One Journey Ends, Another Begins

Hey internet.

It’s the second to last Friday of my time at BCIT. After four terms and maybe one sick day in each of those, I’ve hit a brick wall this week. I first felt in coming on Wednesday morning when I was scheduled to mentor a first year student on their shoot. It was even worse the next morning, when I had to go in for a full day to “mentor” first years, but really I just sat in an edit suite and edited my Day in the Life video from about 8 AM til 4 PM. I had to stick around a little while after that too, so realistically I had a nice full, 10 hour day.

That wouldn’t be so bad if I could feel the impending illness approaching closer and closer. I get home in a coughing fit, my head throbbing and feeling like it’s on fire, it hurts to cough or sneeze or even swallow, and my entire body just feels stiff. So, safe to say that I’ll wouldn’t be leaving my bed today.

Well, I did leave a few times to make food and now I’m on the couch watching hockey. Which I seem to always be doing while I write these blog posts. I suppose it helps with the informal feel I try to give with these blogs. You’re basically reading my thoughts as they spew out of my mind, if you’re wondering why they are at times nonsensical. The background noise of hockey – entertaining, non-Canucks hockey – just helps me keep froing going insane, I guess. I say that as a diehard Canucks fan too. They must be the most poorly run organization in the NHL, or at least have been for much of the last three years.

Anyways, my Day in the Life video. I decided to have fun with this and went to visit my friend, Ben, who attended BCIT for the first year of the Television & Video Production program. He decided not to come back as his interest lies more in film than in broadcast, and I don’t blame him because the program does force us to do quite a bit of irrelevant work. The jobs in news broadcasting they seem so adamant on training us for no longer exist. The focus very much needs to change to more live events, like sports and concerts, or go fully towards film. Enough complaining though, here’s the video.

I fully anticipate my instructors docking me for various technical faults, or because I didn’t have a proper interview, or whatever. I’ve talked a lot about how incredible an experience it was to work on I Am Heath Ledger, and in watching many of his home videos throughout that process I wanted to try and replicate some of his techniques in how it was shot and edited. I also had two scenes from our documentary in mind when cutting this. So for its faults in some technical aspects, I think it’s really well paced and just an enjoyable watch.

Plus, the song I used brings another connection. The song, “March On”, is by N’fa Jones. N’fa is one of Heath’s childhood friends, and the song was used in our documentary as well. I found a lot of great music in the process of working on that film, and I couldn’t help but use some of it in one of my final BCIT projects. Especially because it was being designed to try and mimic Heath’s own videos.


I’ve been staring at the screen for a little while now, unsure what to write. I don’t know have much to say about work now, other than I really hope I get to go back. As for school… I want it to be over. It’s been a difficult two years and while we all made it work for the most part because we had to, I’m finding it more apparent that a lot of the personalities just don’t mesh.

At least mine doesn’t.

When I tried to invite some of my classmates to come see a screening of I Am Heath Ledger I was teased because I was talking about it so much. Which I was. Who wouldn’t if their first feature film credit premiered at Tribeca and was playing in theatres across the world, though?

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Contrasting that, I invited my best friends from high school, people who I consider my brothers. Their response? Any chance they have to support me like that, they’ll be there. I don’t mean to sound like we’re doing something incredibly difficult, in fact I’m lucky that I get to work in a rather ridiculous industry instead of worrying about more pressing matters or doing something more… serious, I guess? It is still a difficult industry to get into, and certainly will be a difficult industry to maintain a career in. So you have to surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you for doing something that’s honestly a little bit crazy.

You have to be a little bit crazy to decide to go into the film industry.

That’s not to say it’s been all bad. There are absolutely people that I hope to remain good friends with even after graduation. But that number is much smaller than I thought it was even a year ago, and unfortunately it seems some things just aren’t salvageable. Then again, I’ve never really been one to have huge groups of friends, just like I’m not one to get a huge group of people together to go clubbing. I’d rather be out at a pub with three or four friends, where we can get our music playing and take over a pool table and just hang out for hours. It gives us the chance to sit and converse and really connect with the people you’re with, instead of just a whirlwind of craziness.

It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride, from September 2015 to now. There are certainly things I wish I could change or totally undo. There really are. I suspect some of those things will haunt me for a while to come. It was an experience though. One I needed to have, for all the good and bad. Now it’s just time to go start a career doing something I’ve wanted to do for many, many years.

Which reminds me. One of the stories in I Am Heath Ledger is about how he had these glow-in-the-dark stars on his bedroom ceiling. His dad said he’d point to them and say, that’s where he was going to go. He was going to Hollywood to become an actor, and he’d be among the stars.

When I was a little kid, the first thing I wanted to be was a Jedi Knight. To grow up and be trained by Luke Skywalker. Of course, I soon found out that wasn’t possible, so I started to watch the credits of films and TV shows to see all the names of the people who made those shows possible. All the different jobs they did. While I didn’t always know what it was I wanted to do, it always seemed to come back to storytelling; filmmaking, in particular. As I got older, watching the credits almost became sort of a… visualization exercise. Seems the names, the jobs, more and more connections to Vancouver, and dreaming of maybe one day getting to see my name up there.

On Thursday, May 4th, 2017, that dream became a reality at a screening of I Am Heath Ledger at The Park Theatre in Vancouver.

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Hopefully it won’t be the last time.

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In Industry, Weeks 4 & 5

Yeah, so, I guess I forgot that I hadn’t written about weeks 4 and 5 out in industry yet. I should probably do that. Update on the current day though, I’m sitting here watching the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in the second round, currently 3-2 Pittsburgh in the third period of game 4. Pittsburgh has a 2-1 series lead. Playoff hockey has been quite good this year.

So… my final two weeks on my industry practicum as a part of BCIT. As I mentioned in my last post, I was being allowed more responsibility and just felt more and more like I actually belonged as a part of the crew working on this film. I was getting included in more email chains, asked to do more, and even pulled a few clips for the editors that I believe ended up in the film. At least, the most recent cut I’ve seen. Just little things to go along with simply settling in over my time at Network. It’s hard not to feel a bit like an outsider at first when you don’t really know anyone, and it’s the first film you’ve ever worked on. You’re so afraid of messing anything up that you are kind of reluctant to take on too much. Now I was welcoming challenges, and managed to solve a nasty problem we were having that managed to take up nearly a week of my time.

I should’ve been able to figure it out sooner, but other things took priority during the days.

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Since I was feeling more comfortable, I was also sitting in on more meetings, even if it wasn’t with editorial. I just wanted to see other aspects of the production and keep tabs on what they were doing, in case there was anything we needed to know or any information I could relay to them on the spot.

Things were becoming so hectic in the office, and nights were running so late, I was often on my own for an hour or two upon arriving in the morning. I would take that time to watch the latest cut of the film, which meant I was one of maybe a handful of people who was 100% up-to-date with what was in the current cut and what wasn’t, something that was useful whenever discussions about making changes were made. At this point I knew everything that was in there and could recall small bits of archival footage on the spot.

That was kind of cool.

It’s quite difficult to talk about a lot of this stuff without getting into too much detail, which I have to refrain from doing. I just focused on working hard during those last two weeks and trying to learn as much as possible. The last day or two I felt a little melancholy, joking about being “banished” back to BCIT. I mean, it’s certainly a step down to go from working on a feature film to making little two minute videos and “mentoring” the first years in the program; no offense meant to the first years.

But I left my final day feeling good about things, and I do hope the crew there will be interested in bringing me back once school is complete. I’d love to get back to work, especially since I did a bit of work for the next documentary they’ll be working on already.

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Anyways… I don’t really know what to talk about much on here. School will be wrapping up in a couple of weeks. I almost wonder if I should use it to get back into the swing of writing reviews again. I used to be a prolific (?) writer of video game reviews. Likely not well written, as I was 14 years old, but I wrote a lot of them. This was back when I could walk into a Rogers Video and rent all the new releases every week, instead of spending nearly $90 (with taxes) to get a new game on release day. This year in particular has reignited some of the passion with both the quality and quantity of video games released, particularly in a crazy run the first few months has had. The most recent game I played, NieR: Automata, is particularly interesting for tackling much deeper and much more mature thematic content than most games would ever dare to think of, let alone actually build a narrative around. It’s also a fantastic example of a video game narrative that takes advantage of the interactive nature of the medium (vs. a film or a novel) to strengthen the story it tells.

But that, dear internet friends, would be a story for another blog post. And I’ve got at least one or two more school-related posts in me right now, and probably a couple more once classes are finished.

Until next time.

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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