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

Report Card: Film 3

Titled Breathe

First half of the film 3 is the set-up for our heroine, Lynne, who has trouble breathing because of asthma. The first half was prompted by profs, in Wendy's discussions with them - for her to work on developing narrative structure. The second half is all Wendy - dreamy, artsy, sensuous. You can tell when the 'Wendy' part starts. The music & mood change. Seems like another film begins half way through.

The good part comes after Lynne gives away her cat, Princess. Thx to Josh & Barb for lending Princess, who gets a credit for playing herself.

Austyn was a natural - didn't even look like she was acting. Believable.

Once Austyn goes to work on Lynne, you get your first glimpse of Lynne on the beach, where everything is a cool/cold shade of slate-blue. This contrasts with the warm tones of the massage room. A stormy sky at the beach lends a sense of atmosphere to the footage. 

Cuts back & forth between massage & Lynne at the beach, beginning to respond to the massage. Lynne starts as a ball, all crunched up on the sand - then gradually opens up & begins to dance as Austyn continues working her magic. But then something strange happens -> flames. 

Wendy saved our X-mas tree for this scene. It was several weeks old & crispy dry. She bribed Jahmar & Wesley to carry it to the beach for her, and set it aflame in a fire ring there, soon as it got dark. Used the footage of the roaring flames. Sparks flying everywhere. 

Wendy used this footage to put poor little Lynne in the midst of the roaring flames - sparks flying from her hair. Her head is whipping back & forth as you hear snap, crackle, & pop. Then, all of a sudden ... well, I don't want to give away too much. =) 

Selected comments:

Prof 1: Wow! Ambitious & well, very-well, done. Great images, good drama, effective use of music. Use of camera placements & styles very good. Felt I thought I was understanding it, even when I wasn't. Sound use = A+

Prof 2: Beautiful production, well-staged, shot & edited. Lovely sensual flavor of both images & action. Colors well-used, warm during massage, cool at beach. Music fits well.

TA: Great work. You really have a mastery of images, lighting design & editing. Also your sound design was very strong, and was one of the key elements in the tension & release. I felt the frustration & release, even when i wasn't sure what triggered some of the narrative events.

Student: Downright hypnotic. Footage of woman on beach excellent. Beautiful music, great mood, sensuously filmed, well-timed cuts, the mere act of watching is therapeutic. It actually relaxes me!

Student: Loved your use of color - very rich & sensuous. I want to know how you did it (so I can steal it! =D ).

Student: Your editing skills are tremendous. Your film moves at a sharp pace because of your editing style. I like that you picked up the camera & moved around with it.

Student: An excellent example of how a filmmaker sets the mood. Your camera, lighting & music all work together brilliantly to make the viewer feel emotion. Transitions from one mood to another were seamless & fluid. I loved the variety of exposures you used - warm, cold, dark, light, etc. There was so much variety that it made it enjoyable to watch. I was looking forward to each next shot.

Student: Powerful. You have excellent technical control. Transitions & dissolves between shots were great. You created a very tactile experience - I could easily imagine the skin contact. It's clear you have a strong grasp of your subject & a deep connection with it. Great last freeze-shot at the end

Prof said "A pleasure to watch." Students came up afterwards and asked about how she did the special effects. Camera work & soundtrack were identified as strengths. The audio is wild - even by Wendy standards. 

Her other prof, a cinematographer, who's worked on many Hollywood productions, said, "I don't know how you got it to look so good." Wendy goes to great lengths to ensure optimum image quality. 

TA said, "Clearly, one of the best 507s I've seen."  

She's a happy camper. No tears this time. =D

Now that film 3 is done, she's over the proverbial hump. Two more to go. She feels a sense of relief, since she'll have an extra week to work on her next film (spring break).

Patrick (classmate0 showed a film that was dubbed in a foreign language with English sub-titles. Originally shot on film and transferred to DV. Wendy said it rocked!

Special shout out to Lynne & Austyn for being so professional & driving down from LA.

Next -> Prof Puts the Smack Down

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