With the quarter coming to a close, I have to once again attempt to explain to my parents exactly what I’ve been doing as a film studies major. Each quarter has been a different description because film majors can be divided into several groups. There are coasters trying to finish with as little effort as possible who figure a major based predominantly around watching movies is the way to go, there are the film writers who take analysis and criticism seriously and there are the student filmmakers who actually go out and make movies.
For a good portion of my time in the major, I was one of the coasters. It was cool taking classes devoted to specific aspects of film history and theory but I didn’t feel motivated enough to try and excel at them. That pretty much changed after taking a couple courses geared toward film production taught by Dana Driskel.
I’ve been considering animation as a possible career after graduating so I first got to know Dana through his animation classes last year. I think it was probably Dana’s no-nonsense approach to teaching that convinced me to get more involved with film production. He knew what he was talking about and didn’t pull any punches when telling students what he thought of their work.
As Dana put it, “It’s easy to get a ‘C’ in one of my classes, but if you want a ‘B’, let alone an ‘A’, you’re going to have to do your best to impress me and earn it.” That statement pretty much hit home. I could either keep coasting or start taking myself seriously and better prepare myself for life after college. And so I switched over to being one of the filmmaking students within the major.
With my newfound interest in filmmaking, I decided to attend the pitch day for the FS 106 class back in September. The 106 class picks four pitches and gives student filmmakers two quarters to turn them into a movie to be screened at the end of Winter Quarter. They have access to Film Studies’ resources and aside from some guidance from Dana, the film crews have to take it upon themselves to finish their movies. I attached myself to the crew of “The Titan Sting,” one of this year’s four projects.
My experience with the 106 class – and specifically with “The Titan Sting” movie – has been simultaneously one of the most frustrating and fulfilling creative experiences of my life. Working long hours into the night, animating figures miniscule movement by miniscule movement has definitely taken its toll on my stress levels. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve had a blast working with Adriana, J, Max and the rest of the crew because we all have the same passion for completing our film. I still find it hard to describe how it feels seeing our work come alive piece by piece over the year.
With the March 23 screening rapidly approaching, all of us on “The Titan Sting” and the other 106 crews are putting the final touches on our respective films. The end of the quarter will be a sigh of relief as we finally have the chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the filmmaking experience as a spectator while other students on campus view our hard work.
When I go home, I’ll finally have a definitive answer for when my parents ask me what I’ve been doing with their money. I’m tempted to give a pretentious “I make static images come to life,” but it will end up along the lines of “finally getting my life together and looking forward to the future.”