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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Our Dreams: Class of 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steve Faber, a 2008 Le Mars Community School graduate, is heading to Pittsburgh this fall to study film. In the meantime, he's studying directors' skills in the best kind of classroom -- a theatre-like entertainment room he and his dad Jay Faber put into their basement.
Reel life: Faber pursues dream to direct films

Editor's Note: This is the first story in a series looking at what plans and dreams local members of the graduating class of 2008 hope to pursue.

In a world literature class, Steve Faber learned that every story that can be told has already been written.

Any "new" story is just a retelling of an archetype, a plot that's already been spun.

Faber, a recent Le Mars Community graduate who plans to go into the film industry, said at first that lesson was discouraging.

But then he realized that this nugget of wisdom was at the heart of what sets a good film director apart from the crowd.

"It's all about how every person takes that archetype and makes it their own," Faber said.

Now the 2008 graduate is taking the first steps toward his dream of being one of those "greats" in the film industry. He is heading to film school at Point Park University in Pittsburgh this fall.

"People tell me, 'The industry is going to eat you up. You're going to be torn up by Hollywood," Faber said. "I'm not naive. I know it's really competitive."

But he thinks he has what it takes -- his sixth sense is an awareness of how to engage an audience.

"It's almost like I've found my calling. I don't want to be cocky; I'm just confident," Faber said. "I'm just an average Joe. But I know what people want."

Faber said he's loved movies his whole life. His dad remembers a him as a child playing out whole scenes of drama. But the prospect of actually making films his career began only four or five years ago.

"I started seeing movies differently," he said. "I've always been creative, into drawing and writing, but I began to realize film is the ultimate medium, the best way to tell a story."

Movies have a way of transporting us to a different time and place, Faber said.

"When you watch a movie, nothing else seems important," he said. "It's just you and the story, if it's good enough."

What makes a movie great? Two things, Faber claimed.

"You need to have a good script -- a good screenplay -- and you need a good director who knows what he's doing, knows how to interpret the script and make it his own."

Actors, the studio, the wardrobe -- those are all secondary, he said.

Some of his favorite films are "2001: A Space Odyssey" directed by Stanley Kubrick, his all-time favorite, "Gladiator" directed by Ridley Scott and the Indiana Jones films directed by Steven Spielberg.

The Indiana Jones films are one of those told and re-told storylines, Faber said.

"It's 'the hero and the quest' archetype. It's been beaten to death," he said. "But Spielberg still manages to really get us into it."

Outside of watching movies and taking mental notes on how directors do their thing, Faber said some of his best training actually happened within the halls of LCS.

"I took the video media class," he said. "I think that class helped me more than any other class in school."

He and five other students filmed the weekly news at the school. Every Friday, they aired it for students in study hall each period. But more than that, he said, they got to dabble in all aspects of working with film.

"We learned how to edit, how to think on the spot, how to be in front of the camera, to know what kind of shots to use," he said. "We learned to know what we want, and take an idea from our head and make it happen."

Along with the news, the students made "creatives" -- short film clips with entertainment in mind.

"I decided to do a kung fu epic," Faber said. "I wanted some over-the-top cliché? title, so I went with 'Fists of Fury, Vol. 1.'"

The class had three weeks to make the clips.

"I wrote out a whole script, I was filming shots with friends, and staying late, editing like a madman," he said. "It was fun in class, so it's got to be way more fun in real life."

By deadline time, he had a seven-minute half-movie. He promised to make the second half in a week. The first half aired and everybody loved it, he said.

"That jump started me," he said. "I know what makes something good. I know how to please an audience, even though it's just a bunch of kids in study hall."

With only a week to make the second half, he said, the reviews weren't as hot.

"But that was good, too, to learn how to take constructive criticism," he said.

When Faber heads to Pittsburgh for film school this fall, he'll be hitting the ground running.

"Day One, they put a camera in your hands," he said.

He doesn't have a specific type of film he wants to work with.

"I'm a student of all film," he said. "Most great directors are pretty versatile. I want to try to be just as versatile."

He wants to tell stories on film. That, he said, is a noble calling.

To wake up every morning and get to go to a movie set and help create a film would be amazing, he said.

"We've become a movie pop culture, socially," Faber said. "To be one of the movers and shakers in that business would be a big thing. You'd have a lot at your fingertips."

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