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September 16, 2009 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-16

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1 TeMc i.gan . dedy, b 00

THE EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK with JESSICA VOSGERCHIAN
new rules A look at the big news events this week and how important they really are. Conveniently rated from one to 10.

7AoABOUT CAMPUS '
I*LLUSTATIONS BY JOHN OQUIST

Magazine Editor:
Jessica Vosgerchian
Editor in Chief:
Gary Graca
Managing Editor:
Courtney Ratkowiak
Photo Editor:
Sam Wolson
The Junk Drawer:
Brian Tengel
Center spread design:
Lan Truong
Cover photo:
Max Collins
The Statement is The Michigan
Daily's news magazine, distributed
every Wednesday during the
academic year.

rule 206: If
you just have
a cough, you
definitely don't
have H1N1. But
you do have an
excuse to miss
class. rule
207: It's OK to
pretend not to
know someone
you haven't talk-
ed to in more
than a semester.
rule 208: Print
double-sided
until your pro-
fessor liter-
ally threatens
to lower your
grade if you do
it again.
- E-mail rule submissions to
TheStatement@umich.edu

4

FROM HIGH COURT TO BIG HOUSE
Chief Justice John Roberts attended Saturday's game against
Notre Dame in Michigan Stadium as part of his visit marking
the 150th anniversary of Michigan Law School. From the presi-
dent's box, Roberts witnessed the neck-in-neckgame that ulti-
matelyended in Michigan'sfavor, 38-34.taut the Indiana native
didn't revel in the win with the rest of the stadium. Rumor has it
he has motioned for a recount to decide the game. We should
know theaofficial score sometime in January.

WHAT WOULD YOUR MAMA SAY, KANYE?
Kanye West once again made a fool of himself at the Video
Music Awards when he stole the mic from Best Female Video
winner Taylor Swift to proclaim that the award should have
gone to Beyonce. Jay Leno admonished West during his new
show: "What would your late mother say about your behav-
ior?" West pouted and looked remorseful, then got up and
performed his hit with Jay-Z and Rihanna. Considering the pun-
ishment for celebrity misbehavior is increased attention, Mrs.
West probably would have told her son to keep at it. No one
wins the fame game by being boring.

Not-so-trivial
pursuits
Behind students' grunt work
on the "Trivial Pursuit" set
At Ingalls Mall on the night of
Sept. 4, actor Chris Gorham was
portraying fictional University stu-
dent Paul Tarson in "Trivial Pur-
suits", a film that recently wrapped
up shooting in Ann Arbor. Having
just returned from losing abar triv-
ia tournament, he drunkenly blun-
dered through Roxette's "Joyride,"
barely balancing on the edge of the
fountain. "Hello, you fool!" he bel-
lowed, slapping his team T-shirt.
into the water. "I love you!"
Tarson, a college bar trivia mas-
ter, is a figure easily recognizable
on a college campus. He seems to
know everything except how to
approach his looming and uncer-
tain future. He also has a lot in
common with the few dozen Uni-
versity students who watched from
the sidelines of the Ingalls Mall
set. They were Screen Arts and
Cultures majors, movie buffs who
seem to know everything about
film except how to get a job mak-
ing it.
That's where the Michigan Film
Initiative makes things a tad easier.
The students on the set of "Trivial
Pursuits" weren't just looking in
longingly - they were earning a
highly needed line for their resu-
mes as production assistants:
Many students are no strang-
ers to entry-level grunt work, but
film students without connections
really might have to endure the
most grueling and mundane jobs
in all of interned servitude. And
that's only if they're able to land an
internship.
But a film like "Trivial Pursuits"
- an independent, feature-length
comedy starring Chris Parnell
("Saturday Night Live") - offers
a valuable opportunity to actually
help produce a feature film instead

of just file paperwork related to
one.
"When I go over there, it's
like going to a Screen Arts class,
because it's all of our students,"
said Mary Lou Chlipala, the pro-
gram coordinator for the Screen
Arts and Cultures Department.
Of course, that experience came
at a price for the 30 or so University
students who worked as produc-
tion assistants: long work weeks,
difficult requests and little to no
pay.
Chlipala said that the film's
producer, Anna Wenger, asked
her early in production to refer
four film students to work as pro-
duction assistants on the shoot.
But soon after, Wenger decided
to meet with 40 students in two
days, about 24 of whom ended up
on the "Trivial Pursuits" payroll
or receiving grant money from the
University to work. And when paid
positions filled up, more students
volunteered to work unpaid as pro-
duction assistants.
"We ended up with kids that
were like, 'We want to work for
free!"' Wenger said.
LSA senior Samara Rosenbaum
was happy to find some worth-
while production work on the set of
"Trivial Pursuits", even though she
wasn't being paid. Her prospects
in Los Angeles were anything but
promising.
"I was determined to find an
internship there," she said. "I tried
everything I could to stay in L.A.
and I found this mediocre intern-
ship."
But instead of making photo-
copies at a documentary company,
Rosenbaum grudgingly came back
to spend the summer in Michigan.
Soon after returning to Ann
Arbor, she heard about "Trivial
Pursuits" and started volunteer-
ing six days a week as the assistant
extras coordinator.
"We're not just getting coffee,"
she said. "We're doing things that
we can learn from and actually

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CALLING ALL HOME
BREW ERS
The Michigan Daily is looking to name the best student-
made beer in Ann Arbor. The contest will take place at
the end of October, so get a batch fermenting. All types of
beer welcome - no mead, moonshine or hard cider.
E-mail vosgerchian@michigandaily.com to inquire about
>entering. Include your name, year in school, type of beer
and when you next expect to have a batch ready.

contribute a lot to the film."
Katie Magill, a paid production
assistant and University alum,
said she has been working 80-hour
weeks filing paperwork, escorting
actors to and from set and insuring
equipment since the end of June.
The opportunity to do more on
a film than the average entry-level
production assistant also means
being obligated to put in long hours
- and being expected to accom-
plish any number of oddball tasks
necessary to keep production run-
ning smoothly.
Wenger introduced me to a pro-
duction assistant so versatile and
indomitable that she gave her a
nickname to match: Megan "The
Rock" Gilliam, a 2009 graduate
who received University money to
work on "Trivial Pursuits"
Gilliam has not only worked on
set, she has had to make sure that
the set would exist at all - like
when she was put in charge of find-

ing trailers for the cast and crew.
"I was not expecting to come in
and have to find six motor homes,"
Gilliam said. "They were like, 'Hey,
Megan, you're in transportation,
so you're gonna go find the motor
homes"'
Visibly tired but still attentive,
Gilliam was stationed Sept. 4 next
to the Law Quad overseeing the
base camp: a line of parked motor
homes for actors, trailers filled
with huge monitors and equipment
for editors, and a tented table filled
with all the catered food necessary
to keep cast and crew happy for a
14-hour workday.
"How to get coffee," she said,
gesturing to extension cords and a
generator set up on the lawn. "You
wouldn't believe how something
that simple can turn into a major
issue."
Fellow intern and LSA senior
Liam White made $100 for a 100-
hour week where he was respon-

ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA GARAVOGLIA
sible for keeping passersby out of
the camera's eye. His voice could
be heard above all others as he told
the crew to secure the set before
the camera started rolling: "Lock
it down! Lock it down!"
"It steered me toward the idea of
being a director or writer," he said.
"I realized how stressful some of
the other parts can be. I learned
about getting shit done. It gave me
a real-world expectation of what
kind of hours I'll be working."
White and his coworkers
worked from sundown on Sept. 4
until 6 a.m. the next day. But such
long hours foster camaraderie, and
as any intern knows, making good
connections in the field is almost
more important than the real-
world work experience.
"Since I met all these people
through it, there's a lot more peo-
ple that I can call when I get out to
L.A.," White said.
-SARA LYNNE THELEN

WHAT'S YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT?

Email vosgerchian@michigandaily.com to learn how to submit an essay.

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