Archive for Month: October 2017

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 🙂

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 Skjæraasen, 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

 

Sprayed away

Phew! It’s been a while since I last stopped by to give you an update, and leaving you all hanging on the “Rough Patch” I mentioned last time wasn’t the nicest thing to do, but if you read my post “You know you’re a grad film student when …” I hope you can forgive my … rather sporadic … blogging.

I won’t bore you with my daily routines, but the truth is that there simply is no time off as a grad student at Tisch. Honestly.

Every day starts early and ends late (it’s not uncommon for me to be at school for 14 hours or longer ever day). Add the commute and normal life things such as sleeping and eating and there’s just no time left.

“But you have the weekends, though, right?”
Well, the weekends are spent shooting our directing exercises; which often takes up all Saturday and all Sunday. Read more about our weekend adventures HERE. It’s worth your time, I promise 🙂

But you know what?
I love it! There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, and nothing else I’d rather do.

Central Park. Photo: Avi Kabir.

Here’s a little snippet from my Snapchat. It’s a random collection of short clips from everyday life at NYU:

Right now we’re about to wrap up pre-production of our first project; a black & white, MOS film, with no music or dialogue, shot on Super 16mm film. It sounds like the easiest thing to do, but when you’ve been robbed of all the crutches that would otherwise help carry a film, it becomes a fun challenge.

It’s also a true privilege to shoot on actual film!

Photo: Avi Kabir.

Last weekend’s directing exercise was supposed to be fun as well, but I think our crew can agree that getting sprayed off a sidewalk with a water-hose could’ve been more fun.

Long story short:
We had set up everything for our scene on a PUBLIC sidewalk in Midtown. However, some people with troubled egos decided that the public sidewalk wasn’t public enough for us to shoot on, so we got into an argument that ended with two men calling the janitor in their building who then started “cleaning” the sidewalk with a water hose where we were shooting.

The picture below was shot before he realized his methods weren’t effective enough. He loosened the hose from the socket to create a sprinkler-effect that sprayed all over shortly after. For the record, we weren’t even shooting in front of their building; we shot in front of a shut-down café next to their building.

Since we also happened to have $xx.000 worth of equipment in our hands at the moment he started spraying, we had to leave — or defend our case in court, I guess.

I wish we were shooting a journalistic documentary, because then we could’ve slammed the First Amendment in their faces, but oh well. Pick your battles.

I personally think we handled it pretty darn well. Go Crew 7!!!

Photo: Avi Kabir.

Talk to you soon!

Blessings,
Maria

 

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