It’s been nearly ten months since Que The Lights has been on hiatus. A lot of stuff has happened during this period, the most significant being chosen to direct a 546 at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Your first question is going to be what’s a 546 film?

A 546 film is an advanced narrative project (similar or equivalent to a thesis) produced by USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. The selection process is rigorous. A pool of 30-40 directors submit their directing reels to a group of eight faculty members, and three to four student assistants. The pool of directors are slimmed down to 10-13 directors. Simultaneously, 20+ producers are chosen by the producing faculty. These directors and producers are given 40 scripts to choose from. The directors choose a script (therefore its writer), then they choose one producer.

The director, writer, and producer trio have a week to make revisions to the script. The trio turns in the script at the end of the week, and pitches to the faculty members and student assistants. Three projects are chosen from the thirteen projects. These three projects are fully-funded by USC.

The director, producer, and writer then choose a second producer, two cinematographers, two editors, two soundies, two production designers, and one assistant director. Each of these roles must be filled by someone enrolled in the grad film program. Crew outside of these roles can be attained inside or outside of school.

I worked as one of the two cinematographer the semester before on a film called Real Boy, following a young boy who reconnects with deceased father, and rebuilds his relationship with his mother, when he finds his father’s unfinished robot. The Luu Bros directed this one.

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Olde E follows a young, talented basketball player from South Central LA on the brink of recruitment by the same school his now-alcoholic, abusive father played. Tensions between the two rise to a nearly devastating level, as his father’s regret and anger pushes the son to the breaking point.

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Mike Wade as Demarkus Jackson

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Kent Faulcon as Reginald

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William Russ as Sean Pennington

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Mack Miles as Coach Watkins

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Scotty Tovar as Chino | Trestin George as Tyrell | Emmauel King as Ricky

The cast for Olde E includes KENT FAULCON (Selma, My Sisters Keeper), MIKE WADE (From Above, The Last Act), WILLIAM RUSS (American History X, Boy Meets World), TRESTIN GEORGE (Locks, Fig, Fruitvale Station), MACK MILES (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile), EMMANUEL KING (The Demented, Signing Out), and SCOTTY TOVAR.

The core crew was Xavier Burgin, DIRECTOR; Tiara Marshall, WRITER; Jenna Cavelle & Jake Eben, PRODUCERS; David LiuKelley Kali Chatman & Dorje Immanuel, ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS;Valerie McCaffrey, CASTING, Adam Linzey & Mario Rodriquez, CINEMATOGRAPHY; Mark Allen & Derek Sepe, SOUND DESIGN & MIXING, Guillermo Ortiz Pichardo & Megan Seely, PRODUCTION DESIGN; Katie McClellan & Matt Zunich, PICTURE EDITORS; Douglas Dillingham, TRAILER EDITOR; Robert Ham, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR; D. Zign, Geoff StradlingErick Schroder, MUSIC; Alexah Acunah, ART DIRECTION; Yvette Contreras, HAIR & MAKE-UP; Elizabeth Abagail Irwin, COSTUME DESIGN.

The process of making Olde E was unbelievably rigorous. We brought on a casting director, coordinated our actor’s time to coincided with our shooting schedule, and shot over four weekends (two of the weekends consisting of all night shoots). We had basketball choreography, fight choreography, blood spattering, home invasion, door kick in, two beatdown scenes, glass shattering, a (fake) gun shot, stunt doubles/stunt action, slow motion, speed ramping, cardboard cutout audiences, poor-man’s process, and so much more!

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Third weekend of shooting. I’m working with Mike Wade and Thomas Wright on the gun shot scene before Kent shows up to set.

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Our AD, Robert, breaking the glass to make the gun shot effect

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DP, Adam, and I talking about the final jib shot of the film

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One of our soundies, Derek, being awesome. Behind him is the cop who has to overlook us using a fake gun in a neighborhood area

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Shooting the opening basketball scene

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Jake and Jenna, our producers, with one of our lovely cardboard cutouts.

Here’s a few more of the work put in by the crew behind the scenes.

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Our makeup artist, Yvette, trying out different bruising options during test weekend

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The cast on set in front of our cardboard audience

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The poorman’s process

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Mike, Emmanuel, and Trestin on set

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Trying out different clothing options on test weekend

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Shooting the opening basketball scene, one of our biggest set ups

I want to show everyone all of this so they understand the amount of work that’s put into films, even a twelve minute one like ours. The amount of work crews give to their film is astounding. The final pay off is well worth the hard work.

Next week, I’ll share photos and from the experience of premiering Olde E. I’ll talk about the experience of working with a casting director, the reason why I wanted to make Olde E, and what’s it like to run your first Kickstarter campaign in the upcoming posts as well!

Till then like the Que The Lights Fan Page, The Olde E Fan Page, and follow us on Twitter HERE and HERE.