While on her way home Friday night, Wendy got a call from Luke. He got
so busy that he forgot to pick up the film for his weekend shoot with Keith.
The store where students
pick up their film is closed weekends. If they
don't get there by 5PM Friday, they're out of luck. Luke needed outdoor
film; Wendy only had indoor film. So she couldn't help him.
Wendy said, there are so many details
that require attention, that it's totally
understandable how someone could forget to pick up the film .. which kills an
entire weekend of scheduled shooting.
The film has serial numbers. Students can't simply go out and buy more film.
Profs made a big deal about using only properly serialized film.
One of Wendy's classmates
film into the camera backwards.
They'll have to re-shoot everything. Loading the film backwards is not
as uncommon as you might think.
Both Wendy & Lisa feel like they're being stretched beyond their limits.
Wendy said the Prof (Helaine) got on Lisa's case yesterday for coming
to class with raw footage, on a day when the class views edited cuts
(Thursdays). Wendy said it got ugly, and that Helaine is tough. She
doesn't want to hear excuses.
Since Wendy & Lisa
shot more footage than any other group, Lisa (the
Editor) had more raw footage to edit than anyone else. Helaine didn't care.
She made it clear that doesn't want to see unedited footage on days when
they're viewing cuts.
Wendy has been having trouble figuring out who is responsible for finding
help for the shoots (assistants). She was under the impression that it was
the cinematographer's responsibility to find help for the shoots, but so
far she's been finding & providing all the assistants (Brian, Jahmar, Dave,
This has been the biggest source of
conflict thus far. She
hopes this means
Lisa will find help for her when she begins shooting Lisa's film next month. I
think Lisa had help lined up a couple of times, but it never materialized. Many
students cut deals like, "You help me on my shoot, and I'll help you on yours."
Today was her last major shooting day. She
got to bed at 2AM, up at 6. She
has cute dark circles under her eyes. One more shoot is scheduled .. for Sunday.
But that's a minor shoot, with a 10-year old named Judy (the cutie).
Much paperwork is required
before a minor can be filmed, and many rules to
abide by (e.g. need parent or monitor must be present at all times).
Judy is going to be playing
the roll of young Zarena, in a
flashback scene. The
following weekend is a pick-up weekend where the girls can grab any missed/bad
shots .. if any film remains (probably not). Wendy has all the film pretty much
already accounted for.
Wendy came home ecstatic last weekend, after shooting the scene with the
horse (Bucky). She poured herself a beer and began dancing around the house,
telling me about the shoot. Haven't seen her that happy since the FedEx man
accidentally delivered the neighbor's Viagra .. uh, er, never mind. =)
She coordinated 8 people: actor, actresses, cinematographer, park ranger,
production assistant, horse trainer, and the horse. Being able to successfully
coordinate this shoot boosted her confidence in her ability to produce more
than simplistic shoots.
She was happy the park ranger was there, even tho it cost
& even tho
he only sat in his truck the whole time .. just in case anybody tried to bother them
(they shot on public property).
nice to them, except one old lady, who rode her horse right thru the
middle of the set, saying, "This is public property & I can ride where ever I darn well
The park ranger unlocked the gate for them, and gave them all a ride to the scene,
with all their heavy equipment, up a hot, dusty trail. But she couldn't revel in it long,
cuz a 10-page report was due the next day. She stayed up typing until 2:30, had to
get up at 6.
Students compare the first year at Film school to boot camp.
There's not enough
hours in the day to do everything assigned. So students must prioritize, doing only
the most important things, and letting everything else slip, or give items of secondary
importance mere cursory attention.
Some days, she doesn't even have time to
eat until she gets home.
is her film, something she'll always have .. even after the semester ends.
We're on crock #7, of industrial-strength, nuclear-grade stew. Had several requests
for the recipe. Posted here.
I try to have a big, fresh salad waiting for her when she gets home (midnight), and
a bowl of stew. That's when she tells me about the day's trials & tribulations. I usually
fill the tub & light a few candles, before going to bed. Last I see, she's working at her
computer .. and is gone when I wake.
Their prof (Helaine) shared how she got started in
the business. She began working
in a Frisco theater, directing plays, then to Broadway, where she was asked by the
Producer of TV series to 'observe'. Observing means you don't work (or get paid),
but come on set to see how things are done/run. Helaine said there's much unspoken
For example, you never
sit in the director's chair. And you never ask the Producer
if/when you're going to be hired. They wouldn't ask you to 'observe' if they weren't
considering hiring you.
Another person was asked along with Helaine to observe, but broke all the rules.
After 6 months, the Producer asked Helaine, "So, do you think you're ready?"
She'd developed good relationships with both cast &
crew, helping where she could.
Producer said, "Okay, I'll see what I can do." It wasn't long afterwards that she was
tapped for a feature episode. You get one shot. If you do good, you're asked back.
If not -> c_ya.
The business aspects of Cinema is where students feel they need more instruction.
Some students complain that they don't feel prepared (business-wise) to go out
into the industry.
Wendy said the Dean on the
Cinema school (who is supposed to have much
business savvy) teaches a class a long these lines. Wendy wants to take this
class (with Dean Daley). But for now, all classes are mandatory requirements.
Wendy ran into one of her profs from undergrad days: Dr. Casper. He has the
Hitchcock chair at USC, and is currently teaching class on Star Wars, which
George Lucas recently dropped in on. Wendy appreciates energetic, dynamic
profs, like Casper. She was surprised he remembered her, cuz he has so many
I accompanied her several
times, sitting in on Casper's Hitchcock class, held in
the Norris theater/auditorium, with over a hundred students. He picks out students
to answer questions. If they don't know, he yells at them, "Come on! You oughta
know that!" =)
Wendy heard that,
if Casper wants you in a program, you're in. He's one of the profs
who wrote a letter to accompany her application to grad school. She's the only one
in her class (of 50) with undergrad degree from USC Film school (Critical Studies).
Wendy got the head of the Sound dept to be her Sound engineer for her upcoming
sound recording in the Spielberg Scoring Stage. Most students get a TA. The dept
head mentioned at a schmooze party that he might do this for her. Wendy tracked
him down & got him to sign-off for her recording session.
is working on
composing the soundtrack for her.
Fade to black.
Next -> Completed shooting first 16mm film
Previous -> First Tears
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