Day 9- Yowzers

Film has officially started.  I began my day at around 6:00AM because yet another thunderstorm woke me up.  I went with it and decided to get an early start to my day.  Some major roads around Tallahassee were closed and another little thunder cell was on its way, so I left my house at 7:18AM just in case it was absolute madness on the roads.  It wasn’t.  It was crowded, but mostly because of torrential rain.  Lots of us got there early, they had scared us shitless about being late.  Like, seriously said that you got maybe one tardy and then they would have grounds to DISMISS you from the program.  Yeah, so, we were all there early.

My first film class was “Directing Actors,” which actually is more of an exercise in acting, so you know where the actors are coming from.  We did normal actor warm-ups and made a circle.  One exercise was to go around the circle with each person saying one word based on what the person before you said, and somehow try and for a coherent story.  That had its ups and downs.  The teacher was really nice and quirky, just how you’d like an acting teacher to be.  She started off one of the circle sessions by using the word “Saint.”  The next Dude, Daniel, said “Bernard.”  I don’t think that’s what she was going for, but it was really funny.  Like, I seriously had a hard time not laughing because that, plus the awkwardness of what we were doing was just too funny to me.  Between Matt, me, and another writer we have, David, we laughed and tried to hold it in.  Thankfully, I don’t think our teacher noticed as we were going around the room and the mood was light anyway.  Well, she did notice Matt and kept watching him and acting like his responses weren’t up to snuff, but that was probably in Matt’s head.  Anything that makes him uncomfortable, I’m cool with.  Another exercise was really fun.  It consisted of using a phrase (ours was “Jack ran fast,” for instance) and saying it in whatever connotation an action verb required you to.  So like, “accuse,” “startle,” “provoke,” or “plead.”  We also took movie lines we thought of and fit them into the scenario.  I used the line from the Truman Show and said, “In case I don’t see you- Good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight.”  But I said it very threateningly.  It was fun.  

We get roughly 1 1/2-2 hours for lunch, so that was nice.  We decided to do a little first day get together and a handful of us went out to eat.  It sucks that we’re divided into two tracks, though, because we will only see those people in class once a week.  Oh well.  Because of that, we didn’t see Bobby or any of the other kids we normally hang out with.  

Editing was my afternoon class and, man, was it tough.  Today we didn’t necessarily deal with much physical editing.  It was almost entirely devoted to script supervising, which, if any of you know what that is, you know how much is SUCKS.  Not that people aren’t good at it, but if  you like me and you’re not detail oriented, it seems nearly impossible.  In short, a “Script Supervisor” is on set on behalf of the film’s editor.  The sit near the director with two copies of the script.  They have a marked one for reference and a clean in case an actor needs to see something.  Before they even walk on set, they have marked out the latest version of the script (which could mean they have done it 14 times depending on how many drafts got rewritten) with scene headings, character actions, dialogue, and have divided it up into sections on a page.  Typically, you have multiple “set-ups” in a day, meaning you might be working on one scene, but each time the crew changes lenses, positions, lighting, focus, etc., that’s considered another set up.  A film is highly regimented according to schedule.  On the call sheet, you might have 15 set ups planned for one day.  Within each on of those set ups, you might run the scene for 4, 5, 19, 30 takes or more.  Then, when the field technicians, cinematographers, and ultimately the director are happy, they move on to the next set up. As a script supervisor, your job is to record the scene number, take number, lens used, filter used, whether sound was rolling, use a stopwatch, time the takes, make notes in the script about who is on camera, who isn’t, what lines were altered, whether continuity was observed, and then keep a log of what each take consisted of on another form called the “left hand sheet.”  It’s unreal how much information you’re trying to record at once.  At the end of the day you fill out another more general log about when the day started, what time things got rolling after lunch and when the day ended.  You also write down what day of shooting it is (15 of 32) and how many takes are done, what was done today, and how many are left, based on the script and the theoretical estimation of “minutes.”  Of course, people in the industry are pros at it. I however, am not.    

We had to watch brief scenes of student projects filmed over the summer and follow along in the script.  It was TOUGH.  But, everyone has to learn it and every person will have this as their job at some point during the program.  Yaaaaaaaay.

That ended my day.  A rather short one, actually.  Tomorrow we’ll have 3 classes and go from 9am-10pm.  YIKES.  Our cinematography class is tomorrow at the satellite location.  That should be cool, I’m hoping.  I honestly didn’t dislike anything I did today.  I didn’t really space out, I asked questions, I was interested in the whole process, regardless of how technical it was.  I think this is going to be soooo different of an experience than normal school it.  Yes, it will be busy, but the whole fear of getting things done is subsiding.  It will be fine.  And I feel that I’ve made good enough friends that I’ll never be going at this alone.  That element of isolation and fear is beginning to be taken out of it.  

I am very happy about just how kickass my class is.  It’s almost like they had a different criteria for picking us than what I would expect a film school to have.  Everyone is super smart, and a bit nerdy at the same time.  I think that’s a great combo.  And truthfully, everyone is really nice.  No one seems to be puffing up a big ego or trying to rule the group.  I hope it stays that way.  I mean, I can only think of one person that smokes, and THAT IS UNHEARD OF.  It’s just a completely different experience than what I was expecting and I’m glad.  I had days this past summer where I was really freaking out and dreading what was to come.  SO FAR, everything has been great.  We’ll see.  I think it had great potential and I know our class will produce some seriously awesome things.  

Other than that, that’s all I have for today.  The time will start flying by now.  Strap in.


One Response to “Day 9- Yowzers”

  1. wardraven Says:

    Dynamite – your blog is a fantastic read every morning. I’m also going back to school this semester so I am totally down with a lot of stuff you’re writing. Your blog is obviously interesting because I know you; however, even if I didn’t it still a fascinating read…

    BTW, yesterday was the one year anniversary of that bocce/XXXCalibur nightmare. Ugh. Who would have thought that one year from that would have been your first day in film school? Go figure. Oh what a difference 365 days can make.

    Keep it up; I’m pullin’ for you
    Rock on – wardraven

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