Student Work Wednesdays – 8 Marks The Spot


What is the premise of your film?

Trisha Nguyen (Director): When Cora stumbles upon a device that can presumably change her history, she is dead set on using it to save her mother, despite warnings and efforts from a familiar face telling her to stop.

Alyna Draper (Producer): The idea of time travel and if you can really change the past, If that is a good idea or to face the hardships.

What was the Pre-production process like entirely online?

Trisha: It consisted of A LOT of Zoom meetings and planning around everyone’s personal schedules. You feel like time kind of just runs together because your workspace is the same as your home space. There was a lot of work that had to be done individually, and we had to just trust that everyone was putting in their own work and was ready when it came time for the next step.

Alyna: The pre-production process being entirely online required us to be very organized and on a strict time schedule. It had its perks and downfalls for sure.

From Left to Right: Allie Ochsner, Trisha Nguyen, Forest Veerhoff, Brendan Donahue

How many crew members did you have on your film? How many were on set?

Trisha: We had 7 people on our team and 6 crew members on set.

Alyna: There were 7 crew members on our film. There were 6 on set.

What was it like working with a small crew?

Trisha: It was both less and more restrictive at the same time. Because there were so few of us, we quickly found a rhythm in the group and began to pick up on what to do in order to help each other out even if the task wouldn’t be something your role would typically do on a bigger shoot. I felt like the work that we did felt more close and intimate. However, it’s always nice to have a few extra sets of hands on board to help out with secondary tasks. Since there were only 6 of us on set, there was essentially one person per department. You could imagine how that could sometimes slow the pacing of things when one person is responsible for multiple essential jobs.

Alyna: Working with a small crew allowed us to really dial down and get to work on our film. It also allowed for us to get close as a group which aids in the working environment. The downfall was that because the crew was so small we all had to take on several roles instead of just focusing on one.

8 Marks The Spot Cast and Crew

How do you think this experience has helped prepare you for the professional world?

Trisha: I feel like being very self-driven on such a small shoot helped all of us be more diligent and mindful in the roles that we took on set, as well as an understanding of other crew members’ roles. As someone who is very production-minded, I appreciated having a sense of creativity as well as logistical control on the project. I feel prepared enough that I’m pretty confident in my ability to navigate and manage my own way if I were to be thrown onto a professional set right now.

Alyna: It prepared us for the professional world because we were able to see what a small film set would be like, as well as, getting our hands on several different areas of the filming process so we now will have knowledge for when on a job.

Which part of the process was your favorite? Why? (Pre-pro, Production, Post-pro, Modules)

Trisha: Definitely production. I think being on set is the most fun part of making a movie. You get to work in a physical space with what you’ve been planning for the past few months and see it all come together. It was a great feeling getting to direct a concept that I had envisioned and see it go from page to screen.

Alyna: I enjoyed Pre-pro/production because I am very organized and a natural leader so this allowed me to do what I do best.

Which part of the process was the most difficult? Why?

Trisha: Working solely online and trying to coordinate with everyone’s schedule for pre-production was pretty hard at times. People have other groups, classes, jobs, and personal agendas, and sometimes it gets overwhelming. It felt less personal as well having to meet over a screen or communicating through emails and texts as opposed to conducting in-person meetings. There’s more room for miscommunication and misinterpretation when the bulk of our work is communicated through a secondary platform.

Alyna: The most difficult part would be post-production because you feel like you’re done with the process but you still have to put the film together or you have nothing.

8 Marks The Spot Cast and crew

What was the most rewarding part of this experience?

Trisha: I love being on set so for me, the best part of this whole experience was getting to shoot the movie and have fun on set with my actors and crew. I feel fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to further develop my skill and style in directing. One of the best feelings about shooting a movie is finishing it and watching everyone celebrate it.

Alyna: The most rewarding part of the experience was being able to even create a short film in this strange time of covid because most people haven’t been given the opportunity. 

What advice would you give to students who take this course after you?

Trisha: Every person on a crew plays a very crucial part in making sure the production runs smoothly from pre to post-production. Everyone’s jobs are connected so make sure you do your part to make sure that the next person on your team can do theirs. The structure is very much like a machine in that if one part of the machine stops working or isn’t working like it’s supposed to, it could hinder the entire machine’s mobility and productivity. If you do the hard work early in the game and plan accordingly, the payoff for when you’re on set working on production will be super fun and enjoyable.

Alyna: My advice would be to take it all in and enjoy it as much as you can because it is getting you prepared for when you are looking for a job.
Clip from 8 Marks The Spot (2021)