By Holly Harestad
WOW, today was such a huge day for us! We started the day bright and early (6:10 am to be exact…. ha ha ha *sigh*) then headed out to what was expected to be a very eventful day at Warner Brothers Studios! There, we were to have a meeting with the DIRECTOR of Warner Brothers U.K. (& Ireland, AND Spain). No pressure or anything … 🙂
On our way to the Studio, I sat in the back of the bus listening to a few of the employees that actually were on their way to Warner Brothers for work, conversing. By the time I began eavesdropping, I heard them saying things like “I’m scared for America right now” and then in reply “I’m scared for us right now.” What they were referring to in terms of being scared for America was Donald Trump winning the presidential election, at one point one the girls compared the current election to having to choose between “Mussolini or Hitler.” I found this extremely fascinating not only because they were so invested with such strong opinions on the outcome of our president, but also that they were comparing our current candidates to historically known, politically and morally corrupt leaders. Which, honestly, they may be on to something there and not too far off from the accuracy. Anyway, this got me thinking back to my first comparison paper in which I had no idea that citizens in other countries were so informed with American politics but was so intrigued and realized I should push myself to strive to become more globally aware. That’s the best part about my study abroad I think so far, is that I am totally immersed in all of these different countries and cultures and all it’s made me want to do is learn more and be able to interact and communicate about real global occurrences.
Okay, enough ranting. Back to the fun stuff! As we were led into the conference room where we would be meeting Mr. Josh Berger, thee British Film Institute Chairman, I began to feel extremely anxious and ran over about fifty million questions that I could possibly ask him in my head. I was lucky enough to grab a seat in the front row, sitting about five feet away from such an influential and very important businessman was a tad nerve-racking.
However, as soon as Mr. Berger entered the room, he had a huge smile on his face, sat down and was completely prepared to totally engage with a class room filled of college students. He began by giving a little bit of background on himself, which really helped to ease the mood and make connections throughout us students. He was born in Los Angeles, California (woot, woot) and was born into a family of entertainment. Before we were too quick to judge that those were the resources he utilized to become who he is today, he explained to us that college was the first time in his life where he moved away from home and the crazy media filled world that is LA, and went to learn about everything else before beginning a career in entertainment. Not only did I relate to this because I too, being from California, chose to move away to a state and college that I had really no connection with but also because I really felt like it would help kind of shape and mold me into the person that I truly want to become. Which was exactly the case with Mr. Berger, he studied for two years at Harvard University, took a year off to go work in Italy with a big time TV producer, and then back to school to finish off. (No Mom and Dad, I’m not saying I want to take a year off right now to go work and find myself in Italy… but if you think it would be helpful?) 😉
What I really took away most from being able to hear Mr. Berger speak about running such a major business and hearing about how that was made possible, the one piece of advice that I took away as the most influential was when he told us to find something we loved, learn it, learn it very well, become advanced in whatever that is, and then go out and get it. Although right now in my life there are a lot of different career paths I can see myself taking, the one thing I know for sure is that I will always put my heart, soul, and head into whatever it is I’m striving for. I’ve always had the same sort of theory that if you love something that much, and it makes you happy, definitely work your hardest to go out and get whatever that is, and a man who is extremely accomplished and has worked all over the world, confirmed that theory for me today. I am so lucky to have had this opportunity to learn more about the film industry and been introduced to such a huge figure in the media world, it was truly magical.
After our talk with Josh Berger, we headed off to the actual “Making of Harry Potter” studios tour! Walking in, there were tons and tons of people in huge groups lined up to get into the actual exhibit, which really everyone looked at and sighed, that is until Troy came up to us to let us know that a staff member would be taking us in, in front of every single group. #score
From the moment we walked in, I started fan-girling. Which is really unlike me but that is seriously how much the exhibition hyped you up, it made you stop and realize what a HUGE success came from one woman (J.K Rowling), writing a book in a coffee shop in Edinburgh- Our final stop on our study abroad trip, by the way! It was insane to see all of the sets and although they were massive, watching the movies on television, you just don’t really notice how much technology they still utilize to make movies as big as they seem or as magically-enhanced as they appear on screen.
The small details were what were the most shocking to me. They had one little table set up that held all of the hair attachments that were used for the movie and then a screen to show how intricate the process of getting the hair on the actors to really make the portrayals of their characters feel realistic was insane. Every little detail was just like that too, worked on with a tremendous amount of effort. There were costumes with multiple pieces, maps that drew out what certain sets would look like, props with thousands of handwritten writings, and the list goes on and on and on. In the end, these details were what made a movie that will be remembered for centuries to come.
I had such an amazing time today and took away so much inspiration from the entire experience, I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity and want to thank everyone who helped make it happen!
Tonight we’re off to a bar made entirely of ice and tomorrow the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebration!!!! Cheers! 🙂