Topics covered this update:
Wendy was selected by a mentor to begin work on her 581
thesis film. She feels like this is the biggest thing to happen to her
since being accepted into the graduate program at USC two years ago.
To say she is excited would be an understatement.
Industry lingo for receiving a 'go'
signal to make a film is called getting greenlit. Last night
I saw a commercial for a new HBO series titled: Project Greenlight
.. where relatively unknown filmmakers are given the mean$ to make their
dream-movie. Now I understand where they came up with the idea for the
Only 12 students were selected this semester (3 mentors, 4 students per mentor). Wendy is one of only 3 students
from her class (of ~50) to get 'greenlit' this semester. [Dennis & Quinn are the other two.]
This is a copy of the memo she received:
TO: Spring 2002 581/587 Students
FROM: Mary Beth Fielder, Project IV Coordinator
RE: REGISTRATION AND GETTING GREENLIT TO SHOOT
Congratulations on being selected as one of the SPRING 2002 Advanced
The registration and greenlighting-to-shoot process has been changed
to a three stage
The first stage
involves assembling a qualified USC crew and
getting the "581/587 CREW PREREQUISITE FORM" approved by
The second stage
is to attach this form to the "581/587
REGISTRATION APPROVAL FORM" and begin scheduling meetings with
the appropriate people to get the required signatures.
This part of the process must be completed in order to register and
receive a 581/587 production number. [This process must be completed
by the last day to register for classes or you will have to pay a
late registration fee.]
The third stage
is outlined in the form "581/587 GREEN
LIGHT TO SHOOT SIGN-OFF." This must be completed before you begin
shooting. The purpose is to ensure that your production plan is realistic,
based on the amount of money you are able to raise. Your mentor will
review this with you.
You should immediately begin assembling a crew, getting the "581/587
CREW PREREQUISITE FORM" approved, and schedule meetings to discuss
the following items with the people who must sign off on your "581/587
REGISTRATION APPROVAL FORM":
- Fund Raising Plan
- Shooting schedule
- Crew Prerequisite Form
Wendy's mentor is Brenda Goodman. She has a producing
background. Wendy feels fortunate to have her for a mentor. From what
Wendy has said, Brenda sounds like a no-bull type of person, who provides
insightful feedback on her script.
Brenda is one of two profs for Wendy's 551 class, which deals
with Preparing for the Advanced project, and is a prerequisite
for 581. Wendy calls 551 the single most useful class at USC.
It teaches students the nuts-and-bolts of filmmaking. Wendy said, "I
can't imagine going to USC and not taking 551."
Sadly, Wendy's editing partner from last
semester, Geof, didn't get selected by a mentor. This is surprising
cuz he's obviously very intelligent, a graduate of Columbia,
who majored in English. In other words, he's familiar with the dynamics
Wendy feels that Geof may have resisted implementing suggestions from
potential mentors. She became good friends with him when they worked
as a team, editing a 546 project (Echo).
She feels bad for him, cuz he worked hard on his thesis project. Even
tho it doesn't necessarily mean that his script/project was of lesser
quality, rejection is always painful.
Serendipity: Soon as Wendy left her meeting with Brenda, where she
learned about getting greenlit, (by chance) she ran into a girl named
Nancy Wang. Two weeks earlier, Wendy had sent Nancy a copy of her script
(titled: Breakwater), asking if she'd be interested in producing
Nancy bumped into Wendy and said, "Hey, I just got your email.
I don't know what's been wrong with my computer." Long story short
-> Nancy agreed to produce Wendy's 581. So she had a producer only
minutes after getting greenlit.
Nancy is ahead of Wendy in the program. She produced 546 documentary,
so she has producing experience. Wendy says, "Nancy is a
hard-worker who is on the ball and takes care of business."
Besides Nancy as Producer, Wendy has already secured commitments
for an Editor (Eric,
who edited a 546 Narrative last semester, and was selected to direct
a 546 Narrative next semester), a Sound person (Peter,
who is currently doing Sound on Tania's
546 Documentary), and a Production Designer (Keith,
who's currently shooting a 546 Narrative). She wants to get more
crew, but already has enough commitments to register .. which eases
the pressure a little.
Many students called her when they heard that she got greenlit for 581,
wanting to send a reel, pitching for a position to work with her. 581's
go to First
Look, which are seen by industry heavyweights. So students want
to work on them. Advanced projects (58x) are the most prestigious projects
Between getting greenlit (one of only 3 in her class) and having
so many people wanting to work with her, Wendy's self-confidence has
taken a quantum leap. She thought she would have to seek out crew, but
they are flocking to her.
Perhaps I should add that not all of her classmates applied for
581 positions. In fact, students who choose to shoot (cinematographers)
for their 546 project (such as
Luke, Keith & Doug)
are required to take a separate (semester-long) class before they can
even apply for 546 .. which is a prerequisite for 551 .. which
is a prerequisite for 581.
Despite the enormity of the upcoming project, and feeling a bit overwhelmed,
she's feeling better about 'things' than she has in a long time.
From what little experience Wendy has had at 'crewing up' for 581,
she feels that it's *easiest* to get Cinematographers, and *hardest*
to get Producers.
Wendy has a bunch of Cinematographers to choose from .. all are good,
some are very good. She's still negotiating the Cinematographer
positions (also called DPs, short for 'Director of Photography').
Working with Tania
on her (Seahorses)
project has helped Wendy see what needs to be done in order to make
a 581. She has been picking Tania's brains on all the forms that need
No 508 TA-ship
Wendy didn't get a 508 TA-ship .. the one she interviewed for,
with Amanda Pope. Amanda already had already promised the position to
another student, but simply wanted to meet Wendy, cuz she heard so many
good things about her.
Amanda teaches a Documentary class, and encouraged Wendy to take
her class, saying that everyone should have a 'Doc' on their reel. Synchonistically,
only a few days earlier, Wendy had just been considering a doc. The
tribute to her brother, titled Vandancing,
is the closest thing to a documentary that she has done.
Wendy said that she knows the student who Amanda selected (Shawn Ku),
and that he's a hard-worker, and will do a good job for her.
There's one other 508 TA-ship that Wendy is currently in-the-running
for. When she interviewed for that position, she asked, "This position
isn't already promised to anyone, is it?" She should hear about
it any day now, but isn't too hopeful cuz she has never met the prof.
Profs usually choose TA's who they have rapport with.
If she isn't selected, she'll still have her 535 Editing-TA position
(most likely), but it pays only 3 units .. and even that isn't
Last Class of the Semester
Tomorrow is the last class of the semester. Wendy is finishing a 30-page
script, and is excited about seeing Nina
Foch tomorrow, who was out sick most of the semester, but is supposed
to return for the final meeting. Wendy loves Nina, who reminds her of
her grandmother (Mimi).
For her final day of classes tomorrow, Wendy will show a scene that
she shot with Lani.
Lani drove all the way down from Santa Cruz to act in the scene (taken
from the film Joe versus the Volcano, with Tom Hanks & Meg
Ryan). Wendy is excited about showing off Lani to Nina.
Fade to black.