Working with a Legend

Werner Herzog and Caleb Spaw
Werner Herzog and Caleb Spaw ('18) (Photo by Mell Ramirez)

Caleb Spaw ('18), right, was in the Peruvian rainforest, assigned to make a five-minute film about "fever dreams in the jungle."

And he was mentored by one of cinema's most acclaimed directors -- Werner Herzog, left, known for his eccentric films. Spaw, a media arts major, made three films with that theme at the workshop sponsored by Black Factory Cinema this summer. He was one of 48 people from around the world chosen for the workshop, which required a questionnaire, work reel, curriculum vitae and two-page paper.

"Herzog had lots of wisdom to give, but sometimes you had to decipher his cryptic expressions, such as 'You're allowed to do anything that doesn't scare the cows,'" Spaw says.

"For me, that lesson was that sometimes you have to go out and start the filming without even the slightest idea of what you want or are trying to accomplish. Be open to whatever happens, don't impose yourself upon what you're filming, and often something special will find you."

Spaw also completed an internship with the ABC TV news show 20/20 in New York City. His work included a feature on the young Thai soccer team members who were trapped in a cave.

"We started that episode on a Thursday and aired it the next Tuesday, a ridiculous turnaround time. But it really felt meaningful and like I was in the big leagues," he says.

Continue Reading