Most emotionally tense class ever
Thursday, April 5, 2007

Hey Blue (you've been the only consistent reader of my blogs, so I might as well address you)

Yesterday was the day that I would show my first rough cut of my final project entitled THEOLOGY AND GROCERY (I've decided to drop the CROSSING BORDERS hyphen since it's become a bit of a stand alone film for the purpose of this class) to the class. I was nervous (it's gotten to the point where the film is almost out of my hands and has a life of its own) but at the same time excited. Yes there were some technical details that still need to be ironed out, but for the most part the film is what it is. I was hoping for some positive feedback and constructive criticism. What I end up getting was "The sound needs more work, you broke the 180 line, the Bono monologue lost me, there's no moment of weakness from Riley. But your actors were really good." So I new have to get my actors together again for an hour to do a poor man ADR and looping with the DAT recorders, which are actually outdated pieces of crap that we barely could get to work for us when we used them for an assignment.

I guess it's just frustrating when you put so much of yourself into something that's been living in your head for nine months and work on for five days nonstop.

But I guess I kind of knew that coming in, so I can't really say I was surprised. What I was surprised with was that the stress that we were all having with our projects started to spill over in full display.

One guys project I worked on was compromised despite having two camera and a full lighting scheme because his "actors" weren't fully prepared and rehearsed. At the end of every take one of the actors burst out laughing. And this was a very beautiful but emotionally intense film they were doing, so it was affecting the final result. Fortunately, he still hadn't shot the majority of the film, so he still has that opportunity to make something great. But he said that after this, he was done with directing. He just wants to write from now on.

Another guys project was a really edgy, irreverent comedy (the subtitle was "Guns, Violence and Intoxication" which is an inside joke for us) that our teacher actually got worked up over. It's all narration and it gets pretty funny on that ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT level, but it has a joke about pussies (both kinds) that's said to demonstrate how gutless the two characters were. Well she just ripped into it and said it was sexist and crude and just awful. She actually sent us all an e-mail talking about it.

Hi Everyone,

Upon further reflection after our conversation about blank's film
yesterday, I realised we did not take the time to discuss the actual
word "pussy." In the slang form that blank uses in his film, the word
refers to a weak person with negative qualities. Thus, a weak person
is equivalent to a woman's vagina, nicknamed pussy. The term gets
extended to mean that women in general are weak and possess negative
qualities. A degrading view of women; a horror for men to be compared

Likely, in any person's life, the most courageous and deeply strong
people they meet and know will be women. Also, what is weak or
negative about growing a human being inside one's body, enduring the
difficulty of that, and giving birth to her or him through that
vagina which is regarded so negatively? It is clearly an act of
strength, commitment and courage for a woman to have a child. We have
come from this positive place.

The word "pussy" stems from antiquated patriarchal views of women that
misconstrue the truth. This is just more propaganda blank.. it would be
nice if you didn't spread it.


You have to understand. This guy is not in any way crude, boisterous or sexist or any "ist" for that matter. In regular life he's pretty quiet and meek. When he's in front or behind the camera, he's incredibly funny. I call him our resident Mel Brooks. When the issue was brought up, I had made a suggestion that would have shortened the joke and made it less offensive, thus making it funnier. It would have the same connotation, but not be mean spirited.

So I don't know what's going to happen. I've never seen my prof be so vocally angry over anything. Not even when we were making the short film she was producing did she ever lose her cool. She never went all Joel Silver or Scott Rudin on us. So who knows what'll happen. Obviously my prof isn't someone who listens to George Carlin or Denis Leary or David Cross and is used to this kind of button pushing comedy, although she mentioned in her explanation CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM and why Larry David can get away with making fun of minorities and groups because he first and foremost makes fun of himself and that it was kind of lacking in this one. So it's weird seeing this minor controversy erupt from the most unlikely people in the class.

But the real cherry on top was the last person who went. She did this experimental avant garde thing, and there wasn't even a soundtrack to it. It was all visual. When I was watching it, I kept going "Oh hey, there's that girl I once went to school with. She knows her? Weird." But at the end when she started talking about the project, she didn't even say what it was about and where it was from, but she ended up breaking down and drying in front of the entire class.

This completely blew my mind and broke my heart because I've never seen any one student in the entire time I've been in the film program cry about their own work. And over a rough cut no less. I'm not even that emotionally invested in my thing, and it's been playing in my head for the last nine months. It's my baby and I haven't cried over it yet. At the end of the class, I actually went up and gave her a hug. Figured she needed one.

That, and our lesbian classmate asking me if I can do a handstand and making me do it twice. Once to see if I can do it, the other to cheer the crying girl up.

All in all, it was probably the most emotionally intense class we've ever had. And what happens now is that what was supposed to be our last class is now a third rough cut class (there's still three of us that haven't shot a frame yet), and that our real last class when our final cuts are due is on the evening of the 15th, the same night I was planning on going home to work on the farm for three weeks, as well as the same night of the two hour premiere of DRIVE and a new SOPRANOS. If it was the afternoon I'd be happy, but nooo. It has to be in the evening.

Also, the third year screenings are spread across two nights and are on a Monday and Tuesday nights. So I have to drive three hours a day for two days back and forth from the farm to the city. And on the same night HEROES finally comes back on. And yes I can just download them, but that's not the point.

Oh well. I just watched a new OFFICE, so that helps a lot. And now I'm heading off to do some boom miking for a project.


Thursday, April 12, 2007 1:57 PM


I sorta want to quote our beloved mercenary about the act of excluding people - due to your comment about me being the only consistent commentator - but really? Too chuffed at the shout-out to put on my "defender of the people" hat;)

Still...while I have never tried to make a film before - short commercial in high school for Comm. Tech class, but never a film short - I definitely know how it feels to have the amazing project percolating in one's head and then have a seemingly obscene amount of criticism come down on it that one can't fathom. I got faith that you and your Sean and Jewel stand-ins with completely rock the house when you get things sorted out though.

Don't know how to comment about your prof's e-mail though. Want to liink it to the craziness happening locally with the April Fool's issue of the University of Western Ontario Gazette that area groups are just incensed over due to a few really crazy articles...but it's really not fair for either your classmate or the Gazette's editors to do that. I find it hard to argue with people who are sensitive to issues like domestic abuse or sexism/misogyny because I personally seem to able to perceive the absurd nature of the humour that the cast and crew were trying to do while others take it as serious commentary. Not because I can't understand their point...but because they are - I think personally - helping to perpetrate the power of the words and ideas by reacting so powerfully to them.



You must log in to post comments.