Jordan — Post #1

11 07 2005

I don’t yet have many photographs of Jordan to upload since I haven’t had access to my computer and the net. Nor because they don’t have access, but because the price of high-speed internet access in my hotel (the lovely Bristol Hotel aka Holiday Inn Amman) is 35 Jordanian Dinar a night. That’s over $50. Should I say that again? FIFTY DAMNED DOLLARS We’ve asked them who would be so stupid as to pay over fifty bucks a night and their answer was “You’d be surprised. Besides, the Sheraton charges 40 JD.”

That’s convincing.

Some of the class attending the first Jordanian Film Commission/USC Workshop
These are some of the students attending the very first day of the very first production workshop run by the Jordanian Royal Film Commission and USC together.

In any case, I got here on Friday night along with two other USC people — Alan Baker, from the Dean’s ofice, and Helaine Head, one of my favorite directing professors on the entire goddamned planet. By Saturday we were up and running.

For the three people in the world who I haven’t told yet — I am here in Amman, Jordan helping to run a pilot program for a projected film school that they want to start in several years. We (Tom Curran is the cinematography teacher) are doing a three week version of USC’s Production I class which I’ve adapted for what is essentially an oral story-telling culture. Each student came to the first day of classes with a story that they will shoot someone telling the camera. They’re shooting that today — Monday. They will edit tomorrow and on Wednesday, they will go out and shoot visual material to complement the story. They will then spend the next week or so writing a narrative version of that story and will shoot it in two half-days. instead of seeing someone say “And then Abed walked through the door” they will have to figure out how to shoot an actor playing Abed coming through the door. In a visually interesting way. Or they will figure out that they don’t need to see Abed go through the door, but can just cut to the next moment.

There are about 14 students in the class and they are amazing people — they have backgrounds from visual design, community organizing as well as some film. But they are all very warm, friendly people.

And that is true of every single person I’ve met here. Now, I don’t speak a word of the language, so I can’t tell what anyone is saying, but everyone has been very helpful — speaking their very good English when they can — and helping me get through the most foreign culture I’ve even been in.

Later on, I’ll talk about this incredible Intel House (a computer camp/day care center) that I visited today with Nadine, the coordinator and go-to person for the program. I’ll post some photos I took with my phone as soon as I upload them. For now, I want to say hello to everyone and I’m doing great. More photos and talk in tomorrow’s (???) post.




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