Area resident offered job on major motion picture
Staff writer — OCH
AuGRES — After graduating from Vancouver Film School in an accelerated program, area resident Chase Maser has been offered a job as assistant director on a feature film.
Maser, 21, of AuGres attended VFS seven days a week from January-December 2008, graduating with a diploma in film production. While at the film school, he made friends with someone who talked about shooting a movie in India, who then offered Maser the position as assistant director for the film.
“I actually want to stay in Michigan, but I have been offered to go somewhere else to do another film,” Maser said. “It’d be a year and a half to two years and then I’d be leaving (to go to India). At the moment I won’t be able to say anything because it’s a bigger feature.”
Before he goes to India, Maser’s main focus is to use his degree to find work in the film industry while continuing to live in Michigan.
“There are some film schools in the state that I would like to get into to be a teacher’s assistant or to help out, but that is kind of an upper part of my dream right now,” he said. “That’s a little bit of a long shot, but actually students from Vancouver Film School have taught at more prestigious film schools.”
Maser started out his film industry career when he enrolled at Ferris State University in the television production program. But he found himself being drawn to film.
“I was 19 and I kind of wanted to take a jump and film is definitely more of a risk than television,” he said. “I kind of always kept going back to film and wanted to take that risk at that moment.”
Whether he is happy with the risk-taking move he made, only time will tell.
“We’ll find out,” Maser said. “Right now, I’m happy with it.”
While at VFS, Maser directed a short film called “An American Fable,” which was a feature he wrote before enrolling in film school. After practicing his film writing skills, he condensed the movie to a short film.
“It’s about a newly starting family going through a second American Civil War,” Maser said. “It was definitely interesting.”
At other film schools, Maser said students get to work on a movie no matter what, but that experience is not guaranteed at VFS. However, the head of the film program, David Hauka, Maser’s directing teachers and all the department heads chose Maser’s film to produce.
“You have to put in the work to do it,” Maser said. “My film was actually the top film of the year to do. It was definitely intensive and nerve wracking.
“Basically, I had to choose my crew, from the producer to the assistant camera men to the grips, and they had to vie for my approval to get on that film.”
Maser and his crew were in preproduction for three weeks, production for a week, and postproduction for roughly six weeks to get his written words printed on 16-millimeter film. The short film will be shown at film festivals soon for roughly the next year. After that, Maser believes it will be available for the public at www.youtube.com.
Currently, Maser has another project in preproduction but he does not have any details worked out.
“It’s basically a dark comedy, but I don’t have any crew or anything like that at the moment,” he said.
Since being back in Michigan, Maser has heard about the Children’s Film Festival being planned in West Branch for the end of July. He said film festivals help people become interested in becoming part of a film crew, which is a big part of what production companies look for when searching for a film location.
“I did hear about a film festival in the works and I think it’s the best decision to make right now,” Maser said. “Films don’t want to come to an area that doesn’t have a crew. If you have a film festival, that builds up a reputation in the area that builds up an interest. What the production crews are looking for in an area is a place to stay and a place to eat and personnel.”
Currently, Maser is planning on applying for a teacher’s assistant position or a similar job opening at a film school in Grand Rapids. He also plans on applying to a couple commercial companies in the state.
“Really anything I can get my hands on,” he said. “I’d like to keep working in the industry and not bar tend or something like that. I’d like to keep going, but if I had to, I’d work some place else.”
Besides finishing “An Ameri-can Fable,” Maser also worked as the assistant director and producer on three other films at VFS, and as the assistant director on some independent films not affiliated with VFS.
Maser is a 2006 graduate of AuGres-Sims and is the son of Carolyn and Lenny Hicks, and Alan Maser, all of AuGres.