random musings of traveling abroad in prague and some mild interneting.
Hey Friends, SOO sorry I haven’t posted in forever, I have been wrapped up in my film. The post-production schedule has been grueling, I just finished my sound mix last night. I have color grading today! I wanted to show you some photos from my set, which was incredible! I had an amazing camera assistant Klara, and a great set recordist! Gracie was amazing with the actors! I can’t forget the best production manager Sasa, she has been such a help in production and post-production.
The set ran pretty smoothly but had its stresses as all sets do! I tried to run an organized set. Editing in another language is so strange, its hard not knowing what they are saying. I was also surprised how much got lost in translation of the script, its interesting how things change and what doesn’t make sense in Czech. I guess I have a few papers to write to get some credit for my electives.
I ended up traveling to Budapest last weekend, so things have been picking up in my last weeks here. I will post about budapest this weekend with pictures. I can’t believe how time is flying by, my parents will be arriving in an week! I can’t believe it, I feel as if I just arrived here, then at the same time it feels as if its been forever.
I only have 15 days until I’m back home. Prague has been lovely, but I’m ready to return home, my sister is about to have a baby boy, and I’m so sad that I will be missing that. Things are winding up, and my screening/critique are on May 15th and I’m a little nervous! Thanks for all the support with my kickstarter, it helped tremendously!
Last weekend has been filled with doing touristy things. Either, I haven’t had time to do or the weather hasn’t been cooperating. We have had a glimpse of it in Prague, but then it went back to 40’s and windy and cloudy.
On Monday, A group of CET students and our coordinator Jiri went to Kutna Hora! We visited the touristy Sedlec Ossuary which was filled with bones from the Plague. Additionally, we went into a Silver and Copper mine, with hats and flashlight. Also, we went to an art museum and went through the gothic church of St. Barbara. There were two gothic churches in the town that were built within 100 years of each other. It was interesting to see early gothic churches and an elaborate gothic church at the end of the gothic era.
My film shoot starts in 6 days, wow, I can’t believe it. My mind has been running around in circles trying to get everything together and ready to shoot. I have been spending my days in cafes in prague working on a technical script, shot list, and storyboarding my mind is spinning around in circles.
Speaking of my film shoot, I have started a kickstarter because while the budget for the film is good, the cost of an HD transfer is expensive and not in our original budget. We added an art director for the film and we’d love to pay her too! We also would like to submit to festivals after our film is finished. For those of you who don’t know what a kickstarter is, it’s a fundraising site for all kinds of projects, namely films, video games, artists, and just good ideas that need a little funding. If we don’t get our funding in the next 5 days, we dont get any of the money that is pledged to this project. Friends and Family back home, we need your help! I’m attaching the link below and if you could give anything it would mean so much to me. I have a great team here and I want to do this script justice. If you have any questions I would love to answer them. Thanks for your support.
Lately things have been flying by! Spring has come to Prague!!!!!!!
I met my production manager Sasa Moravčíková last friday. She’s great, it’s so nice to have her working with us. It’s making things move quickly and smoothly, hopefully we will have a location locked down by next week, so we can start the task of storyboarding our lovely script! It’s nice to have someone else who’s also excited about our idea and wants to help as much as she can.
I can’t believe I shoot in 22 days, whew. Well fingers crossed, we have one of our characters casted. It’s nice that we only have two characters and one location, that makes things a bit easier. The shooting will be two night shoots back to back. Next week, we will be looking at a few locations and hopefully we will find one that fits the story. OH and we have our crew almost together. Sasa has a friend that’s going to be my first assistant camera! We have already joked about how this set is going to be lady town! Who knew traveling abroad to Prague, I would still be on a set with a lot of women too!!
I guess I will give you a sneak peak as to what my film is about, Sleepwalking and Judo. That’s all I will spill right now but it’s a comedy and I’m absolutely ecstatic about making this! It has taken hours and hours of Gracie and I debating jumping around going back and forth to come up with our story. There are a few kinks and revisions but I’m so happy about it.
In regards to classes, they end next week! What seriously? Yes, they do! At least all of the core classes do, I still have two electives on Tuesdays! The month of April is filled with consultations with our professors on how to execute portions of our film! And attempting to get everything else together. Just have to take a few exams and film an acting scene. Yes, one of my core classes is acting and I have perform a scene and film it, ah! We’ll see, I’m not much of an actress at all!
I’ll keep you updated with more pictures of spring in Prague this weekend. Ah the weather has been absolutely amazing there is nothing like it! Only two more months until I’m home, I feel like I could stay longer and make more films here. But I guess I need to finish my degree at Stephens huh?
It’s been quite a week in Prague. I wanted to formally introduce you to the girl I have been working with non-stop in the making of our film, Gracie Gardner. Gracie is writing and directing our film and I’m the cinematographer, exactly what I wanted to do. She has a directing, writing and acting background and I’m beyond excited to work with her. On set, we are provided with a camera assistant, a sound assistant, and a production manager. The rest of the roles will be filled with anyone else not working on their films during shooting days. We were lucky to have our roles fit into place with what we wanted to do. Some groups are still figuring that out. Our dates are set April 21 and 22nd, and the script is written (yay!!!). All the projects will be shot between April 19-30! Then we have a screening on May 15th, not much time for post-production!
On Friday, we will be assigned our production managers for the film. I can’t believe I’m going to making this film in a month. There is so much to do. I’m ready to dive in on the work though with casting, finding our location, storyboarding, and props.
This past week has been beyond productive. We had the lighting exercise, which lasted three days. It was nice to get some experience with 16mm and using the light meter to make proper exposure. It’s very different from digital which I’m used to figuring out how much light is needed by my eyes and looking through the lens cap. It’s fascinating the differences between film and digital, I’m just so used to digital its hard to change my way of thinking with film. There are rehearsals and you are constantly trying to save the film you are using. Gracie and I have two rolls of super 16mm film to use to film our project. Each roll of film is approximately 11 min. and our script is 4 pages long. I’m a little worried it won’t be enough but my camera professor Michael Gahut says it will be plenty and it will work.
It’s been about 3 weeks, whew, I dont know how they have gone by so fast but let me update you.
At Famu, the weeks fly by like no other, jumping from class to class and Studio Famu to Famu main. I have been absorbing and absorbing all that I can from all these theory classes I’m taking from European Film Theory to the History of Central European Cinema. It’s fascinating how countries film funds are set up and how that is closely related to their film history. I knew the huge impact the American cinema has on the world, but I guess I never closely thought about living in a country that only has a few films that come out in their native language. I thought people would automatically rather see their own films made in their country rather than all of these hollywood films made from a completely different culture.
Luckily, in the Czech Republic they do not have this problem they produce about 20 - 30 feature films a year, and Czechs love going to the cinema to see their films. After the Velvet Revolution, Czech filmmakers had to lure and foster an audience to choose to see their films instead of the rush of all the hollywood films playing in the Czech Republic. It was pretty ingenious because maybe these films are entertaining and fun and not films they may not want to make but they are fostering an audience. This opens the door to today where more art house or more edgy films are being seen by this audience because Czechs are used to choosing their own films over the Hollywood choices.
Now back to the things I’m sure your wondering about, the fact that I came here to make a 16mm short film. Well in this department it’s a bit frustrating at the moment. We have been pitching and pitching to our mentor Pavel Marek, I am having difficulty just pitching to one professor and getting one opinion. I think our differences come down to taste. I think a short film can be made subtly and evoke meaning and theme that does not have to be done in a disturbing way. He seems to gravitate to more disturbing situations which is fine, I just find it frustrating when pitching and can’t get criticism on the structure of the story rather elements that he does not like. Next week we will pitch to the whole faculty in the international department and hope to get some more feedback on the holes in our story. I will tell you the basic treatment once it is more solidified. The program is pretty centered around story and theme, which is not something I’m used to, story plays an huge role on the making of a film and I focus on it a lot but a 1/3 of the semester here is dedicated to it. I will be grateful for it later just right now a bit frustrating.
Next week will be pretty crazy. We have a lighting exercise that we will work with 16mm! I have been itching to get my hands on a camera and actually get to be in a studio. I’m pretty excited about it, it will be 2 full days and a half day. Then we will pitch on Wednesday to the whole faculty. I will update you on what goes on next week and hopefully will have a treatment finished. Scripts are due the 19th of March, so the pressure and timetable is on. Right now, I’m headed to go to a screening at One World, the documentary festival that’s in Prague this weekend. I was sad to miss T/F last weekend, so maybe I can pretend I’m back home watching documentaries for a weekend.
These posts are probably going to be weekly, I hope. Whew, well let me tell you what’s been going on lately in Prague.
The weekend before beginning film classes we took a trip outside of prague to see the country side through the towns of Slavonice, Telč, and Třeboň. It was difficult for me to travel with so many Americans. I have traveled to South American twice and spent a week in Paris before coming to Prague. Some of these students it was their first time out of the country which is well and fine. I just found it disrespectful of their culture the way people were acting in some of the restaurants. There were 73 students all on a bus and taking over these small towns, it’s like we were stomping our culture in their face which is just a different way of life. I know that it brought business to these towns that get many vistors in the summer which is great for these towns. I enjoy traveling a lot and I found myself just wanting people to be respectful and realize we are not the only people in these towns.
I don’t mean to complain about the trip, it was a lot of fun and we toured a beautiful castle in Třeboň. We spent the night in Slavonice, which is a artist community right on the border of Austria. It has a very interesting history. We also had workshops creating ceramic mugs and these hand crafted stamps. It was nice to get to know all the people that were in the program, it was a cultural immersion as much as it was a bonding of this group at CET. After our trip we finally started at FAMU!!!! I didn’t take many pictures because of the freezing temperatures like around -10 degrees the whole weekend and the hotel was even SO cold!
This past week has been a whirlwind of film classes. I have been anxious to meet my mentors and see how they teach. It’s a very different style of teaching, my camera professor quizzed us on our knowledge of light, cameras, and film to see where to begin his class. He was trained on film and has moved into digital as his career progressed. He bluntly says that it will be difficult to move from digital to film but you have to be aware of the challenges and be able to meet them.
We began pitching our stories to our main mentor Pavel Marek, we had a three hour session and only 7 people pitched out of 23. I was surprised at how many people pitched features to him. I didn’t have a chance to pitch but we are pitching tomorrow evening. I have been testing out the electives that fit my schedule so that’s why my days have been like 9am to sometimes 9pm or 10pm which are long days. Luckily, the classes aren’t homework based they are just intensive and long. I like all my professors so far. It’ll be interesting as the semester progresses.
This weekend there was a huge festival in Old Town Square called Carnival similar to Mari Gras. I sort of found it a meat fest a little bit, haha. There was meat being cooked all over old town square. I am vegetarian so it was not that exciting for me. I think I’m terrible at getting there on time because I missed everyone dressed in costumes, oops. I thought I’d planned it while heading out but I think I missed it by 30 minutes. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. The rest of the weekend has been filled with cooking delicious food and hanging out with the friends that did not spend their weekend at the Berlin Film Festival in Berlin. It was a relaxing weekend and I’m ready to jump in on the film classes this week.