Cinema Summer Intensive Blog: Marlaena Henry, blog 1


Welcome to the Red Team!

Hello everyone! My name is Marlaena and I will be continuing the blog posts for this year’s VCUarts Cinema summer intensive! I have enjoyed spending the past four weeks with my colleagues, they are all such fantastically collaborative filmmakers. My first blog will discuss my experiences each week at The Depot’s very own sound stage!

Owen Fleet operates the ARRI camera
Photo taken by Harlie Coggins

The Red Team filmed at the sound stage every Tuesday, making us the first group ever to film at said location. What an amazing experience that was! The main reason why I chose VCU over other film schools is because we get to make films with professional equipment right away. It took everyone some time to adjust to the dynamics of switching roles every set up, as well as, working on a professional film set, with industry standard equipment and instructors with years of experience in commercial and narrative filmmaking.

 With all of the excitement and hard work from the first day, I pushed myself too hard and felt a little light headed after we returned from lunch. Everything was fine, especially thanks to my supportive, accommodating and understanding instructors. To paraphrase Kevin Gallagher, our Unit Production Manager: “In order to go fast, you need to go slow” and I learned to do exactly that.

With the lessons in mind from the previous week, I was eager to be back on set for week 2. I tried Grip and Electric (G&E)  for the very first time, and gained a more in depth look at the camera department. While at this point, I do not feel like camera or G&E are the departments for me, I had a blast learning with my group and each department’s respective instructors. 

A wall of the sound stage is filled with red team members’ name tags, signatures, notes, and doodles on the last day of filming.
Photo by Marlaena Henry.

On to week 3! The wonderful Sheree Chen (our CINE 100/101) professor and instructor for the intensive’s sketches class) visited us on set and we were so excited to see her. Not only did her visit excite us, but she helped us out with the often-intimidating sound department. That week we also learned the importance of remaining calm in potentially urgent situations. For example, if there is an issue, you talk as if there is not one. Yet another informative week!

And finally, the fourth week of production. What a bittersweet day it was. I am so thankful for all of the instructors’ valuable advice and mentorship. And Kevin got us snacks! He even made sure to get me a special one that works with my dietary requirements. Thanks Kevin!

I was the last director of my group for the film made at The Depot and it was a blast. I played music to help inspire the actors and the cast and crew began to dance together on set. Not only was it a favorite memory of the intensive, but a favorite memory over all! The day ended with lots of hugs, high fives and group photos. I am so grateful for this experience to be on set with professional filmmakers and equipment and to work with an amazing group of aspiring filmmakers.

Lead Image: Red team group photo taken the first day of the Summer Intensive. From left to right: Stefan Sharak, Owen Fleet, Maya Rios, Fabiana Landívar Quintela, Sebastian Duall, Gray Adgate, Tanner Washington, Kyle Miller, Murry Ryan, Harlie Coggins, Marlaena Henry. Photo by Marlaena Henry.