It was a terrific and informative evening. I met lots of cool people and heard some of the top producers in the business discuss the filmmaking industry. As someone who’s only been in the Los Angeles area for 3 months, I appreciate any opportunity to meet new people, especially industry folks.
Even the product placement was cool. While I understand the necessity of it, I’m often bothered by product placement, especially depending on how obvious and obtrusive it is (the Subway sandwich ads built into the episodes of Chuck leap screamingly to mind). But somehow, with a product like a car, it doesn’t seem as blatant. Characters often need cars to get around, but I don’t always notice the kind of car they’re driving.
For example, I hadn’t realized that the examples in the promotional film they showed last night were Chevys. It was pretty cool. They had clips from old and new movies: Transformers, The Fast and the Furious, Terms of Endearment, Beverly Hills Cop, even Saturday Night Fever; all those films incorporated (and sometimes blew up) Chevy automobiles. And cars, much more than food or drinks for example, can really capture the culture and era of the film they appear in.
The event also included an awards ceremony for the winners of Chevrolet’s Mofilm and Young Creative Chevrolet (YCC) contests. These are both worldwide initiatives that connect filmmaking and branding, where aspiring filmmakers, fashion and visual arts designers, and photographers can compete and have their projects judged by major figures in the business. The winners hailed from all over Europe, including the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Serbia.
The four told stories of their lives and work in film, including how they started in Hollywood. Most began in places far removed from the industry; Rob Cohen first worked in an animal hospital, squeezing dogs’ and cats’ swollen anal glands! Their stories inspired, and they further encouraged the contest winners and students (mostly film production, screenwriting, and criticism students) in attendance to chase their dreams into reality through persistence, hard work, saying yes to everything, and learning as much as you can along the way.
I had a moment to speak with Jon Landau, who was incredibly kind and friendly. He asked if I die my hair to match my outfit. I just confessed that purple was—obviously—my favorite color. I also told him the huge shocker that one of my all-time favorite movies is Titanic. I’m sure he still hasn’t recovered.
Alas, I wasn’t able to meet the other panelists, but I met so many other great people: many students from UCLA and USC’s film departments, a handful of folks from CAA, a few directors and producers, and two journalists from a German entertainment publication who flew in just for this event. Everyone was so friendly, wonderfully talented, and great fun. It felt like one of those storybook Hollywood events that I’d dreamed of attending, and the reason we made the big move to LA. I hope to attend many more like this in the future.
Special thanks to my teacher, Ari Karpel, and to CAA for extending the invitation.