TRANSLATING OBSERVATION Experiments in actuality, subjectivity & film form

This studio was dedicated to experimentation in the development and realisation of film content that sat somewhere between documentary and fiction. A very specific procedure, with writing at its centre, was applied in the development stage, and the result was idiosyncratic production methods, and highly individual short film pieces.

MATTHEW BICKERDIKE

Four men are sitting around a round table.

This meeting had been long anticipated. Weeks had been spend of talking behind each other’s back, and venting frustration. Two people, Stephen and Stan, wanted something. The other two, Gavin and Daniel, held a position of power and the ability to give it to them. Gavin was a fairly uninvolved people-pleaser, while Daniel was gruff and stern and not interested in the smallest bit of people-pleasing.

The atmosphere at the table was tense. After weeks of rejection and neglect, Stan and Stephen looked defeated from the get-go. Their morale had been slowly worn down by the lack of this item making their jobs much slower and more tedious. They had also recently both had kids. Daniel, wearing a red shirt, sat upright, appearing large and dominating over the conversation. While Gavin said he supported the new item, his word didn’t mean much, and the latest word was that the Daniel wasn’t giving them anything. His body language certainly conveyed this.

The conversation didn’t flow. It was jagged. The Stephen and Stan knew they had to choose their words carefully, and Daniel was known to cut people off frequently. The Gavin didn’t have much to contribute, and spent the time trying to take in information that he was already supposed to know. Sometimes, he might ask a question to clarify something.

The meeting ended with no progress made. Stephen and Stan were frustrated. Their next discussion would be a long way away, because Gavin had to be involved, even though he was rarely present.

 

PATRICK MASTALERZ

Speaking to someone online versus seeing them in real life is a concept that is baffling to many individuals such as myself. My plans to meet up with a friend I rarely see but speak to online happened on a Wednesday afternoon. Brunch was the chosen mode of activity at a local cafe. There were no expectations of how it would be like when we met up, but once I saw her, it felt completely different as to how I would usually interact with her. Because we seldom see each other, there was no sense of familiarity as you would have with an old friend but also, it is a completely different type of interaction even though we’ve spoken on multiple occasions online. There is just that explainable awareness of one another, especially because you witness everything is in real time and in the flesh.

The story behind this observation:

This was actually a personal anecdote of mine in regards to a friend whom I met through a unique circumstance. It’s weird how the world works because we had actually already met prior to our friendship. We had both attended a birthday party and had greeted each other but we didn’t get to know each other until I met her through an ex-boyfriend. Unfortunately, I felt that it was going to be hard to maintain the friendship, especially since I had severed ties with this person. To my surprise though, she still wanted to catch up every now and then even if I was not associated with that person anymore. The only way I was connected to her was online, specifically through the social media app, Instagram. Once we had finally caught up, it was so different to how I saw her through Instagram and face to face.

LYRECA CORLONCITO

Speaking to someone online versus seeing them in real life is a concept that is baffling to many individuals such as myself. My plans to meet up with a friend I rarely see but speak to online happened on a Wednesday afternoon. Brunch was the chosen mode of activity at a local cafe. There were no expectations of how it would be like when we met up, but once I saw her, it felt completely different as to how I would usually interact with her. Because we seldom see each other, there was no sense of familiarity as you would have with an old friend but also, it is a completely different type of interaction even though we’ve spoken on multiple occasions online. There is just that explainable awareness of one another, especially because you witness everything is in real time and in the flesh.

The story behind this observation:

This was actually a personal anecdote of mine in regards to a friend whom I met through a unique circumstance. It’s weird how the world works because we had actually already met prior to our friendship. We had both attended a birthday party and had greeted each other but we didn’t get to know each other until I met her through an ex-boyfriend. Unfortunately, I felt that it was going to be hard to maintain the friendship, especially since I had severed ties with this person. To my surprise though, she still wanted to catch up every now and then even if I was not associated with that person anymore. The only way I was connected to her was online, specifically through the social media app, Instagram. Once we had finally caught up, it was so different to how I saw her through Instagram and face to face.

NEVILLE KURNIAWAN

A blonde-haired girl (20’s) with round glasses, hooped earrings and a denim jacket just got done with her date as she kisses her partner goodbye and him leaving her, presumably to head home. The girl sits in place, twirling her hair round and round, smiling… for quite some time. Once in awhile, she would get a text from her phone and smile even wider and occasionally chuckle to herself as she replies to them gleefully. Other than the occasional blinks from her device, nothing stood in her way in being happy. No ear pieces were on and no visual material was present for her to at least glance at. She sat on her chair, staring at whatever’s in front of her and just… smiles. Not even in a creepy way. Her world at that moment was rid of all the atrocities present in anyone’s day-to-day life and all she could probably talk about is that boy. In that moment, she has personified herself as the true manic pixie dream girl, as the only word that comes to one’s mind when looking at her at that state was “happy”.

It couldn’t be helped. Her unbridled joy of life was instantaneously contagious and no one can resist smiling back or at least feel a sense of warmth in their hearts when seeing such display of happiness. Another girl, less happy in her display (then again, no one could contest this person’s happiness), simply looked at her and smiled. Immediately, dream girl just smiles back with closed eyes, without hesitation. The other girl chuckles with astonishment as to how someone can be this kind-hearted, and she wasn’t alone.

Glad the world hasn’t messed with her yet. Let’s keep it that way.

 

Description

Capturing the sole split-second moments of happiness in the routine-driven and overall dull present life, Pixie Swan puts those sweet moments into a cinematic level. Splice the joyful moment observed in the above observation with some flashbacks for an abstract narrative and a necessary build-up to the reveal of the girl’s contagious smile, alongside Sufjan Stevens’ ode to love and happiness in his song Mystery of Love, the film manifests into a tribute to how we can just lose ourselves in the moment and forget any possible atrocity that linger in our heads and… be happy.

ROB PFEIFFER

This is the observation I wrote that this piece is based on.

“A bike path dark and empty was poorly lit by the sparse lights littered along the track. Alone, the distant sounds of the main road were drowned out , the loudest sound was the slow churning of the wheels and gears which was constant with each rotation. Riding over a flimsy metal grate produced two echoing thunks, one for each wheel. Some ten seconds later I hear the same two thunks well after I had passed them. Looking back I saw no one behind me.”

LIV JIN

Brief:

About the pleasure of watching people doing ‘hand work’, the eye contact of human and machine, and the uncertainty.

 

Observational Writing:

Saturday’s Queen Victoria Market is always bustling, lively and crowded. A small cafe is located at the corner of the dairy hall, the smell of coffee beans played on the breeze, attracting me to walk towards it. However, our urgent affair was to buy some food for lunch, so I carefully remembered its location and returned back after shopping.

The decoration of this shop uses the dominant tone of wood and pure white, which looks succinct and reveals the professional impression. We ordered two cups of filter coffee and quickly walked to another side of the bar to watch the barista’s experienced ‘performance’. There were three sets of pour over coffee equipment placing on the bar table, and numbers of paper cups ranked neatly aside. The ground coffee fell from the machine to a small metal cup, it was weighing on the electronic scale, then putting on the wet filter paper. The barista held a steal kettle, drizzling hot water circularly over the powder to extract the coffee from the beans. Golden water droplets slowly fell down, emitting heats that misted up the glass jug. The series of operations were so meticulous and satisfying.

NATHAN LEE

OBSERVATION
Popular demand can be both exciting and daunting, when the whole world is racing to grab the one thing that is soon being released, its every person for themselves, there will be people who get what they want, and people who unfortunately miss out. I was somewhere in between those two types this week, competing in a race for tickets to what will be the known as the biggest film of the decade – Avengers: Endgame. Being a literal number one fan of the Marvel films, I have been planning to go see this film at the IMAX premiere for well over a year now, this is something I have counted down for, eagerly spoken about and mentally prepared to do, nothing could get in my way. This film had literally been consuming my life ever since it was announced, I can’t think of anything in my whole life I’ve ever been more excited for, this is the real deal, this is a cinematic event of a lifetime.

Religiously checking the web for updates for months now, the official announcement that tickets would be on sale this Wednesday made my eyes lit up, I was tasked with booking the tickets for myself and all my friends, this event was something I had been organising for ages. Going on the IMAX website, I learned premium members would get tickets an hour ahead of the general public, being the sucker that I am I couldn’t resist, I bought a membership for $50 just to get them an hour early. I felt very nervous in fact, I knew how many people were on the same boat as me and wanted the same thing, everybody would be competing for a ticket come Wednesday morning. To put emphasis on how popular this film was, the trailer that also came out along with the announcement reached over 100 million views in ten minutes, seeing that statistic frightened me, sending a mild chill down my stomach, my mission had just become a lot harder, I was going to have to play dirty.

Finishing work at 2am the night before, I left a note in the kitchen urging my family to wake me by 8am so I would have an hour to get all my devices ready to buy tickets in case something went wrong. I woke up, sat at my desk and loaded the page, in as many tabs as I possibly could. Counting down the minutes till sales went live, I was getting nervous. It was 8:57, and I refreshed the what would be purchasing page just to ensure I was still logged in, and to my shock, my complete horror, the company had started the sale 3 minutes early. I was so shocked and excited at the one time I think I slightly bounced on my chair a little. I clicked buy, moving the mouse so fast my hand could slip. I would be taken to a new page; however, I wasn’t. The page wouldn’t load, nothing happened, it froze. My worst nightmare had actually happened, and I was in crisis mode – the website had crashed. So many people were doing the same thing as me, and there were consequences, with so much traffic the site had become unusable. I desperately rushed over to the Facebook page for an update. As per usual “the IT guys were doing everything they can”. I sat for 30 minutes, continuously refreshing my browser, amid to nothing. At that time, a second update appeared, the website not looking to be usable anytime soon, so a hotline had been activated to purchase tickets over the phone. Immediately dialling, straight to the machine. Same situation, same problem, a huge overload.

Stressing, freaking out, I had planned this day for over a year and I just have to see this movie on opening day at the biggest cinema in Melbourne, many people counting on me and excited as I was to share this amazing experience, there was only one thing left that I could do. The internet, the phone, all useless. As an extreme last resort, I called an uber and ordered it to take my to IMAX, I would physically go down there and buy the tickets if that’s what it took. Forty minutes and $63.70 later, I hurried in to the big cinema complex, racing to the counter, panicking people would be ahead of me. To my surprise there was only three people there. I slammed my Mastercard on the desk and eagerly said “Id like 7 tickets please, for the first screening on the 24th”. I froze in suspense waiting for a response from the lady to say there was spots free, my stomach had dropped, and then I heard her say “all good”. I think I nearly fell over I was in such relief. I could not believe the hell I had to go through to get to this point but I’m glad I did it because it meant a lot to me. I did a victory walk out of the building, holding a piece of paper that counted as all seven tickets. If I could sum up how I felt in one way, I would say I felt like Charlie when he found the golden ticket.

Description
I took this observation and adapted it into a short film, because it was a very special experience and something I will remember for years to come, and is a good way to keep the memory of what a great day seeing this film was, and what it took to make the day happen. I would do everything again in a heartbeat.

JACK MANSOUR

Observation

A man and a woman are reclined in two similar oval-shaped chairs under the hot sun by a river’s edge. Their chairs are facing one another, and each has propped their legs up and onto the other’s chair so that they may lie down. His head is slumped along the side of the chair, it appears as though he may be in a deep and comfortable sleep. She is evidently awake, sitting upright and facing forward, presumably appreciating the picturesque view surrounding them.

Description

Voyeuristically glancing at strangers can never suffice to uncover the truth of what you’re seeing. What we see and what is happening rarely align with one another correctly. Could these two have been enjoying a pleasant afternoon, or could there be something more when we strip away the facade of pleasantries?

RAMSAY WATERHOUSE

Disco Business Man  

The 7:33am train departs from Hampton station on a brisk March morning. Out the window of the train the grey-blue ocean is choppy, it looks restless. Passengers with eyes closed, cross their arms over their chests in order to squeeze in the last precious moments of rest before the working day commences.

One man, wearing a blue button up shirt and back tailored slacks has just awoken from his commuter respite. He face is expressionless as he looks out the window at the world passing by outside. He wears matte black headphones and looks down at his phone to peruse Spotify for a new playlist to listen to. Morning Motivation, Coffeeshop Chill, #ThrowbackThursday, Hot Hits Australia, he pauses. After a few moments of scrolling he has settled on the soundtrack to his Monday morning: Disco Forever.

Ever so faintly through his headphones a persistent kick drum rhythm can be heard, followed by an instantly recognisable melody and then:

“Lookin’ for some hot stuff, baby this evenin’, lookin’ for some hot stuff, baby tonight,”

He maintains the same vacant expression as he looks out the window, unaware of the audibility of his music.

The woman sitting next to him in the carriage, is looking out the opposite window, she seems to be daydreaming, and as she does, she gently taps her foot in time to Hot Stuff by Donna Summers as the train pulls into South Yarra.

This observation was written by Darcey Taylor-Morrison. The film inspired by it is titled ‘Hot Stuff’, and was made for Assignment 2 Part 2 of Translating Observation, and screened as the Media Studios Present Exhibition.

KIT BRADY-BROWN

A young man is working out in his backyard. He’s on a rowing machine, and listening to loud music. West Coast Hip Hop is his favourite. As the music gets more intense, he starts to go harder. And harder. Each pull on the machine he begins to grimace more & more, sweat beating down his face. The song nears its climax, and just as he was pushing at his hardest, a polite yet slightly passive-aggressive woman pokes her head over the fence between their backyards. “Could you turn it down please?” she asks, making sure she’s got his attention. He gives her a nod as he puts down the pulleys and leans over to his iPhone to turn it down. He sits there breathing heavily, thinking she could’ve been a bit nicer. He’ll make sure to keep it down from now on.

I took this observation and adapted it slightly to see what might be going on inside his head during this intense but ecstatic moment of clarity, achieved when you push yourself to the limit.

Skip to toolbar