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Another Student’s Story: Charlie Lehmer

April 19, 2015

An interview with Charlie Lehmer

Periodically individuals are featured on the Maine Arts Education blog as part of a series called “Another Student’s Story”. Their “Arts” stories are shared with you, the Arts Education community. Please share with others. If you know of anyone who should be sharing their stories, please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

charlie2Thanks to Ian Bannon from Figures of Speech Theatre for introducing me to Charlie Lehmer so he could tell his story. Charlie is presently a senior at Goucher College and will graduate this spring. His area of passion is film making.

In Charlie’s own words…

I graduated from Freeport High School in 2011. I mostly took music classes in high school. Unfortunately scheduling was so tight, essentially I had to choose either music or art classes. Outside of classes I participated in the student play every year as well as Figures of Speech’s program. In college I’ve taken a wide range of art classes, from drawing to visual design to photoshop to film. Currently I’m a Communications and Media Studies major, though I try to take art classes whenever my schedule allows it.

What do you value most from your arts education?

The hands off approach! It’s allowed me to follow. Because my school doesn’t really work directly with film, it’s allowed me to teach myself and really build up a passion that I think wouldn’t be so strong if it all seemed like homework. For me, learning about film never feels like work and that’s something incredible valuable, even if it was indirectly developed.

Name some skills, ideas, or life-long tools that you have learned in your visual and performing arts courses?

Keep your crew happy. In film, especially the early stages, your crew is generally doing you a favor, and a happy crew means a great film. If your crew doesn’t feel like they’re in a positive space and having a good time, the project generally tends to flop over.

Less is more. It’s easy with digital cameras to just shoot everything you see, but planning out a shot is where you really start to push your creativity and focus in on the finer details of a shoot. When you really take the time to stop and observe before filming, the shot will look great, or at least better than it would if you just click record.

I am a different person due to my involvement in the arts because…

At first it was my involvement with theatre in high school. Working with Figures of Speech Theatre helped me feel comfortable with who I was through improvisation. It allowed my creativity to form without any barriers, and that has infected the rest of my life. Every time I start a new project it’s such an extensive amount of work, that I end up learning a great deal about myself which continuously helps me to understand how I can improve not only my films but how I go about producing them.

If you could change any part of your arts education, what would it be?

charlieI’d definitely go to a film school. Since my school is not a film school, I’ve been forced to learn a great deal of my craft on my own. And although this is one of the greatest things about my education, at the same time it would’ve been far quicker to learn from a professional as opposed to the trial and error method I’ve used for the past few years.

What’s the most creatively inspiring experience you remember?

While I was studying abroad in New Zealand for a semester, I directed a short film with a small crew of 12 people. The pre-production process was unbelievable as we had so much input and creative ideas flying around from everyone on the crew. We had an art director coming up with concept art and a story board artist constantly pumping out scene set-ups. It really was an exciting process to be a part of. Seeing all those ideas come together into one cohesive story was a pretty awesome experience.

Why is making art or music and/or performing so important to you? Why can’t you live without it?

It doesn’t feel like work to me. I enjoy it more than anything else. The fact that I’ll get to do something I love for the rest of my life is truly mind blowing. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I had to do any other job.

 THANK YOU Charlie for telling your story!

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