Senior Film Blog


End of the Quarter Reflection

Wow. 11 more weeks done. Mark it down in the books.

The last couple months of my life have seemed like a time warp. I finished up yet another quarter at Ai. As weeks go by I work hard to get everything finished, when I start to realize that my blog entries are getting left behind. Now I sit here at the end of the quarter still full of emotions and questions. Instead I was silent when it came to all my showings and edits. I so longed for my own feedback but my blog stayed silent. I then began to reflect on the quarter as a whole and discuss from there. I used my teacher’s suggested questions to start a good conversation in my brain.

1. How has your senior project in its edited form differed from your original intention and why do you think these changes have occurred (think beyond the practical problems, like you couldn’t get a certain location, and look deeper at your theme, style, story and purpose for creating this story – what from these elements have changed and why).  

I did not really think as my film as different from my original plan until I was in the editing room. While I was writing I thought that in order my script to be done it had to be perfect and understandable. I mistook understandable as meaning that there is more words. But what I have learned in the editing room is that less is more. That you can get a point across without having to hand hold your audience. The first couple edits I did not want to drop any dialogue or present things not in the order they were supposed to be, but I’ve since begun to chop away and have found it refreshing.

This quarter I sometimes felt like my senior film was playing catch up to everything else and lately I’ve tried to give it more TLC and I can see the difference. My theme is no longer just about self awareness and connection to others but that of something of a journey from within. I knew the character’s had an under lying similar relatable to each other but as I began to edit I found more of myself and my internal struggles within the characters. The fact that I wasn’t able to shoot my ending scares me and upsets me. I want to be successful with this and I fear the outside look seems as if I am not trying etc. But the fact that I am a little behind doesn’t change the fact that  I still care and am passionate about this film. I’m doing it for me and not for anyone else.  Therefore, this battle from within will be satisfied similar to that of my characters.

My style has changed in the past week. I went from being a pretty conserved editor to a more gutsy editor and this could change the overall view of my film and for the first time I am okay with that. Like I said before, when you cut your cord from what your film was “supposed to be” to what it is become the possibilities are endless.

2. What do you now know about your own abilities/skills that you didn’t realize at the outset (where you do well and where you still struggle)?  

The amount of knowledge that I have learned in the last year at Ai has been astronomical. My abilities and skills has grown leaps and bounds. Just the Senior Project alone is the single handed most difficult thing that I have ever done in my life. My confidence in my own decision making ability has led me to discover my own style which I never thought I had but once you feel confortable it sort of comes out. My producer skills grew a ton in terms of organization skills. Im’m never someone to do this ASAP but in producing there is no better time then the present.

My writing skills were something else that shocked me. I realized how natural it is for me to feel connected to story and I think that its really helped me develop my own script and characters as well as that of my classmates. I’m fascinated in the study of character’s and I’ve been enjoyed putting on various character lenses to try and see things through their specific eye. I think my biggest lesson that I still need to learn is that of time management. As you know I still have a scene to film and though I did try I need to get this baby shot. But it has given me an advantage in the sense I can still add elements to strengthen my story. But, overall I still need to find time for things long before it is too late. This is something that I will carry forth once time becomes more sensitive in my work.

Final Thoughts

 Ahh, I am still in shock as to where I am not only in this project but my schooling. I wish so badly to be done but I am scared for what is to come. Ai has become my home away from home even though a large chunk of my time is spent running around and logging crazy hours it keeps me busy. I think I will miss the challenge of constantly being creative and inventive. It really keeps my imagination a desire to create strong. I will miss this wide range of possibilities of what I can create from stuff from school. Also, the friendships that I have made through this school will be forever missed once it’s over. To call them friends is an understatement Ai has grown to be a family. The instructor’s with such a deep investment in our projects, lives and futures is rare to extinct in and among colleges. So looking back on this project and where I am, I’d say I am happy. Things could have obviously went better but then I’d have nothing to learn.I cannot wait to see the outcome of all my classmates videos and I cannot wait to see them and their successes as well as my own and that of the DFVP program. We may be new but what we lack in program existence we make up for in heart and creativity and I considere myself a proud member of this program at Ai.

Currently Listening to;

Artist: Arcade Fire Song: Haiti Album: Funeral


Work load…..Wahhh

This quarter has been insanity. I feel like I work 80 hours a week. I spend more time with my classmates then with my own family or friends. I usually don’t eat food until I’m in the car driving to another location and dinner is usually served around 2:00 am out of a pizza box. I’ve slept on anything and everything coaches to office floors. Sleep haha I have no idea what that is. Hours of sleep has become a an endangered species for film students and especially me. I don’t want you to think I am complaining because truthfully I love it. In the moment I sometimes feel miserable but looking back on it and looking ahead to the future where I won’t have so many opportunities, I’m going to miss it. With that said, I guess the purpose of this post is to film you in on some of the other projects I have going on.

Multi-Camera Class-

This class as been one of the most challenging but fun classes that I have taken at Ai. We got to shoot a Hip Hop  concert event as well as pitch a reality show and create a pilot episode. I have gotten to shoot some awesome locations such as the Fine Line Music Cafe, Northern Brewer, Summit Brewery as well as several other places. This class has really made me push myself and I have really enjoyed it.


This class is called Electronic Field Production. It is a class that is most similar to documentary filmmaking then any other class that our school has. We have had to research a news piece, do an artist piece as well as an important history and last an experimental piece.

I’m scared because my academic career is coming to a close and I am going to miss all the fun things I get to do. I know this post doesn’t really have anything to do with my senior film but I figured it would be cool to update some of you as to what else I am doing. Plus its a beautiful Saturday in March in Minnesota 🙂

Theme Song of the Day:

Happy Pills – Norah Jones

Winding Road


So I have been M.I.A. lately my second to last college quarter has been anything but easy. A couple weeks ago we had our first assembly edit due and it was nerve wracking. It was the first time I had really ever shown anything that was 100% my own and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I went first and everyone gave their feedback I started to feel like I had a lot of work ahead of me and I did. I knew there was going to be feedback and such but what was hard for me is when I felt like some of my work was compared to my other classmates and it seemed to be a tough pill to swallow. I couldn’t help but sit there and be conflicted and upset. I think it was the hardest day for me in my academic career. I on one hand am extremely excited about all my classmates work but it’s starting to dawn on my that these people are going to be gunning for the same positions as me. I just couldn’t stop but feeling discouraged. It took me a little while to get over it. I think the turning point for me was a discussion with one of my instructors. She pointed out that if you are comparing yourself to other’s you’ll never get any better. Being a good filmmaker isn’t about being the best. It’s about having the ability to admit that you’ll never be the best. That’s really what filmmaking is about it’s an ever changing field and you should never be comfortable, you have to constantly be pushing yourself. If you open yourself up the amount of knowledge will be endless. I took all that she said home and chewed on it awhile. I came to the conclusion that being the best isn’t the single reason why I chose this path. I chose to be a filmmaker, a story teller, an artist because it is in my soul, it makes me happy. I feel most at ease with myself when I can be creative. Then it dawned on me, that this film isn’t being made for anyone and everyone. It’s a constitution of myself and as along as I am happy with it at the end of the day, then it’s considered a success.

Song I’m Currently Listening To:

Songbird – Fleetwood Mac

Starting The Editing Process

Hello All

Well I am in week 2 of my second to last quarter at Ai. Holy, time flies! I still have so much to do but there is light at the end of the very very long tunnel that is my college career. I am eager to be done but I know that I will miss it once it’s gone. I have started to editing process of my film. I am currently finishing up the transcoding of my footage so that it will all be the same codec when I bring it into Final Cut Pro. I can then start to put the pieces together. Our assembly edits are do Thursday January 26th. Eeek that is so soon! But, my instructor Ben made a good point he said that the sooner we get the story laid out the sooner the fun begins. It’s just scary looking at those GB’s of footage!! I still have some things I need too shoot still so I am a little behind so I am currently trying to finalize those so that I can finally call it a wrap on this bad boy. But, for now I am really happy with everything so far. I am so proud of my whole cast and crew they worked their butts off. I hope they all know just how much I appercaite them 🙂 But I am now going to be updating this blog more often now, now that I am done with most of my shooting. So please stay tuned because there will be a lot more updates coming your way and you can see how close I am getting to making this thing as perfect as it deserves to be.

I also added some Production Stills that were taken by my good friend and classmate Michelle (Shelly) Benson. They are under the Production Stills tab so make sure you check those out because they are a sneak peek as to whats to come 🙂 Enjoy!

Listening to Gotye – Making Mirrors

All That I Got

Hello All.

I hope I find everyone doing well on this fine and early late November morning. It’s currently 2:25 am the Sunday night before I head back to school after a mini Thanksgiving break. I had a nice and relaxing but busy break. I’m still recovering from my now unknown illness that is still trying to bring me down but I will not let it. I go to the doctor tomorrow in between my classes. This has become a pattern for me juggling a million things in one day. I’ve had a busy month of November. I’ve also had a really crappy month of November, but November happens to be the month in which Thanksgiving falls into. Every year it comes and it’s a day of way too much food and family but this year was the first year in awhile where I really felt thankful. Like I said on Facebook before this year has thrown several curve balls my way. But spite that I have never felt more blessed. I was always a firm believer that the true power of humans comes when they’ve hit a rock bottom. What I didn’t expect was that that when that individual hits rock bottom the true power of humans doesn’t come from the sole person it comes from the community of people surrounding them. I’ve been in a state of aw at the people in my life. I’ve had so much help, respect, patience and love thrown my way lately that words cannot describe the emotions I have felt. I sit here tonight just on my knees in debt to everyone who has helped me in anyway this month. I honestly, don’t think that I could have gotten through this month without you. With that being said I’ll bring the focus back to the purpose of this blog my Senior Project.

I’ve been lost in all the hustle and bustle of equipment checkouts, scheduling, money, and crews and other productions that I lost that spark between me and my script. Shane my new and lovely Director of Photography and I re looked at what I had and realized somethings had to change. For both shooting purposes and as well as I just didn’t click with it anymore. We spent an astounding amount of time together rethinking and reworking my story. My job over break was to but all these ideas into the script. Naturally, I procrastinated a bit part I wanted to catch up on sleep and part I was scared that I didn’t love this story anymore. After trying to force myself to write it for a couple hours I sat back and cleared my head took a long hot shower and just reminisced about all the stuff I have been going through. I related myself to my characters again and it clicked and there I was back at the like MacBook that could writing away. I just finished a rewrite of probably 90% of my script. Though, it is not entirely done yet and I may have to change a lot of it I am happy to report I love it. It’s me again, it’s my message it’s what I want to tell. It’s my soapbox that I am happy to stand on and shout out to the world that this is the thing I want to say. So, I know I haven’t posted much lately about the story but I promise you that It’s coming along. As well as shooting. I have 3 scenes shot and I love them. They are more magical and beautiful then I imagined. I have an amazing group of actors that care enough about my words and message that they are giving it their all and I am so thankful for them. Also, my crew, though it has been very small at times has been amazing. What we lack in size and man power we make up for in passion and hard work. I am so proud of everyone who has stepped up to the plate for my movie. I for the first time in a long time is at  a loss for words (yes yes I know for those of you who know me well, I know it seemed impossible haha). but truthfully I am at a loss. Tomorrow I share my newly structured story with people and I hope to God they like it because this thing is turning out to be the guts, soul, flesh and blood of me and I am giving it all I got. Because honestly at the end of the day all you really can do is throw yourself into something you love 100% because you gotta have something to stand for otherwise you really don’t have much of anything else.

Music currently keeping me sane:

Slow Club

I shoot when? This weekend…..Holy Crap…[Insert mini mental breakdown here]

And so it begins……

The moment has finally come. I shoot this Sunday night. I picked what I thought would be a simple scene and it turns out that there is no such thing as a simple scene, at least not for a student who is writing, producing, directing, and editing their own 30 page short narrative. But, this is what its all about right? Somewhere between all the headaches is when you fall in love with what you are doing. For me it has always been about the story. It has always been about the characters and the importance of their existence and why their story is worth telling. I feel like the hustle and bustle of being a producer as led me to lose sight of that but it is nice to be settling back down into just getting it right for not just me and my film but for all the other people involved. I am blown away with the amount of talented people I have the luxury of working with and learning from. I just get more and more amazed by the people I have somehow convinced to work with me. Not only work with me but believe in the story of Joseph and Renee and to emotional connect with them. I sort of feel like a parent letting me children go off into the world and then getting a little reassurance that I didn’t mess it up. Anyway this is my moment to treat this blog as a therapy session. But in all honesty I am so excited to begin this and finish it. It is the biggest thing that I have ever taken on and I am excited to see what it becomes.
Lights, Camera, ACTION!!

Sunday November 13th – Scene # 3 Int. & Ext. Joseph’s Car – Night(Check out the Production portion of my website for more info on shoot)

Rockin out to: Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue – 2008

Holy Cow

Hello & Happy Halloween!!!

So its been awhile, a very long while. I have been busy at work trying to lock locations, create schedules, cast and finish writing my script. I have been working so hard I have been fighting off a nasty case of pneumonia that just simply will not go away. But, my pneumonia hasn’t brought me down completely….yet haha.

I am happy to report that I have found a excellent cast! Wahoo!!! I could not be more excited. It is really great to see my film take a physical form. I am so pleased with the number of responses and interest in my film. It was hard to sort through everyone and pick the best people but I could not be more happy with who I have. I was so impressed with the enormous amount of talent that we have in the Twins Cities. It is also great to see people’s dedication to something as simple as a student film.

My first rehearsals are tomorrow Nov 1. I will post pictures so you can see my cast!! I am excited to see how the next weeks shape out and hopefully before we know it I will be shooting! Very excited and I cannot wait for you all to see. Thanks again for the support on my project and patience while I’ve been sick.


Sam ::.

Record Spinning

“Half Light I” – Arcade Fire – The Suburbs