– By Hannah Dorss –
This past spring, two media students from John Paul the Great Catholic University were walking down the street in Escondido when a film director suddenly approached them. JJ Schindler had been talking about his acting classes with Vince Salerno, and this man had overheard. They struck up a conversation, and the director, Kevin Caulfield of Top of the Line Media, asked them if they would want to act in a PSA he was creating. Though at first a bit skeptical of this offer from a stranger, the two JPCatholic students decided to give it a shot – little did they know they were jumping on board a project which would eventually win an Emmy.
The PSA is called Indistinguishable. In about thirty seconds, it tells the story of two prejudiced teens and their need to develop respect for others. You can watch the PSA here.
Indistinguishable was a two-fold Emmy-nominated Public Service Announcement this year; when all was said and done, Kevin took home an Emmy Award for the category of Writer – Short Form. The PSA has garnered over one million views, airing on both San Diego’s Fox 5 channel and ABC10 San Diego.
JJ and Vince see their connection with Top of the Line Media and the Indistinguishable PSA as a providential opportunity – literally sparked by a chance meeting on the street. They found the PSA to be something they were really passionate about. Even so, they recognize that it is not really about them, but about the people who will be touched by their work. Vince’s hope is that the PSA has started a dialogue and that it will inspire people to have more respect for others.
Their initial involvement with Top of the Line Media has also brought further collaboration. This year, JJ and Vince asked Kevin to be a judge at their 3rd annual Knights of Columbus Colombian Film Festival. There, Kevin connected with many additional JPCatholic students, which paved the way for more collaborations.
Over the summer, Kevin and a team from Top of the Line Media helped out on a JPCatholic senior project called Arch. On the set, one of the cameramen from Kevin’s team was profoundly affected by seeing the passion and investment of the student crew. This cameraman had wanted to pitch an idea for a TV show to a studio, but had not garnered the confidence to do so until seeing the energy and confidence of the JPCatholic students on set.
JJ elaborates: “I think we don’t really realize the spirit and the environment that we’re in. I think we as students—because of the schedule that we’re on, because of the classes we take, and because of the encouragement of the professors—we have a drive, and that energy is contagious.”
Both students graduated this week from JPCatholic with a major in Communications Media – JJ with an emphasis in Acting, Vince with an emphasis in Film Production & Directing.
They have big plans for their careers in the film industry. Vince says that his goal is to become a director. For JJ, his aspirations center on acting and film producing. “The goal is to make that next step,” he says. “To network with people, and to slowly build our presence and keep that drive.”
About the Director of Indistinguishable: Kevin Caulfield is a director at Top of the Line media. He went to MiraCosta College for a Liberal Arts degree and is now pursuing a degree in Film and TV production at USC.