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Lights, Camera, Covid

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     Imagine the aroma of fresh popped popcorn and ice cold Coke fizzing in your mouth. We all remember movie theaters and the magic they brought. Like many things, however, the cinema has ground to a halt. With everything else stopping over the past months it is easy to assume the movie industry itself has stopped as well, but that isn’t the case. Those that were ready for release in the past year migrated directly to digital streaming, but production has continued for new films that may see the big screen later this year. 

     “I am excited to see new movies that were filmed and edited during the pandemic,” senior Jacque Davidson said. Davidson, like everyone else, is sick of being cooped up at home and watching what seems to be the same show on TV everyday. 

     This semester, I met with David Chrastka to hear about what it has been like working behind the scenes on film production this past year.  A sound designer and sound effects editor for films such as “The Avengers,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” and other big name movies, Crastka currently is working on the next films in the “Avatar” saga, filmed by James Cameron. The next “Avatar” movie is set to be released in 2022.

     Chrastka started his career in film in Vancouver at film school, then moved to Los Angeles. There, he started an internship at Skywalker Sound, a sound editing division of Lucasfilm. From the internship, Chrastka was able to “learn valuable skills on the job,” and work his way up to where he is today. 

     When describing how the pandemic has affected his job, Chrastka noted that “the process is relatively the same.” He is still able to work on the scenes that were already filmed and work on those that are being filmed as well. Chrastka described his job as “working with the director to shape the sound of the film.” 

     One interesting thing Chrastka noted was that his job is very similar to the productions, musicals, and plays that high schools put on in the United States. He further explained that he was “excited that he was able to keep working” during the pandemic and “stay focused” when the world seemed to fall apart. 

     There were still many changes, Chrastka explained when it came to filming movies. “Masks are required on set, unless it is not in the shot being filmed.” Because of their strict COVID restrictions that have allowed for just a handful of cases in the past year, a lot of films are currently being filmed in New Zealand.

     Whenever engaging in any academic, creative effort, Chrastka advised to “try to get absorbed in what is in front of you.” Chrastka described himself working hours on one scene but he felt like a half hour went by. “This is what loving your job is like,” Chrastka explained. What he does for a living is what he enjoys doing and wants everyone to do the same.

Written by Carter Stephen
Illustration by Kira Palmer
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