Film Connection's Student Success Stories, Page 12
Work with your mentor on real shoots!
“I just got to work on a local commercial and it was exciting as all hell. We set up a series of shots using car mounted Digital Recorders and a few ground shots, one using a rubber track for a rolling camera shot. I learned about equipment like the car mount and its support, I also handled the rubber tracking and learned of its delicate nature and the importance of it being lined up thoroughly correct.”
Learn Final Cut Pro from an Expert
“I’m beginning to feel more comfortable with the camera and I’m continuing to learn techniques for future use. My mentor also taught me several techniques during the editing session that helped me to get acclimated to the software. This was my first time editing and it will take time to get used to the process. The skill of editing is something that I look forward to developing as my externship continues”
Receive invaluable personalized advice from a film industry professional.
“I had fun doing the lesson on script coverage with my mentor, it really taught me a lot to look at a script from a critical stand point and talk to him about it.”
Learn hands-on from day one.
“My first day was awesome! I got to meet allot of talented people and see the workings of a real shoot.”
Learn on the set.
“More and more I am getting acclimated to what being on a set is like, learning techniques and expanding on them. I feel that I am learning a bit of everything and the knowledge keeps pouring in.”
The best way to learn film is under the guidance of real filmmakers.
“I’m able to learn a lot easier than I used to learn in community college and now I finally like what I’m doing. I have been more motivated to do stuff and now I can’t wait to go further and write my script.”
— Anthony DeFrancisco, Bellmawr, NJ
Real shoots, real projects.
“My mentor told me I will get to be on set for the shooting of an independent horror movie this coming Wednesday! This is great news. I am appreciative that he is giving me this opportunity right out of the gate.”
— Hiram Smith, Bethany, MO
Real shoots, real projects.
“On Friday, Jim, the producer, invited me to a Jack Nicklaus shoot at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Florida. After the shoot was over, I helped pack up the equipment and the Director of Photography was telling all these Jack Nicklaus stories he had working with him. It was a lot of fun and I hope to have stories like that one day.”
Learn from the pros.
“My mentor is very knowledgeable and passionate about what he does, only motivating me more.”
Learn the fundamentals as you extern.
“My mentor and I have been getting along great, he has been showing me different little things as far as editing and shooting techniques. We have discussed lighting and many different things about film.”
Learn on the job with Film Connection.
“All I can say right now is I am very excited at how far I’ve come with the help of ‘The Film Connection’ and that I am very glad I came across this school online.”
— Iris Chinchilla, Las Vegas, NV
Real shoots, real projects.
“Man, oh man, what a week this has been! I get to the loading dock, to help put stuff in the film truck, and I find out from the man in charge of this shoot, that we are going to the beach for an Ambervision Sunglasses commercial and I would be doing the teleprompter.
Learn Film Editing on the Job
“What i like most here is the editing… because that was my goal when i came, and i am definitely learning a lot about editing. Other thing we do a lot is green screen, which I enjoyed. I also worked as a video camera for Bret in a project, and this is something i really like and i am good doing.”
— Camila Castello, Bellville, IL
Learn hands-on with your mentor’s guidance.
“I am incredibly grateful for the experience. The Film Connection is so unique and a terrific find especially for me and my younger brother who have spent so much of our schooling career in a less than conventional setting. Continuing to pursue our education in such a ‘hands-on’ manner has been excellent.”
“From a practical point of view I have most definitely left the program with a broader understanding of the industry. This has been learned through time spent in the studio, time spent on various shoots, and also through the reading and video materials that the Film Connection has provided. “
— Chloe Baker, Elkton, MD
Shoot real projects with professional equipment.
“This week we went to ORU Convention Center and helped set up and shoot an interview segment with the Coach of the ORU men’s basketball team for an Explore Tulsa episode. I learned a lot from being allowed to operate the camera.”
Learn Final Cut Pro while working on real projects.
“We are still to work on the music video from the shoot filmed in December. I’m continuing to become familiarized, even somewhat proficient, on Final Cut Pro 6.”
Work on real projects with your mentor.
“This week I had to research and get information on a skin care product we are doing a promo video for, and I will be able to edit and do the graphics for the video next week. Also I am going to get work from the zombie web series I worked on previously, as an editor on the new season.”
Learn the fundamentals as you extern.
“My mentor is showing me the importance of editing and the skills that come with it.”
Learn Hands-On from the Start
“Even though it’s my second week, I’m already having a great time working with the mentors at my production company.”
Work with your mentor on real shoots
“On Saturday I’m going to a video shoot to do some camera setup and running as well, I am excited to be looking for cast and crew for my short films and hope it goes well.”
Learn new skills no matter how much previous experience you’ve had.
“I felt a little too confident because of my past experience at other production companies that I interned at while in college. Now I know I have to act as a rookie in the film/TV business so I can learn everything that I can with an open mind. I cannot wait for my next lesson next week because Tood and Jim said I am going to start doing hands-on work.”
— Joseph Lamia, Delray Beach, FL
Learn on the Job
“My first day, we went to a museum to shoot an opera for kids. I really enjoyed the show. We set up camera & sound. I filmed the pianist after the show & the editor will add her throughout. All in all, I had a great time.”
— Lacia Kay, Anaco, LA
Work on real Hollywood projects with your mentor.
“It’s been such an amazing journey and a great learning experience. Today we discussed the next steps for The Closing we are filming the rest of it on the 5th for the SAG actors because we have to sign up with SAG. Tom mentioned a website for festivals called withoutabox.com. We fixed my resume and he mentioned that he emailed production companies, Producers and DP’s for potential job opportunities just waiting to hear back from them.”
— Chelsy Jensen, Stansbury Park
A learning experience based on experience.
“Peter is very meticulous when it comes to the homework and I’m so glad I have such a great mentor who makes sure I fully understand everything I’m learning. He gives me real life examples from his own career which really enhance my learning experience.”
— Dominic Matich, Rochester Hills, MI
Learn the right tool for the job…even an old tool.
“Today we learned about microphones, condenser mics, Dynamic mics. Each mic has its own use and purposes, for live application, we use the Dynamics mic. For studio we use the condenser mic. Different mics might have different frequency pick up. My Mentor had show me about 40 of his mics and some of them are really antique, but professional. We’re still using them in modern technology, just because they have their unique own sound.”
— Trinh Vo, Houston, TX
Get professional shoot experience, not just school shoot experience.
“The first day of this week, I went with Adventure Productions on a shoot for the Home Depot. This was the most important shoot I had been a part of I helped some but learned a lot from the producers there. They showed me how to set up shots using one camera and making it look like multiple. I also paid attention to how they got the person on camera to act. They were very personable to get the talents best reactions to the questions. I helped set up lights and carry equipment that day, and learned a lot!”
— Michael Frederick, Wrightsville, PA
The inspiration of mentorship.
“I am more motivated than ever before because I can already see an enormous improvement in my writing skills, understanding of film and screenplays, and my understanding of the movie business because my mentor and I have a boxer / trainer relationship. Now that might not work with others but for me as the extern I couldn’t be happier.”
— Dominic Matich, Rochester Hills, MI
Apply what you’re learning to your own work immediately.
“I greatly enjoy the journey I’m on and the knowledge I’m acquiring on the way to becoming a professional screenwriter. I trust in my mentor and his guidance which have led me to redoing many parts of my script and they turned out much, much better.”
— Dominic Matich, Rochester Hills, Michigan
Ease into the world of film from the ground up.
“My first day, I was very nervous. I was given a script to breakdown. I was able to get it done within the day, but I brought it home to double check my work. On my second day, I was given to script. The first one, I was asked to read it & write a summary about it & give my personal opinion about the script. The second script, I was asked to breakdown again. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first week at the film studio & can’t wait until next week!!”
— Lacia Kay, Anacoco
Have confidence in your education.
“I have no concerns as I am sure I am in the most helpful hands…You and all the professionals from this program have displayed to me courtesy and expedience that enhance the feeling that I am in the best hands with the best people.”
— Dominic Matich, Rochester Hills, Michigan
Get to know your potential future employers.
“We are still wrapping up a movie. I am in the office from nine to five, helping the production coordinator with paperwork. I do it all here, from deal memos to checks and errands. We are all pretty much “buddies” in the office right now. So far I’m loving the studio! From the recent movie I have learned so much on set. I was pretty much a PA on set, met so many great people. The wrap party was just great! I got a chance to meet the actors and the crew, so that was cool.”
— Huan Tran, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Work around the clock to learn how to become a professional in the Film industry.
“One day this week, I set up a shoot in the stage, set lights worked with Art department, also working as a dolly Griped for the DP. A few days later I had my one-on-one Lesson time with my mentor, then started editing a reel for the Director himself! The next day I went over the next assignment my mentor, then worked some more hands-on, editing the reel for another director in the Company. The remainder of this day I helped with Pre Pro for shoot that is fast approaching in the near future. Then the next day I went on location for a shoot, call time 12 noon, helped set lights and ran smoke machines, struck lights and rapped shoot with crew, long day. We got done at 4 am, returned smoke machines and 4k ballast back to rental house! I love the production company and my mentor. I had no clue about FCP before I started this course and the team I’m working with is amazing and so helpful. They always critique in a way that is helpful and kind. The course lays out the ground work in a simple and concise way that I feel anyone could understand.”
— Gerald Vogt, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Work with the leading professionals in the film industry.
“I went on another shoot with my mentor this Wednesday that was for Wells Fargo. There was a sort of “career day” for multiple students from different high schools. My job was to tail the students that were coming to check out the Wells Fargo bank in downtown, Albuquerque. This was being done all around the country so Wells Fargo could have multiple tapes to form into one “feature” to show how what they are doing for high school students. When we got inside I learned about White balance, and how a shot can be ruined unless it is checked whenever you are entering a differently lit area with a camera. I followed them, room to room as the students were run through the different opportunities Wells Fargo offered like college payments. My mentor and I then went to a private room to allow a young woman, who had set up the whole little event at this particular bank, to conduct an interview with one of the gentlemen who took part in talking with the kids. My mentor, the sound handler, and I set up all the equipment before anyone got there, including the monitor, tripod, video camera and lighting. So we got through that portion of the shoot very quickly. After the interview was over, the lady who was asking the questions needed to be interviewed as well. I got the opportunity to ask her a few preselected questions as my mentor filmed. Later, we stopped to grab a late lunch before we shipped the tape out at FedEx to the address we had been given. I am still putting in hours at my mentors’ production company as well, which has been fun. A few days later I did a project with the sound engineer at the studio, who runs my mentor’s company when my actually mentor, who is the owner, is on shoots that involved taking/uploading dozens of photographs to Final Cut Pro and creating a montage. This was for a family who had lost a loved one and wanted a reel of pictures on DVD to remember her by. My mentor and I went through songs that the family had requested to be put in the video and selected a few good ones. Later that day light my mentor needed for a shoot had broken so we needed to swap it out with a backup. I removed the speed ring from the light and reattached it to another one. I am learning a lot from my mentor and getting along with him very well.”
— Derek Sorenson, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Produce your own film.
“For my first official day with the Recording Connection, where I went into the studio for my first official day with my mentor. There were a lot of work in the industry, and got to meet with professionalism filmmakers. It is a great fundamental progress in my career, I have learned a lot so far from my mentor, as he is one of those types that hold onto true professionalism. As my Lessons progress with my mentor I have meet professional directions in New York, received professional appearances at them, and come early Summer 2013 and I will be directing the film and my mentor will produce it. Thank you really goes out to my mentor, as he has now granted me opportunity to get to get my success goal to move forward to the professional level. I’m proud of him as he is such very nice person. My mentor and I are planning for many project coming up I’m so excited, and thanks to my mentor he has given me all the trust to be his assistant 1st director, very proud, and looking to working hard and harder to accomplish my career to the professional level.”
— Nihad Shalabi, Far Rockaway, New York
Work in a working production company.
“I spent two days in the studio this week for Lesson 2, it was very exciting. We had a movie premiere at the beginning of the week, and I was assigned to be the Assistant Coordinator for the night. It went wonderfully! Two days later I ran the cameras for a job we had. It was for a client that had an internet class and I filmed her classes for most of the day. After that my mentor and I had a meeting with a group that pitched us an idea for a documentary and reality TV series. It went very well. This week was full of hands on experience. I loved it!”
— Taylor Giddens, Kennesaw, Georgia
Make your dream career a reality when you join the Film Connection.
“Today at the studio I was able to start entering dubs on to Excel and make some tape and shipping labels for all of them. I then made a priority list and put all of the client forms in order. The spots were for Credit Guard Spanish, Complete Classic Rock, 25th Anniversary Rock, Roll Hall of Fame, and Love Alive. The Formats were DVD, DVCPro25 Beta SP and the clients were Relient Media LLC, Revshare, Time Life, and Credit Guard of America. My mentor and I then moved on to have an in-depth discussion about the camera I have and if I would be able to make something substantial enough with it. I have a Sony Digital 8 Handy Cam and it runs HI8 tapes. Both of my mentors’ told me that it is mainly a consumer camera and not specifically used for professional purposes. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be used to film. I also brought up that I have officially started work on a short film and they gave me pointers on where I should start looking for different things to improve the Production. One of my mentors’ gave me an amazing Website called Soundrangers.com, which is a lot of stock sounds that you can buy or get for free. This works amazing because they have everything you would need to start sounds you would not easily get on a low budget film. Talking about my short film with my mentor came about that my mentors’ also offered that if it came down to it I could use the V.O. booth at the studio for my film, which is amazing because that’s a huge asset if I really need a place to get the perfect kind of sound. The following day I went into the studio again, which turned out to be a short day, however, it put a fire in my step on working with my short film and now daily I am working towards the goal of putting it out there. I am really excited about the workbook the Film Connection assigned me because it is also in the directing portion and I’m learning a lot to prepare myself for my film and I can’t wait to start filming each and every scene. I love the studio the Film Connection has placed me in, as it is a real studio where I can learn and grow. It is also making me much more confident to start my own film projects alike the one I’m working on now. The Film Connection program has really been life changing because before this I was just working in retail.”
— Trent Jones, Austin, Texas
Work on your own scripts with the hands-on assistance of your personal mentor.
“This week my mentor and I started to finalize the Kickstarter account we started. We are just waiting on the synopsis for the script, which I just received. When I meet with my mentor next week we will put that in Kickstarter and submit the project. I showed my mentor the potential directors I had in mind and he liked one in particular, so we emailed him and he has responded back to use and I will soon send him the new script I have. My mentor and I also had another director in mind who he has actual worked with. We then went on an LA casting and submitted the two main characters. I have received many responses and have gone over them all. My mentor and I set up dates for audition and have scheduled the shot for the Film in roughly for exactly 3 months. We went over homework but I did not really have any questions because it was a really easy Lesson. So when we meet next week we should set up meetings with the directors and choose the actors for the auditions. We’re meeting on Tuesday after I get back in town from visiting my family in Utah. A thanks goes out to the Film Connection, which is so great. I have really learned a lot from what I already kind of knew before joining the program so I am just so happy that we are doing this project so I can see the process in which to take when producing a film. For me, hands-on is the best way for me to learn and that’s exactly what we are doing. I have no complaints this is an amazing experience. Thanks so much Film Connection.”
— Rachel Gentry, Denver, North Carolina
Learn how to work in professional filming environments.
“At the beginning of the week my mentor called me to advise he wanted me to come in earlier in the week than expected. My mentor was shooting a documentary on war vets that day and wanted me to get some behind the scene and production experience. After agreeing that I could come in, and that we would also go over and review my Lesson assigned to me by the Film Connection, after the shoot. As the day progressed with my mentor I realized that during the beginning, as well as the end of the shoot, there was a lot of time put into setting up as well as getting everyone settle down and deciding what was next. My mentor was head of the crew, then there was a man with the floating camera, another of my mentors controlled the shot another angles, and next to him was another employee holding the boom mic. From my observations today there is a lot of communication going on, as there are a lot of little errors due to lighting, positions and background noise that need to be fixed during a professional shoot. Mainly everything went smoothly though, and at the end of the shoot everyone was pretty tired. But I still continued to keep my energy up, continuing to assist my mentor and the staff with the cleanup of all the items as well as components put back in their secure places. As promised, once the shoot was wrapped my mentor and I went back into his office for our one-on-time review of my Lesson assignment. We went through this is great detail and I wrote every little bit down. Looking back on this day I really feel as though I have learned a lot from my observations, as well as assisting in the smaller tasks. Everything is really progressing great in the Film Connection program, as working with my mentor is great. He is easy to interact with, and it is just a pleasure to be there in the studio working with him”
— Huy Pham, Kent, Ohio
Watch your commercials go live on TV!
"This week my mentor and I went around Charlotte, North Carolina, getting footage that can be used for many projects we are working on at the production studio. Things like road signs, welcome signs, crowd shots, and the airport. It was great; I work directly with the productions, getting to operate the camera for most of the day. This actual shoot was supposed to be a green screen shoot for EZWay Auto Sales. However, it has been rescheduled for this Wednesday. Since no one else will be using the facility until then, we got to leave the green screen up. However, the lights were rented so we had to strike them and return them to the rental place. Afterwards all of this was prepared, my mentor and I sat down to have our one-on-one training for Lesson 8 assigned to me by the Film Connection program. Also, I really wanted to let the program know that I saw my 15-second edit of the EZ Way commercial on the Air! It was our local CBS affiliate showing it during The Mentalist. It is just so cool to see something I have done actually on Television!"
— Shane Killian, Stanley, North Carolina
Fine-tune your skills by working hands-on with the Film Industry professionals.
“I really have been enjoying my experience with this Film Connection program. I think it is definitely the one-on-one time I have with my mentor that helps out the most in my progression into the Film Industry. Not only this, but learning from someone who has done this type of work for a long time, alike my mentor, who is a true professional. I have had the pleasure of helping out on two short films and even a feature film which is REALLY exciting! This is definitely something I didn’t think I would be doing before I started this program. I have now also gained the confidence I need to make a feature film of my own. What really surprised me about the Film Connection was how far I have come within the program. Before the program, I thought that I could get in the industry with only my writing. However, now I know I have the skills to get a job in the industry, regardless the position. I had no idea how to light a scene and now I know that I can do it myself if needed to and my mentor is a great help in this process. Thankfully he is extremely patient and is, and will always be, there for me if I have, any questions, as he continues to currently do so. This is an experience that was worth every penny, and I will do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
— Andrew MacLean, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Travel with your mentor and his staff to various filming locations.
“I am having an awesome time in the Film Connection program. Last week I traveled with my mentors Company to Orlando, Florida where we filmed live broadcasts of ASUG News. They let me operate one of the cameras both days of the convention too, really working as part of their team! Now I am currently in Charlotte, North Carolina with a few crew members from my mentors’ studio until Friday for a Production. All in all I’m having a blast and learning a lot in the Film Connection.”
— Allison Miller, Oglesby, Illinois
Work hands-on, making connections in the industry, by joining the Film Connection.
"Today was unlike any other day so far in the Film Connection. So, I actually got to go to my mentor house today and see his majestic home. While there it was an eventful day. We had a photographer over to assist with an entire photo shoot. I was there the entire time working as part of the team. Then, after the shoot was completed, I was fortunate enough to meet his lovely wife and two beautiful children and really get a sense for what he is like outside of the studio as well. Next, we went into his private office and began forming my own business website, brainstorming on how it should look, as well as how my mentor and I wanted it to function in a way that’s best for me. Moreover, prior to today my mentor had given me a feature film to watch and report back on what I thought of it. It was a film that had circulated through a couple film festivals, and actually garnered some attention. After viewing it, I knew what to avoid in order to not be seen as an extremely amateur filmmaker, and made four pages of criticisms. I definitely felt like Francois Truffaut in the manner of being a harsh critic, in his early days as a critic at Cahiers du Cinema. My mentor also gave me his Variety magazines to read over, which I’m grateful for because I love keeping up-to-date with whatever is going on in the film and television industry. Moreover, guess what! My mentor gave me his first assistant job, which was to find contact information of certain executives in the television network. It was somewhat difficult to track down some of these important figure’s emails, but I seem to have done the task well. We discussed about my short ideas, and agreed that my first short will be too long, so now I am developing my second short."
— Steven Buchanan, Miami, FL
Receive film credits while enrolled in the Film Connection.
“During the week with my mentor I did transcribing for a film called “All Screwed Up”. It was actually kind of fun. It’s very tedious, however, I earned film credit for the project! That week part of the lesson was about script breakdowns. So Anastasia went over the process of how to complete a breakdown and explained that it’s necessary to keep the production organized and in budget. That week Wednesday, I accompanied the producers to a screening at the Friars Club. The film was terrible, to say the least. But I learned a lot about production value and what not to do to make my project bad. The following week, I finished transcribing the film and began the process of doing a breakdown for one of the studios projects, “Walking Dead.” Also my work on my mentors’ last film continues and this is something else I am earning film credit for. I’m enjoying working with both of my mentor, as they truly do give me a lot of responsibility and I’m treated like part of the Company.”
— Kristina Negri, Central Islip, New York
Become a full-time extern in a professional recording studio
“I went every single day this week. Monday I worked with my mentor on more commercials fixed numbers and words in it. The following two days were my externship days where I got to work on going through multiple commercials in order to make sure all the appropriate contact data was correct, as well as the Add Id’s and such, making sure they matched up with the correct ones on all documents. On Thursday I went to a film shoot with the other extern I work with every so often in the studio, as well as an actual employee from my mentors’ studio, who I worked with before early in the studio. I was introduced to a guy who taught me about lights, as well as the different lighting he was going to be using for the shoot. I got to time the lady who was being filmed and read along with what she was reading to make sure she didn’t miss any words and to ensure she said them correctly. Everything with my mentor is great. I love the way he teaches me things, making it easy for me to understand. To top it off, he is really good with working with me on different projects and such. I’m really enjoying it here and like that I get to learn new things each day every since I made the choice to enroll in the Film Connection.”
— Wyoming Kaut, Austin, Texas
Work on your own personal scripts with the professional film makers in the industry.
“In today’s lesson my mentor and I discussed more about the proper format structure when writing script for film and television. We discussed more about what makes the audience have interest for both the protagonist and antagonist in films. In this lesson I also showed my mentor my finished script for a movie idea that I had in mind when doing my first low budget film. After reading the script my mentor was very impressed on how I was able to write a script in perfect movie format with a story that was able to captivate his attention. He loved the script and gave me some excellent criticism which made me feel like I was actually writing movies for the big screen. All in all today was a great day and I enjoyed every bit of it.”
— Jonathan Raeford, Marietta, Georgia
Learn how to work on professional films.
“In going over Lesson 3 with my mentor I was surprised to learn that it is not actually the producer’s job to raise the money that is needed for production, but rather, the role is designated to the executive. Needless to say, the producer will be expected to hire on the best person for this job. My mentor and I agreed that trying to be a hero requires common sense and treading carefully. He explained an anecdote of his experience in being hero on the set of his first produced horror feature, the Attic. Just as the camera was about to roll for a heavily prepared shot, my mentor noticed that there was no entry wound, and that the camera would pick up on it. My mentor followed his gut and shouted his concern just as the director was prepared to roll the camera. It turns out that my mentor was in fact correct, and this risk was certainly appreciated. During this session, my mentor was also able to review a short film script that I had written, in the hopes of ultimately producing it under his guidance. My mentor had excellent, constructive criticism and suggestions about how to improve the story. He questioned some of the back-story, which helped me better understand the importance of logic and story-flow from another pair of eyes. I was very appreciative of his commentary, as I knew my story was missing some important elements. Tom also referred me to a 2-day, short film shoot. I gladly seized the opportunity to volunteer as a production assistant for both days. The objective of the short film is based on a 168-hour challenge, in which religious filmmakers are expected to produce a final-edited film in one week. The challenge begins when the filmmakers receive the theme of their stories; this year, the theme is “keeping promises.” The producers of the film were connected to my mentor through his last feature film, Sprawl. The whole production takes place at the producer’s house in Altadena, California. So day 1 of the film I arrived at the set at 9:30 AM and was greeted by the primary producer of the film. I met the DP and the 1st assistant director (AD), both of whom who turned out to be my direct bosses. In preparing for the first scene of the shoot, the 1st AD gave me an opportunity to be the clapper throughout the production of the film, therefore, making my title the 2nd AC for the production. Something which had amazed most people on the set, I was able to use an IPAD application for movie slates. My role required saying “Scene #, Take #” prior to each take. I was surprised to learn as much as I did just being designated as the clapper. This required coordination with the DP and the sound technician.”
— Jeremy Mosst, Miami, FL
Build your confidence with hands-on training from the experts.
“At the beginning the week when I got to my mentors house and we tested his new sound equipment, using it plugged into his Canon 60D. The sound was pretty good but there’s no headphone jack in his camera so it’s hard to monitor the sound while shooting a video. He also showed me a short film that was pretty cool. I don’t remember the name but the shots were really artistic and well lit!
A few hours later we drove over The Phoenix Restaurant in Bend, as my mentor had been asked to make another commercial for Bend’s Where to Eat Guide’s website. When we got there we sat down with the manager and figured out what we wanted for the commercial’s voiceover, then my mentor recorded that while I went outside and got some exterior shots of the restaurant. Once I was done with that I walked around and got some videos of the bar and the kitchen and staff interacting with customers. I used my new Canon T3i, and I was surprised and pleased with how comfortable and confident I was when I was getting the shots and changing the settings on my camera so that I got the best image. Once we had all the shots we needed we went back to my mentors’ house and he downloaded the footage that was on my camera to his computer.
A few days later I went over to have my session in Final Cut Pro. My mentor contacted a well-known studio to ask them to go over all the basics of editing with me, so I arrived at this new studio ready to learn. When I got there the engineer asked me about myself, and I told him that I’m just trying to learn all about filmmaking so that I can decide which area of it I’d like to go into. Then I asked him about his filmmaking journey. He went to film school in Seattle, WA, and then decided to open his own business and become a ‘commercial producer’, as in he makes videos commercially and goes out on hire. He recently went down to Argentina to make a feature length documentary about Malbec wine, which I was able to watch at the Bend Film Festival.
He then proceeded to show me his editing suite after we had talked for a few minutes. It had three huge computer monitors for him to edit with and then three TV screens for him to watch his edited footage on. It was awesome. He showed me a project that he had shot the previous weekend and had just finished editing. It was a commercial for a healthcare clinic. He then walked me through the steps he had taken during the editing process, showing me how he organizes his footage and ‘promotes’ clips to help narrow down what he wants to use. He told me to try to get as familiar as I can with all the shortcuts that can be used in Final Cut because it will save me lots of time and it’s very important to be able to edit quickly. He showed me some mistakes in the footage that he had to fix with Adobe After Effects and told me to become familiar with Photo Shop because After Effects is very similar to it. I did have some questions about video format which he answered thoroughly.
After showing me the basics of editing Sky talked for a while about how he learned about making videos and said that the best way to learn is to go out and shoot videos and then edit them and then, if I have any questions, figure out the answers to them by searching on the internet or looking in books or talking to people. I asked him about making the wine documentary and he explained how he went down to Argentina three times: once to do research, once to shoot the interviews with the winemakers, and once to get b-roll that enhanced what the interviewees said. He showed me how he stuck up about a thousand sticky notes on his wall when he was deciding how to shape the story for the documentary. He also told me to watch movies with a discerning eye, but, again, the best way to learn how to make movies is to actually make them, not necessarily watch them.”
— Korey Hehn, Prineville, Oregon
Learn from the professionals in the Film Industry.
“I arrived at the studio in the morning to everyone scrambling around the studio due to a shoot happening that very morning. The shoot was for a woman who was explaining the most efficient ways to shop and save money at different grocery stores around the country. I got to run the tele-prompter until we were done, which was roughly around noon. At that point, my mentors had to go to a business lunch at the Chamber of Commerce, so I spent that time reading and familiarizing myself more with the studio. When my mentors returned, we I discussed my homework assigned to me prior to the lesson plan that day, as well as our upcoming plans for the following day of training. I showed up at the office the next day at 6:45 am and quickly departed for Newberry, South Carolina. We had an all-day film shoot up there for a local hospital that has the best joint replacement program in the midlands. I was placed into the role of Assistant Gaffer under the supervision of a professional working for the shoot. He was a fascinating older man who had been running lights in the industry for decades. I learned a great deal from him, including some terminology that would otherwise have gone right over my head. We had multiple locations for the shoot, so by the end of the day I had become fairly efficient in the tear-down and set-up of the lighting equipment, as well as the terminology. Once the lighting was set-up at each location, I listened and watched as intently as I could to what my mentor, as well as the rest of the crew, including our cinematographer, were doing, while trying to stay out of their way. This day was an excellent first day crash course on what I will be doing over the next few months while enrolled in the Film Connection. I had a blast, learned a lot and, despite being exhausted by the end, cannot wait for more.”
— John Hamilton, Columbia, South Carolina
Assist your mentor on professional film shoots.
“This week my mentor showed me the studio in a very in-depth way, and I also got introduced to many more employees in the studio. I spent the day getting to know what tools we have in the studio and where certain equipment lives. Basically being informed as to the culture of the office and what types of services my mentors company provides. I got to help and PA, as well as Grip on a weekly shoot that was going on that day. During shoot I assisted the Director with gaffing and provided general help to the talent and crew. I continued on to learn more about KINOs and how their ballasts work. Afterwards, I wrapped and broke down equipment like a pro thanks to my PA experience my mentor had just given me. Along with their in house Gaffer/DP, my mentor taught me some very useful production tips. We spent the day learning tricks on building c-stands, moves every dolly grip should know, and swapping production stories. I also learned to mount a camera and tripod that I had never set up before. We set up their green screen and lit it for different purposes. I also learned more about the whys and how’s of those lighting techniques. I was able to see how the lit set looked through the camera, and how to adjust it for a better picture. The DP taught me the different names of their lights, uses, and their pros and cons. I've been really enjoying the company and its employees. Everyone has been very welcoming and willing to show me new things! The reading is more interesting than I first thought and I find it equally helpful to the hands-on training.”
“In my first lesson with my mentor I started out by learning about the history of moving images on screen from its inception to modern day. During my mentoring sessions, I learned more about budgeting for a project, it was tedious, but I still enjoyed the process. It seems that everything that has to be meticulously budgeted for were things I knew. However, for some reason never thought about it. So, this has been an eye-opening experience. On my second day for the week with my mentor, I was introduced to a documentary project being tackled by the studio. I was given the task of finding footage and photographs of the subject pertaining to the documentary, compiling information from various sources. I didn’t think it would be so much work, but it’s difficult to not only find information on someone who has managed to stay elusive to the media, but also to track down the sources of the footage and figure out how to contact these people and obtain the proper rights and permissions to use it. I’m still working on this project and over all this week with my mentor I’ve started to understand how much work, effort, and sweat equity goes into pre-production. And although it’s a painful process, it’s a good kind of pain. Like my mentor said, it’s like being confronted with a mystery or a puzzle and figuring out how to solve it and once the pieces come together, it’s a good feeling knowing that you made that happen.”
— Kristina Negri, Central Islip, New York
Work with Industry Professionals
“For the past couple of weeks I have been helping my mentor with one of her films. I guess you can say that I am helping coordinate and run a group of animators who are working on some animations for this film she has in the works. I've had the opportunity to talk with both the director and VFX director and get acquainted with the project and what they expect or want at this particular point in time. Everything has been going great, we have a couple of animators who are working hard and are excited about contributing to the film. I am excited as well, I didn't think that I would be working on something this soon in the Film Connection. This is a really great experience and opportunity to further my knowledge in leading a group through this journey and contribute to the film’s success. I have also been reading the lectures and sitting in on my mentors’ conference calls with numerous people. Being able to watch and listen to her talk to directors and writers is really a big help as to how to work in building good relationships in this business. I had the opportunity as well to meet and talk to the director she worked with in the past and will work with in the very near future. I'm excited to see what we will do in our next meeting.”
— Iris Jauregui, Miami, FL