4 weeks in, Already?

Yesterday, Friday, marked the fourth week since I left Marietta.  One month.  That’s crazy.  This new way of life has been so relentless, so constant, that it doesn’t even seem like I made a big change recently. I haven’t really had time to absorb the fact that I’m not in Marietta anymore.  That being said, I just finished my third week of film school and it’s certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I’m glad it was FSU, too. I have a feeling that at any other film school, I would have felt alone and lost.  FSU takes a great deal of care in making sure you are not left out in the cold.  Your class is like your military unit.  I enjoy it, and these past three weeks of class have showed me that there are a great deal of talented and genuine people out there.

In our BTL (Below the Line) lab yesterday, Matt and I got to practive building the Arriflex SR-3 camera that we will be using on all the D1 projects.  It took us about 20-30 minutes or so because we were waiting on Reb to ok what we had done, but we pretty much got the hang of it.

Arriflex SR-3

Arriflex SR-3

These cameras have so many parts to them.  I’m still mystified as to how someone actually invented this thing.  Just the whole concept of light superimposing an image on film is strange to me.  We loaded up some scrap film and shot a few second to get a feel for it.  Felt pretty great, not gonna lie.

We also got to try out our hands are operating the dollies we will be using as well.  We use the Panther line, a German company.  The American companies make better dollies, apparently, but they also require you to lease them.  FSU does not like to lease anything.  But, the Panthers certainly serve their purpose.  They are fully electronic, though, which means you constantly havce to be aware of having batteries charged on stand by.  It has two seats and a boom in the middle the rises about 6 feet.  It’s pretty awesome.  They are extremely heavy.  They come with two sets of wheels: one set is kind of like what you’d see on a piece of equipment, inflated rubber.  They’re mainly used for transporting it.  The other kind are the studio wheels that look like the hard rubber wheels on the bottom of forklifts.  The Panther also has a set of dolly wheels that rest higher up on the assembly so you can roll it right on to the dolly track of you shot.  We laid track as well.  That process is easy too.  It takes a little bit of time because you have to really be careful on making the track level.  You don’t want the camera tilted forward or backward.  You shove little wedges of wood under each joint to make the track even.  It’s a pretty basic formula.

Panther dolly

Panther dolly

I got my writing grade back for the re-write I did of my “dog” scene.  He thought I had improved a lot.  I swung a little too far the other way in shortening my descriptions and made everything a little too stream-of-consciousness.  It’s ok, at least I’m learning and adapting.  He has us continualy reading 5 articles a week from Wordplayer.com.  If you want to write screenplays or have an interst in how movies start, read these articles.  They’re not boring at all and they’re not long.  I had been emailing a few people about this class and decided to start an email class of my own.  Jon, Wagy, Mac, and Randall are all my students.  I essentially just told them to do the same things I had to do.  Read the articles and write a list of “10 films they wish they had written.”  Those lists were awesome.  Then, I told them to explain in 1-3 sentences what they liked about the STORY of each film.  These responses were good, everyone spent a lot of time on them.  Next, we’ll deal with story structure and such.  It’s pretty fun to have your friends go through the classes with you, in a sense.

In sound, we played around with the Sound Devices 744t digital field recorders.  These things were THE

Sound Devices 744t- aka AWESOME

Sound Devices 744t- aka AWESOME

BOMB.  I’ll be honest, I’m really glad I live in 2008 and not in decades past in terms of film.  Sound used to be the worst process ever.  You have to use these reel to reel tape machines, the Nagra, that could only record 14 minutes at a time.  Then you had to label those, and load them all in to you editing set-up in real time, sitting through every ounce of dialogue AGAIN.  It was brutal.  Our teacher, Chuck, gave us a whole history on what it was like and the horror stories that went along with sound problems.  These new digital recorders label things for you, divide it, buffer like 8 seconds of audio at a time so you can even press



record late and it still picks up with you missed, and they save to an internal hard drive and a flash card.  RIDICULOUS.  You barely have to do anything.  The old stories of the reel to reel machines were funny, though.  These things are indestructible.  They’ve fallen off cars and been in the middle of staged train crashes and they still found these things on and rolling.  Crazy.  He talked about how when Jurassic Park started filmingin Hawaii, that the humidty completely killed the new “DAT” machines they were using, so they had to go straight back to using the tape.  Hialrious.  Analog will always prevail… but right now, these digital things are awesome.

Last night a lot of people were really tired.  School seemed hard this week.  Dan had a few of us over to his place because Randall shipped me down Transformers on Blu-ray, which was awesome-o.  Totally awesome Friday night material.  It was nice to not do ANYTHING SCHOOL RELATED.  On the way over, I noticed that all the gas stations had taken their prices off the marquee and some had lines of cars in front of them. “Uh oh, hurricane time.”  I remember when things went nuts in Athens during Katrina.  I thought gas was crazy cause it was up over $4.00 a gallon.  Now, three years later, $4 is pretty normal.  Weird.  So yeah, no gas in Tallahassee.  Good thing I have half a tank.  BRU HA HA HA.

Today I did my writing HW all day.  I had to create a new scene with actual dialogue this time.  It had to be new characters and it had to be no longer than four pages and display a character’s flaw.  Not so bad.  I think I came up with something good.  Other than that, I hung out and actually got a chance to cook.  Didn’t watch the UGA game.  Shame on me.

Jamie emailed me a link to this little documenatry on North Korea.  It was CRAZY.  You guys have to watch this.  This country is like another universe.  It’s divided into 14 little 5 minute sections.  Really, watch this.  The other subsequent episodes are listed on the right.


It’s unreal.  Otherwise, I’ve got nothing else.  I’m going to shoot my second project tomorrow.  This one involves no more than three shots.  Without dialogue, you have to show a character in a space, then they leave, and then they have to return to imply that something happened, either through their wardrobe/make up changing of the actual set design changing.  So like, “Guy is in bedroom. Guy leaves.  Guy comes back, bedroom is ransacked.  He has ben robbed.”  This should be fairly easy, hopefully it won’t take all day.  I got all my writing out of the way just in case.  Tomorrow is also the second week of auditions, so I might stop by and give those a look.  I’m not required to work them, though.

Y’all behave.


One Response to “4 weeks in, Already?”

  1. “This new way of life has been so relentless, so constant, that it doesn’t even seem like I made a big change recently.”

    Wow, man, that describes it perfectly.

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