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

Sad & Disturbing

The pressure of graduate Production has claimed its first casualty. With a journalist background, Rick has been having problems with his back - perhaps from lugging around monster 3/4-inch tape cameras for many years. He's a big guy, but has been missing class lately. He just found out the problem is more serious than he originally thought - nerve-related, not merely muscle. 

Wendy thinks the stress of school may be aggravating a pre-existing injury. Only six weeks into the program. That's gotta be tough. Sad. It also concerns her is that Rick is the student closest in age to her, and she's been feeling her years, too. 

She said the program is demanding. Even the younger students call it boot camp. Making five films in one semester, all by yourself, is a lot of work - not to mention the everyday academic requirements. Wendy would rather spend the semester making one or two killer films, that she could take her time with & do quality work. 

Next semester, they have two projects planned (16mm). Students pair up ->  one writes & directs, while the other shoots & edits. Then they switch roles & make another film the second have of the semester.

One of Wendy's classmates (Noriega) showed a disturbing film Thursday. Nothing graphic, but a story structured so that your mind fills in the blanks. When the viewer connect the mental dots, an disturbing picture is revealed: the murder of a child. 

Students were upset. The story was structured so the viewer becomes identified with a (seemingly) likeable character, only to discover later that he's a bad person. At the end, you see him filling in a small grave after a little boy becomes missing. Students felt manipulated. A heated discussion ensued, which developed into a discussion by the profs about areas of Film considered taboo.  

1. hurting kids 
2. hurt animals 

but especially hurting animals - because people will come after you if u hurt kids, but if you hurt animals, they'll find you.

Prof discussed how sex & violence stimulate emotional energies, & how it's important that moviemakers need to provide an outlet for those energies. One of Wendy's classmates, Stacey has a young daughter. She did not like the film. She & Noriega had words. He denied intending to disturb anyone, saying, "I didn't do anything - your imagination did everything." But when the prof read his planning sheet from the previous week, it turned out exactly how he planned it. He wanted to shock. I keep asking Wendy to ask Carlos if he's related to the Colonel (Manual), but she won't. =)

Wendy liked the way the prof handled the whole thing -> cool, & in control, peaking w/ authority, without getting caught up in the emotion. She said, "he totally knew his shit." That's a big compliment. =)  

While cruisin' 'cross campus, Wendy heard somebody call her. It was Marina, the Russian (future caviar contact), having lunch with a friend - another girl in the Peter Stark Producer prgm (which deals with the business aspects of of Film & TV). 

Marina told Wendy how much she enjoyed the films that Wendy gave her last week - said Marina made a big deal about it, that she went on & on, telling the other girl how good Wendy's films were - made her feel good. Marina and her friend are partners in a film project, and may want to use Wendy in one of their upcoming projects.  

Wendy is almost done capturing video footage, which means she almost ready to start editing - the most creative (& fun) part of the entire process. Right now, she's capturing footage of a girl (Lynne) dancing on the beach at sunset, wearing a loose, sheer dress, on a windy day. 

Wendy did some special effect with the camera so that everything looks to be a slightly different shades of slate-blue, which looks cool/cold. This contrasts sharply with other footage from the massage, which has lots of warm colors - red, orange, yellows. Visually captivating. Lynne teaches dance - one of the reasons Wendy chose her for the part.
She did a good job.  

Lani is down from UC Santa Cruz. Wendy loves having her babies here. But Wendy has work to do. Editing requires intense concentration. So we moved a big, room-divider curtain thingie from the massage area to the computer area, where she'll edit. Hopefully work without being disturbed too much. The kids went to an annual Bob Marley Day celebration up in Long Beach. Rasta mon vibrations positive.

During a walk on beach yesterday, I asked her, "So how do you think this next film will compare to BodyMind?" She hates comparing the two films. BodyMind turned out surprisingly well - but she's learned a lot since then. Will be interesting to see if she can top it. The pressure is on. 

Wendy wants to do an original score (music) for this movie. She's never done an original score before. All her music has been from CDs. She called a few musician-friends, to see if they could get together for a recording session. An original score could be cool. Certainly the experience we be valuable. 

We have a decent sound card, mixer & some other digital recording equipment. We have lots of audio editing software, which could come in handy. Sound/audio in film seems like a whole discipline in itself. So much to know, so much to learn. So many mistakes to make. 

Next -> Film 3 is a Wrap

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