First Look at 16mm + Pairing for 508
met at the loading dock of the Lucas bldg this morn, instead of their normal
classroom at the Zemeckis center. Profs broke out the 16mm gear & gave
students their first look at what they'll be using next semester. No doubt shots
will be planned more painstakingly with 16mm, as it costs far more to than DV -
not only to buy, but then it must also be developed. The idea of working with
film excites students.
made five super-8 (celluloid) films as an undergrad. I can still see her, in the
back bedroom, with all lights turned off, with that silly miner's headlamp
strapped to her head, and a million tiny snippets of film all over the floor
around her - others taped to a board with little, identifying pieces of paper
attached to each clip. She'd be back there many nights until three in the
morning. Editing film is not nearly as easy as editing on a PC (non-linear
editing). She doesn't like editing film as much as DV, but at she knows how.
summer, she transferred all her undergrad super-8 shorts to DV, and re-edited
them on her PC, chopping out a lot of dead wood in the process. She re-did all
the audio, upgrading it to CD-quality.
is in the air, and so is pairing up for next semester's 508 class. Instead of
five films each, each student will do only two - with a partner. One writes
& directs, while the other shoots & edits. Then they swap roles and do
another the second half of the semester. So if you have a good 508 partner ->
happy days .. but if not ...
Weeks ago, Wendy asked Luke, a Canadian, to partner with her. She said Luke was the best in her class. He took a long time to decide, putting off the decision until after he finished his last film. Meanwhile, the pairing-up bug swept the class. Wendy didn't talk to anyone else, cuz she wanted to work with Luke.
Luke decided to work with someone else - a guy named Keith in another class, who's into
SciFi. Luke said that the program is long (3 years), and that they'd probably in
the future. Luke felt that he and Wendy approach film from similar views, and
that he wanted to explore other ideas. Said he felt awkward about the call.
Wendy was bummed, especially since she didn't talk to anyone about partnering.
All students are younger. I'm sure they look at a prospective partner with social eyes, more than anything. How well someone can work a camera probably comes second during this point is their lives. Many are still single.
has since talked to a few other students, but most already hava partner. But
there's one girl in another class, Lisa, that sounds interesting. Lisa, like
Wendy, has her own equipment. Anyone with their own equipment (camera &
editing PC) is naturally going to be more serious. Wendy is serious about
producing quality work.
only have sketchy info right now, but a positive first impression. This is an
important decision. Lisa seems all for it.
I saw some of Lisa's work while at USC to see the class viewing. I forget the exact details, but I recall her film was abstract - people with no faces. It held my interest, but I wasn't sure what was going on. Wendy say this type of film is categorized as experimental.
it be better if
Wendy partnered with someone more like her, or more her opposite (for balance)?
I don't know.
have a good feeling about Lisa, when Wendy told me about her. Maybe they'll find
a synergy that will allow them to do great work together. Whatever happens,
choice of partner will play key roll in how well her films do.
stopped at Barnes & Noble and picked up a book titled, Film School
Confidential. It seemed to jump out at me. Film School Confidential provides
the inside scoop on Film schools. The book dwells more on the dirt, or
the negatives, than the positives. The book's intro refers the reader to the
university's brochure if you want to read about the school's good
is copyrighted '97, so it's somewhat dated. [I could tell by looking at the
tuition prices listed that the book was not current. =)
best film schools in the country are:
AFI (American Film Institute)
Each school has its own particular strengths and weaknesses. Here's a snippet of what they say about USC:
the granddaddy of film schools - first screenwriting class in 1929 (year of the
great stock market crash), first Cinematography class in '32 (middle of the
Great Depression) .
largest film school in the nation.
100 students admitted per year - 50 per semester (talking about Wendy's
program: Graduate Production) .
big school in a bad neighborhood.
If you live near USC, better get used to having all or part of your car stolen regularly.
more students commute than don't.
quite a few industry-provided scholarships .
First Look is a highly-publicized USC screening held in the spring,
summer, & fall. For 3 nights, films produced in advanced classes are shown
on campus, then at the Directors Guild of America. The DGA screening is
well attended by the industry.
faculty is composed largely of former or currently working professionals.
some profs have been around the school forever & could use a dose of the
working types get pulled from both directions .
celebrity lecturers are a real perk.
students are treated regularly to Hollywood's filmmaking elite.
equipment is good (but not as good as
facilities are top notch - most are gifts from successful graduates .
the school claims ownership of all film made with its equipment (note: Wendy
uses none of USC's equipment to make her 507 movies).
students may not enter their films in festivals without USC's consent.
any profits from student films belong to the school .
thing about USC: proximity to the industry, and the unique opportunities that
come with it. The networking possibilities are endless for motivated students.
The school hands out more than $2M each year. The scope of classes are
excellent. USC is one of the few schools that seriously addresses television.
The program is extremely flexible after the first year.
bad: Women still tend to be overlooked in a school that is trying to get past the
boys' club mentality. Students must be self-promoters in order to not get
lost in the shuffle.
USC has a great track-record. The school claims 75% of alumni are working in the
industry. First Look is a big deal with a ton of PR behind it. USC films
are seen by the right people.
not feeling well. She got a dose of the chest crud that's been going around the
class. Sounds like her lungs are full of Elmer's glue. The good part is that
this is the last film of the semester, and she doesn't have to plan for the
another while working on this one. She been feeling beat up since finishing Vandancing
- looking forward to the end of the semester. But no rest for the weary - not
Next -> Spike Visits USC
[507 Semester Index Page, USC Film School Chronicles]
[Master Index Page, USC Film School Chronicles, Graduate Production]