Sound is speeding. Camera is rolling. Welcome to the life of production; life on set is what you make it. I can walk away from my internship here at Hidden Woods Media knowing I made the most of my time, and I have a film because of it. Alongside all my time at the office and on set with Hidden Woods’ team, I spent just as much time producing and working on my capstone film for my studies back at the University of Denver.
For my entire winter quarter — the same time as my first ten week internship — I worked with three other students to polish a script for a short film and work on pre-production. As co-producer, I attending various rounds of casting, worked on production logistics, scheduling, and script breakdown. By the time ten weeks had flown by, I had a very full and incredibly organized production binder that I turned in, having no doubt that we were going to be prepared to the production of this narrative project.
In hindsight, my time here at Hidden Woods had a major influence on the professionalism and high quality of the documents that I used to prepare for my narrative shoot. Day after day I added pages of logistics to our production binder and all that jazz. Meanwhile, I came in day after day to Hidden Woods and sat down with the team here at Hidden Woods for pre-production meetings for HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams, taking notes of the process that was leading up to production. Pat occasionally pulled me aside to offer advice and double check if there was anything I needed to be clarified which might be helpful for my narrative project. They taught me effective organizational systems and kept me honest and working at a professional level that left the pre-production for my short film running on schedule.
As I was finishing my first internship, Sherwin Williams went into production with fifteen hard working crew members and several complex components that made it the largest project I have worked on to date. On those long set days, I was grateful to talk with the sound mixer and shadow him as his PA, along with all my other observations I made during that week. I took careful note of how the set was run: transitions between shots, set up time, Pat’s effective directing techniques, and Maya’s incredible AD skills that kept everything and everyone on time… you name it.
Cue production for my capstone, which was on a much much smaller scale. Nevertheless, I approached it with everything I had learned from just a few weeks before. My AD skills improved dramatically — coordinating schedules, finalizing and sending call sheets, keeping a time check, and making sure everyone was where they needed to be. Teamwork was critical and this shoot, but I was able to offer gaffing advice, help advise the DP, and run sound. Over this production, I became a master at multitasking. On several occasions I thanked Hidden Woods for preparing me for this. When other people needed direction on what needed to be accomplished, I had an answer.
Because of my internship with a production company, I learned production, and I now realize, I am beginning to learn a thing or two about how to work in this capacity, to which I am insurmountably thankful. Granted I am by no means an expert, and I always have more to learn — I had already started my hands on learning by the time I had reached production of my own film.
With spring quarter coming to a rapid close, so does my time as Hidden Woods’ intern. But before then, I’ve taken the opportunity to learn about post production. I took my weakest editing skills and began to ask questions (there really is no such thing as a bad question), and improved my editing skills as I synced interviews, prepared projects, pulled B-roll selects, even editing drafts for clients. In about three weeks, my editing skills went from basic to fairly proficient. Hot keys still aren’t my specialty, but it’s getting there.
In two weeks, post production for my narrative project wraps, and the film will be finished. Admittedly, I look forward to the day I can say it’s done, but in the mean time I thank Pat and Dave for having such an effective logging and editing system that I have carried over to this project.
To summarize my production internships at Hidden Woods Media: it was truly an invaluable experience. This internship is the pinnacle of hands on experience that I am positive will last me long into my career. The opportunities here are priceless, and the people who work here have become a family. This field of work isn’t easy, but the weeks of pre-pro meetings, days on set working with sound, and countless hours working in premiere and sourcing music has been the highlight of my college career.