Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Diary of a Film Student

And so goes another wonderful day on the set of "Life After Film School."

Today I had the opportunity to interview producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson about their newest film, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules," based on the very popular book series by Jeff Kinney. It was an insightful discussion and I thought I'd share a few memorable points from the interview.

One of my favorite things that was said was Brad’s advice to “Get in the room with people whose jobs you want to have someday.” Always be there watching and learning from your superiors. Be attentive, enthusiastic, and most importantly—be likeable and you will rise thru the ranks quickly. I loved this advice because as I’ve matured I’ve realized and accepted that I’m not going to start at the top. I’m going to have to “pay my dues” as they put it….and I think I’m okay with that—as long as I am at a company that I’m enthusiastic about and love the work they are doing, I will be happy performing mundane tasks such as grabbing coffee and taking phone calls.

Nina and Brad both spoke about the importance to learning. Some movies are going to work, some will fail, some will never see the light of day, while others will go on to become surprise hits. Regardless of how a film performs, it is always a learning experience—an opportunity to take away valuable something. Brad spoke of an elderly director he had collaborated with who was still working in his 80s! Brad’s reasoning for this was that the director had never stopped learning and evolving. He was constantly asking what, how, and why. He was interested in learning about social media and wasn’t narrow-minded, despite being at an age where learning about newfangled things could seem daunting. This goes to show that learning doesn’t stop with graduation. In actuality, life is all a learning experience—and you are never too old to stop gaining knowledge.

I, personally, love kids and enjoy working with them. So I asked Brad and Nina about their experiences working with a cast made up almost entirely of children. They both smiled—it’s clear the event evoked fond sentiments. They told us that the energy on set was contagious; there is a tendency among adults to become jaded by movie-making, but kids are a totally different story. They all felt so incredibly lucky to be there. After all, they were getting to inhabit characters from a series that they themselves and all their friends had read and worshipped! Brad and Nina shared an occasion in which the little boy who plays Raleigh came to set one day to find that they were going to be wearing aprons in the scene. He loudly went running to his dad—“Dad! DAD! We get to wear aprons today!!!” His joy over such a seemingly silly costuming item had the whole crew rolling over laughing and brought smiles to their faces for hours. Kids have an innate power to subtly lighten the mood and remind grown ups of the simple pleasures in all of our lives--such as aprons :)

Stay tuned for video link in a few weeks! And make sure to go see Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules! It's a charming, funny film that kids and anyone who has gone through the awkwardness of pre-adolescence can relate to and thoroughly enjoy.

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