Alexandra Graham: The Picture-Perfect World of Film

Sydney

Senior, Alexandra Graham works on her screenplay titled, “Anne and Nick”. Photo by Sydney Lauro

By Sydney Lauro
Alexandra Graham, a senior at Hopkinton High School, is always found with a pencil in hand and a camera nearby. Graham has been making films since her freshman year after taking the high school’s Film and Television course, and she has not looked back since.

Graham had been almost entirely indulged in her love and pursuit of singing and acting until she wrote her first short film, “The Runaway”.

“I realized I’d stumbled onto something that I was both passionate about and seemed to have a talent for,” said Graham, “I want to write films and see them translated into spoken lines and visible characters and interesting sets and breathtaking scores!”

Now all her future plans revolve around making film a career and she is well on her way. Her motivation and talents have landed her an internship this November at Walden Media, the company that created the Chronicles of Narnia.

Until then, Graham is spending her time at rehearsals for the school musical, Les Mis, and writing lines for her current screenplay, “Anne and Nick”, which she described as a “twisted romance about two people whose love incites disaster when Nick unknowingly assists Mike, our bloodthirsty anti-hero, in luring Anne back into a past she’d fled from years before.”

Graham’s love for words and art grew up in an environment that fostered creativity, with her mother, Jennifer Graham, being a writer and her father, Michael Graham, being a radio talk show host.

“All parents like to think that they have something to do with how their children turn out, but I think true talent sprouts on its own. She comes from a family that loves words, though, and that may have contributed to her mouthiness and eloquence,” said Jennifer Graham.

Jennifer Graham is very supportive of her daughter’s great interest in filmmaking and writing screenplays.

“I am thrilled that she is interested in film, because I love movies, and I’m tired of going to bad ones. I hope she turns Hollywood upside down and makes mediocrity unwelcome there,” said Jennifer Graham.

Jennifer Graham is always there to support her daughter by reading and editing screenplays from time to time, but mainly sits back and let’s her do what she needs to.

“I support her by staying the heck out of her way. Alex is going to do what she’s got to do, and no mere authority figure will stop her,” said Jennifer Graham.

Of course there is more to making films than simply writing the script, so the task of actually making the films falls onto Graham’s shoulders, which is no easy task for a high school student whose time is taken up by schoolwork, rehearsals for the school musical, babysitting, and chores.

“Finding time to work is my biggest issue…it’s hard to find times when all my actors are available,” said Graham.

Graham also notes that the lack of educated filmmaking staff and the technology available to her  is very limiting.

“I’m a high school student, and I don’t have professional editors at my beck and call. The same goes for equipment. I really want to shoot something with a ring light, but I don’t have one and I don’t have a producer at whose feet I can grovel until I get one,” said Graham.

Graham relies greatly on her friend, Adrianna Lankford, to help her film her screenplays and aid her in the process of editing the films.

“I’m officially the person who holds the camera and figures out all the details,” said Lankford, “I’ll take what she says and try to make it happen.”

Recently Graham and Lankford have been working on a short film called, “Superhero”, about a bunch of characters who believe they are superheros, but whose actions are actually stereotypical villainous deeds.

“I’m really psyched about it because it is more within the realm of possibility than some of the other things we try to do,” said Lankford.

Many of Graham’s films are somewhat beyond her reach, economically at least. Due to monetary restrictions, she is forced to film rather simplistically.

“Everything I make is well below what is professionally considered “low-budget”, but for a high school student that only babysits part-time it can be pretty costly. I typically spend 30 dollars or more on props and makeup,” said Graham.

Just because her films are low budget does not mean that they are low quality. Graham does everything she can to make her films as perfect as possible.

“There was this one time where this lawn mowing company was just mowing across the street, and she actually went over and asked them to stop…so she knows what she wants, and she, for the most part, knows how to get it and get stuff done,” said Lankford, describing Graham’s motivation to the filmmaking process.

Despite the roadblocks currently in her way, Graham has big goals for herself.

“Getting into Sundance or winning some shiny awards would be great, I mean, everybody wants a little appreciation, and I’m not an exception. But mostly I just want to write scripts that I’m proud of…I don’t want to write anything conventional. The idea of ‘ordinary’ repulses me. My work will be smart and exciting even if I have to end my social life and hide from the sun in the process,” said Graham.

Graham has been a strong, unique, and independent individual, with many opinions since a young age.

“When Alexandra was four or five, I tried to get her into a free school program that mostly accepted children who needed extra help. She went into the interview by herself and, for reasons known only to her, started complaining about China’s one-child policy. She did not get in, and hasn’t stopped complaining about the world’s assorted injustices yet. Let’s all hope she never does,” said Jennifer Graham. “It is a joy and a privilege to be this young woman’s mother.”

“I’ve worked with donkeys, I’ve worked in the woods at four o’clock in the morning, filming a parody horror about a piece of toast…its definitely an experience with Alex Graham,” said Lankford on working with Graham.

Graham has found her passion and is already making progress towards making it her career, but intends on trying her hand at many things. Graham is currently running a fashion blog called agmbfashion (www.agmbfashion.tumblr.com). Her interests are vast and she certainly is not limited to film.

“History and language interests me, as does human nature and psychology. I play piano a bit…I stuff myself with great television, movies, and books…I sing everything from Adele to Italian arias…I love fashion and beauty. Classic art isn’t something I’m well-versed in yet, but I’m working on it…I like being educated, and I value fearlessness, especially when it comes to having new experiences,” said Graham.

Graham finds inspiration in many things around her, from music to novels, and then creates her vision from there.

“I’m just a film person. I love the mix of writing and cinematography and music and acting. Formally, film is my art,” noted Graham.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email