Randall Knox spends fall semester in LA at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center

by   |  09.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Randall Knox, and I like to party. What does that tell you about where I’m traveling and what I’m doing? Absolutely nothing. I just thought you should know. For this semester, I’m spending my time at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, which, conveniently, is based out of (surprise), Los Angeles.

 

Let’s be clear about one thing right off the bat. Los Angeles is not located in Texas. I know this may come as a surprise to those of you who believe that the borders of our great state encompass every place that anyone would ever want to go to, I know it was for me. All joking aside, there is a definite difference here that is palatable in the air. Yes, it’s true, people aren’t as friendly here. No one is downright mean, of course, but you won’t see anyone going out of their way to greet a stranger. I’ve gotten a few strange looks for dropping a simple “Howdy,” to a fellow elevator passenger. What’s even more interesting is that I’m not even a “howdy” kind of person, but the fact that there are no “howdy” people here makes me want to actively do it more. If anything, my subconscious Texan is present more here than in Abilene. To be clear, I’m still in America (though I have to remind myself every now and then). There are a lot of familiar things all around. There’s a Quizno’s right across from the building that houses my program, and Chick-Fil-A is now beginning to build restaurants here (it seems the ACU Food Court has followed me).

 

Now, what is it exactly that I’m doing (other than committing the cardinal Texan sin of leaving the state for anything other than life/death necessity)? Well, here at the LAFSC, students from Christian colleges all around the country come and learn about the film industry, and get a chance to possibly get their foot in the door. We go to class two days a week, and work at a film industry internship during the other three. I think I once told someone that I would love for all of my classes to be the three hours, once-a-week format of ACU night classes. Well now that I know what that’s like, I really just want to go back to that moment and punch myself in the head.

 

I joke, of course. The great thing about this program is that I seem to have no problem motivating myself to do the work. This past year, I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of reading again in both quality and quantity. Over the summer, I accomplished the marginally impressive feat of finishing 5 books (compared to my 12 year old self, I seem illiterate). However, since I’ve been here, I’ve finished 3 books already, and I’m in the middle of another four. Additionally, it turns out that it’s not only easier to read when you enjoy the content, but it’s also easier to do classwork. Every assignment I’ve had has been related to my favorite thing in life: movies. Put simply, it’s not hard to write a paper when that paper is about comic absurdity in The Big Lebowski instead of foreign direct investment in developing countries.

 

But most importantly, this program is not about classes and books. I could have Googled the “best books on screenwriting,” and gotten all of these on my own. Rather, this is an experience. While I haven’t yet been placed in my internship (I have an interview in two days), I expect that I will learn a great deal more by doing script coverage, making copies, and getting coffee for the brains of Hollywood than I ever could through Bill Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade. I’m spending time with dozens of interesting, intelligent people (both inside and outside the program), many of whom may end up becoming lifelong friends (or at the very least being the person who shows my script to the Coen Brothers). If everything goes as planned this semester, I’ll be graduated and well on my way to (gasp) becoming a naturalized Californian. We’ll see.

 

P.S. I saw John Williams direct a movie score concert with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl for free two weeks ago. If you’re thinking “that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard,” you’re wrong. It was a billion times cooler than that.