June 9, 2015
As a filmmaker and TV production professional, Nathan Maulorico knows that every shot tells a story – sometimes ones the viewers may not even be aware.
Lately, Maulorico has been putting his passion for history to work in order to find the stories behind the shots themselves.
The recent Drury graduate was invited to present findings from an undergraduate research paper at the annual Mississippi State University Symposium for Undergraduate History Research earlier this month. The paper examines how film propaganda techniques of the past influence the visuals we see in modern advertising and movies.
Maulorico, 33, has been making short films since his teen years and has worked on reality TV productions for about a decade with credits that include “Dance Moms,” “Clash of the Ozarks” and work with Bobby Flay. He graduated from the College of Continuing Professional Studies in December with degrees in advertising, public relations and history. Drury was the right place to combine these interests, he says, and this research was a rewarding way to cap off that experience.
“This project was a personal challenge to me to figure out how I can mesh all of those together,” he says.
Maulorico watched more than 30 films and clips of many others as part of his research. They dated from 1912 to modern times and came from nearly a dozen countries. He watched with an eye for known propaganda techniques, and for continuity between eras.
“I looked for the techniques that were being used in those early films and they were adapted in modern films, advertising and news media,” he says.
While much writing and research has been devoted to old propaganda vehicles – particularly films made in Nazi Germany – there’s been less written about the parallels in modern media, Maulorico says. Most of us don’t think propaganda affects us, but it’s out there.
“People think it only has to do with these old Nazi movies but really, propaganda is happening all around us,” he says. “Whether it’s politics or advertising, somebody is trying to influence what you’re doing every day.”
Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations.