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.
The last week of the semester was final and work-in-progress screenings for a most people. The graduate students had both. Final screenings for project one and work-in-progress screenings for project two, some of which were producer-led projects. Sharing you work for the purpose of getting feedback or having it critiqued is always a vulnerable and sometimes difficult experience but there are ways to make it a little less painful.
Sometimes it takes something that goes beyond simply reading to find the spark for your next poem.
After hundreds of collective hours of rehearsing, writing, memorizing, moving, trashing drafts of our shows, rewriting, memorizing again, designing, and performing…we did it