Lights! camera! action! .. at USC Film school

Week Five

Wendy said this last film pushed her beyond where she's been before, in several different ways - sign of growth, perhaps.

Speaking of growth, she ran into a few students, now seniors, from undergrad days. A few of them were mere kids last time she saw them. They're now directing their own projects. Was remarkable for Wendy to see how much these kids had grown - so much so, that they didn't even look like the same people -> especially one little, Latino girl named Maria, who looked timid & unsure of herself before -> now confident & in-control. 

About the last film, I'm supposed to mention a problem -> Wendy had an actress bail on her at the last minute. Actually, she never showed up, never called, nothing. Won't mention any names <ahem> Michelle <ahem>. That's why the reason the intent/purpose/goal aspect of the film was lacking.

Wendy's classmates have had similar probs with actors & actresses bailing on them. The Harvard girl, Jennie, had a pro actress show up, see the video camera and say, "Oh, I can't do video. My agent won't let me. I can only do film." The actress called her agent. The agent said, "Don't do it." Actress picked up her things and left Jennie high and dry. Last Wendy heard, Jennie was still searching for a replacement. If I were her, I'd ask around if anybody knew where I could rent a motorcycle, buy a roll of duct tape, tape the camera to the handlebars, then dust off my old, Rolling Stones albums. =D

The rapid schedule for the projects means that unforeseen problems have greater impact, sometimes devastating.

Heard rumors that USC may be getting some new, high-end cameras & Avid editing systems. The Blair Witch Project was edited on an Avid. 

Speaking of the Blair Witch, one comments from Wendy classmates on her last film was, "Your cuts were great, like in the Blair Witch. Wendy thought that a left-handed compliment - kind of like, "You're not as dumb as you look." =D  

Two new projects under consideration for film 3:

1. another massage-based piece - similar to BodyMind (her best effort as an undergrad, shot on black & white super-8). If she's able to get Kellie again, then she'll be able to use/inject some of the Super8 film footage as, perhaps, flashbacks or special effect. Could be a neat effect.

2. A semi-humorous piece about casting titled Auditions for Vandel .. which will not only consist of a bunch of Van's (her brother) friends trying to act like Van or instructing an actor how to act like Van, but also inject lots of humor about all the things that can & do go wrong with a shoot.  

Wendy finally had a chance to settled down a bit. She's been running ever since starting school. Having to pump out those first 2 films so fast took its toll. She finally got a breather yesterday.

After the last update, Wendy received several letters of encouragement, which were much appreciated.  

Will leave you with a note she got from her TA yesterday (copy-n-paste):

Wendy - thanks 4 the email. I am familiar with that camera from my TV days, but this is the first that I've seen it projected. Looks gorgeous.

As for the character bit - I think you've come up with great situations for feeling - and it's clear to me that U don't really need film school for technical aspects, but to perfect your storytelling. The absolute hardest thing to do is CREATE feeling -- there are many tricks.  

I think the problems you faced in your first two films is this - the first one needed some more specific character traits that made her more REAL - i.e. something that we could understand and relate to that we hadn't seen before. I think the problem with your second film was that we didn't have a context for anything. It was hard to equate what we saw with any personal feelings of our own - i.e. Stand by Me works because we all know what it's like to be a lost little boy, etc.  

I could talk for hours about this stuff -- it's no big deal right now.

Clearly you're are one of the most talented people in the class. I think you have what it takes to be tremendous. Make your character's real and put them in situations that we can relate to - even if it's not directly. This will come in time. Your first two films are some of the best first two 507's I've seen.

Rock on

Next -> Film 3

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