How a Film Can Leave a Mark

by Erin Merritt

SAN MARCOS – Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood (2014) is celebrating its 10th anniversary in July. 

The film was shot over 12 years, using the same actors to convey the idea that the audience is quite literally watching this boy grow up. It was a very unique filmmaking technique at the time. The film also used many different locations around Texas to film, including San Marcos and Austin. Because of these locations, the film is often referred to as a love letter to Texas. 

Most of the filming locations in San Marcos were shot on the square, in an alley on the south side of the square next to The Marc. After the movie was released, the alley was renamed “Boyhood Alley” to honor the Oscar-winning film, and little hints of the movie remain around town if you look closely enough. 

Jessie Flam, a stage manager for Texas State University’s theatre department, said the movie inspires her to tell stories through her shows. Flam also said that the familiar filming locations help her remember that you can create art from anywhere and it can still be successful. 

“Being an artist, we’re told that we have to go to a big city like New York or California to be famous and be rich, which is true, but there are so many other places in the world where you can do the same exact thing,” Flam said. “You can make it like in this movie, how it was made in a small city like San Marcos and not like a popular city. It gives me hope that I can make art wherever I go and I’ll be okay.”

Flam is right, aspiring artists don’t have to go all the way to Los Angeles or New York to make it big, especially since there is a new film studio opening here in San Marcos. Hill Country Studios broke ground and is now waiting to start construction. Charlie Speck, a film student at Texas State, is hopeful for the new studio to open and is excited about the new opportunities that it could bring him. 

“The film industry is a very opportunity and connection-based business and the addition of a film studio just opens up even more options for aspiring filmmakers to be able to make a living off of their passion,” Speck said. “The film program at Texas State is in the middle of a growth period and this new studio opening up soon, I feel like, is coming at the perfect time!”

Texas State is a very artistic community, and there are so many different opportunities around town to get those creative juices flowing. Whether it be on a stage with one of the theatre department’s many shows, or through film for one of the local magazines around town, such as Luminescent or Lewk. 

Madison Smith, a production intern at the Texas Ballet Theatre, said that working on shows at Texas State has really helped her boost confidence and that Hill Country Studios will hopefully inspire other aspiring artists to do the same. 

“This semester I got the chance to work on six shows. Five dance shows and one Jeremy Torres Lab Theatre show,” Smith said. “Through this, I learned a lot of new things and grew as not only a leader but as a person. Before this semester I wasn’t one to fully be able to hold a room’s attention by myself without the help of someone else but as the semester closes I am able to hold the room and have conversations with people in those rooms and am able to be fully understood. These shows taught me to be more comfortable and confident in my abilities to lead rooms and run shows. “

The production of “Boyhood” (2014) was a celebratory moment in the history of San Marcos, and film in general. It was filmed over a period of 12 years, and with its locations being all around Texas it’s a very unique moment in the development of film and what you can do with it. Along with this, Hill Country Studios is a monumental moment as well. It’s the first big movie studio in the San Marcos area in a long time, and its legacy will hopefully live on. 

Hill Country Studios is under construction in San Marcos, and it’s predicted to be the biggest film studio in Texas. This will give many individuals (especially Texas State Students), the opportunity to make more movies in the area, like Linklater’s Boyhood.

I asked sophomore Jessie Flam, a stage manager here at Texas State University, how she would go about making a play adaptation of Boyhood. The film came out in 2014, marking its 10-year anniversary in July.

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