Friday, October 3, 2008

"I Heart Milk" (2006)



This was so long ago now that I think about it.

I was a sophomore in college at LMU's film school taking the FILM 260 course (now known as PROD 200 under the new catalog I believe), which was the first class where we actually got to shoot, direct, and edit shorts for credit. We finally got access, however limited, to LMU's production equipment. We got to use the Sony HC-85, not a great camera by any stretch, but a pretty solid basic production camera nonetheless. We also had access to a really basic lighting kit, but I was nowhere near confident (or competent) enough to mess with that.

I'd already shot the first two of three films for the class. The first was five minutes of in-camera footage, not to be edited, only to be played against music for screening. I shot my mother in the process of painting (she's become a dilligent and talented painter and pastel artist in the past few years) and set it to "All Tomorrow's Parties" by The Velvet Underground. It was all right but nothing to rave about. Nevertheless it was pretty valuable in learning how to shoot for editing without actually editing. My second project was about a small-time garage band that joins together and then falls apart. I was allowed to edit this one and I took full advantage, writing a cheesy classic rock soundtrack in Garageband that timed up pretty perfectly with the footage. I used my friends/actual bandmates as actors and felt all right about it.

For my third project I hit massive writer's block, unable to come up with an idea. It's funny, I think most anyone can come up with an idea for a five-minute silent short fairly easily, but when you're under pressure it somehow becomes much harder. Anyway, my due date not only snuck up me, but also turned out to be a week earlier than I had estimated. Unable to put together a script/actors/crew in just a matter of days, I did what any sane person does...

I wrote it, shot it, starred in it, did everything in it. I shot it at my parents' house, giving only the sun authority over scheduling. And somehow I did it all in one day. It was slightly awkward setting up shots with no actor, pulling focus on pillows and other placeholders, then pressing record and running into place to pull off five or six consecutive takes. But I have to admit it was pretty fun.

Anyway, why lactose intolerance? Why now? Well, like a good college entrance essay, when you have no ideas you must turn to personal suffering. I'm lactose intolerant and deal with it, but I'm not a big fan of sweets anyway. However, there's always moments of temptation where I crave that bowl of ice cream, and I've fallen victim to a few of them. I'll just say it's never worth it and always ends in someone's bathroom. This film, if it represents anything, represents the lactose intolerant person's frustration with living in a lactose-friendly society.

Correction: My dad pulled the zoom on the last shot. The HC-85 isn't that clever.

PS: I have no clue where hard copy of my first two films might be. My professor might still have them but who knows. I've had so many hard drives crash without warning it's sad.

1 comment:

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