One of the most common pieces of advice given to students about to embark on the particular semester of the Production program that I am about to embark on is this: "Get a lot of sleep over break- because you won't be getting any sleep once the semester begins." The frequency of this piece of advice is unnerving. It is difficult to tell whether it is because there actually will be so little time for sleeping or whether it is a collective attempt to keep incoming students from being too cocky and thinking they can get away with goofing off.
Anyone who knows me know how much I value sleep, so to be told that I won't be getting any for the next four to five months is a source of significant anxiety. And I mostly deal with anxiety by sleeping. So I've been sleeping a lot.
My teammates and I have already discussed this as a trio: it turns out that we ALL value our sleep. We also value our personal time. We came to the collective conclusion that it would be ok if we wanted to not push our production days the full twelve hours if we didn't have to (the legal limit). That it would be ok to sometimes spend time with our significant others, or doing things that weren't related to school work. I have absolutely no doubt that my teammates are just as committed to these upcoming films as I am, but it is edifying to know that we all believe that it's just as important to find a balance between Work and Everything Else.
This is probably a pretty ironic (is ironic the right word? Let me know what I should use instead if it isn't) attitude to be espousing the day after I write a whole post about how much I enjoy and respect classes that are hard work. I think both parts are important, though: it's just as important to know when to stop working as it is to know when you're not working hard enough. I think both parts are skills that need to be learned too.
The other major step forward that I made this past week was attending the Safety Seminar. This is a mandatory class that you have to take in order to get a Production Number- which is basically like the Golden Ticket that lets you into USC's Chocolate Factory. We all took it at the beginning of the fall semester as well, so this was just a refresher. To some students Safety Seminar must feel like a skeet shoot for creative ideas: you throw your idea up into the air and the physical production gatekeepers punch it full of holes: no cars, no kids, no animals, etc.
Personally I find it an interesting resource for possibilities: it would be possible to shoot a scene under water? It would be possible to set a character on fire? It would be possible to shoot on a rooftop? Sure there are plenty of hoops to jump through in order to make things like this possible, but it could still happen. And it would happen safely.
Starting today the race is on for the rest of the semester. Today will be our first "Official" production meeting as a team even though we met several times over the break. With a little luck we will get a good, strong start out of the gate and get up to speed quickly.