Discover what some of our Park Scholars abroad are doing.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
By Jackson Eagan, '14
Hello everyone! I wanted to share a cool thing that I got to participate in here in Alicante, Spain.
Being the enthusiastic (possibly obsessive) student of film that I am, ever since my first day in Alicante I have been making it known that I'm looking for sets to work on. I quickly ran out of places to look, however, and so for a whole month nothing came of it. I had pretty much given up hope when on a sunny day in early February I ran into Marisa Pérez, one of the directors of my study abroad program, who told me she had an opportunity for me.
Connections (here called "enchufes," aka "plug-ins") are, for the most part, what make the U.S. film industry tick. That day, I discovered that Spain is no different: Marisa knew a woman who knew a man who is a film director. At the time, he was looking for crewmembers to shoot a music video that week for a nationally recognized band. So before I knew it, I was on the crew list among 15 people who I didn't know, signed up as the one and only "electric" (lighting technician). I had two days to prepare. Talk about pressure!
So of course I stressed myself out. The thing about film sets is that there is so much technical jargon thrown around that even in English, it's tough to understand what's going on. My poor host parents had to endure a long session of me quizzing them on how to say electrical terminology in Spanish.
The day came soon after, and on the morning of the 6th I nervously showed up to set, with my tool bag nicely organized, making sure to arrive a good fifteen minutes early. This allowed me to chat with the director, Gregorio, who was thankfully very easy-going and anything but intimidating. As the crew slowly trickled in, he explained to me an interesting aspect of Spanish culture: lack of punctuality. While on American film sets it is expected that everyone show up early or at the very latest at the designated hour, in Spain the expectations are much more relaxed (according to Gregorio). Hence the widely used phrase "no pasa nada," which literally translates to "nothing happens," but really means "no worries" or simply "whatever."
I began to set up lights and chat with Gregorio about his vision for the visual style. Eventually, the band showed up and I got the meet all of them. It is a boy band called Auryn, composed of five guys who are all about my age. If you're familiar with the British boy band One Direction, Auryn is the Spanish version (or so various people have told me). They were very nice, and extremely talented. One of the boys, Carlos, has blond hair and therefore looks a bit like me, so I joked around with him about stepping in as a stunt double if he had to do something dangerous!
Another cool thing about the shoot is the woman who plays the "femme fatale," Úrsula Coberó, is a relatively famous actress in Spain. During the shoot, however, I had no idea. Now I hear her name all the time; I even randomly saw her on TV today!
We filmed in five different locations that day and ended up wrapping at 5:00 in the morning. The night scenes were especially arduous because of the gale-force winds and the icy-cold air temperature of 40 degrees Farenheit (wink wink, Ithacans). It was a very long but rewarding day! I kept in touch with almost everyone on the crew afterwards (remember what I said about connections!) Since the music video shoot, I have gotten to attend a hands-on lighting workshop at the "Ciudad de la Luz" Film School and I have worked on a short film set as an electric. I've heard about several shoots coming up in March, and so I am hoping to work on them as well!
In conclusion, I'll leave you with the final cut of the music video, which was only just released a few days ago! For those of you who are interested in lighting, I was only responsible for keys, fills, and backlights. I can't take any credit for the crazy club lighting!
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