My First Major Film School Project

It was the summer of 1992. I was just one year out of Cal Berkeley’s undergrad biz school and working in a real estate appraisal company in San Jose, CA. I seriously needed a creative outlet. I took up filmmaking and signed up for a basic course at De Anza College’s Film/TV program, the largest and most successful community college film program in California. My instructor was Zaki Lisha. As the founder of the film program Zaki had already been there forever when I attended. Believe it or not, he’s still there. That’s what you call dedication. This is the first significant film project I ever produced. It was for that class. I got an A.

Some fun backstory:

  • Filmed on location in San Jose and Berkeley, CA.
  • Shot on a VHS and edited LINEARLY tape to tape. The poor quality is due to the fact that the process of converting the VHS tape to black and white severely damages it.
  • You had to record the music onto the VHS tape first over black. Then go back to add the visuals. That also contributed to the poor quality.
  • Yes, that is indeed me playing the YMCA volunteer in my ode to Hitchcock: a short cameo in my own movie. (You can’t miss me. I have a flat top. Hard to believe that was ever a popular hair style.)
  • The lead actress was a college friend; the lead actor is a guy I knew from the days I used to go dancing at the San Jose clubs (that was a whole ‘nother life. 🙂 He was always surrounded by the ladies so I thought he’d be perfect for the role. Too bad he couldn’t act. (I hope he’s not reading this blog. If so, I apologize. But really, you couldn’t act. 🙂 The guy at the table in the restaurant is my old real estate appraisal co-worker and buddy. We were going to be big-time Hollywood movie makers together. Uh, yeah. That didn’t happen.
  • It took about 30 takes +/- for the lead actor to get the wink right at the end. (And even then I wasn’t too crazy about it.)
  • At 3:28 when the ticket machine spits out the dollar, we actually had to do that take a number of times because…get this…despite the fact that it was totally crumpled, the machine kept accepting it. Ain’t that a blip. When you’re really in a hurry, it’ll spit out. But when you WANT it to spit out for a movie, it gets accepts. Go figure.
  • When we shot the girl walking on the BART train, we had to get the shot quick so she could jump off again before the train started moving.
  • I wanted to evoke a feeling of deja vu in the audience by showing in person elements you see in print at the opening of the film. There six in total. Can you find them all? Everyone who finds all six will be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of my Art & Business of DSLR Filmmaking webinar recording. You have until Monday at 12 noon EST to find them.


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