These posts are becoming fewer and far apart. Only 3 months though. Of course lots has happened, I have just not found that free time yet where I can write these. But here’s what happened at the end of the school year until now. Lots happened, the three from the festival all have their own posts : The Archer, The eyeFix Commercial, Ice: a suicide prevention PSA : as well as Eyelight Film Festival itself. Otherwise I started filming my new film about the poor kid and the rich kid (See “Today”). I did some work for DMA (See “Work for DMA”). And I recorded an event all by myself (See “Other Film Jobs”). Then I did projection work for ACME Theater Company (See “ACME Work”).
Enrique Project- The plan at the moment is to end it abruptly (more for comedic effect) but we are leaving it open in case we wish to continue.
The Davis Doc- Moving slow, my friend still sees interest, but I’m not sure it’s going all the way
Today- “Today” is my college app film. It’s more of an experimental film, a bit of a narrative, but not in the traditional way. I think I’ve mentioned the story before. Two high schoolers from different economic statuses go throughout their day and reveal how much most people take for granted, as well as how to make the most of a bad situation. I call it my “critically acclaimed” film. Because it is much more serious and meaningful than the others I have been working on. Anyway I haven’t done a lot, just a few scenes. Actors aren’t super available. It’s not too long I can finish it in like 3 shoots. I haven’t started editing though. I have a few months, I will be fine.
Equipment- I guess the boom would be new, although it’s really just a light stand with mic attached. I’ve been using it a lot in my camps and my own videos
DMA Work- I keep getting roped into volunteering, it’s bad and good at the same time. I like helping out, but I don’t want get taken advantage of. People think they don’t need to pay me because I’m young and “don’t have anything better to do”. Never the less I volunteered again to do some videos for the davis music fest. It was fun I suppose, I got to get into the venues for free, and the groups were cool, and I made some good connections. In fact, I’m meeting up today with someone to talk about more volunteer options. I don’t want to get distracted by volunteer work though. I got to be careful.
ACME work- I have been roped in! I almost was last year, but they ended up dropping the projection. ACME is a local theater company, well known by students throughout the town because it is essentially run by students. All student actors, and all student tech. Anyway the decided this year that they wanted to give projections a shot for the show “The Odyssey”. So they enrolled me. I, as usual, said yes, because it sounded fun, and I like Greek mythology. It started off slow, I wasn’t sure what I should be doing, because I had never done projections before. Luckily the director started helping me with what she wanted me to do. The problem was that a lot of the scenes were very specific, so I couldn’t do live action. So I was left with… animation. DUN DUN DUUUUUN. No I am not an animator, nor interested in becoming one. The process is too long and not rewarding enough. But of course I know how to animate. Unfortunately the only program I had access to was photoshop. And as many may know, Photoshop is the runt of animating software. Luckily I am a photoshop wiz and made it work for me. I found a way to do everything I wanted to do. The director loved the projections, they weren’t super serious and more funny because they were animated. I liked the too. The problem was that she knew nothing about the projector in the theater, besides the fact that there was a projector in the theater. So it was up to me to figure it out and learn how to cue projections. So projections are short videos, someone will hit a button and they turn on or change. The thing is the actors won’t time acting to a video, so all the changes are done by a crew member during the show. For instance, there was a cyclops eye that I animated. When u hit the button it opened up and started blinking. But in order to make it go away and close the eye, you had to change to the video feed of the eye closing. That’s essentially what cueing projections are. Luckily they had this nice program to do this called Qlab. Qlab lines up videos and can change between them on the click of a button. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. It started not doing what it should, and not showing projections that weren’t up yet, and not changing projections. I spent days during tech week trying to figure it out, because no one else knew how. It was daily visits to the theater for like the 5 days leading up, for like 3-6 hours each. This was along with working earlier in the day at the Arts Center, and doing the animation outside of rehearsal. But I met some more people and built up more talents and experiences, so it was worth it. And unbiasedly I can say it was the best student performance that I’ve seen.
Film Camp/Classes- So since last time, there I’ve taught spring session 2 2017 and both summer sessions. It’s becoming more and more strait forward. Session two went nicely in the spring. In summer though I wanted to write a new filming script. So I wrote “The Time Travelers”. I thought it was a good difference from the fairy tale one I have been using (that I also wrote). The new script was more funny, not as serious, better for older groups, and bigger audiences. It was a little difficult at first, figuring out new camera positions and new locations. But there was 2 hours to do it (classes are 1.5, camps 2) and we had and excellent set of enthusiastic students the first time. All of that went really nicely, just finished next week. Prices were raised for the summer and we hit our record enrollment of 17 students (the max was supposed to be 12). So I consider these classes getting more and more successful. And hearing how thankful the parents are and how much fun the kids have makes it all worth it.
Applying for internships and classes-Thanks to the small Davis community and a small failure in the school system, the entire school found out a way to look at their schedule early. And I got all my classes! Taking 5 periods! Orchestra (last year! gotta see it through), British Literature (wanted an easy, fun class) , AP Government/Economics (wanted that weighted grade in AP), AP Stats and AP Photography! Really looking forward to it actually, especially photo. I feel that is going to be really fun
Colleges- Well it’s THAT time right now. And I’m just getting started. Work just ended so now it’s apps for the next few months. At least I know what to do. I have my prioritized list of the 4 LA-area film schools that I’m applying to. In the previous list I gave my reasons, so this time I’m going to tell you what changed after the tours
- UCLA school of Theater, Television, and Film- UCLA still hits the top right now because of it’s prestige, location, and affordability. UCLA is one of the best film schools in the world. Industry standard equipment, job connections, and top film professionals teaching classes. It is nearly unbeatable. After touring I really loved the campus. It’s huge, yet the film school is small. This allows me to be part of a large community, and a small one. The area around it is where I grew up when I lived in LA as a child. It’s near family and in a safe community that I’ve known from my years in LA. And the price makes it easy to choose. Of course it’s still ridiculous, but it’s nothing compared to the private schools out there. Screw the 8% acceptance, someone has to make it, and that could be me. These reasons make it my top choice school
- LMU: Loyola Marymount University- LMU was the first school I toured. I was nervous looking at college already, I had just started my junior year. When I stepped onto this campus though, I felt relaxed. No it’s not one of the top 3 film schools, but that’s what I like about it. It seems welcoming and more laid back. I feel if I went there I could have more freedom and not get analyzed harshly. I like the area. I have family near there, it’s near the airport, and you can see the ocean from the top of the hill. I looked at the surrounding village, and there were small streets with corner cafes. Places that could feel like the small town that I grew up in. LMU is realistic, over half the applicants are accepted. I can work out the tuition. But I can say I would be thrilled to get accepted there.
- USC- Preppy, expensive, bad neighborhood. These are annoying. I don’t want to be with a lot of legacy’s. I don’t want to fight with all the people who think they’re better than me. I don’t wanna get mugged if I step one foot out of campus. But when I showed up to my tour, I was standing between the Steven Spielberg building, and the George Lucas building. Two of the most notable directors of modern cinema. And that’s why everyone wants to go there. Because nothing can beat this school at prestige and fame, for being the number one film school in the world. And nothing can stop any aspiring filmmaker from applying to it. They know they’re the best, they know they only take the best 4%, they know they can charge you 50,000 dollar tuition, because they know that you will go there.
- BACK-UP: Cal State Northridge- Northridge is a good school, its incredibly affordable, easy to get into, and still far up there in the top film schools. It’s a great back up. From here I can look at transfers after 2 years, or even grad school after 4. It’s a great choice.
So who got kicked out of the list? Cal Arts and Chapman. Both just don’t seem worth the money. They’re the same tuition as USC and LMU, they’re out side of LA and they don’t seem like they’re for me
Video/Film Jobs- I’m going to have to start writing contacts when I do freelance work from now on. I’ve been cheated on everything I’ve done so far. Still haven’t gotten the field hockey money, it’s been almost a year! City of Davis hasn’t followed up on the work I did, and I didn’t get paid, and this event I just did, I’ve been asked to do a lot of extra projects, and I worked extra time without any additional pay. Ok so the most recent event. I was approached by friend eric that a friend of his was having a a dance event and needed a videographer. So I happily said yes, and worked out the logistics of the event with her. She was an outgoing senior so basically my age, and really easy to talk to. The best part though was working with my friends on the event. Two of them were doing photography, so we were like a crew. The event itself went well, I used a DMA camera (canon XA-25) and my DLSR (Canon T5i). I bought a whole new 32gb SD as well. My DSLR filled up on storage within the first half hour. And the DSLR stopped recording every 15 minutes basically. There was a lot of running back and forth through the hall in order to check on the camera. When I looked at the footage, I had enough for a smooth multi cam edit, so that worked out well. So after the event there were portraits of literally every person who was there, so I helped out the photographers with that. We didn’t get food until the end too, that kinda sucked. Ended up working 6 hours, when I was told it was only 4. That was a little annoying, but it was a good experience. Editing went fine at first, but apparently there was a problem exporting the video, so it froze in a spot on the export. So I had to fix that, then they asked for raws, which didn’t exist because had to delete the event footage from the SD so I made an unedited video (which was 5hrs long and 48 gb after compression) and now they want a short version of the video. Lots of work I didn’t sign on for, but I got to know the family well and it’s not too bad to do all the editing. Anyway, it was fun to do this event… but contracts next time!
Videos for School- It’s summer!
The DMAC- It was a slow start up last year, but were going for it again. We’re doing the things that worked best the previous time. We can’t give money for photo contests, but we want to keep doing those. Then we’re watching short films and critiquing them. We want to do the same with photo accounts as well. I think presentations would be helpful as well.
Film Festivals and Events- You know the Eyelight story and the Directing Change story. NCSFF never came through which was kind of disappointing, but oh well. I’m Planning to submit “Today” into festivals as well. I have high hopes for that one and want to submit it into some national student film festivals.
Photography and Graphic Design- So not a lot of photography, I got really distracted by it last year, and haven’t done a lot of it recently. And nothing has really come up for graphic design. Still waiting to hear back from the City of Davis on the bike flier
Film Review- Alright… now time for my opinions! As usual I will pick one great one and one weak one.
For my my good movie, I will talk about the new Edgar Wright film, Baby Driver. Now I have to preface this by saying I am a huge Edgar Wright fan. Hot Fuzz is my favorite movie and all the films in the Cornetto trilogy are genius. Wright’s intelligent comedy and creative, original plots make his films a spectacle to watch. Baby Driver followed this. It is the most original plot idea that I can really think of. The plot is smart and creative, the characters are likeable/hateable, and the movie continues to drive forward with new surprises down the road. My favorite part was the way that Wright incorporated music. He used music with everything, timing cuts to the beat, everything is guided through the soundtrack. I really thought that was original and impressive.
And for my flop, against the critics, I shall talk about Mad Max. I don’t know why this got such good ratings, it had flat characters, very weak plot, no dramatic moments, and just over all boring. The characters to start had very little development and not even much background. They made me more uncomfortable than interested. The makeup and costume design was a bit over the top, and made all the characters really uncomfortable actually. Then the plot. Not only was it confusing, it was so simple that I couldn’t believe it could possibly be confusing. They were literally racing the ENTIRE time. The whole time was a just a slow car chase. And when the “big” moments happened, no one cared, because no one got attached to the characters, and at the end when the victory happened, no one cared because NO ONE GOT ATTACHED TO THE CHARACTERS. And secondly, no one gave a crap about the boring plot line. Granted the Production design and fight scenes, and production design were impressive. The rest of the movie ruined all those for me.
Other News- Same old, same old. School year ended pretty good, a little disappointed in math, but never the less the year ended. Summer has been great! Just as I wanted it to go. Going out with friends nearly daily, yet still getting work in and vacation. It all went how I wanted it to go. I wish I had more time to film, but everything else went well. I’m almost looking forward to senior year starting, this year is my last, I’m taking fun classes, I have time for stuff after school, and with college and everything, this is when I start my life.
Aright, the updates are complete. Next time I post I will be in school and far along with my applications (hopefully), or maybe already applied. I will also be done with my next film