This week, Street got the pleasure to meet and talk to Meghana Srivatsa (E '17), current president of Bent Button. We got to learn a little bit more about what being the president of Penn’s premier filmmaking club entails, some of her favorite movies and advice she has for other Penn students looking to get involved on campus.
Street: Can you talk a bit about the club and what your role includes?
Meghana Srivatsa: So I’ve been a part of Bent Button since my freshmen year and right now I’m president, which is crazy! Usually the responsibilities I personally have for Bent Button is making sure the logistics go well for filming—making sure we have actors, props, equipment and communicating with other groups on campus for actors, too. Club meetings are usually Tuesdays at 8 p.m. at Kelly Writers House and usually the meeting itself is like a screenwriting workshop. People come in with scripts or ideas that they have, we’ll go through them and then give them feedback. By the time that they’ve been revised to the point they’re ready to film, we set up logistics for filming. Filming usually happens during the weekend.
Street: What kind of films has the club made?
MS: We’ve done a variety of genres. Last year we did one about a hitman. It was super action based and I got a Penn alumni, who use to be a part of Bent Button, to come teach actors how to do the fight sequences. He also helped guide us through post–production because we had this guy’s head get chopped off, and we needed to figure out how to do that post–production. It was really fun. Right now we have a film that’s like apocalyptic. So like zombies and that kind of vibe. We also usually do something for Valentine’s Day—something romantic. It’s a variety of stuff. Relatively short.
Street: When did you first realize that you wanted to do more than just watch film and actually be a part of the industry?
MS: Ooo, probably my sophomore year summer? I actually came into Penn as a Digital Media and Design major, which is like computer animation, so coming in I already knew I wanted to do kid’s entertainment. I ended up switching out, but I think it was my internship my sophomore year which was a lot of script coverage and reading and evaluating stories. That’s when I kind of realized that this is what I want to do.
Street: What do you think of the film and entertainment culture at Penn? What would you change?
MS: I think our community is small, but I think it’s very supportive. All the opportunities I’ve received, I’ve heard about from other students on campus. What I love about it is that even when you reach out to Penn alum who are in entertainment, Penn people love to help other Penn people out. One thing I would change about it? I think there are opportunities that exist on campus that are not publicized. Like Gregory has its film programs, the film festival, all these clubs—I definitely feel like the opportunities I got and the the clubs I’ve been in, I had to go out of my way to figure out what was there instead of it being presented to me. But I’d consider them hidden gems.
Street: Okay, rapid fire. Favorite movie?
MS: Stand By Me
Street: DC or Marvel?
Street: Favorite genre?
MS: It’s ironic because I want to go into kids’ entertainment, but I love horror movies.
Street: Someone in the industry who inspires you?
MS: Priyanka Chopra. She’s like life goals. She went from Bollywood to Hollywood. Amazing.
Street: One movie that you think everyone needs to watch?
MS: Who Framed Roger Rabbit!
Street: Any last advice?
MS: I think my advice would be that when people say, 'No experience necessary,' you really don't need experience to learn. I know a lot of people come in and get hesitant about that phrase because they feel like they need to know a lot, but it's an inclusive, supportive culture. So the doors are totally open if people want to take the chance.