Well… lots. And not much.
You might remember that I mentioned a while ago about the opportunity I got to volunteer for a college film project. Well, the film itself wasn’t a college project, but a handful of students from a wee Catholic college made up about half of the crew. (They were taking a month-long film course and this made up a week of their coursework.) The short film is a WWII piece and – I didn’t find this out till a couple days into the shooting – based on the director’s family story!
I showed up at the college a day before the filming started, which turned out to be a good thing. I was put to work right away sticking bits of coloured electrical tape on various pieces of borrowed costumes and props so we could use them freely without having to worry about what belonged to which lender. Only a few items were real WWII pieces while the rest were replicas, but it was still really cool handling all that history (though it did feel weird labelling them with hot pink or neon green tape!). I stayed up late to finish, which I didn’t think would be a big deal. I’m used to going to bed at 1 am, right?
Yeah, that was before I realized that the college blasts fanfare-type music over speakers in the dorms. And since we had to leave at 7 to get to location, that meant that the Catholic students had Mass at 6, which meant the fanfare went off at 5. In the words of my favourite fanfiction author, it was “waking up at the crack of stupid.” 😀
For four of the six days of filming, I was assisting the wardrobe lady. She was an interesting character, but pleasant to work with and I think I picked up a few things about the industry from her. It was a wonder seeing how she made do with what she had to work with – she knew very few of the actors’ sizes, so all of her shopping was based entirely on guesswork. On top of that, we couldn’t bring all of the wardrobe with us on any given day (too much to pack day to day), so sometimes we’d end up leaving something behind at one location while we were stuck at another. And there were a couple times the director changed his mind about something (such as changing a scene from day to night), so she had to adjust the wardrobe accordingly. So she’d cut down (very, very drastically) a pair of preteen boys’ pants to fit a six-year-old or sew a couple little-girl dresses. Besides that though, it was a rush to get everybody dressed and then long stretches of nothing (unless she had to run to Value Village or sew something for a future scene or we had to prep for the next scene or day). It was a very interesting process to be sure. In her words, “a lot of hurry-up-and-wait”.
The remaining two days on set, I was with Set Decorating & Props, which was more relaxed than Wardrobe (though a great deal more walking!). It also allowed me to be on set for those two days and see how the film was going and how the director interacted with everybody. (I had only met him briefly on the first day when I was labelling stuff and I didn’t properly meet him till our last day of filming.)
Now, even though I’d have been very happy indeed in front of a computer screen and editing what was shot, I wouldn’t trade this experience out. I think it’s valuable for anyone in this business to know at least something about a department not their own specialty. Making a film, after all, involves a team. It could be a very small one like my own short skit, or a slightly bigger one like this piece, or a massive one like The Lord of the Rings.
A bit before, during, and afterward till the present (and onward), I was working a little bit here-and-there on a couple personal projects. One is to make trailer videos for my favourite fanfiction author for three of her Narnia fanfics. The other is to make an inspired-by-How-to-Train-Your-Dragon Narnia video for a fansite I frequent.
Thanks to the generosity of the man I was working online for for a month earlier this summer, I still have access to an editing program that he had wanted me to learn. I’ve been using it to gather the clips I need for these little trailer videos from various movies and TV shows, an ability I had for only half of my material last time I made a fanfiction trailer. And with a much larger cast of characters over these three new fic trailers, it’s a really good thing I’ve got that ability now, or I’d really be stuck!
As for the HTTYD/Narnia video, it’s going to be really basic. My little sister helped me film myself a few weeks ago (and put up with much frustration from me and repetitive tasks). I still have to record myself narrating the script (oh joy… I’m not very fond of recording myself, haha) and then actually edit the thing.
More recently, I was inspired to fiddle with a new fanfiction idea myself. It started with a song I happened upon on YouTube: Josh Wilson’s “Symphony”. Because I’m such a Narniac, I eventually found myself connecting the song with Narnia, particularly the creation scene in The Magician’s Nephew, specifically when Aslan creates the stars and they sing in harmony with him. And, regarding another fanfic – this time one that I’d started but not continued -, I’ve been thinking more and more about ways to change what I’ve got to improve it and work an easy transition into what I want it to end with.
Since I started work at Walmart, I’ve had a chance to read some. I started with one from the free box at church, Kay Arthur’s Israel: My Beloved. I won’t say very much here since I want to post a more detailed review of it (when I actually write it… haha), but I will say that it was okay and that my main problems with it are not Scriptural or historical, but stylistic. It’s pretty bad when an author unnecessarily tells you the obvious (such as say that a character is upset… when it’s very clear that the character is indeed upset, based solely on his or her dialogue) or when the writing is so un-compelling at times that you think to yourself… “So… if these characters are literally ageless… how long does it take for the kid characters to age?”
Anyway. That 400+-page book is done and I’ve started reading CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Much more interesting and thought-provoking. 😀
Oh, and I’ve been having a bit of fun in the kitchen! Ever since I came back from England, pasties have become an overnight staple in this household! I make large batches of them at a time and we find ourselves running out rather quickly. Mom still oversees the cooking and seasoning of the filling, but my specialty is the dough. For once, I excel at something in the kitchen! 😀
And I tried making challah, Jewish Sabbath bread, once so far, but our yeast was old, so the bread didn’t turn out right. Still tasted good, but it didn’t rise at all. So I’m going to try again.
And now, for more serious matters. After a summer of most companies ignoring me (ie: not even letting me know I was rejected for a given job), the phone started ringing off the hook the last couple. Which was both exciting and frightening. Exciting in that finally someone (or several someones, as is the case) was showing interest. Frightening in that I had a juggling act of not wanting to turn down offers, but also making it clear that I wasn’t committed anywhere yet. Today, I had an interview for a tax/accounting job here in town and I got a good impression from the lady who runs it and it seems she had a good impression of me (which I was a bit worried about not achieving, to be honest (either because I felt I didn’t do a great job of that or because so many others had turned me down or perhaps a mix of both)). When I was called this evening regarding the interview, I was fully expecting another “we-don’t-think-you’re-the-right-fit-and-we’ll-be-pursuing-another-candidate” speech, so I felt a rather sudden surprise when she said congratulations. I won’t be starting till September, but I’ve at least got a solid job offer now!
Now. Why tax and accounting? Numbers aren’t my forte. They never were. And how fun can doing taxes, especially other people’s taxes, be? Well, there are a couple things. One, it’s close to home. I could just walk if I wanted to. Two, it’s better than calling the cosmetic surgery clinic back and resigning myself to stick around for a while with them to help pamper people’s body images. Three, who knows, maybe this experience will help me get what I actually want (yes, I know any job can technically do that, but I think I was a bit encouraged when this lady pulled out bits of my media-heavy, media-focused resume, like directing a short film skit, as characteristics she was pleased to see). Four, … maybe I’ve become just a little more teachable? This summer’s not been fun so far as trying to achieve my dream has gone (aside from the film project mentioned above!) and there’s been much frustration along the way. But I’m hoping that I won’t blow this like I may have done with other offers and jobs. I know a lot of that depends on my attitude and I know that needs a lot of working on. But for now, I’m hopeful.