Day 3- All Aboard the Express 8/18/08

Finally, some news relating to film school since so many of you have been eagerly awaiting an update (Nathaniel).  I appreciate everyones’ comments, BTW.  I kept thinking I’d be writing this blog to myself, but it makes it so much more enticing to write for people who are genuinely interested.  Got up (late again) and my roommates were no where to be found.  I knew Jordan went home, but Courtney, I have no idea where she is.  I decided to get my FSU ID made, I heard the line continually gets longer as the week progresses.  That was actually quite efficient  They had a greeter set up to hand you a clipboard the second you walked in.  I was barely in there 10 minutes.  The DIFFICULT part was walking two doors down to Suntrust and getting my FSU ID to link to a bank account where all my financial aid would be deposited.  I signed in and waited for over an hour.  One girl waiting in line looked kinda like Olivia Wilde, so that wasn’t bad.  Lots of kids just left and didn’t even cross of their names, so it could have even taken longer.  The Dude who helped me was really nice.  He said the crowds get progressively worse for the next four weeks.  Sounds totally brutal.  Glad I stuck with it.

I then decided to drive around Tallahassee and just get lost.  That’s the only way I learn where the eff anything is.  It was 2-ish by this point, so I stopped off and ate some Firehouse (Italian fully-involved, of course).  I kept driving and truthfully just enjoyed listening to talk radio for a bit.  I found myself at the mall where the AMC was…so yeah, another movie.  It was between seeing the Dark Knight for the 6th time, or Pineapple Express.  I went with Pineapple.  The AMC here is nice and somehow matinees are only $4.75!? How in the world!?  

Pineapple Express was about what I thought it would, maybe a little more violent.  Lots of blood and shooting and limbs being mangled.  There is an amusing amount of mayhem.  Seth Rogen is perfectly regular to lead the movie.  James Franco plays his pot dealer really, really well.  He’s actually more talented than people give him credit for.  I thought he was always a dullard in Spiderman.  Seth witnesses a murder that has to do with James Franco’s supplier, yada yada, the movie goes from there.  It takes place over about 2 1/2 days.  Gets pretty ridiculous at the end.  I found myself getting a bit bored though.  David Gordon Green’s (George Washington, Undertow) stuck out just a bit.  Obviously, this isn’t his cup of tea if you’ve seen anything else he’s done.  He happened to be friends with them and directed the film.  His introspective montages came across as a bit strange, but it helped the absurdity.  I do grow weary of the whole pot humor thing.  About 45 minutes in, you’re like “I get it, they’re high.”  Probably a C+ in my book, but who am I.

One of the guys from our graduate class list-serve emailed everybody and wanted to organize a “get to know you dinner” for tonight at 7.  This actually turned out to be a great thing.  I kept thinking like 4 people would show up, but like 15 came out.  It’s really nice to get the introductions out of the way.  Within an hour, people were forming bonds and finding common ground.  Everyone I met was super nice and their backgrounds were so diverse.  Some drove from New Mexico, Texas, Illinois, New York, and then some were from Florida or Tennessee.  I’m the only Georgia so far.  

I’ll be honest, and any of my friends can attest to this, I was quite concerned about dealing with “film kids.”  Many of the ones I encountered in my previous experiences were “painful,” to say the least.  Essentially just opinionated hacks.  Not that I claim to be Spielberg, but I’ve at least shot something somewhat coherent.  Thankfully, I didn’t encounter on individual who fit this description, not one.  Everyone was smart, funny, confident, opinionated, but backed it up with reasons, not bellowing diatribes about the merits of an obscure C-movie from the 70’s they scored on VHS off Ebay.  Dorks.  Dork dork dorks.   Dinner lasted about 2 hours.  Some left to go see Pineapple.  Some left to go finish our HW and watch The Rock at someone’s place.  This left about five of us.  All guys.  Matt, Dade, Corey, Bobby, and me.  The late-nighters apparently.  We hung out at two different bars afterward and talked shop the entire time.  Some of it was straight out of a performing arts movie.  Like Step Up, but for film kids. We went around the table and talked about how awkward our interviews were and then all of us recited the movie ideas we had to pitch.  It was really fun.  Two of the guys, Dade and Corey, are writers.  Corey is from NYC and was in investment banking and day trading for 5-6 years.  He’s a tough one.  Seriously hit on like every single girl within a 20 foot orbit.  Some of it went well, some didn’t.  Either way, he didn’t seem phased by any of it.  I don’t know if he was this smooth or if he was 3 vodka tonics in, but he asked for a girl’s number and told her to only give him one digit and that he’d “guess the rest.”  We’ll see how that goes.  Dade has a flare for comics and crazy stories.  He’s good, you can tell.  

We’ll only be with Dade and Corey for the first semester and then they venture off into the hobbit hole of the writing tract.   Matt, Bobby, and I are all production.  Matt (the dinner organizer) is from Baylor U in Texas.  He’s funny, a true Southerner.  We tend to agree on most everything in movies and want to make movies that are well-done, genuine, and kickass.  Bobby is from Florida, he attended UF (which I reluctantly forgave him for).  Bobby is one of those guys who’s hyper-opinionated and seems truly bothered by how bad certain movies are.  He said he almost got into an argument with the faculty during his argument about how much M. Knight Shyamalan is a sucky one-trick pony.  I tend to agree, though I love the movie Signs, along with Unbreakable and the Sixth Sense.  

We talked and talked and talked.  There were so many opinions and ideas and hypothesis and rants flying everywhere.  It was funny.  The dinner before did help calm some of my fears about the program.  As I’ve said before, the horror stories I heard were that you have no life, no sleep, and no self-esteem during the first semester.  One guy, Patrick, was actually enrolled last year.  He made it through a week of orientation or “bootcamp,” which they’ve apparently changed the format of this year for us, and then he tore his ACL and a few other terrible things in his leg and had to go back to VA for surgery.  His enrollment was deferred and they let him com back this year.  He’s been in rehab for almost a year.  That SUCKS.  He’s a cool guy, very chill.  He said to just expect 12 hour days, but that you’ll still have time to go to the gym and play around.  He said he’s dealt with some serious stuff in his life, so film school hadn’t scared him.  That basically made me feel like a little girl.  I’m not worried now.  Bring it on. 

Facebook was definitely a useful tool in getting to know everyone a bit before you actually met them.  Your profile almost precedes you.  One guy asked my name and then said “Oh yeah, hey, you have the explosion videos on Facebook.  You’re like the next Michael Bay, right?”  A comment I took gladly.  I don’t have as many issues with Michael Bay as many others do.  I do not, however, wish to make movies like him… well, maybe some influence, but whatever.  I mean, if you’re asking me, NO, I’m not afraid to blow something up. But I also don’t want make car commercials.

Wednesday brings our first day of orientation.  They have changed up the format for our class.  Instead of being thrown into a 2 week bootcamp, then starting our classes, we’ll be starting projects immediately while learning the ropes.  They said this might work out better because kids had tended to forget what they learned in bootcamp when it was time to direct their first 5-minute projects.  Word on the street is they’re opening up the final thesis films up to anyone who wants to make one.  Instead of us having a Directing 1, Directing 2, Directing 3, and Thesis, we’ll have D1, D2, and a D3/Thesis.  This is good news.  Tensions can grow and feelings can get hurt when competition arises between classmates.  I’m pumped.  They said you usually have to the write the script yourself when you make your thesis.  Writers and such are busy on their owns projects.  They also open up the possibilities for your thesis.  Some have held casting calls in NYC, ATL, and so on.  All I want to do is secure my location in South Georgia (wink).  Instead of one RED cameras, we now have like 4-5.  Can’t wait.  Never afraid to shoot HI-DEF, you know this.

I know this blog was a bit informational, but I felt it was necessary.  People might read this in deciding to embark on their own film school adventure.  The attitude amongst my class is one of ambition and fervor.  Everyone wants to put FSU on the map for good and make a breakout movie.  I think it’s possible, I think it will happen.  I’m glad to be here and be here with this group of people.  I just saw a commercial for The Scorpion King 2, straight to Blu-Ray.  From the producers of The Mummy and the director of Resident Evil: Extinction, so, I mean, there has to be hope.

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