Monday, November 8, 2010

Journey to the Biz

I am a host on Fox Movie Channel's "Life After Film School" program, where current film students interview current filmmakers. I thought I'd share a blog I wrote for the Fox Movie Channel website about my experience talking with Graham Yost.

If interested, check out one of my past episodes here!

And so goes by another episode of “Life After Film School.” This past week, I had the opportunity to interview Graham Yost, along with two other students. As a recent graduate of USC’s Cinema-Television Production program, these interviews are of utmost interest to me. It is scary trying to break into this business and talking to current filmmakers—who really are just normal people—that have effectively broken into entertainment, is incredibly encouraging. Every route is different, but hearing their various journeys to success is enlightening and something I will take with me as I, too, depart on a professional career.

The film business is unique in that there is no direct career path to becoming a director, or a producer, or a writer. It’s not like becoming a doctor—where one gets good grades in college, aces the MCATs, goes to medical school, and wakes up one morning as a full fledged doctor (forgive me for simplying what I actually do know is a grueling process). But the point is, you know exactly how to become a doctor from square one—and that you’ll be promised a healthy living when you emerge on the other end. I’ve never been a risk-taker and the road more travelled has always looked appealing to me. But my enormous love for I cinema is enough to make me gamble at entertainment. During his interview, Graham mentioned that everyone he had met, who really wanted it and kept at it, eventually found success. Words such as these give me immense hope, as I have always been one of the most hard-working and determined people you’ll ever meet.

While we were chatting in between filming, Graham mentioned that he had come from an acting background, the same as me! He said that understanding the actor’s perspective and how lines are prepared and spoken, was incredibly helpful to being a writer. This is something that I have always felt deep down, so it is great hearing an actual writer validate my theory. I will always be thankful that at 5-years-old, I decided to be an actress. My theatre and speech & debate background, I feel, made me a better writer and director when in film school, it also made me far more respectful towards actors—something that I sadly, don’t always see in filmmakers. When you first get to film school, everyone wants to be a director. But as the years pass and the scope of filmmaking broadens, your classmates start to realize that maybe they aren’t as good at directing as they once thought and maybe their true interests lie elsewhere….editing, sound, cinematography, etc. I didn’t come into USC necessarily wanting to be a director, but I, as well as my peers, was surprised to find that I was actually surprisingly good at directing. Something that I attribute whole-heartedly to my acting background.

So all in all, I’d say it that Episode 9 was a successful day, I walked away with new writing tips and hints to aid me on my own journey…. AND an invitation to go check out the writer’s room on “Justified”! I really do feel so lucky to be a part of Life After Film School., not only have a I gained a wealth of knowledge, but I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing filmmakers, as well as some future great filmmakers among my co-hosts as well! I wish Graham Yost the best in all his endeavors, and hopefully our paths will cross again someday shortly.