By Jordan Freisleben
In between takes on his new feature film starring George Clooney, director Jason Reitman â95 popped into another room to ask Video Art teacher Cheri Gaulke for feedback.
Gaulke, along with daughters, Xochi â12 and Marka â12 Maberry-Gaulke, traveled to St. Louis to observe the making of “Up in the Air.” As the protagonist, Clooney plays an executive whose job entails flying around the country to fire people while trying to achieve his goal of accumulating 10 million frequent flyer miles.
Gaulke has recently been in contact with Reitman for the scheduling of the Harvard-Westlake series Speaking of Movies, where Reitman interviews people in the film industry in front of an audience.
Having grown up in St. Louis, Gaulke decided that a trip there with her daughters would be the perfect combination of visiting her parents and spending a day on the set of a feature film.
Gaulkeâs experience on Reitmanâs set was the first time she had ever seen a former student direct after high school.
“I felt like I was there to learn from him,” she said. “To be on a real film set is really such an experience.”
Gaulkeâs daughters, whom she calls “aspiring filmmakers,” got to further understand the process of film making.
“I thought it was a great experience to see how things work on a film set,” Marka Maberry-Gaulke said. “It was fun to see how many people were needed and all of their various jobs.”
Both noted that making a full-length film is a much longer process than what they are used to.
“I know that when Iâve made my little three-minute movies, filming and planning everything gets really tiring,” Xochi Maberry-Gaulke said. “I can only imagine how tiring it is for all of the crew, and especially the actors and actresses. It takes almost a whole hour to film only a tidbit of a scene [thatâs] only a few seconds long.”
Reitman made time to show the workings of filmmaking to Gaulke and her daughters.
After returning, Gaulke spent a period talking about her time on the film set to all three of her film classes.
While on set, Gaulke was given a handout with a schedule that included the pages of the script that were being shot that day. She has since decided to integrate the idea of a production sheet into her more advanced level classes as an organizing tool for students to use on set.
Gaulke remembers watching Reitman shoot and direct when in high school. Although Reitman was in Visual Arts teacher Kevin OâMalleyâs class, Gaulke feels that Reitman has always looked at her as a teaching influence.
“He embraces both of us [as teachers],” Gaulke said, “even though he was technically not in my class.”
Although Reitman credits his high school video class with teaching him how to edit, Gaulke feels that he has learned a lot since.
“If I taught him anything, itâs about the size of a fingernail,” she said.