All of the first year Cinema Directing MFA students are working on different aspects of the filmmaking process. At this point of the semester, we are responsible for a final cut of our first projects that we shot this semester, the “Baby Adaptation.”` Along with this, we are preparing for and shooting our final projects. It has been a very collaborative experience. Classmates are all taking on different roles for each other’s sets, from Assistant Directors to Production Designers. I have worked as an AD for a couple of my classmates’ sets
We have begun development on an adaptation project. For this assignment, we were paired Creative Producing students after they pitched initial concepts. The directors are responsible for short film script adapted from the original sources they pitched to us. Some found their stories from Columbia College Chicago’s Creative Writing, Fiction MFA students’ story book, Hair Trigger. At the moment, we are purely (unpaid) work-for-hire screenwriters. The possibility of directing is in negotiations for some.
One of the keys to a successful student sets is to maintain the mood. The film is important, that’s the reason everyone is there, but a set can be long and tiring so it is important to keep the mood as high as possible. I have had so much fun on the sets that I have been a part of thus far. Because these are student projects, everyone is trying to help each other and works hard. This collaboration brings creative solutions to sets.
In the midst of our shoots and many assignments, our classmate Akanksha released her TV show’s first episode! We were invited to her screening and the celebration of her birthday afterward. Most of our classmates and producers were there to support our beloved friend. We had so much fun at the celebration afterwards! With the intense schedule we have had, it was really great to take some time to enjoy each other’s company.
Outside of school, I have been enjoying my time in Chicago. It has only been 3 months but I already started to feel like I am a part of it now. Thanks to the people of Columbia College Chicago, I have never felt like I am a stranger here. I started to learn more about the neighborhoods and the places in Chicago. I am almost prepared to welcome my brother (who is visiting me in a month) and show him the city. There are so many places that I have not yet had time to visit like the Field Museum or Shedd’s Aquarium and am planning to see with my brother during winter break.
It is good not to forget that these times of my life are very precious and I have been trying to make the most of them. I have been trying to make sure I take time to spend with myself and with friends outside of class or sets. I would recommend everyone make time for this also, this is an amazing experience but it can be overwhelming. Personal time is important.