I’ve neglected this blog again. I shall do a quick update of what I’ve been up to before heading towards my main points!
- Finished filming with the second years on their feature film. It was a very interesting experience. The wrap party was also fun.
- I’m trying to become a little bit more social. Baby steps.
- Partook in the Holi festival which was really fun. I walked into a parked car later that night and managed to get a big shiny bruise on my knee.
- We switched groups in school again. These groups are now permanent and I am now in the two year group 🙂
- We have two new students in our course.
- People don’t believe in A/C here.
- Allergies are fucking hell.
- Enjoyed the annual Festival of Culture.
- Had a wonderful vacation to Budapest and Vienna with my roommate. We hit a ton of hotspots in 4 days.
- The Arctic Monkeys concert had too many openings bands and lasted way too long because of it (4:30pm-10:45pm).
We are currently doing a documentary module. We didn’t have a lot of time to plan so I was very unenthusiastic about it. I had NO ideas whatsoever until in a moment of frustration over my allergies, I realized I should talk about bees. Yes, bees. I’m actually really excited for it right now! I was asked by Reinhard if I would be willing to fly to Austria this weekend to help with sound on his documentary because no one in his class had time. Luckily I have time so I agreed. He then told me that he knows many beekeepers in his area so I should extend my trip and do my documentary there. I will be there for a whole week this time! I’m really excited to work on both documentaries!
I will also be participating in an event called the Landscape Festival. It will take place over two weeks (one of the weeks is our next holiday) and we will be paired with random people to write, direct, film and edit a film in two weeks. I’m nervous and excited but I think it’s good to start stepping out of my comfort zone. There’s also 3 film contests that I will be working on with some friends.
I’ve been feeling extremely restless lately. I want to do so many things but I have no time or money. I really should work on losing some weight. I’ve lost some because I don’t have much of an appetite nowadays due to the heat but I think that is not a good way to go about it. Either way, I need to start stepping up and getting things done because people are starting to acknowledge my hard work and I need to take that as a cue to work even harder.
We screened our short films for the first time today in an actual theatre. I wasn’t very excited about it but once I saw my film on screen, it was a different experience altogether. It’s a very wonderful feeling to see all your hard work on the screen. I wish it was my final cut though. Everyone was on varying stages of cuts so there was a lot of nervousness around. I think that generally, everyone did pretty well. It’s amazing to see how different everyone’s films and ideas are to each other and how it all came together. Most of the time, people don’t see all the hard work, drama and sleepless nights that are put behind these projects, how bad the first few cuts are or all the frustratios from things going wrong. They just see the final product. I find it a bit funny that I’m on pretty much everyone’s credits list. I am actually quite proud of what I accomplished with this film. I was very frustrated with my first cut because it didn’t feel like a story and there was just too much happening. I managed to shave off almost 3 minutes and now it’s working very well. It’s always tough cutting things out and you really need to be a monster about it. The problem about having to edit your own film is that you know all the sweat blood and tears that go into each scene and when you have to completely throw it away, it rips at your heart.
I really want to do a thriller/horror for my next short. At the very least, I want to try to create a surrealistic film.
I decided that I will continue on to do the full two years as I really want to do the feature film. I really hope to be able to direct it. Actually, I would like to co-direct it with my roommate because I think it would be more efficient and we’ve proven that we could work very well together. Besides that, we’ve decided to revisit some of our ideas and hopefully shoot it soon. Our main collaboration will probably be shot either at the end of August or sometime in September due to the nature of the story. We need to invest in a pin board to start brainstorming the details. This will be a good test on how well we work together as co-directors. Maybe we can start entering festivals with these films. I think our skills have improved a lot and we’ve gained quite a bit of confidence in ourselves and our abilities which I think is good.
Hopefully I can get in brunch and a massage tomorrow with my roommate. We’re in need of it. I’m really excited to see the Ai Wei Wei and David Bowie exhibition on Sunday! I’m back on the second years’ set on Monday and Tuesday which will be exciting. However, I’m not excited to do continuity because I don’t trust myself enough. But practice is always good! I feel a bit intimidated because Rusanna (my classmate) has been helping out as continuity and she’s really good at it so it’s a lot to live up to. Either way, Tuesday is the last day of filming.
Also, I might try out pole dancing some time next week with some friends! I should really exercise though since I want to lose weight but the heat is destroying me.
The week after that is our one week break (but we need to start thinking of topics for our documentaries which I’m really stumped on..). My roommate and I will be heading off to Budapest for 2 days and then Vienna for 2 days. We’re so excited! Our conflicting schedules doesn’t allow us to stay longer but it’s alright.. it saves us a bit of money. I’m so exciteddd!!
I’m struggling a bit right now with my allergies going a bit nuts. Half the time I want to rip off my throat and face and half the time I’m sneezing non-stop. Also, I don’t have an actual window in my room so there’s no airflow and it’s getting harder to sleep.
Yesterday was an interesting day. We went to school to watch some of the rushes at 2pm before heading off to grab equipment from Yu/Matt/Krishna’s apartment to meet at the location. It was chilly and I tried to dress warmly (which didn’t seem to be enough). The actor was much better behaved, most likely because the tutor has been reinstated to the film and she will be supervising every single shoot day and he respects her. I spent most of today as a camera trainee (which I was supposed to be to begin with) which was fun. I spent most of the time trying to keep things dry because it started raining and then pouring which put a stop to doing more takes of the scene. Also the location was hard to film in because we were unable to block it off. We were also soaked by the end of that part of the shoot. We then rushed to move things to the next base location which took quite awhile. They managed to rope in a friend to be our caterer which was great because we got delicious, hot food. The good thing about volunteering to be on the set is free food for the volunteers!
We then moved to the next location and were pretty much all setup and ready to shoot when the security guard came to kick us out. Everyone went into damage control. The main crew set off to scout a new location quickly while the rest of us waiting with the equipment and it was getting really cold. At around 2am, we were told that we’re wrapping so we were sent home. So that was my first overnight shoot experience. It was a good learning experience though. I kind of want to do the second year now to make a film, learning from the second years’ mistakes. However, I might end up wanting to throw myself off a cliff.
My rashes don’t itch anymore and have faded a bit but the marks are still there. I’m just glad that they’re not itching anymore. Also managed sleep in a LOT today. I haven’t been able to do that for awhile. All the stress from the last week has caused me to lose 5lbs 😀
So today and tomorrow I get to spend my time editing. I guess I can’t put it off any longer… I get to shoot again on Thursday though for another school. I’m really curious as to how they work together.
We’re might be going to Hungary for the June break woohoo!
It’s been a crazy few days. I helped my roommate prepare for her shoot by running some errands the day before. The actual shoot day was hell because we had to drag a shit ton of stuff on the train to the beach which was in the middle of nowhere. It was a bit much for two people. Luckily, the equipment was with her 1st AD who had a car. Anyways, it took a couple of trips to get everything to the beach and awhile to set everything up. Martin and I were part of the water unit because everyone else had an aversion to being in the water. I have to say that I’m not a fan of scuba suits after this experience haha. The water was quite cold but the suits took the bite off. I felt bad for the actors because they couldn’t put on their suits for most of the scenes because it would look weird. It was actually a really fun shoot and their crew dynamic was very different from ours. They joke around but they do not waste time unlike mine. After the first few shots, the boat we used for the cameraman had a hole in it and our cameraman refused to do any shots that were too complicated. We ended up removing the boat and having Martin do shots in the water. We were all very nervous having a $5000 camera so close to danger. I became the camera assistant and even got to shoot some of the shots. It was really hot in the suit when the sun came out so Martin and I had to keep helping each other strip half out of the suit. Also, we didn’t realize that the nude beach was right next to the dock so there was a lot of naked people walking around..
The second day was easier because there was less things needed, so Jiji and I managed to get a ride from her 1st AD. After that, it was back in the scuba suits. This time I did booming in the water, some shots in the water and the sinking boat, running and taking care of the actors. We then had to rush to pack-up so that we could do the rest of the scenes at school. It took FOREVER to get to school. Everyone was losing it by the last hour of the shoot. It didn’t take much to send someone into a fit of giggles. I ended up suffering a serious case of summer allergies right after the shoot and I’m getting random rashes in various parts of my body. Also, I’m still super sore from the dragging of things across the city. The hazards of the job I guess. I really enjoyed the shoot though. It was nice having everyone work (except for one person who showed up 3 hours late the second day after leaving early 3 hours early the day before.. AND THEN manage to do NOTHING at all for the two days) without fooling around. It felt almost professional. We have two shoots left (the other class has 3) until we can relax a bit! Also it was funny because it took 3 people to get the scuba suit off of me. Plus, we got to see wayy too much of each other’s body parts.
I can’t wait to book a massage after all this. We have SO much cleaning to do in our home though because we seemed to have brought all the sand and dirt back with us.
So there’s tons of drama happening and I’ve been switched to be Will’s camera person. To be honest, I don’t really mind who’s camera person I am. But I feel bad for Kaspar because he’s not happy with the camera person change but he understands the situation.
We went to watch Noah yesterday and as expected, it was a hot mess. However, there aren’t any good films (that I have not seen) out right now so we didn’t really have much choice. I might write a review about it later.
I’m contemplating take up Kung-fu because I REALLY miss Wushu but the classes will probably be in German which will probably improve my German but I’m also worried that I will injure myself if I don’t understand… I also watched some videos from the good schools that I found and there doesn’t seem to be any women in the classes..? Also, it would be MUCH cheaper than joining dance/crossfit/yoga/pilates classes. Generally, I want to workout but I don’t want to be around people hmm..
Everyday, I continue to be amazed and grateful to be in Berlin. I don’t know how my life would have turned out otherwise. I was quite depressed with the way my life was going, almost letting my fears win over my ambitions. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t sad. I just felt meh. I don’t think I could have stayed at my old job any longer because it was so mindless and I think I stayed there wayyy too long. I probably would have ended up staying there forever, hating my life like everyone else there (who wanted to get out also but were trapped by life and reality), probably stuck in a marriage with kids, slogging my way through life. I thought it was wrong of me to want more for myself. I wanted to please everyone else and instead repressed myself. I think I may have exploded at some point and continued hating life. I don’t hate Toronto or Canada, I just don’t think I belonged in that life I had there. I’ve been thinking a lot since shoot started (even though my mind was melting) and I am so blessed to be here, doing what I love. There are lots of hurdles as well since everyone works differently and have different priorities on set which annoys me quite often. Maybe I’m just too serious. However, I am now able to distinguish who I can work with seriously and who I never want to work with outside of being forced to at school. It’s been amazing being able to see everyone’s progress and the different ways people think and direct. I still have lots to learn but that comes with time and experience. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the point where I won’t panic about whether my end product will be good or not. I am, however, proud of my work even though it’s still very amateurish.
I’ve noticed an exponential growth in my confidence since moving here. I’ve started to finally discover myself and reach a level of independence I’m happy with. I still have a long ways to go but I think it has been really good for me to be here, to learn to like myself and to have the freedom I desire. There is also a drawback to this because I’m starting to lose patience with people who have low self-esteem and keep trying to draw attention to themselves by saying stupid shit and people who are too full of themselves and keep bragging about it. I’m really noticing the age difference between myself and certain people. Come on guys, there’s more to life than relationships and partying (I mean, partying is quite fun once in awhile). I’m really really really lucky to have my roommate who is on the same wavelength as me (SO HAPPY that she likes to lineup early for concerts and rock out near the front. I never had a rock out buddy before). Life is so so so good right now (I hope I’m not jinxing it). I hope it continues on like this. I don’t want this life to end. I don’t want to go back to my old life. I hope this is a sign that I have finally found my niche.
Three more shooots left! I’m exciteddd. We’re going to try to finally catch Noah this weekend (yes I heard the bad reviews), go picnicking by the lake again and join some summer activities in the park. I heard Berlin is unbelievable in the summer (everyone is depressed in the winter) and can’t wait to partake in this! Hopefully we’ll be able to find a bigger flat as well with cheaper rent. I need to get a room where I have an actual window so that I don’t die in the summer months. Plus we want a nice long term place that we can decorate ourselves and make it homey. I have sort of decorated my current room but I am also holding back a bit since we might move.
We auditioned to be extras in The Hunger Games. It’s 55 Euros a day if we get the gig. Also, the casting agency tends to reuse the same people again for other productions so I’m hoping for the best!
I want to be like Robin. Who should NOT have ended with Ted by the way. I hate guys like Ted urgh. She should have ended up alone because Robin doesn’t settle. Robin is confident in herself and her decisions and she’s not afraid to be alone (unlike Ted). They ruined her character. I’m not bitter about the ending at all. Nope.
I have finished filming my short! The day before my shoot, I went to school to help my classmate drop off equipment (because they shot in my apartment) and to pick up my equipment. I had to lug a giant bag full of props and kitchen things. There was also a class with our tutors but I already told the school my DOP and I couldn’t make it because I needed the day to set up everything (everyone else had a day to prepare as well) and the school was fine with it but the tutors got really pissy about it. So I ended up staying for half an hour in which I was told that I had wayyy too many scenes and shots and that there’s no way in hell I would get everything I wanted and that I should start removing things. I was already panicking because of all the things I needed to prepare but that really freaked me out. Nonetheless, he let my DOP and I go and we had to lug a shit ton of equipment to his apartment (5 flights of stairs and 4 trips up and down). It was hell. My DOP sneakily treated me to lunch which was really sweet of him because he wanted to lessen my stress level a bit. We then ran to pick up a fig rig. I sent my gaffer to pickup my cupcakes and my roommate (who volunteered to run for me on the second shoot day) to pickup some potted flowers. I then had to set dress and picked up 5 bags of groceries for the two days to feed everyone. Can I just express my sadness at how much money I had to spend? It took awhile for us to set up some basic lighting and all the equipment so that we were ready to rock ‘n’ roll the next day.
Before I delve into my shoot, I would like to reflect on the other 2 shoots that I was part of after Karli’s disorganized shoot. Karli flew off to Holland for a break so Simon ended up losing his sound guy. Kaspar got bumped to that position and I was pulled into the shoot as continuity. However, everyone on that shoot was lazy and fooling around so I ended up doing pretty much everything (except lights because I have no idea… and we brought in some second years to help with that). Everyone kept complimenting me on being so efficient but I would rather people take that as a cue to DO THEIR JOBS. Even the actors were becoming annoyed and annoying. There was huge drama as well because Kyle did pretty much nothing (he was lighting) and was being pissy about everything and acting as if the world wronged him. However, we got everything done and it was a great learning experience. I just wished people would work hard on other people’s films because we should be a team and we should treat everyone’s projects with importance.
Then the day after that shoot, I filled in as a runner for another classmate’s shoot because she was shooting in my apartment and I figured I might as well help out a bit. It was supposed to start at 11am but she called us in tears and said that her actress quit and wrote a scathing email to her about how it wasn’t professional enough and that the quality was not up to her standards (it’s a student film, what do you expect?). She had to push the shoot back until 2:30pm so that she could re-write the ending. This left everyone else in a panic because we became worried that our actors would quit. The rest of the shoot went really quickly.
On to my shoot. I felt that I could have been better at directing but I’m still not really sure of how to push actors. It’s something that I’m still working on but I think all-in-all I did decently. I got ALL the shots I wanted and even finished extremely early. I had added an extra hour to the first day because I was really worried about one of the big scenes but we managed to finish half an hour early. On the second day we finished over 3 hours early. Though I realized I forgot to add in an extra shot that I wanted to do for transitional purposes. Admittedly, I didn’t focus on lighting as much as I probably should because my lighting person didn’t really know what she was doing and I’m terrible at lighting. Everyone else kept yelling their suggestions about it at me so that was a bit annoying. I felt very calm and detached during my shoot, I still don’t know if that is a good or bad thing… Also, Kaspar has been getting worse and worse with his talking on each shoot. He begins talking as soon as he walks in til the end of the shoot which is really annoying because it delays everything exponentially. Every time I told him to shut up he would talk back to me which eats up more time. I think someone needs to talk to him about that because it’s becoming a problem on sets. It’s also annoying because my crew was full of immature boys (except for my hardworking DOP) and they all found my lead actress to be very attractive (which I was afraid of) so they spent a lot of time chatting her up. Also I had several food scenes so they would freak out over the food as if they’ve never seen the food before which is extremely annoying because they would keep hounding me on whether they could have it after or not after EVERY TAKE. In the birthday scene, I had cupcakes brought it and they acted as if they have never seen cupcakes before. One of them kept screaming at my extra to pretend to eat hers so he could have it after the shoot and then freaking out WHILE we were filming because she kept taking big bites. It was so annoying and I keep telling them to shut up and chill out. Come on guys, it’s a fucking cupcake. Sometimes I feel like I’m working with little kids. It’s so good to come home and unwind with my cats (yep, crazy cat lady in da house).
All in all, it was a great experience! I can’t wait for the rest of the shoots and the final products. I have realized that I love love love being on set. I would love to be able to move from city to city for 3 months at a time just being on different sets.
PS: I have discovered that, students who graduate from a German school are able to stay another 18 months after graduation to find a job! Also, if I get a job that pays at least 37,000 euros a year, I can get a visa for 4 years! I now know what to aim for. But we’ll see where I end up in a year since I like moving around a lot. I might end up falling in love with another city.
Okay, so I’ve been stressing over casting for the past few weeks. Today, I cast the final character in my film! I’m so glad that is over with. Casting is a nightmare because I don’t like rejecting people and there are so many good actors.
Today we shot our commercial for a competition which I hope we win! There’s two more competitions that we’re thinking of entering together. It’s so great that we’re finally planning projects together. The group I originally wanted to shoot with are always busy so nothing comes out of it. However, people that I did not expect to do projects with are turning out to be very dependable people. They’re all willing to support me in my projects (I have a ton of ideas that I want to bring to life) so hopefully in the next few months, I’ll have more material to build a showreel from. I am so excited!
I’m trying to fit as many projects in as possible. I have offered my time to some of my classmates who are shooting on days that I’m free. I mean, it would be nice to have some rest days but it is better to have more experience and to be busy all the time. I also applied to crew for a short film production for another school so hopefully I get a reply for that. I need to stop doubting myself and my abilities because that stops me from gaining more experience. Reinhard also has several ideas to shoot in Austria and he already decided that I’ll be on his crew no matter what so that’s wonderful! I have also told his friend Ute that I am willing to crew for her if she ever needs. She seemed really keen on me being her DOP so I’m crossing my fingers for everything to work out. We also have a bunch of photoshoot ideas so that will be fun too!
I’m finally settling into my life here. I think I have found my place, my passion, my lifelong goal. I really hope that I’ll be able to find a job here after I finish school because that would be amazing. The vibe here is perfect for filmmaking and for trying out different ideas. I’m also slowly building connections here so it will be a little bit easier to get projects off the ground I think.
Currently, I’m trying to find a job because with my current visa, I can work a set amount of days. I would like to have some extra money to make life a bit easier. It’s always nice to have some extra cash lying around especially since we have to fund our own films. Hopefully we’ll win a few competitions and get some money from that!
We may be getting a second cat. I know. We’re crazy. The thing is, we tried to adopt him before but someone got to him first. He was abandoned by his previous family and had a sad history. He just got abandoned by his new family so the people who took him back messaged us to see if we would be willing to take him in. We shall see what happens. We should also start looking into a bigger apartment but I really love my current area…