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

Spike Visits USC

Director Spike Lee was at school Tuesday. Wendy didn't go. She had class at the time. But a few classmates ditched the first part of class to go see and hear Spike. They came to class later, saying "Spike says he's gonna do his next two films on DV" (digital video).

Wendy's been a big believer in DV from day 1. Even though it's still a relatively new technology, DV represents a catalyst of change. Guest speakers from the filmmaking industry who spoke at her graduation ceremony last May (at the Shrine), all acknowledged storm clouds of change brewing off the cinematic coast.

Wendy made some phone calls Tuesday night and did some detective work on Lisa - the girl she's considering partnering with for next semester. Since Wendy has no classes with Lisa, she called Andrew, a guy in Lisa'a (507) class that she met in her Acting class. Andrew gave Lisa the thumbs up. Andrew said Lisa was one of top three filmmakers in his class, & suggested to Wendy, "If I were you, I'd jump on that."  

Lisa has a degree in Film from an Art school in Minnesota.  

Lisa is one of the younger students in the class. Her most defining characteristic seems to be an enthusiasm for film. Wendy thinks it could be nice working with someone who's 'into' what they're doing. It could help on those long days.

The biggest plus is that Lisa has already worked with 16mm, and has a degree in Production. If I was going to be making a 16mm project, I'd want someone in my corner who'd already worked with the stuff. I'll know more when we learn the nitty-gritty details.

Wendy has made five super-8 film shorts as Critical Studies major, so she's familiar with working with celluloid. Although Wendy has never worked with 16mm, she's excited about next semester, where they'll make two 5-minute, non-dialogue, B&W films.

Wendy gave Lisa a VHS tape containing the following movies:

.. so she could check out her work.

Lisa is one of the social queens of their class. She always knows where the party's going to be. This might be good for Wendy, because sometimes she doesn't feel very connected to her classmates. We live far from LA. The parties are tough to make cuz of the drive. Time is also a big factor, as there're never enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. 

So, a 3-hour party costs six hours to attend. Six hours is a lot of time to sacrifice to the social gods, especially when you have kids and your making a movie .. that will be graded .. which might affect whether or not you get a scholarship next year.  

Wendy is also the hometown girl. She not only grew up in Southern California, but she also graduated from USC. There's only one other student in her class that has an degree from USC, but his in is Political Science. As a result, she sometimes feels more is expected of and from her. But the biggest factor is probably her age. She's already been through most of the things that the younger students are just now getting into. I told her the kids need a mom. =)

So, if she does partner with Lisa, she should be more connected to the USC social scene, which is important to her.

This whole pairing-up thing is an interesting study in social phenomena. I mean, many of these students have someone on hold while they're trying to buddy-up with the person they really wanna work with. It reminds me of the prom. There's naturally lots of rejection, and almost a ruthless about it. 

I have some good stories to share about students pairing and rejecting. Maybe the next update.

Wendy heard that cross-town rival AFI (American Film Institute) structures their program so that it mimics the real-world industry, which is ruthless & cutthroat. AFI students go so far as to sabotage classmate's films. For example, Wendy heard stories of students calling a classmate's actor's and telling them "tomorrow's shoot has been canceled

AFI is also unique in that it's not uncommon for student directors to have legal battles to have their names removed from a film they direct - where a Producer can and does over-rule a director's decisions.

Last I heard is that Lisa's gonna talk to her other maybes, then sit down with Wendy and cut the deal. Wendy also has to tell her other maybes that she'll be working with Lisa next semester.

I've never met Lisa, but she left a message on phone to confirm that she and Wendy gonna cut the deal. She sounds intelligent and talks fast. I had to play the message twice to get all the info. =) My first impression was that she's someone who knows how to take care of biz. 

So it looks like she finally has her 508-partner for next semester, with a girl who has 16mm experience. 

Next -> Film 5 a Wrap

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