3 weeks in the professional pool..

Me during my first days in the City of Angels. In the background, the skyscrapers of downtown LA would be the place where I would find myself having one of the most productive yet challenging experiences of my life.

Almost 4 weeks ago, I remember thinking to myself as I boarded the plane from Newark Liberty International Airport, “What will living in California be like? What will the people be like? But most importantly of all, where’s the nearest In-and-Out Burger? Well, fast forward to today, and I can honestly say that the first month that I’ve have spent in the City of Angels has been one of the most productive, unpredictable, and life-affirming time spans of my adult life. I have had the good fortune to (briefly) rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry today, and there are some major opportunities still awaiting me.

But first, let me give some background. I started this summer interning for Film Independent, annual sponsors of the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival. I had no idea of just how lucky I was, walking into that office on the first day. There was no run-of-the-mill orientation session, no awkward phone calls between supervisors asking one another, “Do you have anything for him to do? I don’t but I don’t want him to just sit here on the computer.” Within a couple hours of my arrival, I was tossed right into the mix, editing and creating specific trailer loops that would later be played on multiple screens at the Regal Cinemas downtown and on the flat-screens of the restaurants and establishments hosting festival events. Each trailer had specific modifications that had to be met, in terms of timing, sponsorship promotion, music choice, etc.

I was being tossed right into the professional pool, with no life preserver or floaties in sight. Having said this, there’s nothing I enjoy more than rising to the occasion unexpectedly. For the next week and a half, myself and my supervisors built countless trailers and sponsorship loops, until the day came for the festival to officially begin. The team then grew from about 4 people in a cramped but air-conditioned office to 12 people sharing half a trailer on the top of a parking garage at downtown LA Live.

With enough video and audio equipment to sink a ship, every day was what I would call organized chaos. People running from screening to screening, club to restaurant, camera bags slung hastily over their shoulders as they went. Hours of footage was “ingested”, as they called it, every night, with webisodes of the previous night’s events up online by 11 am the next morning. Here is where I feel I got the most out of my internship with the Los Angeles Film Festival. When I began interning with Film Independent, my boss Andrew said, “This might not be a paid internship, but you will make up for it in networking experience.” Like everyone else, I was a tad skeptical at first, as I wondered, “How much networking will I have time to do if our schedule is going to be as tight as he claims it will be?” How wrong I was. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to be present on behalf of the Festival on the red carpet some of the Festival’s major gala premieres and screenings of some of the most hyped independent film productions of 2012. Such examples include Alex Kurtzmann’s People Like Us, Behn Zeitlen’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere (shout out to Kara Johnson and her first red carpet appearance!). I was able to meet a number of A-List Hollywood actors, producers, directors, and musicians at these premieres, like Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Baker Hall, Ava DuVernay, Danny Elfman, and so on.

After 11 days of hectic shooting and editing, the 2012 LA Film Festival officially came to a conclusion. And out of the professional pool I have emerged, not quite able to swim yet, but now able to keep my head above water. The past 3 weeks that I have spent with Film Independent and the LA Film Festival have been some of the most challenging, yet most motivating and productive weeks of my adult life. I will be interning for Film Independent for another 2-3 weeks, during which Kara Johnson, our supervisors, and myself will cut together the 2012 LA Film Fest sizzle reel. Stay tuned for that….(In the meantime, you can also check out the links to some of the other videos and projects that I have included links to on my blog here…)

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