USC film school develops senior's passion (VIDEO)
Senior McKay Mohun studied at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts Program. He visited Universal Studios with his fellow aspiring filmakers where they posed for a picture on the War of the Worlds set.
This past summer I had the honor and privilege to attend the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts Program. This program was designed as a rigorous six-week course, with its primary emphasis on introducing students to Introductory filmmaking.
This included all aspects of cinematography: screenwriting (which is my personal forte), producing, directing, editing, casting, costumes, acting, set design, set construction, lighting, sound, music, projection, photo shoots, preparing operating budgets as well as familiarity of the many legalities that accompany filmmaking and copyright laws.
My courses were Film Business Procedures and Studio Producing and Directing, I earned A's in both and garnered 8 units of college credit.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts is one of the world's most premiere and prestigious film schools. Since 1929 it has produced some of the most notable filmmakers in movie history such as; George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis and Ron Howard, to name a few.
I was enrolled in the USC Cinematic Arts Program under the Direction of the illustrious David Weitzner. My course was Universal/Producing and Directing, taught by esteemed professor Pablo Frasconi. The objective of the class was to create three student films, by the end of the term. Each student had the opportunity to direct, produce, screen write, edit and even act in films.
"I feel so blessed to have had this amazing experience at USC. I was able to work with such an extraordinary team of professors, and professionals in the film industry. The knowledge I gained, and the friendships I forged, will forever leave an indelible impression upon my life." --McKay Mohun, '12,
We traveled to Universal Studios for a VIP tour of the Backlots, Stages and Prop Warehouses. In addition to our weekly visits, we had the chance to actually film on the premises.
Our main project required that each student write a six-minute screenplay, from which the top three scripts would then be selected for our final project. I was fortunate to have had my Civil War-themed screenplay be chosen among my peers.
In filming this project, we were given top-of-the-line cameras, most notably, the Red Epic camera which is state-of-the-art technology. We auditioned professional actors, worked on the Universal Backlot sets, used authentic costumes, props and music as part of our eight-man production crew who worked in unison to bring this vision to the big screen.
While attending the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts Program, senior McKay Mohun acts in front of the School of Cinematic Arts Building while his friend, Lawrence Brown, is the boom operator.
I was humbled to be both writer and producer on this project, which was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.
As we approached the first day of filming, all the preparations were in order. We were ready to begin the long and arduous process of shooting each scene. However, in real life, we are often confronted with unseen challenges. Our sound equipment was not functioning properly and we had to shoot segments within a two-minute interval due to trams visits from the studio tour. These obstacles placed us behind our original schedule, fortunately we were able to make adjustments, and conclude the filming to meet our timelines.
After a very lengthy and strenuous editing process, the class was called upon to select one movie to represent our class at the School of Cinematic Arts. Film Debut Ceremony. Following a close vote, our film, Two Brothers, was chosen as one of the best films to represent our class, and premiered at the closing event that evening.
I felt so honored and humbled to see the culmination of our efforts as a production team, being featured in this historic venue.
One of the highlights of this program was offering the opportunity to experience -college life-- as a USC student. Not only were we able to take college courses, we were also able to be a part of the entire campus environment. We lived in the dorms, had to learn how to navigate schedules, find our way around to classes, network with other students and manage our time and affairs.
This experience provided me with great insight as to what the freshman year in college is all about, and left me confident in my ability to know that I am well prepared for what lies before me. I know now that I can succeed in that next step after high school graduation.
I feel so blessed to have had this amazing experience at USC. I was able to work with such an extraordinary team of professors, and professionals in the film industry. The knowledge I gained, and the friendships I forged, will forever leave an indelible impression upon my life.
For more opinions, read the Sept. 7 article, Family garden provides produce, sense of accomplishment.