In February, Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts student Nathan Flanagan-Frankl was one of the lucky winners of "Team Oscar," a six member group of college students chosen to present statuettes at the 86th Academy Awards.
As a graduating senior, Nathan is studying film production with a documentary emphasis, along with music, and leadership studies.
Nathan recently answered a few questions about his experience at this year's Academy Awards.
Tell us about your experience as one of the "Team Oscar" College Contest Winners.
Team Oscar was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to spend a week in Los Angeles going to various film studios (like Disney Animation), attending various Oscar events (like the first ever Oscar Concert) and preparing for the ceremony in rehearsals with all the celebrity presenters. I was able to meet a ton of people who inspire me and I'm so blessed I was given the opportunity to represent my university for one of the biggest events in Hollywood.
Tell us about your winning video.
My entry video was inspired by the documentary I'm working on titled "The Bamboo Ceiling" looking at Asians in the Entertainment industry (both their representation and struggle to be successful in the industry). In the one minute clip answering the prompt, "What do you want to contribute to the future of film?" I spoke about how I wanted to diversify the role of the hero in films. I used examples of myself re-enacting roles that Asian Americans don't usually get to play (the star athlete, the romantic lead, etc) and expanded my goal not just to the Asian American community, but to all types of diversity. My goal is to share different stories with the world, and to give children the opportunity to see people they can relate to in popular films.
Tell us about your winning essay.
The essay was a very short prompt about my favorite film. I spoke about Wall-E, because the filmmakers were able to make the world empathize with robots using no language for the first act of the film. I love this type of storytelling and I think it shows that idea about people being able to fall in love with unconventional characters if given the chance.
What was it like being on stage at the Oscars?
At first it was surreal, especially the first time the Team walked out and saw all of the stars staring at us. But since we practiced so much, and John, the stage manager prepared us so well, we were able to enjoy the experience without much stress. It was so cool to see the genuine joy from all of the winner's face and have a little part of that moment.
Who did you get to meet during the Oscar Week tour events?
We met the filmmakers from "Frozen" and the nominated Animated short, "Get a Horse!", awesome staff from the Academy, and we also met a variety of the celebrity presenters who worked with us during the show.
What did you document in your behind-the-scenes video using the Samsung Galaxy?
The Samsung Galaxy Note and Gear were so helpful with capturing moments through the experience. I was able to take pictures when we walked the red carpet and all throughout the week during the various events. It was great having both the phone and gear sync up and the entire team was able to share pictures just by bumping the phone backs next to each other.
Now that you've gotten a taste of Hollywood, what do you think is your next step?
I am working on my thesis film right now, "The Bamboo Ceiling" which is an essayistic documentary about Asians in the Entertainment industry (their representation and struggle to be successful). You can see our fundraising campaign here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-bamboo-ceiling?show_todos=true
I am also interning at a music management company in Los Angeles and seeing what opportunities arise when I graduate this May!