One of the goals I’ve set for myself this year was to put together a reel of work for film & television submissions. This would give producers and directors an idea of the type of work I’ve done. Some people use a mix of commercials and films on the same reel but I’ve always believed that a reel should be specific for each type of work. After all, an NBA player wouldn’t wear golf spikes to play in the All Star game. Nor would Martha Stewart use a flour sifter to strain her pasta. The proper tool for a proper job. Which leads me to the need for film clips. Since there is, at the moment, a dearth of major motion pictures shooting in the Chicago area, my quest has taken me down the road of student films. We are home to 4 good sized schools that regularly produce film and television products, DePaul, Northwestern, Columbia College and Flashpoint Academy. Recently I was able to work with 2 being produced out of Northwestern. This school has a special place for me because the first student film I did (Movie Boy), my second film ever, won several prizes at film festivals. It set the bar for me on how a student film should be produced. Even though it was populated by 19-21 year olds, it was a very professionally run set. The standard it set is something I look for each time I evaluate whether or not to be a part of a project.
So when I was asked to be a part of Moment Capacity, the 2010 Bindley grant film, I was expecting a good experience. And they delivered in exactly what I was hoping. The process was very organized and professional. There was a plethora of very excited students working on the project as this grant gives the project the biggest budget to work with. And while my lack of patience with students is pretty well known, I seldom found myself being challenged in this regard. I was sad to realize I no longer had the energy they did and some of the shooting days were very long with little chance for rest. Man-getting old is for the birds.
While on set, I was approached by another student to be a part of his project. He sent me the script, we did a reading over the phone and I was cast. This project, Divorce in America, quickly went into rehearsals and production as it was a short being produced in anticipation of it eventually becoming a full length production. This was a completely different experience in that the producer, one of the most business focused 21 year olds I’ve ever come across, and the director, someone who I believe has a really bright future, chose for various reasons to go outside the university system and hire professionals for 2 several key crew positions-Cinematographer and Sound. They partnered with a seasoned freshman actor for the other lead role and put together an extremely organized professional production.
Each project was different from the other in their approach. But what they had in common was an excitement and an enthusiasm that was exhilarating to be around. I can’t wait to see the final product but in the meantime, they’ve both re-energized me in my journey. I’ll get back to it in a minute, I just need to rest my eyes for a bit.