It’s always fun to look back at how you got to where you are. If you asked teenage me what I was going to pursue years later I highly doubt “videography” would make the list. So here’s a little tale about how I got started with video.
Well, I may be a bit late on writing this because I was unaware blogging was part of this, but better late than never I suppose.
So far the internship has been going very well. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going into this. I have worked at the same grocery store since I graduated high school, and that has been the only real work experience I’ve had. I applied to be a marketing intern at Krietz Auto after seeing the position posted on the Comm Department Facebook page.
The internship honestly beats just about any other comm internship that I saw listed (of which there were admittedly not many). My job is to assist the marketing department in shooting and editing video, which means I spend my time either out with a camera in my hand, or in the office at a computer with Premiere. I shoot various vehicles, but primarily custom trucks and Jeeps. The marketing department currently consists of my manager, who covers more of the social media/managerial aspects, and their resident videographer/editor with whom I shoot most of the footage.
I think this internship is quite the opportunity, as it lets me work on my pursuit of digital film, but gives me a more business oriented structure and environment. While I do enjoy “artsy” filmmaking, I don’t have any real experience with the more professional end of things, and this gives me an opportunity to hone that set of skills. It can be hard to learn all I can if all my camerawork and editing is just whatever I want it to be. Krietz offers the right balance of creative freedom and business oriented structure for a first expedition into the communications/digital filmmaking field.
Filming day 1 was mostly a bust.
The first film day was rainy and cold, and one of the actors had to work so there wasn’t enough time to finish filming the scene we were doing. I was able to get a few shots for the end scene, so that was a redeeming part of the day, and I was able to do some trouble shooting with the footage I did get.
For starters, I found I need to pay a lot more attention to the specific movements and elements of a shot to maintain continuity. It was on my mind, but even small movements of the actors could throw things off. The framing was fine and the colors/light of the shots were good, but the sound was lacking. My shotgun mic picked up the sound wonderfully and clearly, but in instances where we were filming by hard/live surfaces, the mic ALSO picked up the noise from passing cars that was bouncing off of the wall.
I’ve taken what I learned from this first shoot and hope to refine my methods so I can get a full dialogue scene filmed next shoot. I’ve talked to my director about the sound issue, and I was able to borrow some lav mics, so hopefully that can fix the dialogue issues with the first scene (that includes traffic/town noise). I suppose mistakes really are the best way to learn sometimes.
Today was the first day where I got my three main characters together for a table reading session. I’ve never done anything like this so I wasn’t sure how it would go, but it ended up going very well. The actors/friends I casted like their roles and fit them very well. The actors had their lines more practiced/fluent than I had expected, which is a plus that should expedite the process. Some minor edits/notes/changes were made and if all goes well we should be able to start filming in a week’s time. The next step is storyboarding, which has previously been one of my weak spots, but I’m determined to spend more time with it for this project (and it should be easier since it is a narrative project, not an abstract project like others have been).
I did not get nearly the amount of work done that I had hoped to over break, as break was shorter and busier than expected. Thankfully I did accomplish most of the preproduction I planned on finishing once school started.
So far I have my main characters casted, prop lists made (handwritten and rough, but they exist), a few locations scouted, and the script edited. This weekend we (my actors and I) have planned on doing a table reading of the script so we can get to filming in hopefully a weeks time assuming everything goes well.
I have met with Jason to discuss the project and he did suggest using some of the offices on campus for a scene that calls for a desk job setting. It seems like a stressfully short time window for producing a short film but I have a good feeling about it.
Next I’ll need to get a storyboard and a shooting schedule together.
Very Still and Hard to See
This event was a play I attended at Shepherd University. A classmate of mine was in the play and suggested I check it out. I hadn’t been to a play in a while so a friend and I took the evening to see it. The play, in short, was phenomenal. It wasn’t one continuous story as many are, but rather a collection of loosely related supernatural short stories. Each one had a supernatural spirits and creatures that all dwell within a hotel built on some supernatural site. Guests experienced everything from monsters to possessions and the stories all kept you on the edge of your seat. I haven’t gone to many school events so it was nice to take a night to see what the school had to offer.
The battlefield is a site I’ve visited many times over the years through various school and non-school related outings. I have never been to the actual museum at the battlefield, and since I pass the battlefield every day on my way to and from class I figured it would be worthwhile to stop by. The exhibit wasn’t very big as far as museum exhibits go, but it had just about everything you’d expect from a battlefield museum. There were bullets, shot, and cannonballs that have been found across the battlefield, along with rifles, muskets, and bayonets on display. Union and Confederate uniforms sat in a case next to one another and another case had a Civil War drum and drumsticks. There were a few 19th century surgery kits from the battle, which was interesting to see because of how far field medicine has come. Living in this area means you are constantly around Civil War era history, and the unfortunate side effect of that is that you can easily take this access for granted. Just as I have to remind myself that not everyone in the country can easily visit the capital on a day trip, not everyone can see historical battlefields and locations like these either. It was good to get out and see the history that is a stones throw from the places I go day to day.
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
I’ve been all over the country and seen many beautiful parks all across the country (and in other countries), and in all my travels Hagerstown City Park is still one of my favorites. Hagerstown gets a bad reputation for being an “uncultured” or “unrefined” city, but while it has its elements like any other city, it still has some very nice locations, and the Museum of Fine Arts is one such location. I’ve been to this museum many times in my life both with school trips and just for fun, and I enjoy it each time.
The park in which it is located is very well done and the museum itself is one of my favorite buildings in the area. The atmosphere is wonderful and It’s always nice to see new artwork as it comes into the displays. I looked around the museum and recognized pieces that have been on display since I was in elementary school (and likely before that) and other new ones I had never seen Before. One in particular that caught my eye was an untitled abstract piece (right) by Reuben Kadish. I haven’t always liked abstract art but it has grown on me over the past few years. It was nice to see the museum again and I hope to return soon.
This is the second capstone event I’ve been to. The first was last semester, and while all the presentations looked nice I didn’t really talk to many people. This time around I made sure to not only walk around and look at more presentations, but talk to my classmates as well. All the presentations were well made, and I had quite a few good conversations. I talked car culture with one student, asked another about her travel stories, discussed local music and heavy metal with a third, and joked around about various movies with a few more. One project that stood out to me was a short film called Sticky. The short film stood out to me because, aside from the fact that I am a big movie fan, I plan on doing a short film for my capstone project. I watched the film and noted the various elements of framing, lighting, and film angles. I payed attention to how it was cut and the audio elements. Overall the movie was enjoyable and I was able to talk to the creator/director and talk shop about low budget filming. I got a few pointers and insights regarding low budget filming and talked about the production of Sticky as well. The capstone presentation event was very helpful to get a look at the kind of work other people have done within the major.
Fans of classic poster board displays will be pleased to know that every event had a poster board with various audiovisual elements. The electronic media added spice to and complimented the warm comfort of the classic grade school style display methods. No The presenters were well dressed, but no dress code was enforced for attendants which created an interesting juxtaposition that I think added to the tone of the event. The spread was nice and there was a variety of snack options with classic event staples all around. Brownies and cookies were out for the “treat yourself” options, and a vegetable platter with dip served as a more health conscious option. The apple cider was a 2017 vintage with notes of cinnamon and sugar and apple-y overtones. The atmosphere was minimalist, yet comfortable, and the lighting was in a lovely median that illuminated projects without being too harsh on the eyes. My one complaint was that the pastries were too tasty and I ate more of them than I intended, so that does lower the score.
Capstone Event Score: 9/10 overall
I’ve found a lot of helpful resources as far as books and documents go, but it has occurred to me that one crucial resource hasn’t been visited: primary sources. I mentally write off YouTube sometimes when I’m working on academic project because I associate it with recreation, but I forget that much of what I’ve learned in the “how to” department has been using that site, and filmmaking is no exception. I decided to look up interviews with filmmakers in order to see what they have to say about how they started out.
Making of Clerks is a documentary I came across on YouTube that looks at the making of Clerks, which was not only the movie that really made me want to be a filmmaker, but is one of the sources of inspiration that I drew upon for my screenplay/intended short film. There are interviews with the director, Kevin Smith, as well as various cast and crew from the movie. Clerks was Kevin Smiths first major production and the film was completed with a very low budget and limited resources while Kevin was still working at a convenience store (which was the same one the movie takes place in). In the context of my capstone project this documentary allows me to look at the behind the scenes aspects of a well known independent film. The interviewees discuss various things they did to work around their limited time and budget, which can all be applied to my capstone project since it is also a low budget and limited time production (though my budget isn’t even in the thousand dollar range as Clerks was.
This interview looks at Richard Linklater, director of Slacker. The interview does look at other works of his, but Slacker is a primary focus because Kevin Smith has mentioned that it was one of his inspirations for Clerks. Novelty of “the film that inspired the film that inspired my screenplay” aside, this interview is also a good resource because of how similar the action in my screenplay is to that of Slacker. Linklater discusses how he went about the format of Slacker, and how it does not follow a traditional narrative, but rather follows a “slice of life” style with individual vignettes. I don’t plan on going towards a route quite as experimental as Slacker (my film’s plot is much more structured), but I do like the slice of life style that the movie uses and it may be helpful to be able to look at what Linklater has to say about his film since it served as an inspiration for my own project both directly and indirectly.