Here’s more from Hollywood Experience 2014 student, Alicia LeBlanc, who sums up the highlights of a busy first week in Los Angeles:
Pre-trip: I came to the Hollywood Experience having already made the decision and steps to move to L.A. in a few months. What I was hoping to gain on this trip were some tools and advice for next steps to take as far as getting started in the industry and settled.
Saturday, May 10 – We arrived in L.A.! I feel very welcomed by the amazing folks at our apartment complex. Also, I’m learning how to pronounce “La Brea.”
Sunday, May 11 – Visited Bel Air Presbyterian Church. It’s beautiful. Spent the day texting my Mom everything I did, so that we could spend Mother’s day together. Those of us riding in the car with Professor Gaffney’s wife, Catherine, took the scenic route and received L.A. navigation tips, industry tips, and a lot of fascinating stories about Los Angeles history. We wrapped up the day watching the premiere of Mom’s Night Out. Fun movie written by Andrea Nasfell. Immediately recommended it to my mom.
Monday, May 12 – First day of classes. Had a nice walk to our classroom building. It’s really hot this week, yet we press on. Bill Marsilii gave a great lecture on how to find film ideas and shared some of his stories about his process in writing the film Deja Vu. Then Dean Batali spoke about his journey as a writer in Hollywood, which gave us an idea of what we may encounter in a writer’s room and how to handle it.
Catherine showed us the tar pits where animals were trapped in asphalt and are now ancient fossils being excavated. Also, ate a customized hamburger from “The Counter” that was completely worth the expense.
Tuesday, May 13 – Warner Brothers is so much more awesome than I expected. They work hard to treat their employees with respect and value, providing work during hiatus times and respecting privacy by banning tourist photography. Nice people. I did not understand how much the whole film industry is run on a mindset of service. Over and over again, people tell us that the way to survive in the business is to be the best servant you can possibly be. I know someone else who encouraged that.
Sidenote: Neat thing about L.A. is that it’s constantly changing, like a theatre set that is painted over time after time. Each layer has a story. So much to discover!
Wednesday, May 14 – Clare Sera spoke with us about her looooooong journey getting her film Blended to be produced. It helped to set realistic expectations for feature film writing and on how little influence you have on the final product. Another opportunity to trust God!
Thursday, May 15 – Robert G. Lee was so pleased with his visit to Regent this year, that he invited us to his home for a pool party! We are all extremely grateful because it is HOT! Robert and his wife are the epitome of hospitality (again with that servant thing). Andrea Nasfell, the writer for Mom’s Night Out joined us to talk about her experience writing the film. This was so helpful, because she was able to give us insight into writing for a faith-based market and also how to adjust your script for large or small budgets. I especially liked her peaceful attitude and how she described filmmaking as a “team sport.” The evening ended with a showing of Robert G. Lee’s film Can I get a Witness Protection?, and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Friday, May 16 – I’m very excited about all of the different writers we get to hear from. While they tend to echo the most important bits of advice (be a servant, be patient, rely on God, etc.), each one brings some information or an angle that is unique and very helpful. Monica Macer, who has written for many different shows, led us in an exercise to create distinctive dialogue for the characters. Tom Provost held a lecture on the use of suspense and surprise in your script. Those are my favorite techniques, and it was exciting to dig deeper into the possibilities of using those tools.
Saturday, May 17th – TV panel!!!!!!!! Let me say it again! TV PANEL!!!!!!!! Oh, I was so excited for this one. We had a lineup of TV writers this morning and it was wonderful. A TV writer’s room is a strange place. They gave us tons of helpful information from writing with a partner, to marketing yourself, to sharing your faith with your colleagues. This session wasn’t long enough. The other two panels that day were people who are affected by the script – actors, directors, editors, executives. It was great to get their perspective, because these are the people you serve with your scripts.
Sunday, May 18th – Alumni dinner in the Pacific Palisades. So many familiar faces. I also met a few people who were very kind and quick to offer help and advice for my upcoming move to L.A.. As an introvert, I was looking toward this evening with a fair amount of dread. Now, I feel like I can handle this.
Photos by John Crowley, @JCrow8#RegentinLA #LosAngeles #Hollywood