Over in a blink

So because I suck, I didn’t keep up on my blog the way I told myself and others that I would while I was on my internship. It was a combination of limited internet connection while I was on set, doing actual work, and major procrastination. I’ll never lie an say I’m not a master procrastinator.

But honestly a big part of it was that I was having so much fun and spending so much time learning that I didn’t want to take time out of my day to sit down and write about it because I was living it. So, unfortunately, my blog suffered but I had an absolutely amazing experience and made some unbelievable memories.

First of all working with Jeff Wedding, Katie Groshong, and Eric Stanze was a completely unforgettable experience.  First of all just being in the presence of people with so much passion for what they’re doing that they are not only not being paid (and if they are it’s not much) for what they’re doing, but are actually putting their own money into this project to make it happen is inspiring in and of itself. I’ve always been someone who admires passion above all else. Everything that I’ve considered doing with my life has to do with working with people who are truly passionate about what they do.

I wound up taking a week off after my first few days since they only would have needed me 2 days, and from where I was staying in Nashville I couldn’t justify a nearly 2 hour drive for one night, and I had a few things to try and take care of at school. Katie was super understanding and was very good about letting me control my schedule since I was there doing it completely for free (not even getting credit for it).

While I was there Jeff kept asking me one question: “Are you having fun?”

He would ask me at least once every two days, and my response quickly became the same thing every time: “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

And it was true.

I had nothing to lose if I chose to just bail after three days. I still could have put it on a resume, I still had made connections and networked a little bit, and I could still say that I interned on a movie set. But I was having a blast. I know on my last blog I talked about how there was a lot of waiting around and I had to me quiet a lot (and we all know how hard it is for me to be quiet!), but even with all that I had so much fun.

I loved watching things unfold and come together before my eyes.

The number one thing that happened through this whole experience was gaining a whole new appreciation for the people who work behind the scenes on a movie set. It’s a really crazy thing to see how much goes into making a movie. Most people credit everything to the actors, but it’s such an incredibly small part of the production process.

I had an experience that I would never trade for anything in the world.

Feel free to leave questions in the comments and I will definitely answer what I can!

Check out GypsyRoot Productions and their other films like Gracie: Diary of a Coma Patient, A Measure of the Sin, and Night of the Babysitter and make sure you get your hands on a copy of Tennessee Gothic once it’s released. And check out Eric Stanze’s work such as In Memory Of and Scrapbook.

Tennessee Gothic Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tennessee-gothic–2#/

Katie Groshong IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1722962/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Jeff Wedding IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1723196/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

GypsyRoot Production Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gypsyrootproductions/

Eric Stanze IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0822855/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

 

 

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My first 3 days on set

On Wednesday, July 6th I drove an hour and a half from Nashville, TN to tiny little Viola, TN to begin my internship on the set of the newest feature film from GypsyRoot Productions Tennessee Gothic (link to their Indiegogo below). The drive was easy, but I have a feeling the rest of this experience is going to be a wild ride.  My first day here I felt like a fish out of water. I’m only one of two people here who has never been on a movie set before, and other than briefly meeting Katie (Groshong) several months ago I knew nobody walking into this. For someone with an anxiety disorder that is a certain kind of hell.

But I knew I wanted to be here, and I knew this was an opportunity that I would hate myself if I missed. I also now know that my new combination of meds is working even better than I realized since before I would have most definitely had a full panic attack on my way here, and on this new combo I just had some butterflies and a little bit of tightness in my chest.

When I got here I was weary. I pulled up to the beautiful, old slave-house-turned-farmhouse where we would be shooting a large part of the movie, and got out of my car. There were men sitting on the porch who I didn’t know, but I started walking toward the house none-the-less because that was really my only option. As I got closer, I saw people out to my left by the old barn and I thought I spotted Katie so I quickly changed my path and headed that way. Sure enough, she was coming toward me as I was going toward her and I heard her call out, “Is that Sarah?” She was wearing a shirt that read Bad Choice, Good story. And I was hoping the first part of that blurb would not apply to my decision to do this internship.

“Yes, it is!” I responded, feeling a little bit of relief to see a semi-familiar face.

She hugged me and thanked me for coming, and I reiterated how thrilled I am to be here. It feels so silly to me when they all thank me for being here when it’s me who should be falling down on my knees and praising them for giving me this chance.

I was quickly introduced to everyone while they got some initial, small shots taken care of, and there were a lot of names to remember. Thankfully, I think my time spent as a dance teacher with classes of more than fifteen girls at a time has tremendously helped with my ability to quickly learn names and by the end of the night I had everyone down. The first day I didn’t do much but observe and try and take everything in. Yesterday, my second day, I spent the day back and forth between the farmhouse and the church where we’re sleeping/filming other parts of the movie, and making a Walmart run so that we could feed the troops.

Today is the third day and I’m definitely slipping into the groove of things.

Before I bore you to death with all the tiny details about the boring things that I’ve been doing, I want to share with you somethings I’ve learned during my first three days on a movie set.

TOP 5 THINGS I’VE LEARNED MY FIRST THREE DAYS ON SET:

  1. The actors have the easy job –

Now, please don’t take this the wrong way because I am not in any way saying that acting is easy. I couldn’t do it, and very few people can do it well. What I mean by this is that as a viewing audience most of us never think about all the miniscule details that go into making a movie. We don’t think about the cameramen, and the PA’s, and the effects team, and the prop supervisors, and the wardrobe people. We see their work but we don’t think about the people who actually did it. Even Katie, who has worked both in front and behind the camera, says that it’s so much easier when you’re the one acting rather than behind the scenes work. Actors memorize their lines, perform them, and then they’re done. At least in the case of this shoot, it’s a very small part of the whole ordeal.

  1. There’s a lot of waiting –

You can’t work on a set and not be a little patient. And granted this is coming from someone who is working as a PA (Production Assistant), but there is a lot of time spent waiting for things: waiting for the sets to be set up, waiting for the makeup and wardrobe to be done, waiting for the film to be shot, waiting for the lights to be adjusted, waiting for the camera to be positioned. There’s a lot. Especially when working on an independent film with a small cast and a small crew and only one camera and limited resources. But, I’ll tell you what, I find it fascinating to wait and watch. The crew is so meticulous and gets everything perfect down to the last detail, and I love sitting back and watching as they work so hard to get it just right.

  1. You have to be quiet…A LOT –

If you know me you know that one word that has never been used to describe me in any situation is quiet. I’m a little bit like a toddler in that way, I get antsy and jittery and want to move around and shout when I’m told to be quiet for too long. This kind of goes along with #3, but when they’re shooting a scene you have to be as near silent as you can humanly get because the mics that they use pick up every tiny little thing.

  1. Being a PA has no one good description –

When people ask me what I’m doing it’s hard to explain in a way that doesn’t make it sound completely useless. Yes, I make a lot of food for the crew and yes I get coffee for them. But I also run back and forth between our locations to get anything that’s been left; I help transport props and costumes if needed; I basically do whatever Katie needs me to do. I’m kind of there to make her life easier while she’s producing. I’m also trying to learn anything and everything I possibly can from her. She does everything from costumes and wardrobe to meal preparations and script supervising. I’m so interested in the possibility of being a producer whether that be in movies or TV, I just want to learn as much as I can through this experience and not waste any of it…even if I am “only” making sandwiches for people.

  1. It’s an incredible experience –

GypsyRoots is a very small production company, and everyone who works on their films puts their own money into these projects. These are people who are creating because they love it. It’s not just a hobby to them despite how a lot of people probably view what they do. I love watching people who have so much passion for what they’re doing. Watching the whole thing come together is a fascinating. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity.

Tennessee Gothic Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tennessee-gothic–2#/

Katie Groshong IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1722962/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Jeff Wedding IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1723196/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

GypsyRoot Production Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gypsyrootproductions/

 

COMING SOON

In just a few short days I will be embarking on an amazing experience. I’ve mentioned before in one of my posts that I would be doing an internship with GypsyRoot Production where I will be working as a Production Assistant this summer as they work on their latest horror film Tennessee Gothic, and the time is finally here (https://goryrodden.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/jug-face-pours-out-creepiness/ ).  At the start of the summer I thought I would be doing this for credit at my school, but unfortunately due to financial problems I wasn’t able to pay for the credit hours. It made me question whether or not it would be worth the time and work that I would be putting into it.

Then I told myself to stop being an idiot.

My whole life I’ve loved movies. I grew up in a family of film buffs, and my love for horror started at an early age. I knew that if I passed up this opportunity just because I wasn’t getting any academic credit for it I would regret it for the rest of my life. Since I’m a communications major I have a lot of options for my future career, and for awhile I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I came down to Nashville in hopes of working in the music industry, and that may still be what I want to do. But I have so many doors that are going to be open to me because of this degree, including potentially working in the film industry, that I would be doing myself a major disservice by not exploring all the things that I might legitimately enjoy for myself.

So Thursday I’m headed down to Tennessee to do something that if you would have told me a year ago I would be doing I never would have believed.

You may be wondering how I got such an amazing opportunity and, because I’m just such a sweetie-pie, I’m going to tell you.

I’m part of a club at Lipscomb University called CMA Edu.  We work closely with the Country Music Association and we host events and guest speakers and help people interested in the music industry/marketing/communications field get a feel for the industry and what it means to be a part of it. So in the second semester of this last school year we were fortunate enough to host an event with the amazing Scott Scovill. For those country fans out there, he is Brad Paisley’s go-to-guy when it comes to all things touring.

Scott was amazing and gave me some great advice about the music industry, but it was his assistant Katie Groshong that really got my attention. Katie is one of the owners of GypsyRoot Productions, along with Jeff Wedding and we started talking about horror films.  This was during the time when I had to keep this blog for my 21st Century Media course so I was deep in the trenches of all things horror.  I wasn’t really watching any other type of movie, and I was reinforcing/building even more my love for the genre.

Scott had a lot to say to us, but the basic gist of most of what he was telling us was to go after what we wanted and to not be scared to ask for what we want. He also told us that we have to be willing to do the grunt work, and maybe do the not-super-fun jobs in whatever we’re doing to show that we are really serious about what we want. So, after all that, how could I not talk to Katie about potentially doing something with her company? And that’s exactly what I did.

After Scott was done speaking to us, I went to speak with Katie and she gave me her personal email address and several titles of they had made/she had acted in and the rest is history.

Sort of.

I am beyond excited for this opportunity and so completely grateful to Katie and Jeff for letting a virtual stranger with no experience on any sort of set come into this process and try and learn everything I can.  I’ll keep you updated on here, and hopefully you’ll all be able to see the film once we’re done with it.

Thank you all for reading this and taking the time to listen to what is probable a pretty boring story for you guys.

GypsyRoot Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gypsyrootproductions/

Katie’s IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1722962/

Jeff’s IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1723196/