Monday, August 22, 2011

Weighted is done.

Last Monday, Weighted was officially, entirely, totally, completely completed. As I'm writing this, the DVDs are in the process of being created, and people are being invited to the premiere, which is this Saturday. If you're reading this, you're invited. So go click "Attending" on the event page.

Even though the film was originally scheduled to be completed about two months ago, this is still record timing. I know of no other BYU student capstone being completed, from pre-production to premiere, in so little time. From the time we got funding to this Saturday, this film will have taken about six months. Of course, the early stages of story, writing, and conceptualization were happening months before that, but the actual course of production, the heavy lifting, as it were, was all done over six months. Pretty great. Especially for a bunch of students who were working on a multitude of other projects throughout the entire process.

Here's what I learned: filmmaking is hard.

At the end of the day, the actual film is...well, I'll let you be the judge when you see it. I'll just say that the script was better, as a completed thing, than the film is, which isn't at all surprising, considering our limited experience, time, and budget.

I also discovered that probably the hardest special effect anyone could ever attempt is to make a person fly. My VFX guy (Nick Dixon, everyone...) and I had a conversation about why that is, and I won't go into the dull details, but suffice it to say that there may not be more than one or two movies ever made in the history of the universe that made flying look natural for a human being. And that emphatically includes all the huge-budget Hollywood movies out there that try to pull it off.

This proves both that I and the people who agreed to help me with this film are (or were, at least) incredibly naive, and that we've all got that thing called grit, because while the effects may not astonish anyone, they're also not awful, and by golly they could have been. In fact I saw many versions in which they were.

I could probably talk forever about this movie, and the things I learned, and how I felt and feel about everything, but I won't. Unfortunately, the entirety of experience that goes into making a movie cannot be summed up effectively in any way. So, to end, these words: I'm glad it's over with, and I can't wait to do it again, and soon, by the grace of God.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Graduating

I walked because my mom demanded it. She's a single mother and I'm her only child, so of course I had to do the cap and gown thing. Here's some stuff that happened:

  1. Lots of sun and heat and sweat
  2. A long exodus from a distant parking lot to a huge auditorium
  3. Re-learning how to walk single-file
  4. Astonishingly dull speech-making by people I've never heard of and will likely never hear of again
  5. A bemused regard for the teleprompter that fate placed right behind me and to my right
  6. Immense gratitude for iPhones (and Sudoku)
  7. Admiration for Sarah and her GoPro camera
And that was just the first day. 

Joel Ackerman, bless him eternally, provided much needed comic relief, complete with Harry Potter glasses and a glittery wand. Thanks to him, I now know the words to the graduation song/music:

I'm telling you white boy
Stay away from me
(repeated ad infinitum)

The next morning involved waking up at 6am to be at the Harris Fine Arts Center (HFAC) for convocation (I discovered that this word, literally translated, means "assembly"), which was much less wearying than commencement, since instead of football stories by Alumni Association cronies, we got stories from students about more relatable achievements and experiences. I've long suspected that "fine arts" students are more interesting, on average, than pretty much any other kind of student, and our college's convocation was further proof of that notion. 

And then I walked across a stage, got handed a fake diploma, hugged Amy Jensen (whose presence was extremely welcome), got my picture taken, and sat back in my seat until it was over and they released all of us into the wild. 

What lasts is the dismal feeling of closure. I know, closure is supposed to feel good. Not getting it is supposed to be that unsurvivable psychological condition that causes depression. But closure isn't always  pleasant. I wanted to avoid thinking about the fact that I was finished at BYU, and I was doing a pretty good job of it until they forced me to don cheap, scratchy fabric, put a board on my head, and heard me into a huge colosseum with hundreds of other students dressed in like manner. 

The most surreal component was the constant stream of always-surprising congratulations from family and friends. As if the entire exercise was actually some kind of victory. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have finished my degree, and I've loved--no adored the vast majority of my time at BYU, but the arbitrary pomp and circumstance of graduation ceremonies...where's the victory there? Most of my contemporaries didn't walk, evidenced by the vanishingly small number of us in actual attendance. So what was the point?

I'm sorry. I know what's happening here. I'm a little broken up about leaving what has become my home, dear to me in a way and to a degree that I cannot adequately describe. Graduation was a long and forceful reminder of it, and now I'm venting. It's hard, this leaving business. I don't remember signing up for it, though I know I did in the very act of coming here in the first place. But this time, this ending event, was always so far off. It was far off right up until the day it happened, and I found myself saying, "Wait a minute," with a frown, "I'm not comfortable with this." And then graduation had its way with me, and now I just feel...

Well, homesick.

Friday, August 12, 2011

So Little, So Late...

I graduated today. More on that next week.

Also, finished Weighted today. As in, the film is completely complete. We'll be burning a couple of DVDs and Blu-rays tomorrow.

Also, I'm so sorry about the shabby state of this blog lately. It's been over two weeks since I've posted. I realize that. It shames me. Which is why I'm here, right now, putting some words together to break the streak of non-posting.

Really, more next week. I have all kinds of things to say, but no time, right now, to say them.

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