According to knowwithoutborders.org, “Ideate is the space in design thinking where individuals and teams elevate and celebrate the power of possibility. It is the transition from identifying a particular question or problem to generating a wide variety of potential answers and solutions.” For a film student, ideating can often be defined as the few hours spent staring at a blank sheet of paper or word document, trying to come up with a film idea in order to have something to pitch in class the following day.
Happy August, all! Even though I’m a Leo baby, August really snuck up on me this year. In a month, my internship with Steppenwolf will be over. I’ll be back in the grind of school and on the road to graduation. And with the internship coming to a close, I am increasingly thankful that this experience at Steppenwolf worked out. Intern life has been a major shift away from the life of a first year grad student, but I’m just now finally getting to dive into how and why it feels like I’ve stepped out of the safety net of school and into the real world.
Last month, I wrote about how I had slacked a bit when it came to writing. While I took strides to get myself out of this rut through Virgil Abloh’s art, I realized that was not enough. I read some more poems and penned a few things, but I was not quite there yet—whenever I raised my pen and opened my journal, I could still feel that I was a bit out of my element. I knew I should probably venture out and find somewhere to build off the momentum I had started. That’s when the light bulb in my head turned on—I knew I needed to go to the Poetry Foundation.
As a creative producer, getting to come up with ideas, develop stories and work on scripts is my heart and joy. I love it. Another big part of being a creative producer is logistics, which is often not as fun as scripts and stories. Most of the logistical work ultimately gets done by the line producer, production manager, and assistant directors, who are hired by and work with the producer to make sure the production happens as hitch-free as possible. A lot of the time, those jobs are considered non-creative, but I beg to disagree. There is creativity involved in logistics, especially with low-budget filmmaking.
As we say so long to the one and only Kelly Schmader, I wanted to take a moment to say a quick hello! The metaphorical torch of Graduate Ambassador-ship has been passed from Kelly to me. I am currently in the summer between years one and two in the Masters of Arts Management program at Columbia. Grad school—specifically the MAM program—has been a whirlwind thus far. Tons of reading. Lots of writing. Many, many new friends. And a love affair with the city of Chicago. I will for sure dive into more detail about all of these things at some point over the next year, but for now—a few basics!
I will be totally honest: now that I am reaching the midway point of my summer break, I realize I have slacked quite a bit on the writing and editing. It was not intentional, but after giving myself time to recharge after the grueling endeavors of the last school year, I let my mind stay in relaxation mode longer than I should have. Sure, I have moments of inspiration written in the “Notes” section of my phone, but that is as far as most things have gotten so far this summer. I’ve gone through anger and regret with myself for allowing that to happen, but after reveling in these feelings longer than I should have, I finally decided that it was time for me to take some action.
The shoot is over but the work isn’t. The post-production process of Silver Cord has started.
Summer break is in full swing, and school is done. What’s not done is the creative work. That never stops. School or no school, there are still stories to develop, scripts to write, films to produce and footage to edit. The difference that arises with getting all of that done during the summer is routine. During the school year, you have a bit of structure: you know where you’ll be and how much free time you’ll have, so you can figure out when and where you will write or edit or have meetings. In the summer, you have the freedom to figure that out on your own terms.
My first semester as a graduate student ended a few weeks ago, and to be honest, I am still adjusting to the freedom. There are no papers to worry about writing, no poems to edit for a workshop, and no assigned books for me to read. Aside from my full-time job, it now finally seems like I have all the time in the world to do almost whatever. It took a few weeks to adjust my sleeping schedule though, as I still found myself waking up at 7 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Nevertheless, my first couple of weeks out of school were spent doing non-writing things, because it is important to take a break every now and then.
It is finally over! I shot my film. It is hard to believe that I finished the production stage. I and my producer, Urwa, have been working on our thesis film for over a year, and now our problems and concerns about the production are over. How did it go? Read more to see.