It’s been a packed month, but by now all of our students are safely home with their families. We had a wonderful last night of awards, followed by a pizza dinner, and a surprise bonfire and s’mores at the beach. Quite a few tears were shed, and many hugs given as everyone headed home the following day. Best of luck UCLA 2016. We loved getting to know you and could not have asked for a better bunch of students to live, learn, and grow with!
Our Movie Business course took a trip this week to Warner Brothers Studios, one of the largest production facilities in the LA area. The students were able to see production stages used for everything from small TV series to feature films like The Dark Knight and Inception. They saw some of Hollywood’s most iconic filming backlots, including The Archive, which currently houses costumes, props, and set pieces from the Harry Potter films as well as the upcoming Suicide Squad production. They saw the functioning set of Two Broke Girls, and even got some behind-the-scenes secrets on how special effects in The Hobbit were done. The tour ended with a stop at Stage 48, which has been converted into an exhibit detailing the process of movie production from writing to release. The kids really enjoyed getting to sit in the set of the “Central Perk” coffee house from F.R.I.E.N.D.S! On the whole, it was a great day, and a fantastic opportunity for our students interested in the film industry to see where the magic happens!
Last Saturday, our Oxbridge students headed to downtown Los Angeles, home to the original pueblo settlement which grew into this mega-city and the center of Hispanic culture in the area. Students strolled past the iconic Disney Concert Hall and through beautiful Grand Park, which has a great view of City Hall. After Grand Park, some of the students headed down to El Pueblo de Los Angeles, also know as La Placita Olvera. They got to experience a some of the Mexican and Spanish culture that is prominent in LA. They saw some beautiful local artistry and were able to purchase authentic Mexican candies and artisan jewelry. They passed the oldest standing residence in LA, the Avila Adobe. The trip finished off with a stroll through Santee Alley, renowned for its murals, and The Last Bookstore, a famous independent bookshop in downtown. This was a great opportunity for students to experience the historic and multicultural roots of the LA area, and even with the notorious inland heat, the students had a great time!
Our students have spent an exciting and unforgettable three weeks with us here in Los Angeles, but at our Sunday assembly, program director Florence Pi, a UCLA alumna, had a serious announcement about a significant shortcoming…our students hadn’t yet learned the UCLA eight-clap! All students who pass through UCLA are taught the cheer, which is performed at basketball games, school functions, reunions, and other gatherings long after graduation. Florence and Joe, our resident eight-clap experts, led us all in learning the cheer Sunday night.
Here’s a video of our students practicing…they’re getting quite good!
Last week, in a twist of fate that could only ever happen in Los Angeles, Oxbridge at UCLA was able to get its hands on last minute tickets to the taping of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards which was being filmed conveniently just down the hill from our home base here at UCLA at Pauley Pavilion! Without even leaving campus, some of our students saw sports stars like Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, and Zendaya up close, and a few lucky ones even made it on camera! The kids had a great time, managed to get gold slimed (way more special than the regular green slime), and are looking forward to seeing clips of the show!
The Kids’ Choice Sports Awards aired in the US on Sunday, July 17.
After a long week of classes and lots of hard work, Oxbridge at UCLA kicked back and relaxed Friday night with a dance! Our students had a great time showing off their moves to some of their favorite tunes. Even students who started out shyly watching joined in by the end of the evening. We all appreciated getting to destress and shake it out before heading into our final week!
Our Photography class has spent the past couple days working with an exciting array of photographic methods. This morning, Leonora, our Photography instructor, brought in a large-format camera—a device which allows for the creation of large, high-resolution prints without added technology. The amount of work that goes into preparing a shot with a camera like this requires a slower, more contemplative approach. Ansel Adams and other famous photographers of his era used cameras like these, and in this day and age of digital everything, this was an incredible opportunity for our students. The class had a great time experimenting with film technique and the added capabilities of the large format!
Earlier in the week, the students also visited the Santa Monica Camera Obscura! Camera Obscuras are devices which allow for the projection of a live image onto a screen without the use of electronics. They are thought to be one of the oldest photographic devices. The Santa Monica Camera Obscura sits right on the ocean and permits visitors to observe the surrounding scene, including passing boats and incoming weather, from within a darkened room.