Monday, September 25, 2023

PSUC student pursuing his dreams

All it took was working on one project with his friends over the summer to convince tv/video production major John Linnenbach that filmmaking was something he had to pursue.

Linnenbach first came to Plattsburgh State as a history education major.

”I tried to be more practical when I went to college,” he said. “I didn’t really enjoy it. At one point, I considered transferring out.”

Then he found the TV/video production department.

“I just fell in love with the program,” Linnenbach said.

For PSUC communication studies Professor Christine Johnson, it was a simple exercise in her script-writing class to make her realize Linnenbach had something special.

“He just started reading a work of his, and I was like, ‘Wow! That was really good!’” Johnson said. “It gave me goosebumps.”

She said he has an amazing knack for expressing himself, or “painting a picture,” as she calls it.

Johnson said, when given the opportunity to open up his mind, Linnenbach took her advice.

“A light switch came on, and I guess I just gave him a push,” she said. “He’s the type of person who knows who is and knows what he wants. He’s not afraid of himself.”

Johnson explained that it can sometimes be difficult to write and a filmmaker makes himself or herself vulnerable and it takes a lot of courage to break out of that shell.

At his internship with Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, Linnenbach was given the opportunity to shoot a personal project: either a short documentary or a movie trailer.

“I started brainstorming ideas for a simple trailer and came up with an idea that wouldn’t leave my head,” Linnenbach said. “So I had to keep developing it.”

That idea became the basis for the film “Camp Sunshine,” which Linnenbach hopes to produce shortly after he graduates. The plan is to begin filming on May 16 and go through June 5.
He said that post production and editing will hopefully be done before July 1.

The film, which is personal for Linnenbach, centers around three best friends who realize they will separate for the rest of their lives.

“I’m in a position in life where I’m preparing to leave behind some of my closest friends I’ve made,” he said. “The bond the three best friends have in the film is something I can definitely relate to.”

Working on the film with him are his friends, a mix of recent graduates and current students at PSUC. That created a unique experience for Linnenbach.
“Everyone is so helpful. they’re great to work with,” he said.

PSUC senior Andrew Orzell appreciated the experience as well.

“He (Linnenbach) always has been a creative person,” Orzell said.

Orzell met Linnenbach through PSUC men’s rugby team and were in the same communication class.

“We were like the dream team of Communications 229,” Orzell said. “Later Linnenbach convinced Orzell to do PSTV as well. “I’m an environmental science major, so I really took 229 for fun.”
Orzell said it was “a blast” working with Linnenbach, and it was a lot of fun coming up with the script for “Camp Sunshine.”

Orzell already has plans in the works to collabrate on another project with Linnenbach. The idea is a crossover of Harry Potter, Stars Wars and Skyrim.

Linnenbach said he is just trying to express himself.

“I just wanted to give the film a shot and see what happens,” he said. “I’m excited for people to see the project, whatever comes of it.”

Email David Luces at

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