Credit: Jack Hornady

The Afflicted: Kevin Mead, George Washington University senior and co-director of the nearly completed short film On Parole, a black rom-com about a convicted killer playing the field after his release.

Diagnosis: An absent lead. “We had wanted to film over Christmas break, but our actor [Cloverfield star and GW alum T.J. Miller] had a scheduling conflict,” says Mead, 20, who shared directorial duties with Paul Briganti, a student at New York’s School of Visual Arts. “We ended up having to film the first week of the spring semester,” he says. “We just didn’t want to wait.”

Symptoms: Extracurricular overload. Throughout the process, On Parole—and homework—had to bend to stronger film-industry forces. “Normally it’s the job of the producer of the film to make sure that all the schedules work together,” Mead says. “That, uh, was not the case with our production.” So the short’s New York filming location required Mead to play hooky. “I skipped a few classes,” he says. “It was a little curious to all of my professors why I had to not be there the first week of school.”

Treatment: Find caffeine—and justification. First, accept that working with bigger names means making some scholastic sacrifices. The new shooting schedule, crammed into two long February weekends, kept Mead out late on school nights: “The second week of shooting, I know I slept about two hours,” he says. Then, rationalize. “It’s absolutely worth the sleep deprivation,” says Mead. “This is way more important than being tired and going to class.”

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