Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hooray for Hollywood!

Rebecca Wentz is pictured in front of a model set that she built for a commercial. As Art Director, she worked with one other girl using found objects; everything from soup cans, to thumb tacks, buttons, plastic and water bottles, to textured paper towels to create the set.

Local girl, Rebecca Wentz, finds her dream job
By Alannah Allbrett

Rebecca Wentz, a 20 year old young woman from Orofino, has found success in Hollywood. A 2009 graduate of Orofino High School, Rebecca always supposed she would go into pre-med classes in college. She took a sharp departure from that by applying “on a whim” to a specialized artistic school in Los Angeles. She found, to her surprise, that she was one of ten new students accepted at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) to study visual communications. She followed that course of study with entertainment set design and decoration.
Rebecca visited the school in February of 2009, formed a friendship with another girl from the school, and together they found an apartment. With the support of her parents, Lynn and Audrey Wentz, her new adventure in southern California began.

As a school assignment, Rebecca was scheduled to tour a prop house (a warehouse that stores movie props) and write a report. She visited Omega Cinema Props in West Hollywood for what was supposed to be an hour long visit. Bedazzled – five hours later, she was still there. Rebecca said, “I fell in love with it!” She found herself wandering through canyons of prop rows, including: period pieces of furniture, trees, mailboxes, and clothing – anything one might imagine that could be needed for a movie production.

Rebecca had the opportunity also of interning on a set with the students from the American Film Institute. The set decorator asked her to return, and she had the opportunity to work with the art department. She says set design helps tell the whole visual story of a film. A set decorator works with the film’s director to figure out the look for a film. They draft out the set, which may include computer or hand drafting, blue prints, models and sketches.

While in school, Rebecca had the opportunity to study in Italy during the Spring of 2010, and 2011, traveling through Paris, Florence, Venice, Rome, and Milan, learning about the culture, art, and architecture.

In the fall of 2010, Rebecca got to work on the film The Artist, a French film set in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932. Rebecca said the whole crew was French and came to the U.S. to make the movie. Rebecca said the sound stage was huge; it could hold five different sets at once.

Rebecca helped setting up by placing furniture, and finding the right lights and fixtures. It required researching that period of time to create accurately the right look. At $20 million dollars it was considered a low budget film. After it was made, Warner Brothers bought the film and released it on a limited basis. After people started seeing it, it started playing widely and subsequently won a Critics’ Choice and three Golden Globe Awards. The film has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

Since graduating from FIDM in 2011, Rebecca has had many wonderful opportunities such as working on music videos, and on several television commercials for companies such as Honda, Kellogg, and the Oprah Winfrey Network. She worked also on student films and two television shows: The Children’s’ Hospital and NTSF-SD.  “I learned so much from those crews, It was awesome.” Production Design is now Rebecca’s dream job.

Rebecca enjoyed Christmas at home in Orofino with her parents whom she would like to thank. “They supported me even though it sounded like a crazy idea.” said Rebecca.

The set for illustrated the story of a sock puppet who was trying to find its match. The store front names humorously played off the sock theme. The theatre was “Asockalypse Now” showing “The Sock Father.” And the local diner was named the “Sock-Hop.”

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