University senior writes, directs own movie

Ethan Roberts is trying to raise money for his film “Fish Tank” on He has until July 1 to reach his goal of $2,500, which leaves him $879 more to go.

Reporter and Reporter

Do not be afraid to dream big because that dream may just become a reality — that’s the case for senior Ethan Roberts who has been dreaming of telling stories through film since he was a young boy.

Roberts, a film production major, has recently made his dream become a reality after writing and directing the film “Fish Tank.”

Roberts started the planning period for this project last semester.

He said he wrote the script for his honors project and spent between 15 and 20 hours a week on the film.

Roberts wrote the script, auditioned and selected actors and directed the film.

According to the “Fish Tank” timeline on the website, “the remainder of pre-production, location scouting, rehearsals and art direction is scheduled to be completed by August.”

Roberts said “Fish Tank” is a quiet, coming-of-age drama about two boys, Andrew and Rowan, who feel alienated from other high school students and discover things about themselves after talking at a high school cast party.

The main actors in the film are University senior Ryan Albrecht playing Rowan, Owens Community College sophomore James Fite playing Andrew and theatre and film instructor Sara Chambers playing Tonya’s mother, Roberts said.

“The most challenging thing about acting in “Fish Tank” was probably seeing the differences between me and my character, Andrew, because it feels like we’re

really similar,” Fite said.

Senior Nigel Coutinho, film production major and director of photography for the film, said “Fish Tank” focuses on how these characters come from different walks of life, but both feel separated from everyone else and cannot submit to high school status quos.

“The film shows the conflict of their own

identity,” Coutinho said.

Coutinho said the title of the film is an integral part of the script, but hard to explain and will come across after watching the film.

Right now they do not want to get into the details because they want to use the mystery of the name to get people interested, Coutinho said.

The final cut of “Fish Tank” will premiere in December 2012.

Currently, “Fish Tank” is in the promotional stage.

Roberts said some of the money to help pay for the filming came from a promotional grant, but the majority of the money came from their efforts using a website called

According to, each fundraiser picks a donation goal and if they reach or surpass the goal that fundraiser would get the money pledged. If they fail to meet the goal, all the donors get their money back.

“Fish Tank” has raised $1,621 and is in the process of raising the remaining $879, before their July 1 deadline, to take them to their $2,500 goal, Coutinho said.

Coutinho said, the cast and crew think they will be able to achieve their financial goal because when the number of donors decreases, they try to increase their donations by promoting “Fish Tank” to their friends and getting people excited about the film.

To encourage people to donate, they are offering incentives for each donation of $5 or greater.

People can donate as little as $1, but if they donate $5 the donor would get the smallest incentive, a shout out on Facebook and if they donate $500 or more, they receive the largest incentive, an executive gift package, their name in the credits and a private showing of “Fish Tank,” Roberts said.

Roberts is still trying to raise the remaining funds to meet their goal and those willing to donate can visit