Posts Tagged ‘Rock Stars: The Pete Weaver Experience’

Weekend Release of Four Student Films

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Laura wrote and directed the film, "Rock Stars: The Pete Weaver Experience" and even wrote two of its songs.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

This weekend will showcase four short films created by the Idyllwild Arts Film Department.

It is a year’s worth of hard work writing, directing, casting, filming, scoring, and editing.

“It’s a running joke on campus that the film students never get to see the light of day,” one film student said.

Yet, it’s also the year in which all four films were written and directed by women. (Although this may be remarkable in Hollywood, in which men tend to dominate, the ratio of women to men on the Idyllwild Arts campus is about four to one.)

The four films featured include: “Rock Stars: The Pete Weaver Experience,” written and directed by Laura; “Dead Serious,” written and directed by Ellen; “Penelope,” written and directed by Scarlett, and “Fitz,” written and directed by Brit.

The films, ranging from 15 to 21 minutes each, are as diverse as the students who created them.

“I’m glad that I was first to shoot my film this year,” Laura said of “Rock Stars: The Pete Weaver Experience.” “That way, I could take my time to finish and edit it the entire year.”

Laura not only wrote and directed the film about a lovestruck rock star, but also wrote the music score for two of its songs. Last year, she wrote and sang in one film and acted in another. In fact, her 2010 single, “Time Bomb,” is also featured on iTunes.

It’s not unusual for a script to go through many changes over the course of the school year, especially when others get involved and offer their opinions. Originally, “Rock Stars” was written about a guy who wrote poems and sent them sailing into the universe via helium balloons. However, along the way, Laura decided that a quiet boy and balloons wouldn’t make a good movie.

The poet turned into a rock star, featuring one of the school’s ballet instructors.

“Jonathan Sharp is perfect for the role,” Laura said. “He’s good looking and gregarious. He’s the ultimate rock star.”

Luckily, the 30 film students can draw from many talent resources, including student actors, dancers and musicians, who are willing to work for free to be in a movie.

C.D. sported just boxer briefs when trying out for the 'psycho' role for Brit's film, "Fitz"

Although Laura’s film changed a lot over the course of the year, Brit’s film, “Fitz,” did not. It’s about a prep school in which some of the students take over the school. “Fitz” is short for “Fitzgerald,” the name of the school, but the title could be ambiguous on purpose.

C.D., a musical theater major, was eager to try out.

“My role in ‘Fitz’ was to basically play a ‘psycho,'” C.D. said.

To nab the role, C.D. knew that he had to pull out all the stops. He had to make a lasting impression on the casting crew.

“I showed up in my underwear!” he exclaimed.

They were boxer briefs, actually, and C.D. also had on a navy blue preppy blazer and shoes.

“We couldn’t stop laughing,” Kai recalled of C.D.’s audition. “His clothing choice was ingenious, but he won us over by his dialogue.”

Kai, who won acclaim for his lighting of “The Other Side,” a dramatic short film from 2010, was dumbfounded to discover that lighting for dramas and comedies is not the same.

“I was surprised that Brit challenged and changed my lighting choices,” Kai recalled the early days on the set. “But she was right. I had to rethink my style from drama to comedy.”

Film students like Alexa, shown with film wheel, work hard all year long. Alexa worked on a 3-2-1 short.

From casting to filming on location, the film students don’t leave out any details. Case in point: Ellen needed a photo for her poster for “Dead Serious,” so she and her crew went to a cemetary in San Jacinto, near Hemet.

“The story’s about a girl who gets bullied in school,” Ellen said, trying not to give too much away. “But someone ends up dying.”

Ellen, Alyssa and Brooke, a musical theater major who plays the lead in the film, all went to take pictures among tombstones. Even during the day, the location was a bit spooky. During the shoot, Brooke gave a mocking smile.

Could they have grabbed a tombstone from the internet and PhotoShopped it in? Sure, but it wouldn’t have been the same. If you knew these Idyllwild Arts film students, you’d know they never take short cuts. They continue long into the night, if that’s what it takes.

Just this past Sunday, Scarlett was putting the finishing touches on “Penelope,” a romantic period piece set in Mexico. Four jazz music students followed Scarlett to a local recording studio on Sunday evening to record a song. They worked from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., breaking only once for pepperoni pizza.

Anna or “Paley,” a post grad theater major from Mexico, plays the female lead. It was the first film she had starred in, and a welcome project at the end of the year. Acting comes naturally for the 18-year-old whose mother is a famous comedic actor in Mexico.

“She was perfect for the role,” Scarlett said.

It wasn’t easy for Scarlett to watch Paley kissing her boyfriend. But it was all for the movie’s sake. You see, Scarlett’s boyfriend, Austin, plays Paley’s love interest.

“Whenever we’d kiss on the set, I’d look over at Scarlett, and she’d be turning her head,” Paley said jokingly.

“Rock Stars,” “Dead Serious,” “Penelope” and “Fitz” promise an evening’s worth of comedy, passion and intrigue this Memorial Day Weekend. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the IAF Theater (located in the Bowman building). Shows are free and open to the public, but come early to get a good seat.

For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171. Some film trailers may appear Friday on You Tube.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved. Most photos courtesy of Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Published on: May 25, 2011 @ 2:07