NYU

You know you’re a grad film student when …

1. You consider your 13-hour days to be your short days.

2. “I can’t decide if I should go get coffee or use the restroom” is a completely normal dilemma in-between lectures, because there’s simply not enough time for both.

3. You buy new underwear on a weekly basis because doing laundry is an activity that only exists on the to-do list you never get to.

4. It’s 82°f (28°c) and humid in the city, but you’re wearing long pants because you haven’t had time to shave your legs.

5. Every morning starts with the same optimistic thought: “Today is the day. Yes, today I WILL go grocery shopping.” Then, 15 hours later, you find yourself on the subway, debating whether you should even bother stepping off at your stop, or just ride between the two end-stations until you’ll head back to school in a few hours.

6. “Hmm … I wonder if I could get away with sleeping in the editing lab, and save the money (read: fortune) I spent on rent.”

7. “How many granola bars is it acceptable to eat in a day? Asking for a friend.”

8. Dinner typically happens at Semsom or Fresh & Co, because you rarely have time to go more than half a block away from school to satisfy your nutritional needs.

9. Any normal conversation starts with “Have you shot your directing exercise yet?”

10. You know in your heart that even if your schedule is too busy for a normal lifestyle, there’s nowhere else you’d rather want to be.

Blessings,
Maria

Second week of film school

Hello!

Some of you have requested an update, and I apologize for the delay. We finally have internet in the apartment, and I’m ready to share some of what I’ve been up to since last time.

In addition to the chaos of moving into my new “home,” I’ve spent a total of 17 hours at IKEA, caught a cold, completed my first week of classes at NYU and walked up and down so many stairs carrying furniture that my quads have regained some of the definition from my weightlifting days.

Did anyone say fourth floor with no elevator?

About 1/10 of all the stuff we carried up to our place haha.

The apartment currently looks like a construction site, but it’ll hopefully be ready for the blog by next week.

In the meantime, let’s talk about NYU! Or Tisch, as it is referred to by the insiders; the graduate film program that I’m so incredibly thankful to be a part of.

Sometimes I have to take a moment to just breathe, feel, taste and smell it; the fact that I’m here, in New York City, at one of the world’s best film schools. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I wrote the post about how I was going to turn down the offer due to financial issues. But God is truly good.

We’re 36 students in the class, and through these first couple of weeks we’ve gone through long sessions of orientation, camera techs, lectures, editing techs and meetings together. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by all these amazing individuals and I can’t wait to get to know them even more.

Group selfie creds to Flynn.

We’ve also started producing our very first short films; four-minute, black and white narrative shorts with no dialogue or music, shot outdoors with only available light — on actual film. I do not expect it to be easy, but I see it as a great way to strip away bad habits and explore what true visual storytelling is.

We’ll start shooting next month, but we just checked out our equipment, so it’s getting real.

Snap by Kai Torres.

“Ehm, how does this work?”

“Like this?”

“Ah, there we go!”

It’s so great! But also very different from everything I’ve done in the past, and I realize that I have to adjust my work strategies a little.

At Augustana I had a reputation of always doing things way faster than most people ever found necessary — for better or for worse. I always tried to do as much as humanly possible before lunch, finish all my homework by 7 PM, submit assignments days or even weeks before they were due, keep the weekends free from homework and waste as little time as possible.

Why? Because I had to get my obligations out-of-the-way so that I could do the things I wanted to do — filmmaking. If I finished all my homework before dinner, I’d have the whole evening to shoot and edit film, and if I kept the weekends free I would have time to get somewhere with my projects outside school. Hence the constant sprinting to class, as opposed to — the normal and more socially respectable motion — walking. My papers may or may not have suffered from a few extra typos, and I may or may not have looked like a dork in a constant hurry.

Running GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

But here at Tisch I’ll basically be making films all day, so there’s no need to rush or “get done with the obligations to make film.” It feels so strange, and as a result I don’t yet know how to pace or schedule my days, haha. Well, it’s only been a week of actual classes, but after looking at the syllabi I realize that I’ll have to find a new workflow.

I’ll keep you updated! And thank you for stopping by.

Bless you,
Maria

Lost at the MET

Good evening!

I want to thank you for all the new subscriptions after my previous post. Read it HERE. You can still subscribe by writing your email address in the little window to the right. That way you’ll get a cute little email whenever I post something new.

Anyway, I’ve been in New York for a little over a week now, and I have so much to tell you that I don’t even know where to begin. This city fills up my list of blog ideas pretty quickly, but I guess I’ll just start where I left off last time.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting up with my dear friend and marathon buddy, Matt. I’m surprised he still wanted to be my friend after I invited (or… ehm.. forced) him to run a half marathon with me last spring. This time, however, we went on a far less athletic excursion — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We may have gotten lost on some of our runs in Sioux Falls and Austin, but it did not compare to how lost we got inside the museum. And no, I’m not talking about getting lost into the beauty of exceptional artistry; I’m talking about getting lost geographically, or interiorly. You see, finding a restroom inside that beautifully preserved building became quite the challenge when we realized that there were no signs guiding us to a (much needed) bladder-emptying area. Thankfully, all floors and corners remained dry for the entirety of our visit.

Anyway, enough bladdering blabbering for today.

I started the orientation at NYU earlier this week; which I’ll tell you more about later because if I start now this may very well turn into a novel.

My overall impression so far can be summarized with this word: AMAZING!

I hope you’re all enjoying your Thursday.

Bless,
Maria

And so it begins

Good afternoon/evening/night! (Pick one that works with your current timezone. I’m jet-lagged, so don’t ask me which one is better, but I meant to wish you a good-something. That’s what matters).

I’m just stopping by for a quick post to say that I arrived safely in New York City!

After 14 hours of traveling and having carried about 50 kg (110 lbs) of luggage up five flights of stairs, I took a shower, ate some pineapple and laid down in bed where I’m now writing this post.

I’m staying in Greenwich Village this first week while I’m waiting for the apartment in Williamsburg to get ready. Ah, I forgot to tell you that I — finally – have a place to live here. Yay! I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.

I’m so excited to take on this new chapter, and I’m more than happy to share the journey with you. Feel free to subscribe to the blog by hitting the button to the right.

Bless,
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

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