I noticed the word justice appear a fair amount in the last couple of weeks in my life. The new JLA movie came out, we did a documentary/comic about it for The Art of Persuasion, and it’s deeply embedded in social democracy which I have to read about in my Global Political Economy class. Justice is a pretty strange thing.. it gives the impression of purity and goodwill, but justice isn’t the same around the world. Justice varies from society to society and from one situation to the other and what you might find as an injustice here is commonplace in another. Can there really be a sort of universal code? Why hasn’t one been written that can exist in the contemporary world that can be accepted by all? But perhaps thats is a line of thought for another day.
My process through the Art of Persuasion this semester has been rough. I understand the value of a collective mind in creation, I know it’s where the stuff of creation happens and I do want to be able to engage in creating amazing things with amazing individuals but I just keep hitting a wall when I try to engage with other people. I dreaded the group process from the start because practically every semester here I’ve had difficulty with interacting with other human beings.
The little voice in my head right before I try talking to someone new
I got into a group with a pretty cool comic loving dude named Aravindha and we were joined later by Dominic who was my groupmate for this classes first assessment. This was our prompt: –
“What do we want?”
Working in small groups you are to produce a short documentary film that offers a social critique or raises a political demand.
This film is to comply with any three of the following formal constraints:
• no interviews
• no voice-over
• only found-footage or other appropriated material
• is non-photorealistic
Aravindha already had a cool idea to make a video that panned over a comic strip which would tell the story through dialog boxes like in a comic book (that we would have to then create)- so basically no interviews, no voice-overs (this was decided later), we only used found/appropriated material and it was most definitely non-photorealistic. So we kinda went the extra mile with this one.
The story centers around The Justice League and in particular Wonder Woman and Cyborg who feel that they are an oppressed minority. They hope to find more diverse/non-stereotypical heroes but in their search discover something far more sinister – their entire existence is a facade and they are mere puppets who have no control over their decisions. They discover the existence of the very editors who make and dictate their lives and decide to take the fight to them head on. Our comic itself doesn’t actually depict anything fighting but rather brings up a small bio of the editors at the end and a snippet of the kinds of motivations behind their writing, and ideally that will be what is enough to convince the viewer that there is certainly some injustice in the comic book world thats worth discussing.
I don’t know if this project was tough or just tedious, there were a lot of walls we were confronted with, but it looks like we’ve managed to pull through with a somewhat watchable 10 minutes of radicalized opposition to white male dominance, where we make some prominent comic book writers out as evil fascists. I mean in the last comic panel scene you can’t help but feel a swastika wouldn’t be out of place. Although the stance taken against them is so very harsh, I love a lot of the stuff they make, even things like the shooting of Batgirl in the Killing Joke <–| shhhh | particularly because I didn’t look at it in a sexist way, I just saw the Joker fitting his role. When the hero always wins and people get bored, what else do you expect to happen?
Any shitt you want to hear
I think we could have definitely worked much better as a team, but I blame myself mostly just for not really being a proactive teammate on account of being a self indulged depressed douche. We basically took turns in not showing for classes and being late on our own deadlines for each other and that resulted in everything being crunched in the last two weeks, which was in some aspects ample time, but we didn’t really take into consideration how difficult animating the text into the video would be. Needless to say it was tiresome, but we managed to make some decent comic pages, edit them into a movie clip, add animations and finish off with a decent soundtrack (I wonder if anyone will notice Wilhlem). I think this was a fun project towards the end, I didn’t really share the vision at the start but once things started coming together I started to like the way it was going, but I know deep down inside I probably could have done a lot more t make it better. I noticed this time around, even though I wasn’t there for a lot of the classes, that we didn’t really talk theory which was kinda sad because it would have been really interesting to look into things that people have discovered in their attempts at persuading the masses through creative means a little more, but you know.. maybe if I went to class and was proactive and confident and awesome that might have been exactly what went down.
The video itself came up to about 11 minutes, which was a little longer than we would have liked, and we could have probably done something to cut bits out but at this point we were just going for the finish line (we liked our comic pages a little too much to break them apart again). I suppose the main thing I’d try to track back to is my first post in this semester about this subject, where I point out that a documentary is sort of like a rhetorical argument of sorts that I can use to convince people to a desired outcome using what I’ve learnt from people like Adam Curtis and Noam Chomsky who kind of step outside of society and talk about how everyone is basically insane and needs to be controlled against their will, and never knowing they are either of the two.
As I spent my last year at RMIT doing radio, it was a little choppy getting back to the Premiere screen, but editing this, I still find I enjoy the process of creating meaning from two seemingly unconnected things. I may just try to build up some of my own personal projects to see what I can come up with hopefully with the aid of a decent camera.
Here’s a tracklist in our vid in case anybody was wondering:
Akov – Retribution | First page
Massive Attack ft Mos Def – I against I | Apache Chief and friends (vid is NSFW)
Meta – Phoenix Down |Final comic page and editor bios
Hot Blooded – Foreigner | Starfire scene – because obviously.
Jimi Hendrix – Foxy Lady | Captain America intro scene
Superman Man of Steel OST – (Hans Zimmer – I will find him) | Second page, Wonder Woman and Cyborg discuss
Transformers – Autobots score – Wonder Woman complains about Starfire
Superman Man of Steel OST – (Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL – Arcade ) | Call to action, second last page
Superman Man of Steel OST – (Hans Zimmer – Flight)| Wonder Woman reflects
Justice League Unlimited Opening Title
Incredible Bongo Band – Apache | Apache introduction scene (also because.. obviously)