12 Months of Movies: March

We set out to make a short drama, but that got put on hold.  So we made this other thing.  I came up with the idea, Cody wrote the script in about 30 minutes, then I revised it.  Paul and I came up with a rough shot list, mostly just coverage.

Then we filmed for about 3 ish hours.  We shot the barest minimum I’ve shot of any film since 2007.  That includes films made for the 10-Hour Film Competition and the 48 Hour Film Competition.  That made editing interesting.

Special thanks to Jeremy Wood, who allowed us to use his office.  And had grace with us when…well, you’ll see what we did.

Enjoy the tiny story that is night.

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, ideas or films of your own!


A Word on American Universities

I attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  I liked my school.  It was a gorgeous campus, great facilities, good teachers, mostly helpful administration, located not far from my home…I enjoyed my time there.

But it didn’t teach me how to make money.  It didn’t teach me how to get a job.  It didn’t even teach me how to make a good resume, something I learned the hard way when attending an internship brunch and a potential employer went on a rant and wrote all over my resume the things that were wrong.  There’s few things more intimidating than the representative of a TV station telling you how stupid students are getting with their resumes when you’re attempting to impress him.

Didn’t I spend over 5 years and thousands of dollars paying someone else to teach me something as basic as how to craft a good resume?

“Did they teach you about working with clients?” I asked my co-worker about an internship she did in college.

“No,” she said.  “I wish I had learned that…”

She majored in Graphic Design, focusing mostly on print and drawing by hand.  She told me she wished she had focused more on building websites and digital art.  Apparently we both graduated with ignorance, not knowledge.

Here’s the thing though, I knew that I didn’t have to go to college.  I knew that college was just a way to get to where I wanted to be.  I made a calculated decision–based on my introverted nature–that college would be the better option to prepare me to get to Hollywood.  I didn’t think I would get paid more.  I didn’t think it would be easier to get a job, per se.  In fact, I knew that it was in my future to be at working-class income (possibly lower-class, depends on your point-of-view).

Because I was pursuing art.  And really, how many people make a lot of money at art?

BUT.  I did expect that my university would provide a magic list of steps to take to get a job, equip me with a list of all the jobs (like real companies) that I could apply to, and/or automatically place me on the radar of top people in the media and film industry (like Disney, Pixar, Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams, etc).

Why did I expect this?  I have no idea.  I honestly don’t know who told me that.

Why do people keep expecting magic to happen when they just spent 4, 5, 6, 8 years working, studying, testing, writing, running to class, forgetting their parking pass, going into debt, paying a parking fee, staying up all night to fail a test, drinking too much coffee, watching boring class-required movies, eating ramen, lugging brick-like textbooks everywhere and hating their teacher who just assigned that stupid 7-page paper over the weekend?  Seriously.  Why do we expect that after all that–college–we should hop out of school and be ushered into the job force within the week?

Yeah, I paid a lot of money.  Yeah, I’m qualified to film and edit live events, commercials, web videos, training videos, short films, long films, competitive films; write papers, books, screenplays, blog posts; take orders, directions, feedback, and criticism and not DIE (honestly, I’ve not died once from too much work).  But did that entitle me to walk off the podium at my college and into a steady, paying position at a company within my expertise?

Why do we assume that getting a job shouldn’t require work?

I don’t know.  I know that all that time I spent sitting alone before class I should’ve spent chatting with the teachers, staff, anyone, about jobs in Hollywood, how to build a nice-looking resume, and how to sweet-talk a producer into letting me hold lights or equipment on set for a film.  And I should’ve been making calls, sending emails, messages, snail-mail, whatever, to companies and directors and producers BEFORE I graduated and let them know how awesome I am and that they should consider making me part of their team.

I mean, that’s kinda how I got into college.  I pursued it and they couldn’t say no.  I also paid them a lot of money, but hey, I want Hollywood so that might come with the territory.

But I didn’t know.  No one taught me that.  Or maybe they did, and I just wasn’t paying attention.

The Tragedy of Small-Minded Grammar Snobs

When I was 11 and carried a notebook everywhere, people wondered about me.  When I still did it at 14, people asked, “What’s with the notebook?”  And I told them I was a writer.

This should’ve freaked them out, really.  I mean, if I saw a little girl who still carried a notebook everywhere from 11-14 and said she was a writer I’d be on my guard.  Mostly because of people like this:

Behave, Geoffrey Chaucer actually did eviscerate people in his writings.  Who do you think provide the best character ideas?  Real people.

But, I always kinda thought that writing was about giving humans somewhere to escape.  I didn’t write to tell the truth–like journalists are supposed to do (hahahahaha).  I wrote because I wanted a new truth.

And I never expected that writers should be this outstanding example of good grammar.  Most of the writers I really loved as a child and even now don’t follow a lot of traditional grammar rules.

If I correct someone’s grammar, it’s not because it’s wrong.  It’s because I want what they said/wrote to be understood.  Whatever the existentialists say, every speaker/writer has an intent to their communication.  And to quote a movie from last year, “Precision of language!”  (The Giver)

So when I see things like this:

“The speech impediment of the 21st century” I die a little inside.  What does Marc Johns think “and I was like” means?  Because he should know, as an English speaker (if indeed he is) that “I was like” doesn’t mean “I said.”  It means, “this is sorta what I said but not precisely, more like the feeling I had/the idea I was communicating, whether in words, thought or body language.”

“I was like” is actually more accurate than “I said” and conveys a lot more information.  If I say, “He told me that he was late because he fell asleep, so I said, ‘Right, have fun with that,'” it’s just not as much information as;

“He told me that he was late because he fell asleep and I was like, sure, he fell asleep.  Probably started texting that slut from Math.  Seriously, he expects me to believe that?  I was like, right, well, have fun with that.”

What this Marc person claims as a speech impediment is actually a more effective method of communication than that which he snobbishly holds in esteem.  Languages, ones that are spoken today all over the world, are living, breathing things.  They change.  They have to.  Communication is constantly updating.  What do we call a picture we take of ourselves that has to be posted in a social networking setting?  How do we say that a book or story is so good at getting our emotions over-flowing that we run out of words to describe it?  What do we call the scent of rain when it stops?

More writers make up words than correct grammar usages.  I hope.  Neil Gaiman isn’t the only person to create a firestorm after coining the above word.  Language is about getting information across, even if that means we make up a better way to understand each other.

The next time someone complains about the addition of “selfie” to the dictionary, say, “Precision of language,” and walk away.  They’re obviously not that interested in communication.