‘Welcome to the Club” is a weekly op-ed series, featuring columns inspired by Yale’s undergraduate organizations and written by their officers — from Anime Society to Zeta Psi.
What the heck is Bulldog Productions (BP)? A pretentious, exclusive posse that makes only “good” films (bad movies on nice equipment) — even that, they do rarely. Who needs a stolid organizational bureaucracy? If you ask me, it’s better to ditch the politics and just stay independent. Isn’t that what being an “independent filmmaker” is all about anyway?
This perception of the group, more common than you might expect, is rooted in reality. For a long time Bulldog Productions was difficult to access as an outsider. This dynamic caused a lost-at-sea phenomenon in Yale’s film scene. Dedicated filmmakers jumped ship to go their own way, diving into ambitious projects with little help. They had to make use of talented actors who acted only in theater productions — thespians who didn’t know about the film opportunities or predicted, based on experience, that no film would ever actually get edited, finished and released as promised. Worst of all are the interested but less experienced students who give up on getting involved in film due to a lack of support.
Here lies the core problem for film people at Yale. We don’t have a solid base, a foundation to stand upon like the theater kids’ Yale Drama Coalition and Dramat. We have our ideas, our equipment (if that), and the hazy group “BP.” So we go off and do the best we can. But the reality is, we amateur “aspiring starving artists” (as I like to put it) will get nowhere if we don’t come together to collaborate. Watching the screen credits after a movie, I can’t help but be amazed by how many darn people work on these projects.
Sometimes I wonder why, why do we all do it? In the end, for me, it’s about the family that emerges when your crew transforms into a seamless unit — when you end up making something that transcends the technical, which somehow becomes something beautiful. It’s about that feeling you get when you’re really doing and saying something valuable with other people. It requires an immense amount of focus, organization and manpower to organize these kinds of projects.
This year, we aim to make BP that kind of communicative center, where passionate, excited people can come to find support, enthusiasm and guidance for their projects. It should be a unified umbrella under which we can join forces and make something really beautiful, one small project at a time. On the technical side, to the extent we can make filmmaking easier to do at Yale, we will.
And we want to walk the walk too. At the moment we are working with the YDC to incorporate a film subsection on their website, which will hopefully allow actors to more easily view film opportunities alongside theater opportunities, and bring the two to be more on par with one another.
But, the ultimate goal is not to create an incredible organization just so it can exist in a vacuum. Yes, Bulldog Productions will serve as a trusted, localized space where filmmakers and actors alike can come together to plan realizable, ambitious projects. But it will hopefully also be a way to better reach Yale students at large, even those who aren’t directly connected to filmmaking. If we possess the organizational means, through BP, to gather the amazing films on campus under the same roof and bring them more reliably to a wider audience, then we have an even better shot at really connecting with something greater than ourselves.
Not only do we strive to tell amazing stories through narrative films, but we also happily produce advertisements and information spots for other on- and off-campus organizations. This is because we have the unusual ability to represent other groups through our own organization’s medium. And letting other groups’ genuine messages speak through our own is an incredibly humbling and inspiring thought.
Julia Myers is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.