May Madness

So the month of May 2018 was one of the BUSIEST months of my entire life – for real! Not only did I have my last midterms of the year at UCLA, but I somehow found myself directing TWO fairly complicated short films, as well as filming and editing a bunch of comedy sketch videos for UCLA’s ‘Spring Sing’ talent show!

Spring Sing was easily one of the best things I’ve done since coming to LA. The show is a decades old tradition at UCLA, and the starting place for many now-famous bands and solo acts. Linkin Park had its start at UCLA (even though they didn’t get into Spring Sing when they were students, the competition was too tough!).

In between musical and dance numbers, a group of students known as ‘Company’ break up the show with a combination of live and video comedy sketches – similar in style/tone to Saturday Night Live, except UCLA-centric. I applied to be one of the filmers for the video sketches – and got it! – so I worked with Company to put together the skits that were then shown to the packed Pauley Pavilion stadium on the night of Spring Sing!

It was so cool to hear literally thousands of people laughing at a video I had filmed and edited – including Emily Osment (from ‘Hannah Montana’), Corbin Bleu (from ‘High School Musical’) and Dot Marie Jones (from ‘Glee’!) there as guest judges! It was overall such a fantastic night, exacerbated I think by the fact that I now knew all the members of Company, so their jokes and sketches were made even funnier for me.

Here’s one of the sketches I filmed and edited for Company 2018!:

I already described in some detail the production of my short film ‘Polkadot’, but I haven’t yet spoken about the other short film I found myself working on this month – ‘The Frozen’ (working title). I first came on board this project in February this year, when my friend Angela (from Benenden) mentioned that she and a friend from Yale were writing a short script they wanted to produce in LA in May. They kindly asked me to direct it, and so I did!

It was a fairly tumultuous pre-production and production period, as our budget kept fluctuating and the genre of the piece (sci-fi) didn’t come cheap, but it was a really cool shoot and it’s already looking like it’s going to turn out nicely! You can check out some behind the scene pics on the film’s Instagram page, but here are some of my favourites:

It was a gruelling, intense four days with little to no sleep, but I had an absolutely fantastic time thanks to an incredibly hard working cast and crew! Now onto post-production!

Another time consuming task I took on this month was participating in this year’s NYC Midnight Screenwriting competition. I entered at the end of April on a whim, just to see if I could do it. I couldn’t have chosen a worse time really, as it was just yet another thing to worry about in an already jam-packed month!

The rules are the competition are that every entrant (I think there was something like 2000 this year) is divided into one of 50+ heats of approx. 30+ people. Each heat is then given a genre, character and object around which they have to write a 12 page screenplay in 12 days. The top 5 from each heat then progress onto the next round, in which the contestants are once again divided into heats and given new prompts to work from – only this time they have 3 days to write an 8 page script. The top people from that then have to write a 5 page script in 24 hours. Scripts are judged based on quality of writing, strength of the plot, originality and use of the prompts.

I was placed in ‘Heat 44’ and was given the prompt of ‘Historical Fiction/a composer/a bribe’. As I’ve never entered anything like this before, and have never really considered screenwriting a thing I want to do, I was very nervous! I banged out a draft in 24 hours, got a few trusted people to read it, and submitted it before I could chicken out!

Anyway, I just got the results back – and I came first in my group, meaning my entry was somewhere in the top 50 of 2000 screenplays! As this round is now over, I can share the script online – so here it is! Let me know what you think if you get a chance to have a read!

Thanks for reading and tolerating how slow I’ve been at updating this blog recently – I’ve been ridiculously busy, as you can see!

 

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