On Oct. 31, the short film “Don’t Be A Stranger” was released on YouTube. It was directed by Josh Wahl and written by Wahl and Julia Marie Black. The film stars Black, Chelsea Bolles and current Binghamton University students Patrick Saint Ange, a junior double-majoring in English and sociology, and Andrew Ajaka, a senior majoring in theatre.

The cast and crew of “Don’t Be A Stranger” found each other in an interesting way. The story begins with Ajaka, who is also the BU theatre department’s acting/directing undergraduate representative and a part of the theatre department’s Diversity in Action Committee. Ajaka became acquainted with Black through a chance encounter.

“I got thrown into a dance show [two] days before opening, in which I met Julia Black’s father, David Black,” Ajaka said. “In that dressing room, months before I had actually met Julia, I learned about her college education, childhood and her artistry through her father. It’s a little comedic, but it just goes to show the way that the universe really seems to have a plan for all of us sometimes. Months later, I got bubble tea with our mutual friend, Julia, and fellow co-actor Saint Ange, on Julia’s birthday, and was finally acquainted with the legend I had heard so much about.”

Then, the story of “Don’t Be A Stranger” was written by Wahl and Black, and then Black, Ajaka, Saint Ange and Bolles were cast in their respective roles in the film. Ajaka recounted Black reaching out to him last spring about this opportunity. Following the team getting together, Ajaka said the filming process for the short film ran smoothly and the set had a positive atmosphere.

“It was just such a fantastic experience to be working with such focused and hardworking people, and also have such a comfortable and caring vibe on set every step of the way,” Ajaka said. “Although most of us hadn’t met before the first weekend of filming, we were all there ready to make this movie a reality, and we all just clicked immediately. That is to say, I am quite happy to say that the biggest takeaway that I bring with me from this process is that the cast and crew of ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’ are friends for life.”

The set of “Don’t Be A Stranger” was also a place where the cast and crew were able to relax and have a good time. Since the vibes on set were so chill, Ajaka the cast achieved a high level of comfort relatively quickly.

“There was one day where we were waiting for weather conditions to shift to film certain scenes from the movie,” Ajaka said. “We were all sitting around inside, having lunch and hanging out and out of nowhere, without real discussion, it turned into a sort of group nap, where everyone was like sharing couches and spots on the floor and napping … It was just a really wholesome day, and I think it really contextualizes exactly how comfortable we all got with each other almost immediately.”

The short film was then released on YouTube on Halloween, which is fitting given the spooky theme of the film. It can be viewed for free on YouTube on the channel “Don’t Be A Stranger – Official,” along with multiple behind-the-scenes videos that give a deeper look into the production of the short film.

Going forward, “Don’t Be A Stranger” will be adapted into a full-length feature film. Wahl and Black are coming back to write the script, but the director and actors have not been announced yet. Ajaka is also directing the play “Proof” for the BU theatre department, which opens Nov. 4 and runs through Nov. 7.