The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stupidity On Set

And now, my loyal readers, I shall regale you with a tale from film school. A tale about why my name did not appear on the thesis film I produced, and why I never lost any sleep over it.

It began with one of my classmates, let's call her Tess. Tess was a directing major, a very bad directing major. But, we were friends, I needed to produce a thesis, she needed a producer, we decided to work together. This turned out to be a mistake, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Tess wanted to make a music video with some people she knew from back home in San Diego. Not professionals, just some friends of hers. Friends with no experience whatsoever. But I did not know this at the time.

Anyway, summer break was coming up, and as producer, I needed to file the paperwork before break started. This did not happen, because Tess never gave me the information I needed. No script, no shot list, she didn't even give me the names of these people. But, the show must go on, and on it went.

I returned from summer break, and we agreed to use my apartment in Burbank as one of the sets for the video. It was kinda gangsta with guns, and prop drugs. Again, Tess didn't get me the information I needed. Well, it turns out she didn't know the names of most of the cast for the music video. She told me to just make the names up. Sadly, I did, but honestly, I would never have received the information. When I asked for their names on set, all I got were some gansta rap aliases.

So, the day finally came where we filmed in my apartment. The cast and crew were supposed to arrive at my apartment at 9:30am. Shooting was supposed to start at 10am. But Tess didn't arrive until noon.

The shoot went about as well as you could expect. By the time the sun set, we were supposed to shoot a scene with some of the cast (Tess's friends) dressed as cops, breaking down the door and storming the place. Did I mention that they were carrying realistic looking prop guns? Did I also mention that they enjoyed playing and waving around those realistic looking prop guns when the camera wasn't rolling? Did I leave out that this was in my apartment complex's courtyard? And, since I didn't want the neighbors seeing these things and calling the cops, I politely asked them to stop waving the guns around. Polite became firm. Firm became angrily.

Anyway, the shoot ends, and I spend the next two days in the school's offices filing all of the paper work for Tess, she didn't give me information, so I was making up names, addresses, and contact information. No one gave it to me, no matter how much I asked.

Then, I don't hear from Tess for weeks. I call, I send e-mails. Nothing. And then, I get the e-mail. She removed my name from the credits, and blamed me for all the problems with her production. The cast all hated me. And if I ever attempted to contact her again, she would file a restraining order. She also told me not to try filing a complaint against her with the school, because she "had witnesses." Well, I filed my complaint anyway.

Then, a month later, came the graduation ceremony. All of the films were shown, and everyone walked regardless of whether you graduated or not. If you didn't, you either didn't receive your real diploma, or you repeated classes to make up for it. Well, I walked, I graduated, I received my real diploma with my major in producing emblazoned on it.

Tess walked, but she didn't graduate. She earned failing grades. Last I heard, she was taking some make up classes, but I have also heard through the grapevine that she didn't finish them.

Lesson learned, don't work with people just because you think you like them. I had some warning bells going off in my head, and I should have listened to my instincts. If you suspect they might be the slightest bit unprofessional, don't do it. Oh, and her music video sucked. I had to do everything possible to contain myself from laughing, and then when I got up to speak, to stop myself from thanking her for taking my name off that piece of shit. And, on the plus side, I have this wonderful story to entertain people with, that I fully intend to get some profitable mileage out of some day.

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