InFocus film students are acquiring the skills needed to work on a professional film set.
But what happens when a Hollywood production comes to a film school instead?
That’s precisely what happened when Warner Bros. was scouting locations for its television program Frequency and decided our brick-wall rooms would serve as an ideal backdrop for an episode, according to Program Director Steve Rosenberg.
InFocus film students were accorded insider access to the production that saw the transformation of two adjoining classrooms into a New York-style apartment.
“About 12 years ago I had worked with the DOP, Kamal Derkaoui,” said Rosenberg. “He remembered me and was incredibly generous in allowing our students to shadow the production and ask questions.”
One of the students, Tom Barton, echoes the importance of first-hand experience on a large film set. “It was crazy how big the machine was, with 50 people running around. Kamal let us stand behind the director and script supervisor to watch them at work while he explained what everyone was doing.”
Barton was pleased to hear the pros use phrases like “shutter angle” and “ISO rating” that corresponded to the terminology he had learned in school. Additionally, Barton had a vague idea of what a script supervisor was, but through close quarters he was able to gain a deeper understanding of the job.
“The difference on a big set is that the crew is more specialized, whereas on our shoots we are more actively involved in all areas,” he added.
The experience has confirmed for Barton that he’d like to direct. A lasting impression is in how the episode’s director was a constant source of inspiration and joy to the team.
Another student, Robin Jung, is no stranger to union sets. An actor with appearances on the series Fringe and the feature Bloody Knuckles, Jung was already prepared for the scale of the Frequency production.
Still, there were discoveries not quite anticipated. “The production had a large crew present, with PAs waiting around for when they were needed and I thought, ‘Wow, this many people for a three-minute scene.’”
Jung was amazed at the length of time it took to reset between takes and how the director would speak between the actors’ lines to guide the Steadicam operator on where to move.
“As the director you’re the captain keeping the ship on course,” said Jung. “For this production the director was straightforward in asking for what he wanted. I learned the importance of being bold.”
The students will have further opportunities to observe and learn when Frequency returns to InFocus for planned reshoots.