The 546 semester at USC Film school
#12 in a series of 13
Topics covered this update:
Fade up & zoom in.
print of Echo,
the film Wendy edited this semester, screened yesterday,
on the big screen, at Norris theater. Four films screened. Echo was saved for last.
Wendy said many people came up to her afterwards, and offered their
including several upperclassmen. She said, "You could tell they were sincere."
The head of 546, Mary
Jansen, called Wendy over afterwards, gave her a big hug,
and told her what a great job she did, saying, "Congratulations. It looked even more
beautiful today than ever. It was all the buzz. I know you worked so hard."
The other 3 films are more linear,
meaning that there wasn't as much room for
the editors to play with the editing. The stories followed a more conventional
The big, official screening
for Echo will be sometime in the fall. No official date has
yet been set. Echo will also go to First Look, at the Director's Guild, where it'll be
seen by industry wheels (Sunset blvd).
approached Wendy after the screening (he's not taking 546 this semester),
and carried on about how impressed he was. He said, "And you can tell that it was
the editing that made it rock." Lots of other students who didn't take 546 this
semester attended the screening.
People seem to think that
Echo has the potential to win awards, and that the
editing is where much of the magic happens.
Wendy will be editing an
advanced project (581) next semester, titled Seahorses,
for Tania. She is honored that Tania would want her to edit her thesis project.
refresh your memory, Tania is the girl Wendy committed to Produce for .. earlier
this semester. They pitched the script together (with Dennis) but weren't selected.
This is a big thing for Wendy. She doesn't know of anyone else in
her class who's
been approached to edit a 581 advanced project.
Tania attended the answer print
screening. Afterwards, she told Wendy , "I'm sooo
glad I have you to edit my 581."
Tania will be shooting Seahorses
next month (June). Wendy will have until November
to edit it.
Advanced projects are unique
in that students crewing on them pay no tuition,
nor receive any units for these projects. They merely receive a credit for the film,
and it goes on their 'reel'. But it doesn't co$t them anything either. The university
structures curriculum to prepare students for how the industry operates.
Students making their
advanced, thesis project must have a mentor who's willing
to accept their project, but students are pretty much on their own when it comes
to making the film, finding crew, etc.
Wendy is currently enrolled
in a class for next semester titled, Preparing for the
Advanced Project. Students must first take this (semester-long) class before
beginning their advanced, thesis project.
She is also learning much from
Tania about what the advanced
Tania says there are a million signatures you have to get before shooting can begin.
Tania's story is not unlike Echo's
.. in that it's also a non-linear story. Tania told
Wendy that, when she told Mary Jansen who'd be editing her film (Wendy), Mary
perked up and said, "Perfect, Wendy has experience editing a film like this."
It looks like Wendy will be
editing Tania's thesis project on (Apple's) Final
This will add another editing program to her repertoire of skills. She's been editing
at home with (Adobe) Premiere for ~3 years. She learned the Avid this semester,
and now she'll be learning FCP ..
.. altho she'd rather use her
own system, since it's a real-time editing system,
which means she doesn't have to wait for effects and transitions to render. FCP
is what they call software rendering. Waiting for scenes to render can take you
out of the creative flow.
Wendy noted that Tania chose
her to edit her advanced project, even tho she has
no previous experience editing with FCP .. just like Pema chose her to edit his 546
without any previous Avid experience.
Wendy has been learning more
about req'ments to graduate. Besides the requisite
courses (for example, every student must crew on a 546 at least once), and
completing the required units (52), each student must do one of the following 3:
1. Complete an advanced,
thesis film project. In other words, write & direct your
own film. There are several versions (581, 582, 587) each with it's own twist.
Advanced projects are between 12 & 20 minutes long. Completing an advanced,
thesis project is the ultimate way to go .. and the hardest. This is what Wendy
wants to do.
Many students shoot &
edit on DV (digital video) cuz it's much cheaper than film.
But many shoot on 35mm ($$).
Wendy approached and spoke to the guy who runs the new, Zemeckis Digital Arts
center, and asked if he'd consider being her mentor for her advanced project, cuz
she wants to use all the cool, new technology now coming into the Zemeckis center.
He said it'd have to be approved by the Dean, but he'd be interested.
The Zemeckis center is not
completely done yet, but should be by the time Wendy
is ready to begin shooting her thesis project. She also wants to hook up with some
students in the Animation dept., cuz she wants to inject small bits of animation into
As yet, Animation students have remained in their own, little
world .. not interacting
much with Production students.
She also wants to hook up
with some hot Screenwriters, in USC's Writing
to help her with her story.
2. Students may also opt to
crew on a 546 twice. This is considered the lamest
option, cuz it's the easiest way to graduate, and you come out with no film to call
your own, except for 508 (5-mins, 16mm, b&w, no sync sound dialogue).
3. Write a feature-length
script. Wendy is currently enrolled in a class next year,
where (in two semesters) she'll write feature-length script. This is tougher than it
sounds. Not everyone taking this class finishes a feature-length script. Supposedly,
a f-l script is a key to success in the industry .. perhaps cuz it's so hard to do ..
like writing the Great American Novel.
She's been pretty bummed that
she didn't get any PA/TA-ships next semester.
She feels like she has worked hard for 3 semesters, and would make a great TA.
However, at the last minute, it seems that a new position has opened up
Editing PA-ship, for an Intermediate Editing class (535, graduate class). She'd
also work in the Avid room, helping students learn/use the Avid. This would be
right up her alley. (PA = Production Asst.)
Mary Jansen told her about
the position, after giving her the hug after the screening.
Mary told Wendy to go see another Mary, who is doing the hiring. Mary Jansen
recommended Wendy for the position, which gives 3 units, and pays an hourly wage.
The lady in charge of hiring told Wendy that she
was "one of the finalists", but that
she first needed to talk to Mary Jansen before making a final decision.
Wendy said, "I just saw Mary. She's the one who sent me to see you."
TA-ships are too political to predict, but it seems that Wendy has a good chance.
She'd be happy to get it. The words Avid tech could look nice to a resume.
Only thing remaining this
semester are grades. She said, "I'll be surprised if I
get an A in 546." Should be out soon.
She entered Liliana
in several film festivals. She spent a couple of days researching
festivals online. One such festival is here (killer Flash into). More listed here.
I upgraded Wendy's PC so she
can now edit video in Windows 2000,
a more pro-
fessional (& robust) operating system than Win98.
While testing the new system,
she captured & edited some footage from our (17 mile)
hike to the top of Half Dome (Yosemite) last summer. Sometimes, the coolest stuff
comes when she's simply playing around. Wendy hauled her little MiniDV camcorder
to the top of Half Dome to get this footage. She posted the movie on her site here.
It's 7 minutes long (12MB).
Wendy has been working with Lejla,
creating a 'reel' for her, based on footage Lejla
has of her acting gigs. Lejla is interested in having Wendy put together something for
her like Wendy made for Lani (here), showcasing her acting talents.
While Wendy was discussing the project with
Lejla, one of Lejla's friends became
interested, and wants to do the same thing. So Wendy may have a side business
creating reels for aspiring actresses.
We had a Cinco de Mayo party
here. Wendy invited a bunch of her classmates.
The margaritas probably had something to do with it, but we had a great time.
Damage report here.
Lani is coming down
for the weekend, Mother's day .. flying in to John Wayne,
This just in. They
just called and offered the Editing PA-ship. She took it!
She's one happy camper, dancing around the house.
Fade to black.
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