21 December, 2009

Back in the States

It's official now. I've been back home in the States for approximately three days...and it's been an interesting three days to say the least.

Once Kris and I headed to the airport on Friday morning, everything about the entire semester in Prague sort of felt like a dream. I was waiting for someone to shake me and wake me up and then tell me that we needed to leave to head to the airport so that I could leave for Prague. It was extremely surreal. But, after checking in and having a hot chocolate and cinnamon bun from Starbucks, things started to feel like reality. I was leaving and the first half of my adventure was over.

Getting through customs was a load of fun...let me just say. Our visas expired the day before our flight and so the people didn't really want to let us leave. Guess I can cross be an illegal immigrant off my list of things to do. But, with some cooperation, we were able to leave just fine. Also, the people in security also loved us as we had the film canister and I had all of my electronics. I'm not sure what they thought about the two of us, but they didn't seem to like all of this.

But, beyond all of this chaos of getting to the gate, the flight home was rather enjoyable. I don't remember take-off as I slept through it and when I finally did wake up I was over Dublin. I read my book for a little bit and watched some of the movies on my iPod before having a three hour conversation with the gentleman sitting next to me about screenplays. (I promise he asked me to talk about it, I didn't just go off on a tangent.)

Once we landed, customs wasn't too bad. The only thing that bothered me was the line, but then again I just hate lines. I pretty much breezed through and met my uncle and Geoff at the gate, which was a wonderful sight to see. We then hopped in the car and headed back to Baltimore, but not before getting lost a little bit in Brooklyn.

So, the way home was pretty normal...and things here have been pretty normal, except you know the two feet of snow we got. I think all of us coming back from Prague brought the snow with us as it was snowing pretty heavily when we left...

Since I've been home, I haven't done a whole lot. Geoff and I attempted to go to DC in the snow the other day, which resulted in us turning around and coming back. I've watched a lot stuff on my computer and I've been overly excited to eat American food. So far I've had Chinese food, a burger and cheese steak sub. I'm well on my way to eating everything that I missed while I was in Prague.

And there you have it! Part of my adventure is over. I had an amazing time in Prague and I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm not going to go into reflections on my time in this entry as I did that a few times in the entries before this one and I don't want to make myself sad that I had to leave. All I can say is thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog, thank you to all the friends I made and everyone who made this experience one worth telling.

...Now, I'm going to finish wrapping all of the presents that I brought home from Prague, I'll begin to unpack my things and begin to settle into a new routine here in the States. I'm still trying to figure out where things are in the house and I haven't quite adjusted to the time schedule here yet, but I'm sure it will come.

But, don't think that just because I'm back from Prague means that there aren't more adventures to come. For those who don't know, I'm only back in the States until January 22, 2010. It is at this point that I will board a plane for Egypt and will not return to the States until May 27,2010. That's a really long time, but it means that there will be some awesome adventures to come! So make sure to keep looking for updates!

As of right now, I'm putting As Seen By Becky on a slight hiatus. The Christmas season isn't going to yield a whole lot of interesting stories...just the usual interactions with the family...which are odd to say the least. But, do keep a look out for an actual update around mid-January. That's when I'll resume writing about the adventures...and I'll catch you up to speed on how the holidays went.

So, without further ado, this is me wishing you a safe and happy holiday! I'll be back in January and I hope to see you all here along for the adventure as well. Čau!

18 December, 2009

I have arrived safely in New York, now to just get back to Baltimore...

17 December, 2009

Some Pieces of Advice

It's 11:08pm on Thursday, December 17, 2009. This is last day I will spend in Prague...that is until I venture back at some other point in my life, which will happen at some point, but I'm unsure when.

I have turned in all of my finals, just about packed up all of my clothes and souvenirs and tomorrow morning, Kris and I will board a flight that leaves for the John F. Kennedy airport in New York. I'm having mixed emotions about leaving. I'm unsure if I really want to leave behind Prague, but I'm also very excited to see everyone back home. It's a conundrum.

The purpose of this post is to reflect on this past semester abroad. My apologies in advance as this blog is going to be more on the lengthy side. I'm going to try and be as honest as I can. I can't guarantee that it'll be all full of happy things, but I can say that it is honest.

The semester started with the eight of us all meeting at dinner. I'd say we were all pretty much in the same boat. We didn't really know each other and we didn't know how the semester was going to work.

I personally wasn't a fan of certain people due to impressions that I had gathered over the course of the first few days, but over time those feelings subsided and changed. I think everyone here has their ups and downs, their good qualities and bad and I've learned to accept them, just as we all did.

Flash forward a month and we were all traveling to Budapest. We became a tight knit group really fast. This was a bit troubling as no one knew how long we could keep this up before there were problems between us.

Well, there were problems between us, but they weren't anything major...you know the normal arguments people get into when they've been living with each other for so long. Problems with roommates for not cleaning like they were supposed to and problems with people saying things that hurt feelings. All problems that were part of human nature.

But, this didn't keep us apart. We still went out places together and worked together. And in the end, it turned out to be a great experience. I have wonderful memories and new friends too!

Now, before I go back to the good memories, I'm going to air some of my grievances with this semester.

One of my biggest peeves from this semester would have to be the lack of scheduling. We would be sitting at home, making lunch when you would get a phone call from Pavel Marek saying that you had class in 5 minutes. Ummm...I'm sorry, this wasn't on the schedule. How am I supposed to make it to class on time if I didn't know I had class?!?! There was also this problem with scheduling Pavel Jech's class. I understand that he is the Dean of FAMU and is absolutely amazing, but the fact that we kept changing the days of his class really made it hard to establish a schedule.

Another one of my peeves from this semester was the railroading that happened with our film. While yes, I did in fact make the film, I don't feel that it is totally mine. And this is not only because I collaborated with someone else on the project. I feel like Pavel Marek moved our projects forward with what he thought would make a good story and we didn't get much say in the matter. I also feel like I should have learned more in Pavel Marek's class. All we ever did was pitch our stories, but I never learned how to execute the directing of my story...which could have solved some problems when I later shot my film.

And while I'm on the subject of classes. I couldn't help but always feel so lost in my Camera Works class. I didn't really understand how a camera worked and Gahut assumed that we all did, and it wasn't until I did some research on my own that I sort of understood what he was talking about. I wish he had started at the basics,but you can't change what's already happened.

These were pretty much the only major problems I had with the semester. There were minor instances where I found myself pissed at one person or another, but they aren't anything worth really worrying about. Everything ended up fine. The good definitely outweighed the bad this semester and I wouldn't want it any other way. I took trips and made friends and learned so much more than I ever really dreamed of. It's going to be extremely sad to leave all of this behind. But, I know it has to be done. We are all sad and dreading those parting words...and some of us have even already left.

I feel that this blog has become a narrative of the lives of the FAMU kids. So, to commemorate the amazing semester we all had and to break up all of my storytelling, I asked everyone to share their favorite memory and give a piece of advice to those studying abroad in the future. Without further ado, here's what they had to say.

Steph~Favorite Memory: "The picnic in Vienna. Jacob and Dave had an intense search for food and the parcour(ers) in the park."
Piece of Advice: "Love the people you're with because you have a short time together and you can share this wonderful experience together for the rest of your lives."

Shayna~Favorite Memory: "Sitting on the dock on the island with everyone drinking beer and eating sausage by the river after class."
Piece of Advice: "Take
advantage of every opportunity, even if it might not sound that cool at the time."

Dave~Favorite Memory: "
Jacob sneaking onto the runway on fashion night at Club Mecca and struttin his tweed jacket. Also, chicken races and Drew balancing an apple around the courtyard in Budapest."
Piece of Advice: "When you know you got it, bust it out!"

Liza~Favorite Memory: "@Roxy - Drew has beef with manager, Dre
w and Jacob chill on that couch all night, David going to dance/throw up, water all over Tarek's face, boys yell charge! Dave fucks up his ankle, we stay up til 7 or 8 talking and laughing and see sunrise. Also, Kris' birthday at Friends."
Piece of Advice: "It's incredibly close, just take one more step in the right direction."

Drew~Favorite Memory: "Finding David passed out by the river at 5 in the morning."
Piece of Advice: "Always look forward, because there may be something gaining on you."

Kris~Favorite Memory: "My birthday! Dave figuring out how to say the types of alcohol on the shot glass in Czech so that I could have the 21 shot. Having girl singing sessions on stage. And everyone getting a visit from the "drunk fairy" because we were all extremely toasted and somehow miraculously had no ill effects. Plus, the stumbling home with Becky. Where I am sure I divulged numerous amounts of information that should never have been shared but were probably very entertaining to hear."
Piece of Advice: "Step outside your comfort zone and immerse yourself in a new culture. And try to speak as much Czech [or whatever language your host country speaks] as possible. "

Tarek~Favorite Memory: "Getting stuck in elevator with Pavel Marek. Cesky Krumlov debauchery. Navigation in Budapest. Michael Gahut during lighting exercise. FAMU PARTY! Dubbing Jorge's movie. Shooting "Love Machine". CHAPEAU ROUGE!"

Me~Favorite Memory: "Seeing most people show up in costume for the Halloween party."
Piece of Advice: "Don't be afraid to "jump in with both feet." Leave behind any fear you may have and just enjoy everything that comes your way."

I'm finding it difficult to end this post. Probably because I know that once I do, it will be the last one of substance written here in Prague and I don't think I want to face that reality just yet. I don't think I want to face that reality at all...and I probably won't until I'm on the plane at 9:30am heading into the clouds.

But, I know that this really isn't goodbye. You never actually say "goodbye" to friends, you say "see you later". I don't know how I would have made it through the semester without all of these amazing people. Steph, Shayna, Kris, Liza, Drew, Dave and Tarek, you have all been amazing people to get to know and have made blogging so very easy as you have provided so many wonderful stories. Kim, you've been amazing with taking care of all of us. Thank you all so much.

And I guess, that is that. I'm out of things to say...except "see you later."

A Snow Covered Prague!

It's my last full day in Prague...it seems so weird to say it. I mean I've been planning this trip since February of last spring and now it's over.

Our small little group of eight is breaking apart. Slowly, but surely. Drew left this morning to catch his plane home and tomorrow Shayna, Kris and I will leave as well. And not long after all of us have touched down in the States, everyone else will have left our little place in Prague. We'll leave with memories of all the good times we've shared and all the growing that we've done as people. It's been a wonderful experience and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

So...there will probably be a few entries today. I'm going to try and not be sappy right now and just recount the last few days for you. The more emotion stuff will come later, after I finish up my Script Analysis final that's due at midnight tomorrow.

Well, the second screening on Tuesday went very well. We had a big turnout of people to come and see our films, which was rather surprising, but a lot fun. Kris and I got the reaction we wanted from the crowd, so that's good at least.

Later that evening, I took my Acting Theory final. I did very well. Only missed one question and I finished it in 15 minutes, which meant that I still made it on time to the final dinner party we were having.

The final dinner was a lot of fun. All of our professors were there and there was lots and I mean lots of food and drinks had by all. I never thought I would be this comfortable with the people in my program to go out with all of them and our professors and just have fun. Prague is definitely a totally different world, but I love it.

Before the final dinner was through, the professor got up and gave a little presentation. We received diplomas for completing the program and a DVD with all of our movies on them as well as our lighting exercise. That was pretty cool.

Here are some of the pictures from dinner!

They are Kris and Shayna being themselves, Dave with the huge Hunter's plate he and Drew ordered, Marek and Petra enjoying themselves, Pavel Marek, Pavel Jech and Michal Gahut giving a presentation, and everyone minus our editing teacher, Bara, who worked with us throughout the entire semester.

After dinner, all of us went out Friends. I don't just mean all of the FAMU kids, I mean all of the CET kids. Everyone, including Jarka and Jiri, showed up for the final karaoke night at Friends. We packed the club! Everyone was singing and dancing and socializing. It was a good end to the longest day ever had.

And of course, here are the pictures from Friends! We are also probably pretty famous on their website as they took so many pictures of us...though I haven't looked myself just yet.

They are Petra, Dave, Liza and Lisa at the club, some of the other CET people hanging out, and CET kids doing karaoke. I wish I knew more names, but then again, I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with them.

Wednesday, I woke up and took my Czech final (finally!) which was pretty easy. I really loved learning this language and I think out of all of the one's I've learned this one is my favorite.

After the final, I pretty much just did some cleaning around the apartment, worked on my Script Analysis final and packed some things up. Later on, I went to the girl's apartment and we made mulled wine (which was delicious) and french fries. We hung around the apartment and then made our last trip out to dinner as a group. It was sad, but fun all at the same time. And as we left the restaurant, it had snowed and the snow had set on the ground. The perfect ending to a great trip. We (well not me, but everyone else) had a small snowball fight which I took pictures of before we separated and lost Drew to the States.

Here are the pictures!

They are Drew and Dave coloring with Kris supervising, everyone hanging around the table, the snow fall after we left the restaurant and Drew and Liza after the snowball fight.

I'm looking out my window right now and I can't believe that a) it's snowing and b) tomorrow will be the last time I look out my window and see Vyšehrad. But, as Kris said last night, "This is the icing on the cake, we get to see snow covered Prague just before we leave."

The last few days have been a blast and I wouldn't want them any other way. But, as I said earlier in this post, I'm not going to be sappy here. I'll do that later today, when it's closer to me leaving. Right now, I have to finish a final, return some things to CET and get the pin I want from Prague. Still doing things, even as I'm preparing to leave.

Countdown: 1 day left in Prague. :-(

15 December, 2009

D-Day and Other Stories

I'm beginning to breathe again. In and out. Slowly, but I am breathing again. Which is more than I could say for a few hours ago.

Today was it. The moment that the puts all of the FAMU kids on edge. The day we screen our films on the big screen in front of all of our professors and they give us criticism. It's absolutely terrifying. We've put everything we have into our creations and in a matter of moments, there is a chance that it could be torn to shreds by our professors.

Well, Kris and my film was the first to screen. We put a lot of work into it as I'm sure you've read about, but still it seemed off to me and I was nervous. I was disappointed in how long it was and I knew there were mistakes that wouldn't be overlooked by the professors. I also knew that Kris and I had chosen to film in an extremely different style than anyone else. More of a documentary/home movie style than a cinematic movie style, which made both Kris and I feel a bit inadequate in the filming department.

The response...was good. Surprisingly enough. The things we knew were wrong with the film were spoken about,but it wasn't anything that we didn't already know. One professor said that he loved the film, how it was filmed and that the story and characters were very believable. Actually, most of the professors loved how it was filmed and said that was the strongest part of the film. Kris and I were shocked.

I feel better about the second screening now, where we will show it to our friends, families, actors, crew and so on. Now that I know my movie isn't in fact a piece of crap, it can be shown and I won't be as nervous.

In other news, the countdown until we leave this amazing experience is coming closer and closer. This past weekend was the last weekend I will ever spend in the Czech Republic...that is unless I come back for some reason. Anyway, on Saturday our local buddies, Petra and Marek, held a Christmas dinner with traditional Czech food. It was delicious and so much fun. Good food, good friends and good fun!

We had a delicious soup to start off with, which consisted of cabbage, pepperoni and potatoes. It was followed by dinner which was salmon baked with lemon juice, garlic and onion along with potato salad. And then for desert were these delicious jam/chili filled pastry things covered in sugar. It was a to-die for dinner. We also had champagne and wine to make the night perfect. We toasted the end of a great semester and hopes for the future. This will be one night that I always remember.

Here are some of the pictures I took at Christmas dinner.

They are Liza, Shayna and Petra making desert for the party, Steph, Dave and Drew decorating the napkins, the delicious soup we had and just about everyone gathered around before the party began.

After all of the fun Saturday night, Kris and I had to meet Marek Jicha for color grading, which helped our movie out a lot. It made it look cohesive, which was definitely what we needed.

Well, there isn't a whole lot more to write about. I've been trying to enjoy what's left of my time here. I've gone out to lunch and dinner with Steph and Shayna a few times in the past couple days and I'm just about finished my Christmas shopping. There are only a few things left to buy and only a few days left here. I've only got three finals left now and by Wednesday afternoon, they should all be turned in.

Tonight is the final dinner for CET and everyone will be there. It should be lots of fun, but it will also be very sad as the program has now come full circle. We started with a dinner as a group with our professors and we will end as a group who have accomplished a great deal of things including making short films.

So, with that I finish this entry. There will be more posts in the coming days, but I have nothing else to write right now. You're caught up with the events of the FAMU kids. But, don't think you can wander just yet, there is still more to come.

Countdown: 3 days left in Prague

P.S.- For those who watch Dexter, I finished the fourth season on Monday and "woah" is all I can say. I need the next season, but that requires me to wait until next September and that is such a long time. Boo!

11 December, 2009

A Decent End...

I have just returned from a decent end to an ok day. It was not a great one...well, let's say that it started off as ok and then went to bad and then ended with a decent end.

So, let's skip my morning because honestly it is rather boring. The only thing I did that was remotely interesting was take a package to the post office and have it sent to Geoff. It was amusing as the trams weren't really running correctly and well, that meant me carrying my abnormally heavy box up the street to the post office and getting weird looks from people who didn't move out of the way of my umbrella as I walked (I couldn't do much with it as I was also carrying the box).

Then, around 2pm I left to go and attempt to take my Czech final. I say attempt because there was a series of miscommunications that went on and led to the end result of over half of us having to take the final on Wednesday, which is what I really didn't want to do.

You see the confusion came as to where we were having the test. It's not a normal day for our class, and so we weren't sure if we were having the final at CET or FAMU. And well, one thing led to another and eventually we all thought it was figured out. We thought the final was at CET, but it turns out that it was actually at FAMU. But, by the time everything got straightened out, some of us had to reschedule the test to Wednesday. And this did not and still does not make me a happy camper. I really wanted to get the test over and done with so that I could spend the last few days in Prague doing nothing but shopping and such, but now I have to take a final. Oh well, I guess you do what you have to do.

It took a bit to get over this, but a trip to the Christmas market with Dave and Steph helped a bit. We got food and I bought some more Christmas gifts and figured out what to get other people. And then we headed back to the apartments to get ready for the FAMU party, which I had no idea was going on.

We left for the party around 11pm, and let's just say that FAMU had been turned into what Kris described as a "frat house". The entire building contained decorations and food and beer and music and game. It was absolutely incredible. Apparently, this was the Christmas celebration. Even the professor were there...along with almost every single FAMU student! The only part I'm sad about is that it was a mafia themed dress party, but I didn't know so I didn't dress up, but I wish I had. It would have been fun.

I stayed for a while. Mingled with all of the FAMU International students that I have come to know and had something to drink, but eventually the smoke and amount of people in the room started to get to me, so I left. But, it was a very fun party. You can definitely tell that it was a party thrown by those who are film majors. Everything was well lit and designed. But, it was also really weird to see FAMU as "a frat house".

Here are some of the pictures I took at the event!

They are a guy setting up a film projector for a showing something on the wall, a few FAMU students sitting and mingling, and the stairs colorful and not as crowded as they were later in the night.

Overall, not a bad day. It could have been much worse. Tomorrow I'm going to do some more Christmas shopping and then I'm going to go over and have a Christmas party with Marek, Petra and everyone else. It should be lots of fun!

Also, as a side note. Kris and I have finished editing our movie, we only have a few more things to do with it (color grading, subtitles, etc.) and it will be ready to screen on Tuesday. I'm a little bit nervous about that.

The program is slowing coming to a close, but it will go out with a huge bang! So, keep reading! Updates will be coming at you fast!

Countdown: 6 days left in Prague

06 December, 2009

It's Almost There, But...

As much as I hate to say it, the countdown until I leave this wonderful city of Prague has begun. It's already December 6th and I've been living here for a little over three months, but sadly the program will be coming to an end soon and I will then have to embark on a trip back across the Atlantic and return home.

I'm unsure as to how I feel about returning home. I mean, nothing against anyone at home, but I've been living here for three months and Prague has become my home...I just know it so well and I can't believe that in less than two weeks, I will be packing up all of my things and going home. But, just because I'm leaving in two weeks doesn't mean that things around here have gotten boring. It's far from boring.

To start, I just finished working with a friend, Jacob, on the costumes in his movie, I've been in the editing room with Kris for the last three days and we are working on finishing up our movie (everything is going ok here, but ...the editing room is a story for another time), and the Christmas market has finally come to Prague (in all seriousness, it looks like Prague went to sleep at the end of November and woke up on December 1st and Christmas had thrown up....decorations everywhere!)! (To right you can see a picture of the giant Christmas tree in the Old Town Square that I managed to get a picture of.) It's the Christmas season and I can definitely tell that I'm actually going to really enjoy the season this year. I just love wandering around the Christmas market....the only thing I really mind are the tourists, but they can't be helped really.

And then there is also the wonderful world of finals that we all are embarking on. Not that my finals are anything like the finals I had to take back in the United States, but the fact that my entire grade pretty much relies on that final kind of freaks me out a bit. I've got my History of Animation final tomorrow, Acting Theories sometime next week, the Script Analysis take home will be handed out Wednesday, and my History of the Czech Lands paper is due Wednesday with the oral exam on Thursday. Not to mention that my movie needs to be finished and ready to screen by the 15th of December. And all of this will be done within the next two weeks before I leave Prague. WOW!

But, I know everything will get done and it will be a great ending to a wonderful experience. I'm just starting to get a little bit nostalgic as I normally do around this time of year. I don't like seeing things come to an end...and the Christmas season means the end of the year is approaching and new things will begin.

So, that's all for now. I'll keep everyone posted as the countdown winds itself down. Keep watching!

Countdown: 12 Days Left in Prague

30 November, 2009

Film Back-Log Day 7, 8 & 9: This Week Didn't Seem to End!

It felt like last week went on forever. I can't believe that it was only a day and one week ago that Kris and I were out in the park shooting our own movie. Now, we are at the finished the shooting cycle and we will begin the post-production part soon...

So, Friday I was on Steph and Shayna's shoot for majority of my day. That was of course after I spent the morning working on the blood for Tarek and Drew's shoot. I arrived at Steph and Shayna's shoot and we got straight to work.

I have to say they worked really fast and efficiently. There was not much wasted time anywhere. They knew their shots and how they wanted their actors to act and everything went really well. I was quite surprised because there is normally at least one thing that goes wrong in the production process and they seemed to be doing just fine. I got to continue my job as a slate girl with them and I helped to coordinate lunch/dinner/anything else that needed to be done. And though it was fun, it was exhausting. I was grateful for the beer we got after we wrapped. It made the night a bit more relaxing.

Saturday morning I got up and dressed in the nice dress clothes that I brought with me and headed over to Drew and Tarek's shoot where I was to be an extra in their laboratory scene. I played the part of the mathematician-scientist as I ended up writing calculus equations all over the board and solving them. I'm glad to see that the math classes I took in high school are coming in handy somewhere.

Being an extra was a lot of fun. Their movie seemed to be coming along better than I expected. I was worried that they may be making things up on the spot as they went, but they seemed to have a pretty good grasp on what needed to be done...so needless to say, I was rather impressed.

When I got home that night though, I felt like crap though. Not from being an extra, but from working on sets for so long and just continuously going. My body just ached. I think I went to sleep at like 7:30pm that night and didn't wake up until 8:30am the next morning, which was just before I needed to wake up. (Thank goodness I went to sleep when I did. I woke up feeling so much better. They only thing I had (still have) was an annoying cough.)

Sunday was a day of fun for me! All of the blood that I had been working so hard on for Drew and Tarek was finally going to pay off. I was finally going to show off the fact that I do well with gore. And boy...did I ever...

As a comparison, we checked on Saturday and found that the human body has approximately 5 liters of blood in it. I made approximately 5 liters of blood...and we poured about that all over the floor of one of the directing rooms in FAMU...so...much...gore...it was AWESOME! The actors weren't entirely pleased with me as the blood was still cold when I had to cover them in it, but beyond that it looked pretty cool. The only problem with the blood was that it functioned like real blood. The more it sat out, the darker the color became and it began to dry to things...like actual blood does...it was a lot of fun to play with though.

Here are some of the picture I took from Drew and Tarek's shoot!

They are me as a scientist, Gordon, Dave, and Kim strapping the Kevin (the lead actor) down to the "love machine", Kevin covered in blood splatter, and...the bloody floor and chairs...when it was still neat (It got messier once we put actors in the mix.)...also,minus the actors in their underwear (I just felt that I shouldn't post that here...)

After my fun time with the blood, I came back to the apartment...along with Drew and Tarek's cast...and I wasn't able to escape quickly enough. As much as I like being on film sets, I don't think I enjoy them being in my apartment. So many people, it makes me feel like I need to host...even when it's not my event. And this is how I ended up trapped...well, that...and the little children that I ended up watching.

You see, two of the actors were once married and in order for them to do the roles in the film, they needed to bring their children with them. Well, I ended up sort of pseudo-babysitting...which wouldn't have been an issue if I actually knew how to handle children. But, seeing as I'm me...and children scare me a bit...I didn't really know what to do except humor them when they talked to me...perhaps I'll get better with children with time...

I was so excited to go to bed Sunday evening. It meant that the week of shooting was finally over. But, it also signified a very sad fact too. What was once a great adventure is now slowly coming to an end. But, I'm not going to look at it that way at all.

So we may only have three weeks left in the Czech Republic, but that doesn't mean that I won't be exploring. The Christmas market has just opened up and I only wandered briefly through it tonight, so that's to be seen. And of course there is adventures to be had in the editing room once Kris is feeling better again. (Poor Kris caught the flu...:-(...) And I'm sure much, much more too! Keep watching!

26 November, 2009

Film Log Day 6: Happy Thanksgiving!: Part 2

I said there'd be another update and I didn't lie!

I didn't think I'd be on set as much as I was today. I ended up taking a lot of still shots for Steph and Shayna (which also included production stills of them setting things up and stuff), and I ended up being the slate girl again. I know what I'm doing really well by this point in time, so that's a good thing. But, I was on set for almost the entire day...except when I left for class.

Thanksgiving was absolutely amazing! Kris and Josh did an awesome job of cooking the chicken and stuffing. It was absolutely amazing and I couldn't believe that I was able to have Thanksgiving in Prague! It actually felt like we were at home. And then the apple pie and ice cream was also wonderful. Kim showed up later with mashed potatoes and they were delicious too! I couldn't have asked for a better Thanksgiving in another country. I don't know if I would do it all over again if given the chance, but I certainly am not complaining about things.

I think Steph and Shayna's movie is coming along just fine. They know exactly what they are doing and they have everything budgeted out. So, everything seems just fine. We will see what tomorrow holds. Tomorrow seems like it will be a much longer day as we are shooting from 2pm to 11pm. The up side of this is that I can sleep in tomorrow and not feel like I should be somewhere. So, here's to sleeping in!

I'll also post some of the pictures from Thanksgiving and their set once I retrieve them off of Steph's camera. So, stay tuned for that.

In other news, Steph has a friend staying with us, Rachael, and it turns out that I have met her briefly two years ago when we neighbors. Such a small world. Also, I'm working on making blood for Tarek and Drew's shoot on Saturday...which is coming along. I'm in need of syrup to make it thicker, but I think I finally go the color right. It was making people nauseous...so I'm doing something right. And once I finish with them, I will move on to finishing the costumes for Jacob's movie. I'm a busy person.

So, with all this in mind. I will update tomorrow and post pictures. I'm heading to bed now...sleep is a good thing. Night!

Film Log Day 6: Happy Thanksgiving!: Part 1

Happy Thanksgiving Turkeys! I know that the last post was Day 2, but this isn't Day 3 of shooting, so I'm going to number them in accordance to the actual day count. Also as a complete side note/story, Kris and I went to Barrandov yesterday to see how our film was developed and I'm rather happy with it. I think it'll look fine once we get it into the editing room and put it together as an actual movie. Also, film is gorgeous quality...so much different than digital and I am lucky that I got the opportunity to shoot on it! But, this is stuff that I'll write more about later...

So, it's Thursday morning...Thanksgiving morning to be exact, which normally means that I would be with my family watching the Macy's Day parade and waiting to indulge in the most food ever seen on one dining room table.

This year, however, I will have a slightly different take on Thanksgiving because I am in Prague. So, here's what's in store. Upon finishing this post, I will proceed to wander over to Steph and Shayna's film set and see what they need help with. I will then amuse myself in someway, while I wait until we have our turkey dinner...on set I believe...and then I will go to my history class, with my very amusing professor. And if Steph and Shayna still need help, I will wander back to their set to finish up the evening.

Not the normal way to spend Thanksgiving, but you know. I did manage to make an apple pie last night though. It looks and smells delicious...let's hope that it tastes the same as I kind of improvised my way through the recipe...

Happy Thanksgiving all! I hope it's a good one for all of you! I'll update about our festivities later. Enjoy your holiday!

22 November, 2009

Film Log Day 2: I Hope the Fog Lifts When We Start Shooting

Day 2 of filming was a lot less hectic than day 1. I guess because I knew what to expect...also because we didn't have 7 boys running around on the field that I had to keep track of. We only had the two main actors, Lenka and Vojtek, plus the crew...which was very minimal to say the least, but they did one hell of a great job. I don't know what we would have done without them.

We began the morning similar to yesterday, with Kris, Josh and myself catching the tram only this time at 6:55am, not 6:15am. We made it right on time for crew call, however I was a little worried about the fog.

By 9am we had all of the actors keeping warm in the apartment that we were using nearby, but there was no sign of the fog lifting, so we went ahead and had to shoot anyway. Everything should work out when we go through and color correct things that need it. The fog did eventually go away, but it took a while and had we waited, I don't think we would have finished before it got dark.

Shooting today went rather fast. By lunch time we only had approximately two shots left to do and approximately 4 minutes of stock footage left to do it in. We managed to shoot everything we needed plus more to finish out the second roll of film.

Everything went incredibly smoothly. I couldn't believe it. I truly think that this has to do with the amazing amount of planning that Kris and I put into this shoot before we actually got there. The shot list saved our asses and allowed us freedom to tell the story as we had displayed it on the storyboard, but it also allowed us to work with the actors and use them to tell the story.

So, next on the agenda is heading to Barrandov Studios on Wednesday to watch the telecine transfer and have the film be digitized. Lets see what happens! Cheers to being finished!

21 November, 2009

Film Log Day 1: Attack of the Dog

I don't think I slept much last night at all. I was afraid of missing the alarm or something, but the point was that I didn't get the required amount of sleep necessary. I was still very awake nonetheless...which was good considering that today was the day we filmed with our soccer team. So, there was seven little boys ranging in ages from 12 to 14 on the field as well as a 16 year old girl (she is playing a 12 year old).

Now that we have finished our first day of filming, I feel much more relaxed and confident about finishing the last bit tomorrow. However, prior to this I was very nervous. Even with all the planning we have been doing, I was afraid that it wouldn't be enough and we would still end up having so many problems that it would be a mess. Luckily, everything thus far-knock on wood- has been going along the plan. Well, almost...Thursday night we had a little bit of a hiccup when our lead actors mother called me to tell me that she had to take him to the hospital for the infection on his leg and he woul
dn't be able to be in the film. I panicked slightly, but Filip (one of our production managers...there are two and they are both named Filip), assured us that he would take care of it and everything would be set for this morning. Sure enough, Friday night he confirmed that.

So, this morning Kris, her boyfriend, Josh, and myself headed out to Letna Park at 6:15am to meet the Filips for crew call at 7am. The cast arrived at 7:30am and Kris and I proceeded to pick our main boy actor out of the seven boys who would create the rest of the soccer team. And t
hen we proceeded to get them dressed in costume and ready for the day ahead.

Things seemed that they were going great (with the minor problem of a missing clapboard...production managers forgot that...no big deal...), when all of a sudden a dog ran onto the field and stole the ball that the boys were playing with. The owner tried really hard to get him to drop the ball, but the dog just wouldn't let go. I had a small panic attack, as we didn't have another ball to play with, but looki
ng back on it...it was rather funny. Filip found us two more soccer balls and we continued shooting. I should have realized that Filip has the solutions to everything and so I shouldn't worry all that much.

Luckily, everything we planned to do today revolved around soccer and no other big complicated shots. So, everything still went according to plan. We actually finished earlier than we thought we would and were wrapped and heading home by 2:30pm.

It was a very long day on the soccer field with the boys and girl, but we got a lot done. I couldn't have done it though without the help of Shayna and Steph. They worked as the catering team for Kris and I, which made it possible for us to consistently be on the field with the boys while they took care of feed the cast and crew. Kris' boyfriend, Josh, was also an amazing help as he did anything we asked him to do...and that ranged from watching the film equipment to be the water carrier.

Thus far, things are going smoothly. Hopefully, they will continue.

Here are some of the pictures that I took while on the field today.

They are the storyboard Kris and I worked on a weeks ago, Kris and Josh with the camera before the cast took the field, the boys chasing the dog with the ball, and the team and Filip waiting around for direction.

Also, for those who are interested. Here is the story of our movie as I have yet to actually disclose this information to the blogging community.

The story starts off with a boy playing soccer with his friends, when a girl he thinks is pretty wanders over to the field. She smiles at him and he messes up his playing and comes over to talk to her. He offers to buy her ice cream and she accepts, but when he returns he can't find her. He is relieved when he sees that she is on the soccer field, so he sits down to wait for her. Once he realizes that she is too interested in the game, he turns to leave. She sees him leaving and gets upset and kicks the soccer ball in his direction. He stops, turns around and she kisses him on the cheek, eats the ice cream and then returns to play with him following behind.

It's a very simple story and much different from things that I normally work on. I believe they call that stepping outside the comfort zone. But, it's a lot of fun.

Stay tuned for an update tomorrow! Ahoj!

20 November, 2009

What Tomorrow Holds!

As promised, here are the picture Shayna took of Tuesday/Wednesday night!

They are the streets of Prague on 17th November, Steph and I in the middle of the street, the candle memorial, Dave lighting the last scene we did for the night, me with the clapboard and the aftermath of the scene. Thanks Shayna for taking these!

While I'm very excited to show you these pictures, I'm holding my breath as I prepare for shooting tomorrow. Everything has led up to this point in time. We've prepared and worked on everything we could possibly think of. We've tried to anticipate every problem that could possibly present itself. And tomorrow, we (Kris and I) will see just how well our hard work has paid off.

Keep looking! I'll probably update everyday that we shoot so that you get the play by play! Until then, čau!

18 November, 2009

The Right Place at the Right Time

Now that my body has started to recover a bit, I can finally write about the amazing experience I had last night. (I know...this sounds incredibly vague and can be twisted in so many ways...but, just keep reading.)

To start off, yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and so that meant a big deal for those in the Czech Republic. It reminded me a bit of the 4th of July back home. People gather in the streets, there are food stands and festivals and public transportation has been rerouted. It was wonderful. I'm very excited that I got to experience this great event, just as I got to experience the Freedom Festival in Berlin. It's been a month of history and I'm loving it!

So, with news of the festival, I know what you are probably thinking. "She went to some big party" or something possibly along those lines. But, that's not the case at all. What I got to do was work on a an actual movie set for a feature length film! This was the amazing experience that I had.

I knew it was going to happen. The surprise wasn't in the fact that I got to work on the movie. When I first arrived to the Czech Republic and Kim picked us up at the airport, she mentioned that Gary Griffin, an AU professor, would be coming in November and he would be working on a feature length movie about the Velvet Revolution and that he would probably be recruiting us to help. Ok...fine. So, when Gary Griffin did arrive, we were asked to help out if we wanted. It was entirely up to us. So, the day of the shoot I decided why not. I didn't have class until the next evening and besides, I could always leave whenever. I didn't have to stay the whole time. I was just an extra set of hands. They would be fine without me.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

What started out as an "extra set of hands" mentality, soon became a "I'm actually important" mentality once given jobs. My night started out rather slow. I got to sit in the nice warm room and watch all of the equipment, while some of the others (Shayna, Steph, Liza, Dave and Liza's boyfriend, Winston) all went outside to work on the opening scene. Kim said that this job was just as important as there had been some robberies in the past. (She was there because Gary Griffin recruited her to be an actor playing an actor at the National Theatre, which meant a really amusing costume for Kim as well as some of the other FAMU professors.)

About an hour later, they returned and I was handed the slate as Steph didn't want to go back outside again.

Well, once I got out there, I wasn't sure what to expect. Especially because I had never really learned to slate things before...in fact, I had never really been on a feature film shoot before (except for the one time I was an extra...doesn't really count though). But, as I was told several times last night, "You have to start somewhere" and this was my somewhere. One minute I was the girl holding the slate who never very little about how to actually use it...the next I was running in between actors, listening for cues and making notes in the camera log. It seemed as if I had always known how a slate worked. You learn a lot from hands-on experience that's for sure.

The night went rather quickly once I stopped watching the time and soon it was 1:00am on the 18th of November and we were taking a lunch break, where I had some very delicious beef goulash soup. I didn't even care that it was 1am and I was eating something that heavy. It was cold out there and soup was warm and delicious. During the break, Shayna and I discussed leaving and heading for home. However, it was then that I realized that no one else was the slate. That was my job and I couldn't just abandon it. So, I held out...we held out...all of us stayed until just about the end of the entire shoot. Liza and Winston left a bit earlier than Dave, Shayna and myself, but we all hung in there. We completed a 14 hour day of shooting. (We arrived for assignments at 3pm on the 17th and finished at 5am on the 18th.)

I finally got home at 5:30am on the 18th of November after saying "screw waiting for the tram" and hailing a taxi (we did pay a bit more than necessary for the taxi, I think, but at 5:30am...I wasn't arguing). When I got back to my room, I was so excited to see my bed. I was cold and tired, but I don't think I would have done it any differently.

Even now, I'm still a little bit in awe. It's true what they say about being in the right place at the right time. I just happen to choose to study in Prague for the fall of 2009 and that's the same year that an AU professor is shooting a feature length movie. It's just one of those things that keeps making this trip worth it!

So, with this movie shoot "over" (it's only over for me...they are still working on the rest of the movie), Kris and I are gearing up for Saturday when we begin the shooting of our own movie. You'll hear more about that as the week continues. So, don't touch that mouse!

Also-side note- Shayna managed to take some pictures when were out shooting, so I will get them from her to post here in the next entry...my camera battery was once again dead...I need to work on making sure that doesn't happen too often.

14 November, 2009

To Berlin and Back Again!

It's Saturday! The day that my entire week leads up to. The day where I don't have class, don't feel stressed because I have class the next day and I don't worry about much of anything. Saturday...I feel that I sometimes need more of these. But, now that a good chunk of our classes are over and I don't plan on traveling any more this semester, I think that perhaps I'll have a lot more Saturdays like this one. (I'm sure you can almost hear me breathe that sigh of relief...)

Alright, I guess I should actually get started then. My apologies once again for not updating for so long. It seems that I'm starting to fall behind in telling the tales of my adventures. I promise I'm going to work on that, but this last week was once again jam packed. So, without further ado. Here's the latest and greatest tale/ tales from me!

I'm going to start this by simply stating that my trip to Berlin was absolutely incredible! I want to go back again someday to see all the amazing things that I wasn't able to see. I can't believe that it was a week ago. Wow! Time is flying here and I can't seem to stop it. But, anyway...

We couldn't have asked for a better weekend to head out to Germany. Kris, Liza and I began the journey early Friday morning by trekking to the train station and catching the 6:30am train. While I was extremely tired, the thrill of what awaited for me in Berlin made me extremely excited! New sights and of course...Geoff. Someone from home, my boyfriend, that I haven't seen in two months...except on Skype, but that doesn't count.

I slept most of the ride there, but from what very little I did see of the German countryside it seemed very pretty.

We arrived into Berlin around 11:30am...15 minutes later than we were supposed to arrive, but the delay didn't make much difference. I got off the train and Geoff was waiting for me on the platform, so I took off running. When I returned, Geoff following behind, Liza had found her boyfriend Winston and Kris was meeting her friend Dorothy at the McDonald's. Once we made sure everyone knew where we were off to, we parted ways for the weekend and Geoff and I headed off towards the hostel.

We found the hostel with very little problem and then began to explore the city. I saw a lot of the monuments and iconic buildings. The most notable thing I saw on the first day was the DDR museum though. It was an interactive museum discussing the days of East Berlin and since we were staying in East Berlin, I found this extremely cool! Also, hands on museums make me happy because I can move the objects and stuff around within the exhibits. I feel that I learn the most from exhibits that let me learn by doing. (Probably explains why I like film...) I also got to the East Side of the Brandenburg Gate, but it was "under construction". I use the quotation mark here because what I mean is that they were putting up stages and setting up for the freedom festival that was to start on Saturday.

After this we headed back to the hostel to meet Steph, Shayna, Dave and his friends, Evan and Emile.

Now, I have to say it. Sorry Shayna. While on the street tram headed back to the hostel, I've been staring out the window with Geoff. All of a sudden, Shayna and Steph appear outside the window and are waving frantically at me. I gave her a strange look as the stop we needed was the next one and pointed in the direction. It took her a minute to understand and by the time she did, the tram had pulled off. I can't help but giggle at this moment, it was just funny. We did finally meet them at the correct stop and found our way to the hostel.

Later, we all headed out for dinner. We were looking for something "German", which we sort of found. I had Berlin potato soup and a salad, but some of the things everyone else got was a little more German.

After dinner, we headed back to the hostel, paid for our rooms, chilled for a bit and then Geoff and I went to bed. We had a big day on Saturday full of stuff to do.

8:30am...this is not a good time to hear an alarm on a Saturday, but you know. We started the morning with a trip to see the East Side Gallery, also known as the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall left in Berlin. This is the reason I wanted to go to Berlin...my love affair with the wall. I just needed to see it and the murals on the East Side were gorgeous! We then continued on the see the Reichstag, and then on into the Freedom Festival where there were 1000 dominoes painted and set up along the perimeter of where the Berlin Wall once sat 20 years ago. The dominoes were set to fall Monday evening, but just seeing them set up was fabulous. We also saw the Holocaust Memorial, which was rather interesting because you could go inside of it, before heading over the Film Museum (another must see on my list). With little over and hour and a half before meeting everyone, Geoff and myself went off to try and find a chocolate shop that he remembered going to when in Berlin. We found it eventually. It was pretty cool as they make sculptures of monuments out of chocolate. We bought some chocolate and then went to meet the others.

Once we found everyone, figuring out where to go was an adventure, but we eventually settled on an Indian place called Khushi. The food was decent, but nothing too special. After, we all headed back to the hostel and Geoff and myself once again called it an early night. There was more sight seeing to be done in the morning.

We checked out of the hostel at 9:30am and headed off to try and go up in the dome of the Reichstag. After about 20 minutes of waiting and not really getting far in line, my patience gave up the ghost and I decided that it wasn't worth waiting to see. I don't really regret not seeing it as the visibility on Sunday wasn't all that good and now I have an excuse to come back to Germany. Instead, we got crepes from a stand at the Freedom Festival and walked around the Tiergarten, which was beautiful I might add. I then stopped to buy a few souvenirs and then we headed the the train station to come back to Prague.

The train ride was pretty much a standard train ride, but I did get the chance to eat in the dining car, which was pretty cool!

Here are some of pictures I took when in Berlin along with a video of the dominoes falling:

They are the TV Tower on the East Side of Berlin, the Reichstag, the dominoes lined up waiting for Monday, the Holocaust Memorial while I was walking around inside, the Film Museum, me with the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery, part of the Tiergarten, one of my favorite memorials (it is an empty room full of bookshelves commemorating when a bunch of Nazis burned a bunch of books, and my favorite picture of the weekend- the Brandenburg Gate with the domino wall in front of it.

Unfortunately for Geoff, I had classes this week and thus I couldn't spend as much time as I wanted with him, but he was a good sport about it. Monday I took him to see some random parts of the Castle District before meeting with my production managers. We got traditional Czech food after the meeting.

Tuesday was jammed as per usual. I handed him my guide book and told him to explore Old Town, which he did and once I returned from all of my classes we went to Friends for karaoke night! (I love karaoke night! I'm starting to go more often...).

Wednesday was once again packed...We woke up really early and Kris, Geoff and myself went out to Letná Park (our film location...also, the place with the giant metronome) and took still shots for our storyboard. Geoff played the main characters, I played the girl and the extras. After this, Geoff explored New Town, I went to class and the evening was spent working on our Acting Studio Finals.

Thursday was the day I got to really to explore. Due to my history class being canceled, I was able to take Geoff to Petřin and Vyšehrad. Both two very gorgeous places! I really loved the cemetery at Vyšehrad. It was a lot of sight seeing in one day, but I feel that it was worth it. Especially as he left very early Friday morning. It was hard to say goodbye. I'm still a little sad that he's gone, but I know I'll be home soon enough, so until then I'm going to keep on going and keep on enjoying my time here while I've still got it.

Some pictures from the week!

These pictures are pretty self explanatory. The first one is a Memorial to the Victims of Communism, then there's Prague from the Petřin Tower, Geoff and I with Prague Castle in the back, Petřin Tower, Vyšehrad Cemetery, the Cathedral at Vyšehrad and the view of the city from Vyšehrad.

So, beyond Geoff leaving Friday morning, Kris and I worked on putting our photo storyboard in the correct sequence. We fixed the script and sent out e-mails. Later in the evening, we went out for Czech food (I ate a lot of Czech food this week...not that that's a bad thing...) and saw 2012. My quick review of this movie says, "See it if you want to see lots of things blow up and have a pretty good laugh. Don't take it too seriously."

And that's it! Everything I've done since I left for Germany a week ago. I can't believe that it's the middle of November already and that next weekend Kris and I will be filming our short film. It's so unreal, nerve wracking, stressful and exciting at the same time! I hope everything goes according to plan. Here's to success! Don't move, more to come!