NYU

First real shoot

After seven weeks of planning, scheduling, camera techs, tons of paperwork, directing exercises, long days at school and countless hours of careful instruction it was finally time put our preparations to work.

Today, “Crew 7” — group of six aspiring filmmakers from five different countries — kicked off the three-week production period with our first real shoot together.

CREW 7: Jorge, Lin, me and Avi. Pepi and Kai didn’t make it into the picture.

For me, the day started at 4:45 AM, and from there on out we didn’t waste a single minute (or foot of film, for that matter). Shooting on Super 16mm film is so expensive that every shot had to count, so we brought our A-game and I feel that today’s work really added context to the phrase “filmmaking is the ultimate teamsport.” I feel so honored to work with such talented people!

Throughout these next weeks we’ll shoot a total of six short films, where we’ll all hold different crew-positions for each film. I have the honor of serving as the Director of Photography for my buddy Avi’s film “Scattered,” so I was handling the camera the whole day. The Arriflex camera is a heavy-ass chunk of metal from the 1950s, so things could have been more comfortable …

But for each handheld shot I had to do, I praised the Lord for my weightlifting days. The thousands of barbell hits that used to bruise my shoulders probably served a dual purpose.

In case you wonder how I looked while dealing with this old German piece of cinema gear … well here’s the raw truth.

Jacob (Avi’s young talenter actor), Jorge and me. Photo: Avi Kabir.

And oh, if you think I’m trying to “look cool”or something with that one leg on top of the bench, Nike cap, sunglasses dangling from my ears, and a fat blue track suit, I’ll have to explain a thing or two:

  • The leg = takes some of the weight off my wrists, and helps stabilize the frame.
  • The cap = blocks some of the light from the sky, which helps my pupils adjust to the eyepiece I’m looking through. (For technical nerds: We used several neautral density filters, which work as sunglasses for the camera, so it was mighty dark inside that viewfinder.)
  • Sunglasses = Same as above. They only come off when my eye is in the eye piece.
  • Fluffy track suit = Well, we were told to dress in layers because “IT WILL BE COLD” … but it was really quite functional, considering how much time I spent crawling on the stingy hay-ground.
  • And that facial expression? Oh my, let it speak for itself.

With Jacob and Lin, who was the indispensable First Assistant Camera. Photo: Avi Kabir.

Actor and director, Avi Kabir. Photo: Maria Lavelle.

“Intimicay is key.” Photo: Avi Kabir.

And my favorite photo of the day: It’s actually NOT staged, but rather a photojournalistic glimpse of the aftermath.

– Directing is exhausting, just ask Avi.

Jorge and Avi. Photo: Maria Lavelle.

Thanks for a great shoot, Crew 7! U da best.

Now I better go to bed … because I’ll have to head to set again in a few hours ūüôā

Bless,
Maria

Beach

As you know, I’m incredibly proud and thankful to collaborate with Skjaeraasen Jewelry, and since a hint of autumn just hit the city, I wanted to share some of these photos before the summer fades too far into the past.

Please check out their website:
www.skjaeraasen.no

The designer, Kristin Skj√¶raasen, worked around my otherwise minimalistic style to find jewelry that I don’t just like, but LOVE — and that’s an accomplishment in itself!

Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.
Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.
Photo: Rannveig Froestad. Jewelry by Skjaeraasen.

 

PS!
If you, after looking at these photos, think that I’m even close to this elegant in real life, let me remind you of who I really am …

Most of the pictures ended up looking like this:

Or this:
(Because I’m always cold and had to warm up between every shot).

But I like running, so it was fine.

This post Part 2 out of many more. Click to see Part 1 HERE.

 

Until next time.

www.skjaeraasen.no

 

Jewelry

In my mind, things that involve cameras are rarely a waste of time. So, when the opportunity to try out “jewelry modeling” came my way, I decided to go for it.

Stepping in front of the camera — as opposed to hitting the shutter myself — really forces me to punch my comfort zone in the face, but I keep telling myself that I’ll be better behind the lens if I know what it feels like to be in front of it.

The jewelry is from¬†Skj√¶raasen,¬†a Norwegian brand that designs and produces jewelry and interior articles. I’m so honored to collaborate with them — even if they’re based at the opposite side of the country, and we had to shoot the photos here in Haugesund.

My friend Rannveig is a great photographer, and effortlessly filled the geographical gap between two corners of Norway.

I’ve never been big on jewelry, but the designer, Kristin Skj√¶raasen, somehow managed to figure out what works with my otherwise minimalistic style, and I love it.

I’m excited to show you more of the collection in another post, but please check out the Skjaeraasen website in the meantime.

Skjaeraasen. Photos by Rannveig Froestad.

As you already know, I can be pretty goofy –especially when I’m uncomfortable– so don’t you dare think I kept up that RBF (Resting Bitch Face) the whole day — it cracked rather quickly. Big creds to Rannveig who captured the very few moments in between where I looked decent.

Also, before I get any questions about the tattoo: No, it’s not new, and yes, I could write a whole post about it. Maybe someday. Those of you who are close to me know why that’s a topic for another post.

To see the photoshoot I did with the talented Mike Shafer earlier this year, CLICK HERE.

Have a blessed Friday!

Maria

A different kind of finals week

First, thanks so much for the response on my previous post “Everybody’s Grown up. Then there’s me.

It’s been a while since one of my posts has generated this many messages and uplifting words — thank you!


After I finished my last shift at the newspaper on Thursday, I thought I’d have plenty of time to be bored, but the amount of stuff I have to get done in the next six days reminds me more of finals week at Augustana than anything else.

I won’t put you through my whole to-do list, but the most important thing is that I’m applying to all the grants possible so that I’ll — hopefully — have enough money fund my second year at NYU. The process, however, turns out to be slightly more time-consuming than I expected.

I’m also looking for housing in NYC — which is a draining and entertaining adventure in itself, so please let me know if you know someone who can fit two students into their apartment in East- West- or Greenwich Village, haha.

With just two weeks left until school starts, I’m trying to master a new film editing software that we’ll use at Tisch, while also attempting to plow through a list of 100 movies assigned by the faculty. Okay, okay, I started the viewing-list months ago, so I have that one under total and complete control, but the rest is a handful right now.

However, I have allowed myself some time outdoors, I promise. I can’t use any tan lines as proof, but here’s a picture for ya. The green stuff in the background is real nature.

Photo: Mirjam Lavelle.

Well, anyway, I wrote this post for the sole purpose of telling you to stay tuned for my next post. So I better get to it — STAY TUNED!

Who knew I’d ever do jewelry modeling?! I’ll tell you all about it later this week.

Have a blessed day,
Maria

A Thousand Days of Prairie

My Augustana adventure ended no less than 11 days ago, and based on my activity on social media one might think my blog career ended that day as well, but I can assure you that’s not the case.

After having successfully moved out of the dorms—and less successfully condensed all my belongings into two suitcases—I made it back to Norway for the summer. Now, however, after some actual relaxing and quality time with my family, I felt the urge to blow some life into this place again.

This past week has been filled with a lot of reflecting and a lot of trying to calculate the length of a day, because I still can’t seem to understand how my three years at Augustana could go by so fast. When I think about this chapter as a whole I feel like there’s a whole chunk missing; almost like I closed my eyes for a moment and suddenly woke up ten minutes later ¬†— only to realize I slept through a whole night. But when I think about everything I’ve done, experienced and been a part of, I’m amazed it hasn’t been longer.

Photo: Mike Shafer.

This sort of reflecting has also made it very clear to me that these three years have been the best of my life, thus far. Which is something I give God the glory for.

And do you want to hear a fun fact? I graduated exactly 1000 days after I first arrived on campus. Yes, one thousand days! How cool is that? Y’all know I have a thing for whole numbers. You see, despite my lousy math skills, I do recognize the beauty of a round, whole number. If I was to write a book about this, it would be called A Thousand Days of Prairie. I like the sound of that round, whole title too, haha.

A photo from my road trip last week.

Anyway, in my previous post I told you I had some big news to share, and even if I hate to leave you hanging, I have to ask you to wait a few more days. The details just have to be ready first. But I can tell you this: since I’m an actual journalist now and have to maintain certain standards and avoid so-called sensationalization with my writing,¬†I think I can say that these news are pretty extraordinary. Oh, by the way, I’m not pregnant, engaged or any less single than usual, so don’t expect anything of that sort — although, that would’ve been almost as surprising as these news. Just stay tuned.

Bless you all,
Maria

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