Monday, March 29, 2010

Adventures in Filmmaking, Episode I.

This past weekend, the men and women of the mighty University Filmmakers' Organization at the UA got together after a lot of preparation (equipment rental, location scouting, casting, artistic planning, script revision, etc.) and finally laid the hammer down. After 30 hours or so of actual shooting, Restroom Refugees is in the can.

I decided to devote my entire Saturday to the project. Given my dearth of experience in any given area related to filmmaking, I figured I would stay all day and simply do whatever was necessary on-set. I woke up at 5:30 am, bleary-eyed after being very wound up and unable to sleep. I passed out on my futon with the Dangerous Days: The Making Of Blade Runner documentary playing on my telly in the living room. Showered, stretched, did some push-ups to get the blood flowing, and then hopped in the car.

People began to trickle in behind me right about 6:45am. I ventured back on to campus to pick up a fellow crewmate who needed a lift, and then we began to shoot. It's really an amazing process, having to actually forge an entirely different reality from nothing. The script is basically two ongoing scenes, a loud party going on outside, and a group of friends freaking out in the bathroom believing the cops have raided the party. Today would be dedicated to filming the party scene. Very tricky, since it required a ton of extras and a lot of planning to ensure continuity and to make it fun and believable. I showed up in my karate gear, figuring it would be one more funny costume in the mix (the entire crew showed up dressed and ready to pull double-duty as extras). Funnier yet, I ended up in a few scenes as a particularly verbal, aggressive party-goer, assisting in a keg-stand and reacting to the police as they arrive. I also handled the boom mic for a few hours and did some lighting work as well.

15 hours later, we were exhausted, in need of a drink and some chat to just unwind from the entire day. I can see now why Hollywood types work the way they do, you bust ass until dawn and then begin sometime in the afternoon. The thing is, I wasn't ever bored or found myself looking for the clock. When you're plugged in, you have to be on and paying a lot of attention to be in synch with your teammates and ready to do whatever is necessary to make it all work.

I really can see myself doing this for a living.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Filmmaker's Log-Scene One.

Six weeks have passed since I began my Media Arts studies at the UA.

Thus far, I have to say, I am beyond glad I made the decision to pursue this major. The classes are VERY competently taught. Both of my professors in this area are super-smart, funny, and clearly love the material. Compared to many of the experiences I had in the Political Science department, it's a night and day kind of contrast. I literally often stop in the middle of class and just kind of shake my head. I'm...studying this? Like, in school? How can this be? Aren't I enjoying myself too much?

That's not to say it hasn't been hard work. It has. There's a lot of people in there that are pretty damned sharp themselves, and you can feel this definite undercurrent of competitive fire running through the other students. They're burning to succeed, just as I am. Given that I'm studying something I am so passionate about now, I really feel pushed to succeed. Not pressure, mind you...but compelled. It's different. I'm adrift in an ocean of infinite possibilities now, held back only by my imagination, skills, raw talent, and how hard I'm willing to work. It's terrifying and electrifying all in one shot. Sometimes getting to sleep is really difficult, especially if I've been writing just before bed. Late at night is really my time to do this sort of thing though.

The UA student film club begins work in earnest this week, having decided on a pet project and assigning positions this week. I'm still not quite sure what position I'm going to try and nail down. At the moment, I'm just chomping at the bit to get some experience doing anything on a shoot so I can begin to wrap my head around what's possible at this level. That doesn't mean I can't write my own shit at night though. Things are going to change very quickly, as I really can say, for the first time, EVER...I am doing what I was put on Earth to do.