Monday, April 20, 2009

How I Got Started - Part 2

After two ASB videos and the election, I was a little ASB’d out and wanted to try something different. I was in a Media Production class that was two periods long and I had to do a project as a final assignment. I always keep a notebook with me to throw down my ideas so I don’t forget them. I was working on one idea but it just wasn’t working out and one day I flipped through my notebook and saw the note I had written down one night when I was home:

I was sitting at my kitchen table and all the lights were off around me except the light above the kitchen table. And I had this image of a kid, home alone, depressed, who just wanted out, in that setting. So, I started writing a script about a suicide. Now, I have to say this…every film student makes a movie about suicide. I don’t know why. But everyone does. I did. So please, think of something else. You’re not going to put a new spin on it, you won’t wow people by doing something different, just know that EVERYONE makes one and skip it, come up with a different idea.

Anyway, so I shot a film called American Tragedy about the day in the life of a kid who commits suicide. My take on it was that every scene would contain clues as to what he’s going to do and that the other characters and the audience would miss it until the very end. Then, if they saw it again, they’d go “Ohhhh!” (Sixth Sense anyone?) Anyway, it turned out pretty good (though it suffered a bit from an American Beauty comparison, since it was similar composition wise and I stole the music, but I swear the title was coincidental). People seemed to like it, it has a certain powerful quality to it, and I got into a few festivals and won some awards. Here is the trailer:

Fast forward to summer before senior year. The new ASB, McD and I are sitting around trying to come up with what our Homecoming video would be. As I mentioned before, the plots for these videos would almost always be: “Someone stole [insert assembly subject here] and the ASB has to get it back” or “ASB needs to steal [insert assembly subject here].” (Thinking about it now, it’s kind of weird that our school officers were always stealing stuff.) We wanted to do something different. We came up with a great idea: since High School is so much like a soap opera, why don’t we make the homecoming video a soap opera?

BAM! Plus, it’s never been done (at least at Bellevue High). We came up with the ridiculous storylines: the guy in a coma, the love triangle, the crazy stalker, the brother-sister love story, etc. We filmed it just like a soap opera: zooms, longing looks that last longer than they should, diffusion on the lens to give it that soft look. We had a lot of fun and because of the nature of the story we were able to cast 60+ students in the film. I had a great time shooting it, it was a huge hit, people loved it and I still consider it the strongest video I ever made for ASB.

Here's the video (I apologize for the video quality. It's an old video and the tape is wearing down a know, I watch this sooo much):

But now, I was going to be graduating in a few months and would be making my last ASB video ever. There were high expectations for it. And I was trying to come up with an idea that would be hard for anyone to top.

To be continued…

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