Marginalia, Graduate Blog

THE SEASON FINALE

Conor O'Farrell

Back where it all began, some of the producers in bootcamp in August.

Back where it all began, some of the producers in bootcamp in August.

Back home, kind of around the time MTV’s The Hills was a thing, my good friend Sarah and I devised a world where we were the stars of our own make-believe reality show. Imaginary camera crews would follow our every move, some times annoyingly so. We would generally preface a ‘scene’ by deciding on the soundtrack, relevant to what was about to go down, and the scene would only end when someone said something profoundly lame like, “it’s time to make some new memories,” or, “I’m going to be there for you when he screws you over, because he will.” It was always fun when we managed to convince randomers that it was for real, but the sad thing is, we weren’t even drunk most of the time.

Sadly, even the imaginary entertainment industry is a business that has to sometimes make pretend decisions about fake cash, and the series wasn’t picked up for a fourth make-believe season, mostly because of Sarah. The good news, though, is that I got a fictitious spin-off series that followed my move to America. Last week was the series finale.

Though technically I’m the first-billed star of my make-believe series, with seventeen producers, sixteen directors, and about ten faculty throughout this first semester, it made for somewhat of an ensemble cast. But, we also had our departures from the series, and with the tears and laughter we shared and dramas we dealt with, it made for somewhat of a harrowing first season.

An original storyboard from 'Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)

An original storyboard from 'Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)

Some of the highlights of the season have included attending the premiere of a short-film I wrote last year. I had my fisherprice-my-first-thanksgiving, when, of course, the Irish guy was in charge of potatoes. I also experienced my first American Hallowe’en in Milwaukee. I learned I suck at beer pong. I witnessed first-hand an American presidential election, and we got to delve through Columbia digital film archives. And, despite the clusterf**k of assignments we had going on, I managed to work on four short-films and met many guest stars that gladly became series regulars, including heaps of prospective students whose boundless enthusiasm served as a timely reminder of why I’m here.

But, despite my contractual obligations to my imaginary show—which hasn’t yet been titled (prize* for best suggestion in comments below)—I managed to develop a considerable slate of material; Kick Off is going into production next year, I had the second development meeting for my feature film Scars last week, and in January, producer Joe and I are going into development on The Phoenix Project, a futuristic transmedia property that includes a feature film, a graphic novel, a web-series, and a computer game.

Paramount's original Lasky Arch, in Columbia's Media Production Center.

Paramount's original Lasky Arch, in Columbia's Media Production Center.

We’re now officially one-quarter of the way through, and it’s been a hell of a ride so far. I did say that the scene doesn’t end until someone says something profoundly lame, and so I’ll leave you with these ever-meaningful wise words from The Hills: “Life’s tough. Get a helmet”.

Be sure to tune in next season.

*Prize is also fake.

THE SEASON FINALE

Back home, kind of around the time MTV’s The Hills was a thing, my good friend Sarah and I devised a world where we were the stars of our own …

Cinema Art + Science - Creative Producing Conor O'Farrell, conor.ofarrell@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience