Yes, it is that special time of year again where the second year Producing MFA students have shipped off to Los Angeles. What does this mean for us directors? You guessed it! We are all running around like chickens with our heads cut off. WHAT NOW? Who is going to take care of us? Who is going to schedule our lives? Who is going to make EVERYTHING happen? And, most importantly, how are we going to survive until graduation without some of our closest friends?
It was a WILD start, and I mean it when I say WILD! The MFA in Cinema Art + Science is no joke. It starts in a whirlwind and never slows down. This is a good thing, though. If anyone ever asks me why I like this program so much it comes down to the structuring of the years, which I feel very strongly about, especially based on how my relationships with my classmates has grown. The program starts with Bootcamp, a three-week filmmaking intensive. You start you first day as nervous as can be, but by the end of that first 9-hour stretch at the Media Production Center, there isn’t TIME to be nervous anymore—by that point we’d already been given 3 projects!
Those thoughts of Is anyone going to like me? or How am I going to make new friends? are long gone by the end of your first day. You don’t have a choice in the matter, really. Your new friends are going to be your classmates. You will like them and depend on them and crave their companionship. You need to. The program is built on the foundation that you NEED one another to make anything happen. You learn all of this by the end of day one. No, seriously. By the end of day one.
Okay, so maybe you think I’m being a little naïve in thinking the entire cohort was going to remain best friends for the rest of eternity. There are always going to be people who butt heads. There are always going to be people who just don’t get along. Fights are inevitable (this is a HIGH-stress environment, after all). But the thing to remember is that after Bootcamp, we had an unmistakable bond. We were thrown into the reality of filmmaking and came out ready and prepared. We came out knowing that we can rely on one another no matter the circumstances.
Did your script supervisor quit in the middle of a shoot? No problem, one of us will back you up. Do you need an apartment to film in last minute? No problem, come over to mine. Do you need more feedback on your script? No problem, let’s workshop. Our time is limited as MFA candidates, but there is always time for one another. We are the backbone of our own careers. We need our cohort as much as we need a camera to film a movie. This is the beginning of our network, the beginning of our creative collaboration, the beginning of it all.
I can’t believe the producers are off to LA. I’m a bit sad about it, but I know they are out there doing incredible things. I know that they will keep all us poor directors in their hearts (after all, we are keeping them in ours).
Love you guys! Do great things. Stay true. Don’t forget us.