Posted tagged ‘directing’

Climax in Directing Class

June 20, 2009

As some of you may or may not know, our line up for classes last quarter was quite the doozy. We had Advance Production, Writing for Stage and Screen Two, AND our first, full fledged Directing class! The Seniors had all three classes but each were in separate quarters. We were assigned to film four shorts each week, write ten to twenty pages of our script, and keep up with the occasional field trip. These are three pretty heavy duty classes.

In the last three weeks of the class, each student had to direct his or her final for the quarter. Each film had to be approximately five minutes long. With only five cameras and seventeen students, the weeks quickly became quite frantic. Some of us got ahead of the game, some of us fell short. People were writing scripts, freshman were auditioning, and everyone was trying to juggle the cameras.

I’ve always been more interested in writing, so I was quick to crank out a script that was worthy of Prof. Scoggins greenlight. Unfortunately for me, since writing takes such a higher spot than other aspects of film making, I spent most of my time working on the script. My time for filming was quickly eaten away. So much to the point where I filmed my last scene the night before the final was due!

Overall, directing the short (which ended up being around eight minutes) was one of the best experiences I’ve had thus far at JP Catholic. Writing, producing, DP, cinematographer, and directing the entire thing certainly sent me through the ringer. But thankfully, one of my most favorite people in the world, freshman, Laura Lopez, was able to edit the whole thing for me! There’s no way I would have made it out alive if it weren’t for her incredible tech-skills! Here’s a shout to you, Laura!

The class was, needless to say, the single most amazing class thus far in my JP Catholic career. Not necessarily the Directing class, but that final “class” on Monday morning. Each student really stepped up their game and turned in a finished product that was well worth the wait and effort. The entire class was obviously motivated to turn in a film with a story that was in someway worth while. I am very proud to be in a group of people who harbor such effort and motivation. Here’s to Directing Two next quarter!

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Filming Skin Deep: Day 1

February 12, 2009

Today was the first day of filming Skin Deep for our production class.

We definitely have an all-star team. With Steve Marshall producing, Matt Salisbury and Patrick as the writing team, Michelle Cowdrey as gaffer, Josh Maas as cinematographer, and Brian Olson as our sound and editing supervisor, I couldn’t ask for a better-qualified group of students around me.

But there was a lot of pressure going in; there are some big Hollywood names interested in helping us promote the project if they think the final version turns out well. So people are really relying on me, as the director, to make it the best it can be. The problem was that we were not ready last night. Our actors arrived from far and wide, we had a script read through, we discussed shots, schedules, and plan-B’s. But there was still so much to do. Not all the props were accounted for. Not all the extras were accounted for. We didn’t know how everyone was going to get to the location. And on top of it all, we were unable to convince our professor to let us skip the midterm because of filming. I went to bed stressed and worried. I had discussed the issue of maintaining people’s high spirits on set, and he told me that that was up to me; he would be so worried about everything else that could be going wrong.

This morning we woke up at 7AM. 5 cars of people moved to our location. Half an hour late arriving, but otherwise flawless. The only cloud in the sky was the fact that is was raining. Hard. And that put a damper on our plans for later, which involved an outdoor cafeteria scene. But first things first, we filmed our morning indoor scene. Running a half-hour late, we did not have time to film the second scheduled scene before class time.

So we had lunch, we had our excellent set dressers put together the set, and we made some adjustments to the schedule. Then we went to class.

After class, we went to film the outdoor cafeteria scenes. It had stopped raining, and we were cutting corners left and right to get rolling. But we ran out of daylight way too fast. Right before we rolled camera, the producer and A.D. stopped me and said it was too dark. We would have to go with plan B.

After that, though, the day went perfectly. We filmed 2 scenes in the school hallway, the library scene, and the scene we had missed this morning. We even had a pizza dinner to top it off.

But now I have a headache. I think we all do. And we spent so much time preparing for today’s shoot, that we don’t have nearly as much done in preparation for tomorrow’s. We were all too tired to even go over dailies. And I am worried that we may be out of camera battery power. More and more things could go wrong. More weather problems, more time taken because we didn’t finish our call sheets…

I believe I should go to bed. I have to wake up at 7AM again in the morning. And I think I might be dealing with a grumpier crew tomorrow. I will let you know how it goes.