At the beginning of the semester, we spoke to five theses candidates in the film major about their expectations, hopes, and fears for the first semester of their film and screenplay projects. They faced many obstacles along the way, including the blackout in October, but they all made significant progress toward achieving their film goals. As the semester draws to a close, we checked back in with our intrepid seniors to see where they’re at and where they hope to go next semester.

Every shoot encounters its own unique set of issues.

“Getting a school [to shoot in] was the most difficult part,” said Siyou Tan ’12. “In the end, I had to buy insurance to shoot in Middletown.”

Veronika Vackova ’12 was scheduled to shoot during the blackout weekend and is still in the process of reshooting. Julian Silver ’12 faced communication issues.

“I thought I had prepped a lot for the shoot–turns out you can always prep more,” he said. “One day I had to scramble for extras for multiple scenes because of a miscommunication, and I just got lucky that some very cool, talented people were willing to step up and save me.”

However, Silver prefers to look at these issues as a positive experience.

“A lot of the mishaps that occurred along the way ended up being blessings in disguise, and now I couldn’t imagine it having gone the other way,” he said.

Zach Valenti ’12 was able to find inspiration in the work of others.

“I was having trouble weaving together all the elements we’d been developing in class into an overarching plot,” Valenti said. “Then I found some posts on forums by Dan Harmon (creator of Community) on story structure that helped me focus my ideas.”

According to  Carolyn Cohen ’12, the whole process is somewhat of a whirlwind.

“For me, the most exciting thing about writing a screenplay is that everything evolves and changes so quickly,” Cohen said. “That sense of spiraling out of control and ending up in new and interesting places is really invigorating.”

Filmmakers Tan and Silver both found that the process of editing and filming their scripts changed the way they thought about their projects.

“[The screenplay] changed when it gets translated into images, and then again in the editing room,” Tan said.

In terms of his project, Silver added, “At the core it’s the same story, but the way I ended up telling it, I would never have seen a couple months back… You gotta feel good about the script, cause that’s your foundation, your rock.”

Looking back, the seniors have a few thoughts as to what they would do differently.

“I would not paint my room a sickly shade of yellow and incur the wrath and a huge fine from Physical Plant,” Tan said.

Silver, on the other hand, is more philosophical about the process.

“As long as you’re putting yourself into it with full commitment, it’s hard to regret much,” he said.

As the break draws nearer, everyone is looking ahead to next semester’s trials and successes.

“Next semester will be a lot of work, no doubt… you have the material, you just have to figure out what to do with it,” Silver said.

However, the process is never really over–there is always more room for further exploration.

“The truth is, I will probably consider whatever I turn in this spring a ‘draft’ rather than a finished product,” said Cohen. “Ultimately I think that the creation of marketable films comes from a willingness to take notes and run with them until you reach the best possible product, rather than a notion that a deadline means completion.”

It’s certain that by the time these films are due in April, they will have undergone more transformations. Stay tuned for updates.

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