moser, and I’m thrilled to be involved with the UW-Hollywood Badgers as gaffer for “The Plunge”.  I am a double major in Spanish and Communication Arts - TV, Radio, Film, and I am set to graduate this May.  Last summer I flew out to Los Angeles for an internship with a film company called MPower Pictures, and I have taken a number of advanced production classes on campus to start building my repertoire in producing my own media. Although I am new to UW-Hollywood Badgers as of this fall, the group has already proven to be a very engaging and positive experience.  I’m looking forward to working with these fine individuals as we create our first film project together!  I also would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has taken an interest in helping to fund and produce the project.  Without your help, none of this would have been possible!

Chris Battaglia - Script Supervisor

Hi! My name is Chris Battaglia, and I’m currently a senior majoring in Communication Arts: Film, Radio, and TV and Psychology at UW-Madison. This is my second year as a member of UW Hollywood Badgers and I will be contributing to “The Plunge” as Script Supervisor. I enjoy traveling, movies featuring John Wayne, and long walks on the beach. While I have worked on a few independent projects in the past, “The Plunge” will by far be the largest production that I have contributed to. I am excited to see how the pre-production, filming, and editing will unfold into a final polished product with such a big and diverse team. I’m thrilled that I can be part of this experience, and with that being said, let’s see what we can do!

Chris Wein - Sound Supervisor/Editor

Hi everyone! My name is Chris Wein. I am working as both the Sound Supervisor and Editor for “The Plunge.” I’m a senior this year looking to graduate with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications this spring. I’ve always had a passion for film, and have worked on commercials, promotional videos, short scenes, and many other media projects through work, school, and just for fun with friends. I see the “The Plunge” as an awesome opportunity to gain experience in media production, while also having a great time with a fun, ambitious group of people. I will enjoy seeing the film through from its first shots to its final edits!

Ben Simons - Editor

Hey my name is Benjamin Simons, I will be working in post as an editor for “The Plunge.”  I am a senior here at the UW, majoring in Communication Arts, Spanish, Latin American and Iberian Studies, and Global Cultures.  I currently work as a video production assistant for the School of Education.  After graduating this may I would ideally like to go abroad somewhere in Ibero-America and work for a production company. I am  looking forward to working with “The Plunge” team, and I am especially excited to use what I have learned in the field of editing to make this project into a movie. 

Erin Shannon - Production Assistant

I’m Erin Shannon and I’m a senior majoring in Communication Arts: Radio, TV, Film and Spanish. I’m working as a production assistant for The Plunge and am very excited to help bring this story to the screen.

Mike Denruiter - Editor

Hey there!  My name is Mike Denruiter and I’m an Editor for “The Plunge.”  I’m a junior here at UW-Madison double majoring in Communication Arts: Radio/TV/Film and Journalism.  I’ve spent much of the last year editing for a wide variety of shoots.  I’ve worked with footage from weddings and action sports, to documentary reels for classes and advertisements for a local website.  I’m also a member of the multimedia department for a local newspaper here on campus, where I work with their production team to bring you new media forms of news. This is my second year with the UW-Hollywood Badgers, and I’m very excited to be a part of the production team for our first feature film. We’ve made great headway and I look forward to the promising weeks to come.  This will surely be a great experience for everyone involved!  Thank you for your support!

Isabel Cuddihy - Wardrobe/Make-Up

Isabel Cuddihy is a freshmen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hoping to learn more about what goes into making a short film, Isabel has joined the cast and crew of The Plunge through Make-up and Wardrobe. An avid theater and movie goer, Isabel has taken many courses related to performance and performance make-up/costuming. Isabel is very excited to be a part of The Plunge!

Greta Becker - Production Assistant

Hey everyone! I’m Greta Becker, currently a sophomore majoring in Theatre and Communication Arts with a certificate in Business at UW-Madison. This is my second year with UW-Hollywood Badgers and I am one of the Production Assistants. I’m extremely excited to be given an opportunity to help work on this short film. I’m looking forward to gaining experience and seeing what goes into making a film. UW-Hollywood Badgers has been great and I can’t wait to see what happens with “The Plunge”!

Kelly Kanavas - Wardrobe/Make-Up

Hi everyone, my name is Kelly Kanavas and I’m a Wardrobe/Make-Up supervisor. I’m a Freshman at UW-Madison and will be studying Communication Arts and Theatre & Drama. My only production experience has been in front of the camera, but I’m very excited to explore the craziness of what goes on behind the scenes, especially in this creative context!

Hope Carmichael - Boom Operator

I’m a senior majoring in Communication Arts - Radio/TV/Film as well as English and Gender and Women Studies.  I’ve been interested in film my entire life and own an obscene amount of DVD’s.  I’ve taken a few upper level production classes and have enjoyed taking part in anything production-related, as well as working on videos for a campus newspaper and magazine. This project really excites me; I love the honest script and also that we get showcase my favorite city ever: Madison!  I can’t wait to be a part of this exciting student production and gain experience working as a team player.

Kendall Ross - Production Assistant

Hey everyone! My name is Kendall Ross, I am a junior majoring in Communication Arts: Radio, Television, and Film at University of Wisconsin Madison. I joined the Hollywood Badgers last year, and I am working as a production assistant on “The Plunge”. Last summer I interned for a radio station as the program directors assistant, and am currently interning for a local Madison production called “Listen to your Mother”. “The Plunge” will mark my first time working on a major film project and I cannot wait! From the beginning I wanted to work on this project, and as the story has evolved that want has only grown. I am so excited to be apart of this project and be able to share it with people!

Lorelei Grawbowski - Assistant to the Director

Hello everyone! My name is Lorelei Grabowski and I am a freshman at UW - Madison double-majoring in English and Spanish before law school. I am very glad I joined the UW - Hollywood Badgers this year and I am excited to work as the Assistant to the Director. I think that much of our lives involves pushing around data without making any lasting progress, so I am very excited to work on “The Plunge” and create a tangible masterpiece that will last. I look forward to working hard with everyone in the coming weeks to produce something unique to us and UW - Madison.

Sizhuo Zou - Set Photographer

Hello everyone, my name is Sizhuo Zou. I am a senior at University of Wisconsin – Madison, majoring in Communication Arts: Radio-Television-Film and Psychology. I am very glad to join “The Plunge” production team. This is the second time working on a major film project. I am especially excited for “The Plunge”, because this short film is UW-Hollywood Badgers’ debut. Seeing “The Plunge” grow from the first draft to today with the production team’s hard work has been quite an enjoyment. However, we still have a long way to go. We sincerely hope you enjoy The Plunge!!

Progress Report #3: Everybody’s Diving In

All the pieces are starting to come together in the puzzle that is THE PLUNGE. This past Saturday the cast had a read through of the nearly shoot-ready script, the whole 27-person crew met, and shooting locations were scouted for the production. Needless to say it was one of the busiest days yet for the film, but the real craziness is yet to come.

The primary shoot is scheduled for December 16th, 17th,18th, and 22nd, with reshoots as needed on the 19th. As I’m sure many of you know these dates fall squarely during finals week, so the whole cast and crew is in for some of the most hectic days in their life. But I can promise you there’s not a thing we would rather be doing. 

Thank you once again to all those who donated to the project. We exceeded our goal of $1000, with the final finances reaching $1306. This opens up so many doors for the production and we truly wouldn’t be able to put together the kind of work that we are without you. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.

Finally, remember to keep an eye out for cast and crew bios, so you can get to know all those who are toiling away on THE PLUNGE.


Brendan Wolf

Producer, THE PLUNGE

Marketing and Events Coordinator, UW-Hollywood Badgers

Progress Report #2: The Shoot Approaches

As the temperature drops in Wisconsin, the UW-Hollywood Badgers’ production of THE PLUNGE starts. The pre-production team has completed casting, ‘hired’ crew positions, scouted locations and met our fundraising goals. 

We are meeting nearly every day to prepare for our shoot, which will occur in mid-December. We have still storyboards to make, read-throughs to attend, and equipment to secure.

To who gave monetarily to THE PLUNGE: we exercise spendthrift. A shout out to UW-Madison student Logan Cascia of Cascia Films and "Teach Me How to Bucky Fame",  freely joining the team as Cinematographer and lending equipment from Cascia Films 

We will post the bios and pictures of cast and crew to keep updates current. Stay tuned.


Will Dickinson

Director, Producer, Script Doctor of THE PLUNGE

Campus Communications Chair, UW-Hollywood Badgers

So far we have raised $780 toward our $1000 goal in 8 days. Thank you to everyone who contributed so far! We now have a week left to raise the remaining $220 stipulated in our budget. Remember, a contribution of as little as $1 gets you an invitation to the first screening of the film and our deep gratitude. We humbly request that you click on the link above and give what you can. The cold fact is that the more money we have at our disposal, the better we can craft the final product.

Progress Report #1: The Best is Yet to Come

It was only two months ago at the UW-Hollywood Badgers kick-off meeting that the idea of a short film project was expressed to our members. After a variety of script submissions, THE PLUNGE was born.

Every step of the way during THE PLUNGE’s development has been treated as if it were part of a Hollywood production. This has created an expectation of professionalism while simultaneously fostering real-world experience and learning.

Right now, we find ourselves at a crucial juncture for the project’s future. A shooting script is in the works and the producers have been working closely with screenwriter Maire Jacobs to finalize what was already a unique and compelling story. Applications are being sorted through to establish the production team. Callbacks for actors are scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd. And we have an official fundraising website set up to raise our $1,000 budget (http://www.indiegogo.com/the-plunge).

While these are all exciting developments, I truly do believe the best is yet to come. There is an indescribable feeling one gets after stepping foot onto an actual movie set; watching what you have seen so many times on paper come to life inspires you to believe that the opportunity to create magic truly exists.

That feeling is what I know will occur for our cast and crew when shooting commences for THE PLUNGE. We hope you enjoy watching our journey unfold.


Chase Ellman

Executive Producer, THE PLUNGE

President, UW-Hollywood Badgers