DAY 3 - WEDNESDAY 22 JUNE
Class today consisted of two sessions. Paul Green, the chief operating officer of Anonymous Content, presented the first session. Anonymous is a really interesting and successful company who manages above the line talent and also produces content for these clients. It was interesting to hear Paul talk about how his company operates, as I had never heard of a business model that merges management and production. Paul’s lecture was a great lesson in how to produce a feature film from start to finish. He used the case study of The Revenant, an Oscar-winning film that he produced, to take us through the producing process. It was fascinating to learn about the successes and failures that happened while making this film. Ultimately, what I took away from this session was that producers need to be persistent if they believe in a project. As long as this happens, the production will be able to withstand the ups and downs. In the case of The Revenant, this persistence eventually paid off, leading to box office success and critical acclaim.
Our second session was lead by Donald Martin, a film and television screenwriter with credits across both film and television. Donald’s lesson was not just about how to write scripts, but also how to pitch them. Donald emphasized that the goal of an initial pitch is to get the buyer interested enough to arrange a second meeting. His advice was especially appreciated, as we will have to pitch our own projects tomorrow, and many more times throughout our careers.
DAY 4 - THURSDAY 23 JUNE
Today was our final day of classes at UCLA. I am sad that the classes have finished because I’ve enjoyed the program so much and have learnt more than I anticipated. To finish off the course, we had a day of pitching. Everyone had to pitch an idea to their peers and at least one industry professional. It was a daunting but useful experience. I personally felt that I did not perform to the best of my ability during my pitch today. Although I had been working on my idea all week, nerves got the better of me when it came to the delivery. With that said, Lisanne, our pitching supervisor showed interest in my idea and gave me some great tips on how to improve my pitch. I was also able to learn a lot by watching my peers pitch and hearing their feedback. Although it was a difficult experience, it was a great learning opportunity and I know I will be able to improve for next time I have to pitch.
To finish the day, Barbara Boyle, our UCLA coordinator and industry veteran, organised an informal celebration for the end of our course. It was such an honour to receive an official UCLA certificate. I still can’t believe that I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about my craft from one of the best film schools in the world. It has been such a great experience and I will carry the lessons I’ve learned over these past few days with me throughout the rest of my career.
DAY 5 - FRIDAY 24 JUNE
Today we set out for our first industry excursion to YouTube Space LA and what an experience it was! We were treated to a private tour of the space which I had no idea even existed. Our lovely tour guide, Esteban, explained the space access program whereby YouTubers who have over 1000 subscribers can book studios and facilities at the space to help them create their content. I couldn’t believe the amount of resources YouTube provided free of charge to their users – it was incredible. We had a great time looking at the equipment cage and all of the stages. We also had the opportunity to learn about and experience virtual reality. For many of us, including myself, it was the very first time we had used this kind of technology. I had heard a lot of hype about it and I can now confirm that the experience lives up to the hype. It was truly amazing to be able to fully immerse yourself in another place through this technology. I was also very impressed by the atmosphere at YouTube Space. It was truly a place that fostered collaboration and creativity. I hope that I get the opportunity to work in this space one day.
After spending the afternoon at Hammer Museum in Westwood, we headed to Sunset Boulevard for an Australian’s in Film advanced screening of The Legend of Tarzan. Although I would only give the movie a two-star rating, it was great to experience an industry screening which included a live Q & A with Margot Robbie.
ABOVE: My first experience with virtual reality at YouTube Space LA.
DAY 8 - MONDAY 27 JUNE
Today was a lesson in film history as we were treated to the VIP tour of Paramount Studios. Paramount have been making films for over 100 years in the lot that we visited today. It was great to see some infamous sets and costumes and hear some classic anecdotes from the golden era of film. I especially enjoyed the New York sets and the film archives.
After Paramount, we headed across the street to the Australians in Film headquarters. Here he were able to speak with the people responsable for bringing offshore Hollywood productions such as Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean to Queensland. It was interesting to learn about the government tax incentives that attract these large scale productions to our local industry.
To finish the day we headed down the street to Fox Studios to see a special screening of Independence Day: Resurgence. The film itself was a bit of a let down, but it was fun having a quick walk through the studio lot. Having been to Paramount in the morning, it was great to be able to compare things such as the Fox New York sets and the Paramount New York sets.
DAY 9 - TUESDAY 28 JUNE
Today we visited the American Society of Cinematography for a Q&A with a panel of accomplished cinematographers. While I am not a camera person, I found the discussion to be very interesting. The panel discussed some of the difficulties of their role such as finding a balance between executing the director's vision while also contributing their own artistic opinions. This information will help me better understand the cinematographers I work with and their point of view.
After ASC, a group of friends and I headed to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. There was a very interesting mix of contemporary art at this museum. I especially loved the Urban Light installation out the front of the museum which I have seen featured in many films and tv shows such as American Horror Story and No Strings Attached.