Nick Burress ’18, left, and Blake Greenwalt ’18, second from left, joined I May Regret writer/director Graham Streeter and producer Alex Lebosq, right, on November 26, to talk about their experiences interning on the set of the film.
By Tommy McArdle ’19
Filmmakers and crewmembers from the independent film I May Regret, including two Emerson alumni who worked on the movie to while students in the LA program, spoke about the experience during a screening and Q&A on November 26.
Both Nick Burress ’18 and Blake Greenwalt ’18 count I May Regret as their first feature film set experience, but it almost didn’t happen. They said when they initially came across a listing for internships with the production company Imperative Pictures, they were dubious about claims that it would include hands-on experience on a feature-length film set. After considering his options, Greenwalt decided to give Graham Streeter, the writer and director of I May Regret, a call.
“It didn’t even feel like an interview,” Greenwalt said. “It felt like the most comfortable conversation I’ve had with a stranger. I decided I wanted to go hands-on and I think that was the right decision.”
The experience proved invaluable for Burress and Greenwalt, as well as their fellow classmates and on-set interns Trevor Barnette ’18 and Tyler Burnham ’18.
“It was one of the most hands-on internships I’ve ever had,” said Burress. “Seeing how good a set can run and being part of a small crew, it was amazing to be connected with everyone trying to make this movie.”
Before the Q&A, Streeter screened a 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary the crew made collaboratively while shooting I May Regret, a psychological thriller about an elderly woman navigating life with dementia. Cast members and crew featured in the documentary spoke highly about working with Emerson students gaining their first experiences in the film industry.
“These were people who wanted to learn,” Brittney Powell, an actress in the film, said in the documentary. “They’re learning, and they’re paying attention, and they’re absorbing, and they’re grateful to be there. As artists, we are so grateful to be on sets and work on our craft and it’s great to see the crew feel the same way.”
Streeter and Alex Lebosq, who served as the film’s producer, echoed similar sentiments. Lebosq said the film’s crewmembers were among the most knowledgeable he has ever worked with.
“Having them come with everything they’ve learned was a great thing for us,” said Lebosq. “They brought a lot to the table.”
Burress and Greenwalt said studying filmmaking at Emerson for four years prepared them to work on the production. Because of his previous experience working on student films, Burress learned how to be a problem solver, a skill he took with him to the set of I May Regret.
With a crew of only 10 people on a limited budget, Streeter said that everyone had to work diligently. For about 16 days in October, cast and crew gathered in a crumbling house without running water near downtown LA, to shoot the film. Burress and Greenwalt, along with other crewmembers, dressed the set, cleaned it every day, and set up scenes, among other tasks.
“Everyone was engaged and responsive and willing to make each scene successful,” said Streeter. “We were so well prepared and tight knit.”
Because he lives in Southern California, Burress was able to begin working with Streeter during pre-production stages, sitting in on table reads before principal photography. As a camera assistant, Burress helped Streeter set up shots and made sure the angles were just right. Buress said that while it would have been easy for Streeter to rush from shot to shot without explaining his vision to the crew, he walked away with an invaluable learning experience.
“They were so willing to help you learn, even though we had such a fast pace… so we’re all on the same page at the same time,” said Burress, who’s working as a freelancer in San Diego.
For Greenwalt, who assisted with sound throughout filming, the experience showed him what was possible.
“It was incredible to me to see how well this worked with so few people,” said Greenwalt, a freelancer who’s creating media content for a restaurant. “I’m a minimalist, too, so that really was great for me. This is kind of how I want to make stuff, so to see a model that shows it’s possible was incredible to see come to life.”
Streeter said he is currently taking the movie to various film festivals and hopes to have Burress and Greenwalt, as well as a few Emerson interns, on set for his next production.