Peter Moses-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

Peter Moses

Locking it down! Roll sound!...and ACTION!

So at NIDA, the Third Years film a Show Real that has them all doing scenes and monologues on camera. This year, however, NIDA decided to create a film using the entire class. The film takes place at a country house and is based around the death of a good friend (a la "The Big Chill"). The film, Crowtrap, consists of several story lines that intertwine the characters and their journeys. The director is Felix Williamson, an Australian actor, who came on board with his brother Rory Williamson, who wrote the film. Janica, also Rory's fiancee produced the film. The location was Janica's childhood home up in the Hunter Valley.

The Hunter Valley is wine country, located about two and a half hours north of Sydney. Next to Chris and Frances's home (Janica's parents), were these old train car's that had been converted into a B&B. Cast and crew stayed in these carriages throughout the shoot, and we ate in and around the Chris and Frances's carpool.

I met Janica through Tony Knight at NIDA on Monday. I offered to help out in any way possible. I figured it would be a great way for me to meet my classmates better, as well as be on and around a real film set. And good lord did I make the right decision. Those ten days up there were so informative. I got to see the inner-workings of a small film in all its glory. Watching the DOP set up shots, the sound guys record the scenes, and even helping feed and clean up after 40 people was an invaluable experience. Another thing that I found fascinating was watching my new classmates act on film.

FILM IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT BEAST. I don't think it could be more different than stage acting. Granted there are some obvious similarities, but I was truly amazed at what a different craft it can be. They're not joking (whoever they are) when they say that film is really disjointed. Every shot takes time to set up, adjust lighting, block out the scene, and rehearse. It was fascinating. The great thing was I was acting as a 2nd/3rd AD, so I was really able to integrate myself into the crew. Whether it was running coffee to the crew at 11:00 at night, getting actors ready and on set, locking down the set for a take, helping Rory cook food for everyone, or helping the camera and lighting crew set up, I got to learn about everything first hand.

After a week of working with the crew, Felix, el director, informed me that they had a small part for me on the last day of the shoot. I played a waiter in a scene where Cooper and Kim are heading up to the funeral. I'm not going to say it was "groundbreaking" material... but it was fucking close. (To quote Steve Martin's Bowfinger: "If it went as well as I think it did, I will be seeing you all... at the Oscars.)

By the end of the 11 days I got to know my class so freaking well. What a classy bunch of people (except for Rick... what a dick (joking)). Just friendly and SARCASTIC!!! Good God I love the sarcasm... its amazing... I'm literally basking in sarcasm with these people... I LOVE IT!!!

I learned how to kick an Aussie Football League football, as well as throw a rugby ball. THE BEST. Totally bringing one of those guys home with me.

Oh yea, Saturday the 8th was Kenji and Janica's birthday so we had a Mexican Fiesta for them. What a blast. Music, booze, and Felix and Anthony rapping! What more can a man ask for... not much, that's what.

So yea... it was quite a blast... Exhausting and I'm ready to go home, but a blast indeed.

Peter Moses
Peter Moses

CFA '10- Drama
Sydney, Australia
Fall 2009