Friday, November 13, 2009

The Real Thing

Benn awfully busy lately, but for a very exciting reason.

Last Thursday, my script was selected among 9 others to be finalists in the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmakers Award contest.


But what does that mean, exactly?

Coke has this contest where film students from the top film schools across the nation get a chance to direct their very own Coke commercial. The contest states that the commercial needs to show young people enjoying Coke in a way that also connects the the movie-going experience.

All the 10 finalists get a $7500 grant to shoot the script and make the commercial. Sooooo, that's pretty awesome.

The GRAND PRIZE winner gets $10,000, an award presented to them at ShoWest - a movie theater trade show, and has the potential for their commercial to be shown before features at a major theater chain. Also: pretty awesome.

I'm damn excited, as you could assume, and am also pretty blown away because out of the TEN finalists chosen this year, SEVEN of them are from USC. Fight on.

Now, that's pretty awesome too, except that the deadline for the finished commercial is due Jan 20, 2010 - meaning that it is going to be a big crunch of USC people and resources for the next 3 months. But, its still great to have such a huge presence for this prestigious (and delicious?) award.

Hey, our football team might be slipping (47-20 loss, to the OREGON DUCKS?! we're the godmaned Trojan Army!), but glad to know the film school is still riding high.

Anyway, will do the best to keep posting about how everything goes down, but don't be surprised if you don't see another post until 2010 either. School was already busy enough, and now its just gonna be INSANE.

But I can't wait. Its going to be lots of fun, especially since this commercial is for a product I known, drank, and loved for years that comes from a long line of amazing ads.

Which reminds me, anyone got the number for MEAN JOE GREEN?

Monday, November 2, 2009


Last year, I didn't get to have any fun for Halloween, as I was knee-deep in shooting, but this semester I actually got to have some fun during the week of All Hallow's Eve.

It worked out pretty cool actually, on Halloween Eve, b/c I got to visit the set of "The Ghost Whisperer", which is exec produced by my teacher for my television class.

They shoot on the NBC-Universal lot (even though the show is produced by ABC studios and airs on CBS), and a friend and myself drove on the lot and, after a bit of snooping around, got to the soundstage where they shoot and met some crew members who set us up with a couple of chairs set up by the monitor and headphones to hear the sound feed.

For those who don't know, Jennifer Love Hewitt (known simply as "Love" on set) is the star of the show. She IS the show, as my teacher likes to say. So she was indeed on set on Friday, and man is she gorgeous.

It was great watching her work. TV episodes are shot really quickly (they have to shoot a 42 page script in 5 days, whereas a 120 page movie script can shoot for 30-60 days).

"Love" is an old TV pro, obviously. She would knock out good performances and has hitting home runs by the final takes. Sometimes in the middle of a line just "-I'm sorry, let me try that again ..." without stopping rolling or anything. Watching how fast the crew moved around the set and got ready for different set-ups was great. We hung out from about 12 to 5, when they broke for lunch at 5 we decided to head home (Love was wrapped for the day).

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the parking garage: we got to see part of the taping of that night's Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

Conan, in his infinite wisdom, thought that it'd be a great Halloween treat to see the world's largest pumpkin get smashed by the "Grave-Digger" monster truck. And they decided to do this live, during the show, right in front of the garage. So we had some awesome seats to this ridiculous occurrence, and it was AWESOME. Watch for yourself.

It was pretty spectacular live but I think it all translates pretty good on television.

Though I had class all day Saturday at night headed to a bar to see a gang of zombies, aka USC's football team, lay down and die for the Oregon Ducks, and ended up at a really great Halloween party. All in all, a Halloween that, by L.A. standards, was a frighteningly good time.