“The Strangeness of Coming Home”
Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards
Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival
Producer: Bochen Zhang
Director: Alexander Collins
Editor: Paige Bethmann
Cinematographer: Ted von Bevern
Composer: Jordain Wallace
I’ve recently started my classes at the American Film Institute in beautiful Los Angeles, CA. One of the greatest experiences at my new school is the fantastic collaboration with the super talented Production Design fellows. Although the smallest department in our graduating class, the team has been blazing through lumber to build a 1980’s Polish theatre in our parking lot. I’ve tried to provide an extra pair of hands to contribute to the multiple sets… But all I’ve really done is take pictures and eat. Typical directing student, I suppose. The set, designed by three fellows, has been a huge task to complete in the rough 1.5 week turn-around. Build completely from wood, a special texture is added to provide a cement-like front to the “aged” theatre. As seen below, the progress made in 4 days was quite significant.
It’s amazing what they’ve got done with the minimal amount of time/money provided to them. However, their long days have finally paid off because the sets are beautiful and look great on camera.
Tomorrow I’ll be shooting on 1/4 locations around campus, the jail cell. Our script is taken from the Decalogue, originally directed by renowned filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski. Although I cannot show our finished product, I’ll hopefully have some stills to post from set.
I found some storyboards that I had made while working on a project with the beautiful Hannah Burgos. We were planning things out and I was drawing while we discussed the upcoming shoot. Since I couldn’t “save” the pictures – it’s a white board – I would just take a picture of the board and we would move onto the next “page.” This was a really cool project, I would love to get back into fashion and make a new project like this. I rarely post my storyboards, even though I make them for every project. It’s a crucial part of the filmmaking process as it really helps guide the crew.
This week I started edited the film: Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos. It’s been a difficult journey trying to manage the large number of audio tracks necessary to juggle the larger cast seen in the film. As an editor, I’ve come to notice that every film comes packaged with its own problems to solve. The audio sync has definitely been that problem. On the flip side, I’ve had an incredible time assembling the fantastic story written by Kirk Shimano. Through the direction of Amy Harrison, the quick-witted, edgy dialogue is delivered like the popular show Gilmore Girls. The cast is diverse and unique, each adding a new color to the overall stories wide-array. I don’t want to release too much information about the short film – yet. So, I’ll update this story in a couple weeks. Tomorrow is a private rough cut screening with all the competing films in the contest Miss Fink was created under. As I learn more about that contest, I’ll post more for everyone to follow. For now, enjoy some early screenshots.
Here is the poster for The Art Institute of California – San Francisco Senior Short Film Showcase. This event will be presenting the work of this quarter’s graduates of the Digital Filmmaking and Video Production program. Please come out to the Viz Cinema, in Japantown, and enjoy some great short films. The screening will be followed by a short Q&A discussion with the directors. The event starts at 6:30, and seating is limited, so get there early!
Tough – Directed by Luc Nguyen
Blinders – Directed by Robert Yelsky
Before Tigers – Directed by Michael P. Perez
Summertime Memories – Directed by Joe W. Sams
Desire – Directed by Alexander M. Collins
Last weekend we went location scouting for Alex Dixon’s new film project: Maiden in the Woods. It was quite a journey through the windy 101-freeway to Stinson Beach, near Muir Woods. First time writer/director Alex Dixon has constructed a beautiful visual tale requiring a lot of pre-production and planning. Alex has focused her filmmaking talents on production design, and finding a beautiful and exotic location was key to telling her story. After shooting the music video with the ElectroSonic Chamber last month, we searched the same stretch of woods. A small creek runs throughout the location, giving it an eerie sense of danger. These exterior locations, filled with twisted trees, will compliment the wild German Expressionism-inspired interiors that Alex has planned for her film. She has spent the past month building miniature sets with wood to help visualize her story and plan the blocking. Her director of photography and cinematographer, Ben Dennis and Tory Harder spent the evening taking pictures and planning shots for the film. Bill Manolios, the film’s gaffer, brought out his Hasselblad (…at least it looked like one) and took some promotional stills of the location as well. I will be editing the film, as I love to do, which will most likely be the last student film I work on with the Art Institute due to my graduation in December. I snapped a few pictures with my Canon 5D Mk.II, so check them out and look for the film soon!
Also, if you are around the bay area on December 12th, come check out the test screening of my latest short film: DESIRE. It starts at 6pm and will be at the New People Cinema (previously the Viz) in Japantown. The event is open to the public, free-admission, and will last appox. 2 hours. Its a great time and will be screened with films from my fellow Art Institute peers: Michael Perez, Joe Sams, Luc Nguyen, and Robert Yelsky. Hope to see you there!
Here is a quick sneak peek from my upcoming film, Desire. It is starring Emily Claeys and Joseph Tomasini.
If you haven’t already checked it out, I have an IndieGoGo campaign to finish this short film collection, Turn Down Service. If you would like to see more, or are interested in the project, please check out our project. We still have a ways to go before we reach our goal and every view and donation helps. Thanks!