Brendan Hines: Lights, camera, action!


Credit: Courtesy of Brendan Hines

Sophomore Brendan Hines prepares a camera in the WayCAM studio before going out for a shoot. Hines is part of the Script-to-Screen class where students can make a movie and go through all steps of the process.

Annabelle Zhang and Ari Zukerman

From a young age, sophomore Brendan Hines was not just interested in watching movies, but in being on both sides of the camera. With time, support and inspiration, his interest has developed from a hobby into a lifelong dream.

Hines’s passion for movies began early in 2014 when he was only eight. Entranced by none other than The Lego Movie, Hines’s curiosity for the movie-making process continued to grow.

“The Lego Movie was the first movie where, not only the film itself, but the behind the scenes stuff really piqued my interest,” Hines said. “That was when it really hit me that this is a really cool thing: filmmaking, how it all works, the product and all that.”

Hines enjoys analyzing the films and deconstructing how they are made. On average, Hines watches six movies each week.

“You never know when you’re gonna see the next greatest movie, so I really love [watching movies],” Hines said.

Great movies are often associated with alluring cinematography, impactful plots and powerful acting. To Hines, however, a movie is not just defined by its objective quality but also by a more abstract value alongside it: fun.

“It’s hard [to make a good movie] because there’s so many things that need to go right, but even if a movie is terrible, I can still enjoy it because it’s fun.” Hines said. “If a movie is really fun and I have a great time watching it, it doesn’t really matter if it’s good or bad.”

Hines decided that the standard, dead-end job wasn’t suitable for him and pursuing a career in something he is truly passionate about would be much more meaningful. That dream job just so happens to be filmmaking.

“The idea of working in an office job, nine to five in a cubicle, in some office building and doing mind numbing work is just so repulsive to me,” Hines said. “I hate it. I don’t want to be anywhere near it. A great way to avoid that monotonous repetitive schedule would be to pursue a career in filmmaking, which is something I very much love.”

To learn more about filmmaking, Hines took the Script-to-Screen elective offered by television production teacher and WayCAM executive director Jim Mullane. The class gives students a chance to work on projects and experience the process of writing and directing from start to end.

Inspired by films such as “Creatures of the Black Lagoon” and “They Live,” Hines used the opportunity provided by the class to make a parody of his favorite classic, cheesy horror films.

“The big thing for me was finding a cool monster or bad guy to base my film around, and while I was writing the script, my dog was sitting next to me, so I thought, ‘I’m gonna do that,’” Hines said. “Nothing is inherently original in cinema, so a lot of characters and stories come out of other things. What I did was I jumbled together all my favorite monster powers and gave them to my dog.”

The class doesn’t just stick to writing and recording, but it also makes students go into the nitty-gritty of the movie making journey, which Hines believes helps his self-control and prepares him for the frustrations of filmmaking.

“A lot of [the filmmaking process] is discipline because there’s so many distractions and other things, and certain parts of making movies are way more fun to do than others,” Hines said. “When you’re editing, it takes a lot of patience and sitting. If there are problems, you can’t freak out because that’s just going to waste time.”

Despite the difficulties that come with the process and the lessons that have brought new insight into assessing the quality of a movie, Hines believes that audiences should not be deterred from enjoying what they love in a movie.

“There are a lot of people out there who think you need to watch a certain type of movie or like a certain thing because it’s black and white or old, but you don’t,” Hines said. “If you like movies, want to watch them and have fun with them, then just keep watching movies. They are such an amazing part of culture, and it’s really cool to have them be as big as they are.”