It’s not every day you get to visit Hawai’i. It’s not every day that you get to visit Hawai’i as part of your education, either! But, students in Kiki Terasaki’s Outside Hollywood: Hawai’i interterm class got to experience just that!

Aside from enjoying the gorgeous weather and surfing in the Pacific, the students were able to see how the film industry works in the aloha state.

They were guests on the set of 
Hawai’i Five-0,
and met with the co-executive producer, the principal director, and one of the 1st Assistant Directors. They also met with Donne Dawson, Hawai’i state film commissioner, while on set.

They were also able to visit the Kulaloa Ranch film backlot, tour the bunker where Oliver Stone just shot scenes from his upcoming feature on Edward Snowden, and saw sets from the upcoming Kong sequel. But, one of the highlights was visited the hill where they shot the scene from 
Jurassic Park
 where the Gallimimuses chase Dr. Grant and the kids. The students immediately ran up the hill and did their own version.

jurassic park and students re-creating scene

Much like other interterm travel classes, the students are asked to keep a journal of their travels, and they really captured the heart of some of the things they saw.

For example,
Nathalie Warner
(BFA/Creative Producing ’16) was intrigued by their meeting with stuntman Brian Keaulana.

We drove to the west side of the island where we had the privilege of meeting Brian Keaulana. He not only grew up surfing in Hawai‘i, but also is a stunt coordinator and second unit director for a majority of the films and television shows that shoot in Hawai‘i. He shared with us his story and experiences working in the entertainment industry in Hawai‘i. I learned a lot about how he technically is able to pull off amazing shots and stunts in the water. He said a lot of his job is about creating knowledge and trust on set, which is the key to safety. He also emphasized the importance of pre-production, thinking about transitions, and being open to creative solutions.

Brian also went on to share advice particularly about navigating life in the entertainment industry. What resonated with me the most was when he reminded us of the significance in being responsible and accountable for your actions. It was manifest in the way he carried himself with such professionalism during our discussion that he has an incredible amount of respect for the people he works with.

students exploring hawaii
Samantha Crainich
(BFA/Film Production ’17) wrote a bit about what she learned from Donne Dawson and her time on the
Hawaii 5-0

I had no idea how the permitting process worked on her end, but it really just boils down to a huge responsibility over the land and its inhabitants. For instance, filming on a beach is allowed, but all of the beaches are public so that poses some issue for filmmakers because there is no special permission they can be granted to access a certain area of the beach. This is why Hawaii 5-0 will either avoid beach scenes entirely or film them towards the North shore since it is less populated.

Overall, it was amazing to step on to a set of this scale because it allowed us to see even further down the branches of a film crew since most of us are only used to about 30 people on a set.

statue in hawaii

Some students even got to get in on the action, such as
Farrah Su
. She got to sit on the camera dolly and then got to slate a scene on set:

Out of the blue, Scott comes back and tells me that they want me to slate a scene.


I was trying so hard to keep it cool.

I get taken back onto set and I meet the second assistant camera, Caleb. He hands me the slate and wishes me luck. I told him I was super nervous and excited. He just laughed and told me to be calm. He showed me how to write scene on the slate the way they liked it and let me practice calling the slate for a bit.

The 1st AD called the shot. I watched Caleb for my cue and called it. “A Marker” *clap*

I ran to where Caleb was standing in the back and high fived him, quietly.

on set of hawaii five o

But it wasn’t all film! The students were able to learn the history of the area as well.
Pauline Yang
(BA/Public Relations and Advertising ’16) enjoyed the historical aspects they found.

Along the way we stopped by Waipahu Sugar Plantation. It was the first time we really talked about the history of the immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, and Philippines. It was interesting to see and hear how these ethnicities established themselves on the island, all facing their own unique set of privileges and challenges. We learned that although there was a heavy population of Asian immigrants, there were people from a total of 34 different countries! As these wide-variety of cultures came together and learned how to communicate and live harmoniously, unique multicultural characteristics emerged. One of these being Pidgin – the ever evolving language that was created from the different languages spoken. Another fun fact is that Hawai’i is the home to three presidents from China, Korea and America. Pretty impressive!

Overall, the class had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I don’t know about you, but I am incredibly jealous!

Don’t worry, though, Dodge students! Plenty of more travel courses are coming your way this summer, so be on the look out for your opportunity to learn around the world!