DARK HOURS: Student Experience


It’s 11:30 pm on September 12th 2015, and I’m sitting in the Studio 4 lobby. My audition for the Dark Hours Master Class is in eight minutes, but according to the man at the door, they’re running late. To me, this is a good sign because it means I have time to distract myself from the nerves forming a knot in my stomach. A cloud of cigarette smoke is making its way into the building. The girl next to me is from Brazil, she’s telling me how much she loves Los Angeles and how thankful she is to be here. I smile and nod, trying to focus on her words and not the sound of a person throwing up in the bathroom.

Fifteen minutes later, my name is called.

I can feel my heart struggling to free itself from my chest, my shoulders are tense, and my breathing is shallow. I’ve become so hyper-focused that I’ve completely blocked out the pictures lining the walls. One of my teachers is waiting just outside of the door leading into the theatre, and a friend of mine is walking towards me. I move to one side to avoid hitting him, and toss myself directly into ‘The Color of Time’ movie poster. For whatever reason, this unavoidable accident snaps me back to the present, and my nerves are replaced with warm laughter. I was about to walk into a room full of people who would be deciding my fate for the next four months, and the only thing I could think about as I open the door is how I almost destroyed a glass encased movie poster. *

Now I’m sitting at my computer, staring at two books filled to the last page with notes, drawings, personal checkins, and script analysis’. Four months of my life have been carefully chronicled in 160 pages of two 5x8 notebooks. Here is what I can tell you:

The first few days of Dark Hours were pivotal for me. Aside from meeting the other 83 people in class, I was about to find out if all of the stress was worth it. At first, I was skeptical- mostly about James- I’m not going to lie. I told myself that a good name doesn’t necessarily mean a good teacher. However, after my first few classes, I was reluctantly impressed with his knowledge of film, the level of integrity he had, and the amount of passion he displayed when discussing the most minute details. All of the teachers in Dark Hours were patient, willing to help, and exceptionally well versed in every area of the film making process. It is only in hindsight that I realize that when you’re in school, you’re lucky if you can meet just one teacher that opens your mind and feeds your imagination… I somehow managed to find five of them in one place.

Before Dark Hours, I didn't know how much I could care for a class, for a person, or for a group of people… I didn't know what I was capable of as an artist or as a human being. In the end, that’s what the Dark Hours Master Class did for me- It made me a better person, and you can’t put a price on that.

Since Dark Hours has ended, I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and ask if I would take the class again knowing all of the trials and tribulations that I could face… My answer? Absolutely.

-Jeannine Corcoran (Actress from Typee, sat in front row, left corner)

Sean Barnes