Missouri State University

Hill Zhang

Draw My Missouri State Life: Hill

A randomly assigned group brought six students together, and their project impressed the campus.

Group projects are a tricky proposition. If the chemistry and collaboration don’t gel, there’s sure to be frustration. But when a group project goes right, everyone can feel proud of the result.   

That happened when MED 130, a foundational course for all media, journalism and film majors, brought together Megan Burke, Ryan Chaney, Alec Gura, Collin O’Hara, Carter Williams and Hill Zhang. They capped off their semester by producing a multimedia project called “Draw My Missouri State Life.”

Inspired by the “Draw My Life” video trend, the group used a white board and dry-erase markers to illustrate their experiences at Missouri State. Each member recorded voice narration, and the whole piece was edited together and set to an original music composition.

The result? A cross-section of Missouri State students with a diverse range of majors, backgrounds and interests.   

To make their video, the group reserved a room in the library and turned it into a production studio. “We completely makeshifted everything,” they said. “We didn’t like the lighting so we covered the lights with printer paper to minimize the glare.” They also set up a drawing station, an audio station and a writing station, where they could develop their ideas and get ready to record.

The campus community – from classmates to professors to President Smart – loved the finished video. Missouri State Twitter even turned it into a gif.

When asked how they transformed a group project into something so memorable, they said, “Everyone was responsive and willing to put the work in.” Designing a project that leveraged everyone’s talents was also key. “Each of us got to play a role,” they said.

About Hill

Hill Zhang left his home in Beijing to attend college in Missouri, where he says he'd never seen so many cows in his life. He enjoys studying digital film at Missouri State because of the program's professional faculty and focus on experiential learning. He jumps at opportunities to work on the department's collaborative projects because they allow him to quickly build his production skills.

Hill is currently gaining more experience by working with Ozarks Public Television. He plans to attend graduate school for his MFA and looks forward to contributing to the film worlds in both China and the United States.