It was just about a month ago that I was pulling my overstuffed suitcases up a cobblestone sidewalk in the rain and the cold, having just completed more than 16 hours of travel from Dallas to the Czech Republic. I am here in Prague studying film production this semester, and I cannot believe it has already been a month since I arrived.
The first few weeks of my stay here consisted of intensive Czech language courses – before I left I had not even heard one Czech word – and lots of free time to get acclimated to the city. After a few runs to Tesco (think Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Macy’s, Target, and Tom Thumb combined into one, glorious mega-store) and a lot of “where are you from’s” and “what school do you go to’s” we finally began taking classes at FAMU (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts), the film university here. With a set of core classes where we discuss camera technology, scriptwriting, the tools of directing, acting, lighting, and sound, and a handful of electives ranging from more theoretical discussion courses to history lectures, my life is now consumed with film school.
On top of attending all of these classes, next week we will break into groups of 3 or 4 students and begin pre-production for a short film. Throughout February and March, we will, in our groups, pitch ideas to professors, write a script, set up a storyboard, find actors, and prepare all of the production design for an 8(ish)-minute short film. In April we will each get a few days to shoot the films on 16mm, act as crew members on other students’ film sets, and edit our film so that in May we can screen them and see what our peers have been working on all semester.
Hopefully I can find time to breathe, or sleep, or both.
Although I am now finding myself very busy, I cannot complain about any part of this experience so far. I have walked across the Charles Bridge, wandered through Old Town, travelled to Berlin for a film festival, learned more about the food and the culture of the Czech Republic, an area of the world I knew next to nothing about before my arrival, and gotten to know some amazing film students and influential professors. Although I have only been here for a month, I can’t help but feel sad that I only have 3 months left; I finally feel as if I am a resident of Prague and I am extremely blessed to have this opportunity, even if it still is a … refreshing 30 degrees outside.