Brief 3 is officially over, which means the beginning of a whole new chestnut – brief 4. Liam had us work together in groups with the people we were sitting with (who just happened to be Samantha and Blair from brief 3), to create pitches for a new film that could work as our brief 4 works. Liam showed us some very interesting pieces, including a documentary made entirely of people’s stolen phone conversations and a documentary narrated by a dead general’s wandering ankle.
Liam then showed us the constraints for our next project:
any of the three –
- no interviews
- no voice-over
- only found-footage or other appropriated material
- is non-photorealistic
- deliberately breaks some other identifiable documentary convention
And all I could think about how I could break ALL of the conventions. This led me to developing a very interesting idea, an idea that actually started with one constraint – found-footage. I knew if I used found-footage it would never use interviews or voice-over. I would let the clips speak for themselves. That was three down. the quota was filled. But this non-photorealistic thing really intrigued me. If I was going to make a film I knew I wanted it to somehow be that. And then Liam went on to further explain what it meant – to be non-photorealistic, it simply had to not fit within simplistic ideas of what film looks like. Anything that breaks that frame, that mold works, whether it’s colour or shape. And then it hit me – split-screen. We would play each side of the frame against the other in order to produce the critique we wanted.
I was telling this all to Blair, who was next to me, and she loved the idea and was spurring me on, asking me all the right questions to get me thinking. Even though the structure was there, Blair pointed out, it wasn’t very clear what we were critiquing yet. I was thinking about the fake surface nature of relationships that technology produces, and how that stolen phone conversations documentary we watched earlier did it so well. Made something we see as so normal so creepy. Pointing out the obvious flaws in the structure. And then I knew what socio-political structure I wanted to critique, one that is always everywhere, it is always at the forefront of our minds through advertisements and entertainment we consume on a regular basis. The Hollywood system. We would use Hollywood to critique itself and reveal its own illusions.
It was the perfect idea and exactly the kind of thing I wanted to make for my final film, and Blair agreed that it would be a great film to make.
Blair and I have decided to work together on this film, which is amazing because not only did I love working with her on our previous project, but I really feel like I need someone’s help to pull this off in what little time we have left, and who better than Blair, a masterful editor with a keen eye and a love for Hollywood films.
We spent today’s lesson (Thursday) working on our concept and we’ve decided to root our critique in Hollywood’s portrayal of women. With this does come some heavy connotative issues, but I say if we’re using well known material why not use these connotations to our message’s advantage?
We’ve already come up with some very interesting things we can possibly use, such as what I’m calling a ‘slap compilation’. Using footage of women from all different films we will compile a sequence of women being repeatedly slapped to introduce our film with impact. This will hopefully be accompanied by a song called ‘He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)’ by The Crystals, an all female group from the 60’s.However, I am very aware of the heavy connotative values of this song and so have a backup option – classical Hollywood music that progressively speeds up and becomes off-kilter, breaking the illusion.
We’ll be officially pitching our film next week, so hopefully we’ll get some good feedback from the class (which I don’t doubt) and will be able to develop it more from there.