In Industry, Weeks 2 & 3

Hello there, people of the internet.

If any of you are even reading this right now…

I guess I didn’t do too well keeping up the upkeep of the blog after writing that last entry, but hey! I’m spending some time working on it today. I’m sitting here watching playoff hockey and decided I may as well be productive instead of continuing to procrastinate on school work. There are only four weeks left after all, I should finish strong. Edmonton and San Jose are on right now, Game 5. I’m torn. Edmonton is fun to watch but if San Jose wins the Cup, the Canucks will get their first round pick this year. Regardless, it’s fun to watch playoff hockey without a horse in the race. It hurts to be a fan of the Canucks these days.

I figure I’ll take this post to give an overview of how my second and third weeks out in industry; firstly so I don’t have to write as many entries and secondly, I think there would be too little in each post if I went week by week.

The thing I can get out of the way right now is naming the project I was working on: I Am Heath Ledger.

Yeah… First film I get to work on, and it’s a feature length documentary about Heath Ledger. Pretty crazy, and pretty damn lucky too. Heath’s probably most known for his turn as The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight, an absolutely incredible performance that won him an Academy Award. It was a movie that came at a time when I was starting to appreciate the more nuanced elements of the craft of filmmaking, and was the first time I really noticed a specific actor very clearly doing something special in a film. It’s a performance that has stuck with me as on my favourite acting performances ever for nearly 10 years. I remember the shock and the sadness when news came out of his untimely death.

In a weird way, for the five weeks I spent working on this film… Heath was, kind of alive again. Our film has a lot of unseen archival video that Heath and his friends took while he was on his meteoric rise up the Hollywood A-list a decade ago. For every second of cool footage that is in the movie, there’s hundreds if not thousands more that we aren’t able to include for whatever reason. I still got to watch it all, and because of that it very strangely felt like Heath was alive again and that I got to know… some version of him, at least. It’s impossible not to feel some sort of attachment to him as a person now, instead of just as a fan of a particular performance.

In terms of the actual work, it was still somewhat slow going for me at first. I was trying to learn as much as I could without biting off too much and screwing something up, for sure. I was slowly starting to feel more comfortable, and by my third week I felt like I was settling in. By that point, I was no longer doing small bits of work on another, currently unannounced documentary. It was all-in on Heath, a full-on sprint to the finish. I was being given more responsibility and more things to do, a challenge I felt ready and able to embrace. I think I did a good job, considering I came into the position as a junior assistant editor with little-to-no knowledge as to what the job actual entails.

See, at school they teach us how to edit. But other than some basic media management, we don’t learn much about being the assistant editor.

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Of course, it’s a job that varies depending on the company you work at, the editors you work with, and the project itself. I still didn’t really understand what I was getting myself into though, and that was a humbling moment. The kind that is good to have on occasion, a reminder that maybe I don’t quite know as much as I would like to think I do. The kind of thing that keeps you from becoming complacent. I actually stayed late a few nights, and came in on a weekend to continue to help out as well. I wanted to help out, we were inching closer and closer to our scheduled picture lock day, and hell… I just enjoyed what I was doing. It was fun bouncing around edit suites and different computers and working on bringing this film to life.

For those of you curious to see the film, it premieres at Tribeca on April 23rd… There’s a one day only screening in the USA on May 3rd, the 60 minute version premieres on Spike on May 17th, and then the full version of the film will premiere on The Movie Network on May 22nd, I believe. I think it may also be out on iTunes that day, though I’m not 100% certain. It will release on iTunes at some point.

And hey, my name should be in the credits somewhere so keep an eye out for that.

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My Six Degrees Idol

Why hello there, world.

That may not be the most professional way to open things, but I believe that blogs should feel a little more personal. Almost like we’re having a conversation; albeit a rather one-sided one. In this post I want to talk about the Six Degrees of Separation, and specifically my “Six Degree Idol”. For anyone who is not familiar with the Six Degrees of Separation, it is a concept that essentially states that you can be connected to anyone on Planet Earth within 6 “degrees”, or connections.

Today, I am going to breakdown how I am connected to writer/director Quentin Tarantino.

The first degree of separation is Roger Williams, the President & CEO of Inspired Image Picture Company. Most recently, he directed the documentary RiverBlue; which details the impact that fast fashion — specifically the classic blue jeans we all love to wear — is having a tremendously horrible effect on the world’s rivers. My father introduced me to Roger a few years ago, and I spent about a month shadowing two of the editors that work at Inspired Image’s Vancouver location.

In my month of shadowing, my eyes were opened in a number of major ways when it comes to the art and process of film making, and editing. I thought I had a much stronger base of knowledge than I did, and that realization set me on the path I currently walk as a BCIT Television & Video Production student. Also during that time, a shoot was scheduled to take place at Inspired Image. I do not recall what the video was for, but it brought in the presence of a very well-known Vancouver-born singer: Michael Bublé.

He would be next link in this little chain I am forming. Bublé released his debut album in 2001, and has released eight studio albums in the 16 years since. Despite his worldwide success, Bublé is still quite prominent in the Vancouver community. He has been one of the co-owners of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants since 2008, and has supported a number of charitable projects. While I cannot profess myself to be a huge fan of his music, I’ve certainly enjoyed much of what I have heard. I certainly enjoy his rendition of Feeling Good, and he performed a very cool version of the classic Spider-Man theme that I really love.

Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Mr. Bublé. Myself and the other editors were sent for a long lunch, and they had completed their short shoot by the time we returned. While it would’ve been an undoubtedly cool experience, for the purposes of this exercise he serves as a stepping stone towards an ultimate goal, and leads to the next link in the chain. Between 2005 and 2010, Michael Bublé performed five separate times on the Late Show with David Letterman.

David Letterman is one of a number of absolutely legendary late night television hosts, in addition to being a writer, comedian, and producer. He was on the air as a late night host for a total of 33 years, and retired from the Late Show in May 2015. He is revered as one of the absolute greats in his field by many, even if many of his best years were a little before my time.

As a part of doing the job Letterman did for so many years, he has had countless Hollywood actors, directors, and more appear on his show. Which leads us directly to the final goal of this blog post: Quentin Tarantino.

Tarantino appeared on the Late Show a total of five times between 1994 and 2009, and is one of the most well-known directors in modern Hollywood. His films are known for heavily stylized violence, dialogue-heavy scenes, and large ensemble casts, as well as references to many of the pop culture moments that have inspired his films. Winning many industry awards, including two Oscars and two Golden Globes, Tarantino’s films have been both critically and commercially successful.

Tarantino is also notorious for his claims that he would retire from film making after completing his tenth film. His most recent film was The Hateful Eight, which was a personal landmark for me because it was the only movie I can remember that I have seen projected on film. The 70mm projection of The Hateful Eight was one of the most magical movie-going experiences of my life for that reason alone, and one that inspires me to create to this day.

So there you have it, the six degrees of separate from myself — Sandro Desaulniers, BCIT student — to Quentin Tarantino, one of the biggest names in the film industry. It’s certainly interesting to see how quickly you can form these links, particularly if you can find a way to tie into any sort of late night show. That alone can be used to connect to so many people, even if getting there is a bit of a journey.

If you stumbled across this online somewhere, I hope you were moderately entertained by it. That wraps it up for me here so until next time, I bid you adieu.