Thursday, September 20, 2007


As I've mentioned before, things are very different here now that I'm a second year and, you know, have time to do things. The biggest difference between this year and last, though, is the fact that Kevin and Jack are here. This is a supremely good thing. Sure, I make fun of Jack for not having a car, which necessitates me going to Pasadena every time we hang out, but I'd sooner do this than have him far away in Chicago, even if he IS going back there eventually... and seeing Kevin around campus is just bizarre, but definitely in a good way. It's nice to kind of pass on the wisdom that Will passed to me last year, and which I'm sure JP passed to him before that. We are the beginnings of a strong Northwestern tradition in the cinematography department, I can just feel it.

Kevin shot his Boot Camp scene today (which, in case you don't remember, is when you have to shoot a scene from your Cycle 1 in 4 hours on campus in an assigned location with very little lighting), and I walked by his set to say hi and then immediately ran into Peter, who brought up that exactly a year ago WE were shooting our Boot Camp scene. It seems like a lot more than a year ago, and yet also seems like just a few months ago. I guess it's both, in a way. Thank goodness I made it out of that miserable Cycle 1 experience having only made one actual enemy... I don't know what I would do if Peter and Miguel and I weren't on good terms, or Seth and Andrew for that matter. Anyway.

Our main cinematography class this year is on Tuesdays at 7am, which sucks. Well, the class doesn't suck (though it does have its issues), but the timing sucks big time. I don't know about anyone else, but I just barely function at 7am. At Pacific Primary it was all I could do to get out of the house and make it to school by 7:30. On the plus side, though, class is at Mole Richardson, which is about 8 blocks south of my apartment, so I've been walking every week, which makes me happy (and there's a Starbucks on the way, which keeps me awake for the first two hours of class). Every week we have a guest cinematographer come in to show us something... for example, two days ago it was Eric Adkins, who shot Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and he had us shooting on the brand spankin' new Sony F23 camera, which records in 4:4:4 color space, and which was pretty cool... I'm still not exactly a digital convert, but it was cool to think that only a handful of people in the world have dealt with this camera. And I was the operator! We rotate crew positions every week in class, so this week was my turn to operate, which, as Richard put it, "makes [me], like, the 11th person in the world to shoot on that camera." Kinda cool. I got to go to camera prep on Monday, too, with Chris and Pat and Hanvit, and it took forever, but we did learn a lot more about the camera than we got to cover in class, so I'd say it was worth it. Eric Adkins is really cool, too. He's a total geek, and I mean that in the best possible way. The other guests we've had so far have been Richard Crudo (who used to be president of the ASC), Donald M. Morgan, and Yuri Neyman. Yuri Neyman is going to be teaching a class this year to all the cinematographers on the History of Cinematography, and being the ubernerd that I am, I'm looking forward to it more than pretty much anything else.

We also have the 2nd year compliment to our 1st year "American Approaches to Cinema" class, "World Approaches to Cinema," which I'm really enjoying despite having already seen roughly half the films that are slated to be screened. Barry Sabath, who teaches the 2nd year class, is completely awesome. As much as I love and adore Jim Hosney, and as much fun as his class was, Barry is a lot better at getting our class involved in discussing a film than Hosney was, which I really appreciate. Tonight we watched Umberto D, which was a refreshing change from the tried-and-true Bicycle Thieves as an example of Italian neo-realism... I think it's a much more relateable story, but that's just me.

In other news, our apartment is currently playing host to roughly half the ant population of Los Angeles, as well as a large extended family of moths, which enjoy procreating in our cabinets. It is not ok. Something must be done. I am not one to kill innocent insects at random, so this is not an enjoyable process, but it really would be nice to be able to cook again without accidentally microwaving ants into your food. Of some comfort is the fact that this is happening to the whole building, not just us, but still... yuck.

I'm going to write some (short) movie reviews tomorrow, I hope, because I have nothing to do tomorrow, so stay tuned =)