The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

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It’s a rousing time; two weeks of class remain before the move to Los Angeles; we’ve made a breakthrough in drafting one of my feature projects; we’re about to enter the finishing stages of my thesis film; one of my best friends from home arrives on Friday.

It’s hard to believe we’re nearly done. It being a two-year MFA program, a lot is jampacked into our time here. So much so that we’ve barely noticed the days whirl by. And once we arrive in LA mid-March we only have eight weeks of classes before graduation in May.

The end might be in sight, but we’re not quite there just yet.

First, I have to take my thesis film on its final great journey. The film is due to premiere in Columbia’s Film Row Cinema in late April. Principal photography took place in Kansas last August. Beforehand we had put seven months into development and pre-production, so afterwards we needed a bit of a breather. Last November, in what has proven one of the greatest chance encounters on this journey, I happened upon film editor Jason Becker. Jason came on board, and brought fresh eyes and immeasurable talent to the table. He has crafted the picture edit in a way neither Emily nor myself thought possible, and later this week we are due to picture lock. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks pitching to and meeting with potential sound designers, composers and colorists. The picture edit has come together in a very lyrical fashion, so both sound and music will play a huge part in bringing the story to life. The film is set in the 1960s, so achieving the right color palette and film grade is paramount to evoking that time period. With picture lock due Friday, these finishing stages will happen throughout March.

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That film is just one of the elements required for graduation, the other major part being my feature film package. The presently titled Scars is a feature screenplay that chronicles one young man’s journey while trying to find a reason to live in a world that is about to end. That screenplay will be packaged for production while in LA, and become the second half of my materials required for graduation. The idea being that we graduate with a festival-bound short film, and a feature film ready for production.

My good friend Niall also arrives Friday, amidst all this madness. Niall and I went to Naoínra together as three-year-olds. This is like the Irish-speaking equivalent of kindergarten. Despite my attempts to shake him off, we have been friends for some time. He called me during the week to confirm his travel plans, and when I asked what he might like to do when here he said ‘I don’t really care, as long as it’s better than John’s trip’. Nothing like some healthy competition between friends.

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