Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beginning Filmmaking

Editing Rain last Thursday made me think of my beginning filmmaking professor, Mrs. Robinson, yes, that was really her name. Since we were all film students we of course (more specifically the boys in class, so all the students except me) were super sensitive to calling out her name, there was a lot of, "umm, uhh, Mrs, umm, Robinson..."

The class focused entirely on experimental filmmaking (check out this, this, and this) and by the end of the class I was worried I had made a huge mistake in choosing my life's path. For my final film I was "adapting" a Jim Morrison poem and I had created a slight narrative path. Narrative films often rely on certain shots to tell the story; imagine The Graduate without Ben and Elaine on the bus at the end. Whole different movie.

Anyway, one or two reels of the film did not turn out and needless to say they contained the most important shots. I went to Mrs. Robinson, near tears, imploring to her that I could not make my film. She asked me if some reels turned out, I nodded. She told me I had a film, it wasn't exactly what I planned, but to remember the films make themselves and not the other way around. So I went back looked at the footage again (and again) until I found the film.

Often I think about this even when I'm not making a film because life is never cut and dry either. The best laid plans...

When I projected my film for the class, still not confident, it didn't help that Mrs. Robinson kept taking her glasses off and rubbing her eyes. I thought she was falling asleep. It turns out she was crying, she even needed a moment when the film was over to compose herself. It was amazing to know I had touched someone so deeply.

My last year of college I wasn't handling criticism well in a video production class and lamented to a fellow student. In disbelief he looked at me and said, "Didn't you make Mrs. Robinson cry? Not many filmmakers can say that."

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