Happy New Years!

Happy new years everyone! I’ve spent half of my winter break in sunny Thailand and it’s been amazing so far. Tomorrow is (or rather, today) will be my last dayyy! I can’t believe the trip is over already. I wish I planned a longer trip (it was really stupid of me).

Nature has not been agreeing with me as usual. I have around 50 mosquito bites now and I have random rashes as well. I also got seasick while snorkelling which was a bit ridiculous. However, I still enjoyed everything immensely. I have gained a lot of weight because I pretty much ate all day, every day. The food here is unbelievably delicious and cheap. They have pretty much everything here so I stuffed myself silly. I definitely want to come back and experience more things.

I forgot to make my new years resolutions so I shall do them now 🙂

  • Lose weight
  • Fix my health/take care of myself more
  • Make more films
  • Be more creative
  • Make more connections
  • Find a way to make some side money
  • Gain some self esteem
  • IMPROVE MY GERMAN!!

I’ll add more if I think of any.

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Choose Wisely

It’s been awhile! I’m currently on my winter break and I’m alone. I’m enjoying it, but I’m also being super lazy. I have a ton of work that needs to be done over the holidays but I’m not in the mood to do it. I really should get a head start on it before I leave for Bangkok though because I don’t want to be typing out my assignments on the beach. Yes, I’m going to Bangkok to visit my roomie 😀 I’ll only be in Bangkok for 4 days tops because the rest of the time we’ll be on the beach 😀 I’m so excited for the sun!

I’m also hardcore missing good Asian food so expect a lot of weight gain for me in the new year haha. My wrist is finally healing now that it has time to rest. I severely cut down on my gaming hours because of all the work we had to do in the last week which helped a bit I think. The biggest is problem is when I’m sleeping because I always wake up with a very sore wrist.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately. I finish school in October which is quite soon, considering how this year has been flying by. I want to do cinematography school at some point but I think I need to work for a few years first. I need a break from school. I thought about FAMU in the Czech republic but now that HFF in Potsdam (THE top film school in Germany) is officially a University, I would like to attend there instead (especially with the cheap tuition fees… I believe foreigners can now attend for free). However, it is extremely competitive and I REALLY need to be fluent in German. I’m considering taking intensive German courses after I graduate while searching for internships/side jobs. I know I’ll have to leave Berlin at some point because it’s nearly impossible to get paid film work. There’s too many people coming here for film and not enough paid projects. I can’t be paid in food and alcohol forever.

For now that’s my goal. We’ll see what happens. For now I’m going to work on developing my projects. I have too many ideas but not enough fully developed ones. I’m already thinking about my graduation film. It’s probably going to cost me a ton of money so I really need to make sure that my idea is worth it…

PS: For those interested. Here’s my most recent project. We had to choose a genre and create an opening sequence for a “feature film.” I was not happy about recycling an old idea but I didn’t have any better ideas…

Intoxicating

It’s been a mighty long while since I updated. I’m sitting here, sipping tea and listening to Asgeir (also re-reading Harry Potter again because it’s that time of the year). I feel really relaxed for the first time in a long while. It’s been a hectic couple of months.

Last week we attended Camerimage in Bydgoszcz, Poland. It was a really good experience! I managed to catch 13 films in the 5 days that I was at the festival. I wanted to see more but I was really exhausted. I also packed in 2 workshops and about 10 short films. I wish I could have gone to more workshops but they clashed with a lot of the films I desperately wanted to see. Many of the films were foreign language films so I would not have been able to catch them with English subtitles in Berlin. I was a bit upset that we couldn’t stay for the full duration though because there were a ton of really good films on the last two days of the festival. The main one I wanted to watch was Mommy which is currently out in Germany but with German subtitles. Upsetting. I would also like to say that I met loads of cool people there but I really did not meet anyone. It’s hard.

We were chaperoned by our school Co-Director’s husband who is a really good cinematographer. He was really friendly and had lots of discussions with us as well as just hanging out with us. He managed to get some of us into the opening ceremony in which we saw Alan Rickman giving a speech. Surreal moment.

My favorites that I managed to catch at the festival were: In the Crosswind, Birdman, Get On Up, The Last Emperor 3D (I don’t understand why they had to convert it to 3D??? Also, the fact that they spoke in bad English the whole film and switched randomly into Mandarin really annoyed me), Winter Sleep, Leviathan, Goodbye to Language and Knife in the Water. I think I beat my Berlinale record.

Most of the shorts I saw were underwhelming in terms of story but they were quite stunning to look at. One of them in particular was just glorious to watch in general. The story was punchy and odd and the use of sound was very smart. I’ve never seen anything like it. I aspire to be like that.

Being at this festival showed us how limited our resources are at the school but also the limits of our knowledge. I think I really need to go to cinematography school after this…

I sustained a really bad fall 3 weeks ago at school during a scene and my wrist still hurts. I finally got a wrist brace today but it’s made for people with bigger body parts so I had to fold it twice to make it tight enough. I hope it heals soon because this is frustrating. I wish it was my left hand so that it would heal easier but what can I do.

I’m a bit stressed to film my opening sequence because I’m not happy with my story. I couldn’t think of a better one so I have stuck to this. I’m going to focus on trying to make it look good. I think after this, I’m going to try re-editing the rest of my shorts (now that I’m much better at it) and then upload them to vimeo.

I recently met a girl from craigslist (yes, I know…) who turned out to be pretty cool. She’s Korean but grew up in the states. She’s also a huge foodie, into film and lives near me so it’s great! It’s really great to have some friends outside of school. It’s just tough to keep them. Anyways, we’re going to find a Muay Thai course to take together! I’m also thinking of joining the gym and she already has a membership so it’ll be nice to have a workout buddy. I just need to wait for this damn wrist to heal.

I’m thinking of trying to start doing language exchange again once I have a bit more free time since I’m unhappy with my lack of German. I’m heavily considering taking singing lessons again because I lost my range but I don’t know why I should bother since I’m not going to do anything with it afterwards…

We shall see.

Court The Storm

I’ve decided to start a small project. On impulse, I bought a small moleskin notebook today. I was wondering what I should do with it when I realized that I haven’t touched my polaroid camera since my previous failed project (writing down all the happy things that happens to me and collecting them in a bottle). I will take one picture a day, post it in my moleskin and write a short poem under it. I’m hoping that this will spark my creative juices to bring bigger and better ideas.

Time to pull my focus together and get my goals back on track. I’m going to take this break as an opportunity to reorganize my life and set smaller, achievable goals. Baby steps. I need to stop reaching straight for the stars.

I need to reorganize my room as well to make it a better study space. It will be better once my desk arrives. I still need shelves for my books since they’re just piling around everywhere… I should start writing little reminders for myself everywhere to force myself into better habits.

We have finally finished shooting our web series! While we’re not really satisfied with the results (too many limitations and the directors wanted to be too different from each other which made a lack of cohesion), we had a great time filming it. We have grown so much since we first started together and it really shows. We’ve become a real team that looks out for each other and try our best even in roles we’re not good at. I was worried that we would end up wanting to kill each other (there were a few moments, don’t get me wrong) and avoid each other for awhile after the shoot.

I was very pleased with the results of the two episodes that I directed though. The lighting was great and I was very very lucky to work with an amazing actor/actresses. I learned a lot!

I now have a lot of things to look forward to!

The bank I’m with lost a huge sum of my money in December because they gave me the wrong IBAN number and I recently got it back so my money situation is a lot better now. I still hope to find some short term jobs though. I might have a 2-3 day job as a paid extra, hopefully it works out 😀

My roommate and I are headed to Amsterdam next week and we’re super excited! After that, I get a week (we booked our trip on the wrong week..) to do nothing before school starts again. I’m hoping to utilize that time to start some of the projects that I’ve been meaning to start and to catch up on things that I’ve been meaning to work on.

I need to do some location scouting for a short film project that I really want to bring to life. I will probably have to invest in a vfx artist as well for certain scenes. I also have a lot of ideas that I need to start writing into script form. I need to learn some basic graphic design to make decent title sequences I think. I also need to find time to read more scripts and draw more things. I need to rent some lenses to play with on my bmpcc and to work on my photography skills. I’m thinking of starting an art blog for fun and to improve my creativity.

It’s so great that I have some friends who are really good at film and who like to ramble about film things because I’m learning a lot from them. Also, free knowledge! My new favorite magazine is American Cinematographer.

More Sky

On Friday night, after a lovely evening of filming an event for some new friends, I dragged some friends with me to see the exhibition, “More Sky” by Otto Piene. It sounded really interesting and it was the last weekend before it closed.

It was not exactly what was advertised but it was still interesting. They projected art pieces that was originally painted on glass onto fabric hung from the ceiling. The projections changed speed after few minutes and there were various cocktails created for this event. On the night that we went, there was only one and it was alcohol free.

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There’s another exhibition that I want to go to that takes place inside a castle/mansion. There’s also another one inside a bunker which looks wicked. I can’t believe I missed out on the David Bowie exhibition. It’s been around for so long too…

Last night, I had the best silent film experience of my life. My friend and her husband organized a screening of Dr. Caligari at one of the popular clubs in Berlin. Her husband composed the score for the whole film which included a live cello player and a live theremin player mixed with piano and electronic sounds. It was wild. It also took place in the attic of the club which made the experience even more interesting. On the staircase of each floor, there were different people in costumes selling different things. There were people selling popcorn, kaleidoscope necklaces, t-shirts, shots, etc. There were people with incense and there was even one guy who was playing a guessing game. It was really cool. Also, they had some people dressed as characters from the film who would randomly walk by during the film. It was super cool! The music matched extremely well and I hope they release the soundtrack soon!

Unfortunately I didn’t really get to take photos because it was too crowded and dark…

I will be getting an iMac soon! This is really good because my laptop has been dying a lot recently. It freezes every 10 minutes and it’s super annoying. Hopefully this will also allow me to edit better. Also, just in time for Dragon Age Inquisition.

 

Youth

I went on a strange adventure on Monday. Our old Documentary tutor emails us once in awhile to ask if we want to join him on his little projects. I usually try to go to all of them because it’s really great for experience. I rarely get to touch the camera nowadays so these little projects are a breath of fresh air.

Twenty years ago, my tutor and his friends dug up the Stalin statue and made a film about it. Recently, the statue has been dug up again but the head is missing and TV channels from various countries are scrambling to interview him. On Monday we filmed him being interviewed by the Russian team. We went to the spot where he dug up the statue all those years ago and ended up getting lost for awhile. It was fun. I got a few mysterious itchy patches because nature hates me as usual.

Also, before that, he asked if we wanted to film his friends performing for Radio Eins, a very big radio station in Berlin. Of course I accepted. We also got to meet Knut Elstermann, one of the top film journalists in Germany. He was really nice and he really enjoys Canadian films so we were able to have a decent conversation. I was not awkward this time! Well… not as awkward as usual.

We also had a two day intensive Production workshop with Sol Bondy recently. I already knew that making money in this business would be near impossible but seeing all the numbers was really soul crushing. He also told us about a Polish film festival which is THE festival for cinematographers so we went to beg our school Directors to find a way to let us go. It’s probably too late to apply to go but I am really reallllly hoping.

I recently wrote something just because I felt like it and it was so refreshing. However, I just realized that it did not save… FML.

Anyways, so many things to do!