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.

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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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