Juniors produce superhero film “Wingwoman” during pandemic

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By Katherine Lee, Co-T/E Life Editor

Junior Amanda Hess angles her camera, zooming in slightly to capture the actors perfectly in the frame. As Wingwoman delivers her final lines for the scene, Hess presses the button on her camera to finish filming the take.

Named after its main character, the ten minute short film “Wingwoman” was released on Hess’s Youtube Channel, Scriblz, in late October. The film follows the adventures of a teenager-turned-supervillain as she conducts an elaborate scheme to help her friend get a date with the local superhero. 

Directed and produced by Hess, the superhero comedy film was inspired by a writing prompt on Instagram. Hess began writing the script last winter and prepared to start filming, but the pandemic brought the process to a halt. The cast and crew were able to reconvene in the middle of July with proper safety guidelines in place.

“We were all set to start filming, and then everything got shut down because of (COVID-19). We postponed filming until we resumed it this summer, and we went over to (one of the crew member’s) house and we of course had masks and all sanitary equipment,” Hess said.

Filming took place for three days over the course of a month. The cast arrived at junior Max Shah’s house late in the afternoon, and Hess and Shah set up the camera equipment while junior Malena Nassif did the actors’ hair and makeup. Junior Audrey Allan, who played the part of Wingwoman, had to get a black mask painted around her eyes before her scenes could be filmed.

According to Allan, acting in this film enabled her to discover traits about herself that both connected and differentiated her from her character.

“The role has a few similarities to me, but overall it’s pretty different. I think I focused on what the character and I did have in common, and brought that personality out more,” Allan said. “And I think I learned some stuff about myself in the transition because (Wingwoman) does have a lot of traits that I don’t have, so I got to portray those traits.”

Junior Evelyn Walker, who played the part of Guardian Angel, valued the opportunity to spend time with others and collaborate on a project that they were all passionate about.

“It was awesome (to be a part of this production). It was nice to have something to do just with the pandemic and after everything got kind of flipped around. So it was really good to get to see people again and especially hang out with people who are as passionate about acting and creating things as I am,” Walker said.

Once all of the scenes were filmed and the necessary footage collected, Hess got to work editing the material to put the final product together.

“Editing really makes or breaks the project. You kind of don’t know how it’s going to turn out until you put it in the editing software,” Hess said. “I go through and select which takes I like best. I’ll edit all the sound and the lighting, color correction, and then I’ll put it all together, finalize it with music and then add any graphics.”

Allan praised Hess’s work editing and handling the raw material to produce the finalized film.

“I know there were certain film techniques Amanda used just to correctly portray the superhero-villain movie style. Like blackouts and cut scenes,” Allan said. “She did all the editing, and she put everything together. So she had to sort through all the audio, which was probably a sore. But she found the best takes of everything, she put it all together, and she did an amazing job.”

The cast and crew described their feelings of pride toward the finalized film, which was made public on Oct. 26.

“I guess I had a vague idea of what the finished product could be like because I acted in it, so I knew what the scenes were, but I wasn’t sure how it would all fit together, and I’m very proud of the finished product,” Allan said.

Hess expressed her appreciation for the cast and crew in working hard to bring this project to life.

“Everyone was just so willing to support the film. They all gave it 110% effort. They did such a good job and I could not have asked for a better cast or crew. They really, really pulled through,” Hess said.

Looking to the future, Hess hopes to continue to grow her interest in filming and develop her skills as a filmmaker. 

“I would definitely like to improve on my filmmaking skills and definitely make more short films,” Hess said. “I don’t entirely know yet, but I’m very excited for future stuff.”