titled Liliana, screens
this Saturday (28th). No classes the rest
of this week, as students focus on finishing their 16mm projects.
Audio is all that remains. Wendy is editing
her own soundtrack (at USC) every
day/night. She hates working with Mag tape. After working with digital audio
(on her PC), Mag tape is tedious. It kills the creative flow. She says, "You just
want to get the tracks on there & be done. It's not even fun" It takes forever
to do even the simplest things.
soundtrack is pieced together roughly, except for the scoring sessions,
with her composer + guitarists. The recording session will take place tomorrow
at the Steven Spielberg Scoring Stage.
be easy to wrap up, once she has the (scored) music track.
Sound has always been one of her strengths .. but she's always edited digitally.
She has 7 tracks of audio to mix - the max allowed. Editing with Mag tape, you're
only able to hear two audio tracks at a time. So you can never be sure how your
final project will sound. (You can also see the video track.)
Friday is mix day,
the last day before the screening. No time to recover if
something goes wrong.
With digital audio, she can hear + edit an unlimited number of tracks (at the same
time). The only downside to editing digitally is the time it takes to capture the files,
putting the on the hard drive. Once they're there, she's free, in Creative Nirvana.
There is a great digital vs analog debate. The argument goes something
With film (analog), you put more thought into everything you do, including each
cut you make.
The logic is that, besides co$ting more, if you screw up, or decide your last cut
doesn't work quite how you planned, or if you simply change your mind, there's
no magic Undo button .. like you have with digital.
is much easier than cut+splice. Analog/film adds a soberness to
because each poor decision (shots, cuts) is accompanied by a more painful penalty.
Question begging to be asked are:
digital's ease-of-use mean an editor will put less thought into each
2. Does putting more thought into each decision make a person more creative?
3. Does digital technology hinder or enhance creativity?
The old school forms the majority of those in the analog camp. There's a whole
industry of people who learned and know analog. Digital threatens an end to their
way of life .. or, at least, threatens to put them on the steeper slopes of the digital
learning-curve, which can be intimidating for those who think in analog terms.
for them is how rapidly digital technology is accelerating, riding a
powerful wave of bang-for-your-buck appeal. Only recently (the last decade) has
digital technology moved with any force into audio & video, offering filmmakers an
increasingly attractive alternative. Digital technology promises to make cinema
less dependant upon finances.
What Wendy is painfully aware of is that digital technology allows the filmmaker to
accomplish much more, much more quickly, for far less money, and perhaps most
importantly, it allows the artist to stay in the creative flow better than analog
technology. She can try (and undo) 20 things digitally in the time it takes to do
one with analog.
USC seems to be pushing digital technology.
Wendy signed up for next semester's classes. 3 major options/paths at USC:
She's wants to major in
Film. She's most jazzed about the idea of working on a big
feature, where she'd have more time to plan each shot & cut.
The Interactive media field is wide open .. for those who want to blaze new trails.
She already has a good deal of experience with digital technology, but feels it's
still be too early to commit to a purely digital focus.
Things in digital
technology change fast. Knowledge becomes obsolete overnight.
She doesn't want to pour tons of time & energy into something that may ancient
history before the ink on her diploma dries. She's heard that people with Italian
leather checkbooks await graduates with a background in that area.
She had a (undergrad) class based around Macromedia Director, and came away
unimpressed and disappointed. She felt she could've got the same information
from working thru a tutorial (at home), and not had to pay USC tuition for it.
(We have Director v8.0.)
Television is supposed to be
lucrative field, but it doesn't excite her as much as
Film does. She's willing to work hard to get what she wants. But, if Film is a dying
dinosaur, she doesn't want to jump in with both feet.
Her strategy is
to pursue Film, while keeping a foot in the doorway
Interactive New Media (take a few classes). Ultimately, she hopes she'll
be able to synergistically combine her knowledge from both fields.
Film is USC's strongest suit. First
Look is an
event where industry
view USC student films. One student asked the administrator if there was a First
Look for Interactive new media. He replied, "Well, you could send a CD of your work
to a company". That did not go over well.
Wendy had her
cast party last Thursday night, at El
Cid restaurant in Hollywood
(Sunset blvd). It used to be recording studio. She treated her cast to a Flamenco
show (her film contains Flamenco dancing). She wanted to do something special for
them, more than beer + pizza. They've become like family. She loves the way they
understand her, her characters, & her story.
She got tipsy (2 margaritas). She'd
been holding everything in while finishing the
film. It didn't take much for her to cut loose. She wanted to go out dancing with
Zarena & Zarena's friend after leaving El Cid, but I squashed that idea.
I met people that I'd only heard about, like Lejla. I expected her to look older.
She looks you deep in the eye when talking. Lejla brought along her sister, who's
a Film school student at cross-town rival UCLA.
came along, too. He works in Japan, securing funds to help rebuild his
war-torn country of Bosnia. Lejla's sister said, "You never think it could happen to
your country. When we were growing up, we never had the slightest idea there
would be a war."
Lejla said, "Wendy is a
nourishing director. She makes you want to give your best.
She was rubbing my shoulders between takes. These other directors can kiss my
The whole way home, Wendy said, "Did you hear what they
said about me? They
said I'm a nourishing director, that I make them want to give their best. The next
time you write an update, I want you to put that in there." =)
Hector the horse trainer arrived first. Tan, athletic, strong, gracious. I couldn't help
but hear the rumors flying across the table how Hector & Zarena would make a great
couple. Hector has also worked selling boats & as a tennis pro. Boats, horses, tennis.
I told him, "I think I see a pattern, Hector." =)
Lisa + Valerie (girl with the purple velvet couch) showed up next. When I met Valerie,
I said, "I know you. I recognize you from a video I saw last week on Atom Films - you're
the person with the purple velvet couch." She laughed and said, "Two! purple velvet
couches." She said the Atom Films video was screened at First Look.
Little Judy showed up wearing an adorable white dress. She looked like a little princess.
She sat between her mommy & daddy, and is even prettier in person than her headshot
Zarena was there, too. She passed on tickets to the Latin Grammies to come to the
cast party. It wouldn't have been the same without her, as she's the star. Zarena
brought her girlfriend with her. It seems that all of Zarena's friends speak with a French
accent .. or at least the ones I've met.
We stood outside the restaurant afterwards, and talked for a hour. I overheard the
girls planning to ride horses again. I told Hector how they got in trouble for riding the
horses hard, and then bringing them back to the stables dripping. Hector said, "You're
lucky they didn't keep your deposit." The girls said, "But Hector, the horses wanted to
run the whole time." (yeah, right)
Louie couldn't make it. It's a long drive from Santa Ana, and hard for him to be away
from his grandbabies. We missed him.
Lisa is starting her
16mm project: The Love Manifesto. She doesn't want me to post
her script yet, cuz it's not finished. She held auditions Sunday, and thinks she may
already have her lead actress.
Lisa + Wendy had their first script conference for Lisa's film (with prof + TA).
It's the first time the girls have seen the lighter side of Helaine/prof. She was sick
with a bad cold when classes first started. Only now is she finally feeling better.
Helaine joked, "You can always tell which student just
finished their movie & which
is just starting, cuz one is smiling real big and the other is not." Wendy's feels that
writing, producing & directing is much harder than shooting & editing .. altho she
has yet to shoot & edit 16mm.
Fade to black.
Next -> Work-print screening
Previous -> Picture lock
[Index page, 508 semester chronicles, USC Film school]
[Master Index page, USC Graduate Film school chronicles]
[USC Film school Home]