Directing dreams: Student filmmaker’s team places at high school film festival

Alexandra Frederick on Lone Star Emmy nomination, life after high school

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To read a feature article over senior director Alexandra Frederick, scroll down. To learn more about the Eagle Production Group and their time in New York City for the All-American High School Film Festival, click the below slideshow.

Eagle production Group Earns Nomination in Top 10 At All-American High School Film Festival

Some dreams start out small. For senior Alexandra Frederick, her directing career started on her mom’s camcorder.

After creating a video diary over her family’s road trip to Colorado, Frederick found herself “fascinated” by the film industry from a young age. Now, the Lone Star Emmy nominee and All-American High School Film Festival director and editor is looking to her future career, as well as looking back, to give thanks to those who helped her get to where she is today.

As she positions her camera, senior Alexandra Frederick directs at a shoot. Frederick is a part of the Eagle Production Group, which is advised by Michael Logan. “He’s just the best,” Frederick said. “The opportunities he’s given me and the things he’s allowed me to do, it’s just so much. It’s insane.” (Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Frederick)

“I started video production back in eighth grade, and, now, thanks to my teachers and the school, I’ve had so many amazing opportunities,” Frederick said. “It’s just insane.”

One of these opportunities was attending the All-American High School Film Festival in New York City, a national short film competition for high schoolers. From Oct. 5-11, the Eagle Production Group competed under the prompt, “Waiting For,” with both teams placing in the Top 10. After having 10 weeks in advance for pre-production, both “Team A” and “Team B” held the responsibility for filming and editing their short films — with Frederick as director.

“I was very excited because I had never seen the city, but I was also very nervous because we had a lot of work ahead of us,” Frederick said. “There’s lots of big directors that go to the premiere, and with me directing and editing, it was nerve-wracking.”

To Frederick, directing can come with challenges.

“It’s (challenging) asserting myself, and just making sure that everyone knows what to do when everyone has to,” Frederick said. “And, also just having the vision for the film in my mind, because, honestly, up until the week before, I was just kind of doing random stuff. It took a while for the passionate feelings I have for this to kick in, and then once they did, I was really excited to produce a good film.”

Video Courtesy of Alexandra Frederick

The short film produced by Frederick’s team was titled “Waiting for a Yes.” It portrayed a boy, played by senior Andrew Morris, trying to find multiple ways to try and ask out his crush, junior Gianna Galante, who played “Jennie.”

“We had our story figured out eight weeks in advance, and we actually made our story and our script here before we went to New York,” Frederick said. “That’s called our cardboard film, and then we used most of our crew as our actors. We shot and edited the film in three days, and then we had the premiere the next day.”

Pre-production consists of organizing for the shoot, pre-recording and more.

“We had to pre-record sound effects, organize what scenes we were going to shoot and what shots we were going to get,” Frederick said. “And then we had to get our call sheets. It’s just insane with everything that goes into it. Even if we didn’t win, the experience was just awesome in itself.”

A goal I had for myself was just to be successful in this competition. We had been working for 10 weeks, and I was just really hoping everything I had done as the producer paid off.”

— Cydney Jenks, Senior and Producer

Directing for the film festival wasn’t the first time Frederick had hands-on experience in the film industry, though. In late September, Frederick took home a Student Production Award in the Lone Star Chapter, presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences — the company that presents the Emmys.

“When my teacher texted me that I was nominated for an Emmy award, I just didn’t know what to think,” Frederick said. “My family had the best reaction. It was just the best feeling.”

The production that earned Frederick this award was for a promo video she co-directed and edited with 2021 graduates Reagan Brooks and Matt Franklin.

“The win was kind of a shock,” Frederick said. “I was nominated for another one, too, so I was kind of competing against myself for a while. But, one made it, and I’ll be competing in the national competition for it.”

The national competition results will be released in the coming months. However, Frederick said she wouldn’t be “where she is today” without the help she has received from her video production teacher, Michael Logan.

In advance of filming, senior and director Alexandra Frederick prepares for a scene, while senior and producer Cydney Jenks holds a clapperboard. Clapperboards are devices used in film-making to start a scene. “I started video-making when I was maybe 12,” Frederick said. “I’ve always just loved the aspect of it.” (Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Frederick)

“He’s just the best,” Frederick said. “The opportunities he’s given me and the things he’s allowed me to do, it’s just so much. It’s insane.”

Logan also said he believes the chances his students have been given have allowed them a diverse range of “learning experiences.”

“They can be in class for three years with me, but they don’t learn nearly as much as they would in three days in New York City actually filming,” Logan said. “I’m just very proud, especially of all the pre-production work that paid off for when we shot.”

As she prepares to graduate in May, Frederick said she is “hopeful,” looking to her future career in the film industry, and additional productions she would like to work on.

“I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to go to film school because I’ve heard mixed reviews on it,” Frederick said. “It can be beneficial to have a degree in film, but also you learn more in the industry, just going for it and starting out small and working your way up. So, I don’t really know, but I do definitely want to pursue film as a career, whether I be a director or a cinematographer. I’d love to produce a drama someday that’s just so emotional, it makes people feel things, because I love that. I think it’s so cool to produce something like that, that makes people feel either good or sad or understood. I’m just going to go for it.”