Reflection #15: The Final Piece

For a while now Robin has been pushing us to develop our concept past the original four moments to include a fifth moment, a moment we originally wanted to include but found the hardest to think of and source. We agreed with Robin that the piece felt somehow lacking without an addition, but it was finding the right part that was hardest. Once we’d completed all the other moments we found that our ideas had broadened and then condensed into a clear vision, allowing us to understand precisely what was needed to fill in that gap.

Using found footage, a motif we had developed throughout the piece, Ryan and I crafted a moment around the way people project their own ideals and desires onto others. This entailed finding footage that showed people treating technology or an animal the way they wanted to treat it, the way that suited their own personal agendas and desires as opposed to the way the animal naturally acts and behaves. We found this in the documentary Snowy, Chilly, Motley… and Me: A Personal View of Pets. As the documentary clinically objectifies these animals and treats them as pets, we were able to take that footage and re-purpose it, using harrowing music to emphasise the indoctrinating nature of what is unfolding on screen, to empahsise the way an animals basic behaviours are stripped to be replaced with cuter ones that fulfill our base desires.

Reflection#14: Collaboration at its Best

On Friday and Saturday I decided to help out on the ‘Merlot with Mates’ film shoot. As I was interested with the film from the beginning, I really wanted to see how it would turn out. I was really glad that I had decided to help out, because as usually occurs, you have less time and less people than you need on the day.

I was really impressed with the way everyone worked together on set. If someone needed something, the next instant someone else would have it for them. The whole core group had organised all of their shots and set-ups prior to the shoot so that on the day it almost felt like they were speaking another language.

The film, while being simple in design was surprisingly complex to execute. We used an expanding pole and two c-stands to hang two LED light panels from. This was our sole lighting source for the whole shoot, but it was highly designed and created the right mood and feel immediately. Again, I was glad that I was there, because I was able to help Jenny, the cinematographer, set up the lighting while the production team conversed about the shoot and what needed to be accomplished.

Through working on this shoot I’ve really learnt the value of specific roles, in particular the use of segmenting knowledge to different departments, only communicating what is necessary to get the job done effectively, otherwise you are left with an inefficient ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ situation. While we narrowly avoided that situation on this weekend’s shoot and still managed to be efficient, it is interesting to see how the system and the machine that drives traditional ‘Hollywood’ filmmaking work, and work surprisingly well at that.

Reflection #13: A Thesis Statement Reveals Itself…

Today, after meeting with Robin on Wednesday and explaining my convoluted mind map to at least three different people as I found that this was the only way I was able to explain my visit for the film to people clearly. But was it really clear? You’d have to ask them.

Since I doubt my beautiful mind map was clear at all:


I decided to rewrite my thesis statement. So here it is, my new two paragraph thesis statement as discerned from the above mind map by yours truly:

Observation is denoted by the romanticism and personification of the Other. Observation is an ultimately subjective act, an act that can only be performed in isolation. This isolation inflates our human desires as well as our selfish attitudes, such as narcissism and arrogance, as the isolated observation of the Other leads us to view ourselves as at the centre of the universe, or at least our perceived universe.

The Other  as observed in this piece is animals and technology. Both have been designed for a purpose by humans, technology built, animals bred for their purpose. As we perceive animals and technology as the Other, seperate and yet a part of ourselves, we told our identity and our understanding of ourselves from our relationship to them. Therefore we create both ourselves and the Other due to our influence on animals and technology.

Reflection #12: Feedback

Today we were in the edit suites and Robin came in to look at what we currently have edited. Robin, as per usual had a great deal of insight for the project, and allowed me to see things I’d never really thought of before. I’ll be the first to admit that when I work on a project I become very insular and driven, and Robin’s feedback session’s have really helped me to continue brainstorming and thinking outside the box, even when my creative juices feel as though they are drained.

He had some minor notes for the structuring of the piece, such as how there should be a second scream in the ‘headphones sequence’, as well as a simpler, less context-filled piece of monkey found footage in the ‘dog sequence’.

In terms of the broader picture of the piece, Robin said that he thought the complex ideas within our piece needed to be framed for our’uninitiated’ audience, which once he said it, I realised its necessity. He also mentioned possibly strengthening the connections between sequences, which I do agree needs to be done to create a more cohesive experience.

Robin also discussed the themes of the project. If you can remember my previous post, where I discussed how I came about firming up the concept and even wrote a thesis statement for the project. After the discussion with Robin I realised those ideas were only one side of the coin and there was so much more I was trying to say. So to make sense of all those ideas, I wrote this ‘key ideas’ mind map, from which I will hopefully write a more encompassing thesis statement.




Update: I’ve since had a major brainwave in terms of how to approach increasing the connection between the sequences – connectivity. By using technology, mass communication and mass media to connect not only scenes, but the characters within the world, we will be able to create an interconnected universe, not just scenes that bleed into each other for seemingly no reason. By using connectivity to connect characters, sequences and the universe of the piece, we are also inherently critiquing technology and the isolation that it creates.

Reflection #11: A Sudden Realisation, A Poetic Reflection

I am beginning to realise just how lucky I am to have gotten this far, riding not only on the sparks of my passion but the ideas that ignite that passion as well.

Up until now I was either working by myself or was very lucky to find myself with someone like-minded, passionate about the subject matter and more than open to discuss the project and its inner workings.
And now I find myself facing reality finally. I now realise just how lucky I was. I find myself at the creative head of the group. As the writer, director and editor of the project I am in creative control. Is that because one could call this project my brain child? I guess so. But I believe it is more than that. For me it seems as though I am the only one passionate about the project, the only one who sees that at the end of this process there will be a film and not a grade.

So I am filling every minute of this film with myself while I try to corral my other group members into doing the same, into believing as I do about the film, and I am reminded of the futility of the act through the struggles of my forbears, in a far larger institution with a much larger goal in mind for its creative commodity. Hollywood. The ultimate institution. No idea is safe from an ultimate ulterior motive, the motives of those who seek to own and monetise your creativity for their own ruthless purposes. Until only the fumes of passion keep the artist moving ahead to continuing the slowly depleting fibonacci cycle.

It may seem strange and ultimately melancholy of me to bring capitalism and the commodifying of creativity into a reflection about team work and collaboration, but if this past week and its subsequent reflections have taught me anything, it’s that everyone has their own reason for doing something. You’d better make damn sure that they’re all doing it for the right reasons, treating it the same way, with the same level of passion as you, or there will be major disparities in the workload and you will find yourself feeling alone, which is something no creative should feel on such a personal journey as creating something.


The shoot this morning went surprisingly well despite the fact that we only had 3 people on set in total, including myself (director), Chynnae and Ryan (actor). This meant that we had to be resourceful. I honestly don’t believe we would have been able to do it had I not already had the experience of dealing with problems on low budget and crew-strapped sets. We were also very lucky that we had no dialogue to record so were able to simply record atmos and sound effects after the scene was over, this allowed for Chynnae to hold the diffusion as I positioned the camera and filmed. I was able to direct, film and act as first A.D during the entire shoot. This may have been due to the nature of the scene, or the fact that as such a small crew we were struggling with so few hands, but with me taking charge and taking on those roles we were able to complete the shoot comfortably in record time.

Also, I talked more with Ryan and Chynnae about what roles they would like to take on further into the project, if they would like to become more involved in the editing process, sound design, organisation, etc. Ryan has said that he’d like to come on board to do the music and sound design (which is awesome!) and Chynnae wants to be more involved in the writing and editing processes. While I said I’d love the help with writing, I did however find that once we’d sat down I had written the piece already in a moment of inspiration. Hopefully Chynnae will be able to get more involved in the final moment that is yet to be written.

*I was unable to talk to Sam, as he was not at the shoot. He seems to be interested in camera though.

Reflection#10: A Concept Reveals Itself

After some soul searching and in-depth discussions with close, and very philosophical friends, I have finally uncovered what i really want to convey through my film.

Through their recommendations I looked into the definitions of the words which I previously used interchangeably:

Anthropomorphising – 1. to ascribe human form or attributes to (an animal, plant, material object, etc.)

Fetishising – a strong and unusual need or desire for something

: a need or desire for an object, body part, or activity for sexual excitement

: an object that is believed to have magical powers

A fetish is an extremely strong devotion to something. There are sexual fetishes and nonsexual fetishes: both are obsessive interests.

(Psychology) (tr) to be excessively or irrationally devoted to (an object, activity, etc)

ˌfetishiˈzation, ˌfetishiˈsation n


  1. the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.

“the book provides a sustained account of how literary personification works”

  1. a figure intended to represent an abstract quality. “the knight is accompanied by two feminine personifications of vice”

Romanticize. : to think about or describe something as being better or more attractive or interesting than it really is : to show, describe, or think about something in a romantic way.

And I found the words that expressed what I was truly trying to say.

I also explored dense philosophical concepts, such as the Other:


In phenomenology, the terms the Other and the Constitutive Other each identify a cumulative, constituting factor in the self-image of a person—the acknowledgement of being real. As such, the Other is dissimilar to and the opposite of the Self, of Us, and of the Same.[1] Otherness, the characteristics of the Other, is the state of being different from and alien to the social identity of a person and to the identity of the Self.[2] Another way of describing “The Other” is to portray oneself at the centre of focus and “The Other” on the outside.[3]

A cultural example of othering is when individuals that identify closely with their own ethnic or religious beliefs begin to gain the mentality that those who are different from them are problematic.[5] This can lead to extreme separation, alienation, and exclusion of the person or of people that is seen as different or unusual to the typical lens of one’s societal views.[6] Othering can be described as discrimination of people or a population that is different from the collective social norm; since they are different they are also seen as deviant or in need of being cultured by the group that is othering them.[6] (wikipedia)

As you can see, I only used Wikipedia for this exploration, but it was more than enough.

My friend Oliver even consolidated my ideas into two paths for me, which gave me two clear conceptual choices:

INSTINCT AS DESIRE – we romanticise animals in their unashamed pursuit to fulfill their desires – while social life is categorised by supression of desire.

INSTINCT AS STRESS – animals use stress to manage basic survival – whereas people use it for work and social interaction. 

While neither of these expressed the entirety of what I was hoping to get across, it did bring to me to this buzzword sentence:




Which ultimately brought me to my thesis statement:

Through romanticism, personification occurs. Realising something is better in turn triggers humanity to want that something to be like itself. Romanticism ultimately occurs through observation of the Other. The Other “is dissimilar to and the opposite of the Self, of Us, and yet of the Same” (wikipedia), that is to say that although the Other is not us, it gives the self meaning and reality, while ultimately being perceived through the lens of the self. The Other is only perceived through the lens of the self therefore it can only ever be a version of the self.

Basically, a critique of human subjectivity.

I also want to bring across the idea of ‘avoidance of the terminal journey’ through my film. This will hopefully come across through the mood and alienation.

Reflection #8: Presentation Feedback and Development

Wednesday’s presentations were all very interesting. While we presented three at a time and somehow managed to finish in time, the feedback the panel gave us was very helpful and gave all of our projects, whether all of us decide to move forward with them or work together in groups, each project now seems to have solid foundations to move forward from.

Some very valuable feedback I got for my project was less about the content and narrative (especially since my film concept is very experimental and non-conventional), and more about how to possibly connect and link the very different concepts and ideas. The possibility of using an actual phone to film was brought up as a convention to possibly bring all of the concepts together in a neat little package. this idea really appealled to me. Whether I only use a phone, or use a mixture of phone and DSLR camera to film, it will not only create a motif and aesthetic link between the vignettes/moments, but it will comment further on the key concept of the film, how we treat and anthropomorphise objects, animals and places in order to feel more secure within our own reality, but this treatment id not necessarily fair to the object, animal or place (it only benefits us).

Presentation Wednesday: Film Concept

For our week 7 crit panel, we had to present our film ideas that we’ll be working on for the next 6 weeks. Here is the transcript of my presentation:

Main observation: The Eb and Flow of the Anthropomorphised Object

It’s kind of sad that our phones are in a perpetual state of dying. That we are in dire need of them that much, as soon as they are about to leave this world in the most serene way, we tear them back into reality for our own selfish gain. We anthropomorphise them, we act as though they are our friends, we call them names, shame them, even hit them when they do us wrong somehow. And yet they are not ultimately human, as we wish they were. They are there to serve a purpose, there as our tools, with a battery life we choose to either prolong, or allow to eb into darkness as we no longer have a use for that phone anymore. No, we have a shiny, new phone. A new phone that is yet to know what it is like to be our electronic slave.


  • Exploring the way we interact with the world around us
  • The delusions we create in order to feel secure and survive in our own versions of reality. How we understand our world


  • The film will be around 5-6 minutes containing around 5 moments or vignettes and will follow the style of Jane Campion’s Passionless Moments, a film showing the strange, eclectic moments of suburban life, with third person voice over.
  • The film should follow a more coherent and connected narrative than passionless moments, rather than just being connected by place.
  • Examples of moments that could be in the film include watching birds fly in the sky and imagining what dance they must be performing; How we treat our phones; The evolution of phones to become more human (e.g. Siri), and yet the loss of the human element, as they are made solely as a tool and for our own gratifying purpose; How we treat animals; How we treat other objects and situations (the idea of order being better than chaos)

Poetic voice over will explain and satirise the moments. It will also aid in creating coherency between moments
The development process of the film will be a combination of scripting and continued observation.

Observation #17

The Monster

The cat shrieks back, it’s fur raised and fangs snarling fiercely. The duck flaps its wings and cranes itself above the bird, so high it becomes a monstrous image. The cat zig-zags around the duck in an effort to get away from it, but cannot get past the flapping, quacking monstrosity before it. The cat feels cornered. It keeps hissing and shrieking at the duck, but it won’t relent. So the cat does instead. It scurries away, scaling a fence one thought too high for a cat to mount. And the duck flaps, victoriously quacking into the air.


About the dynamic between two people, two rivals about to clash. One is your typical bulky, jock type who is starting this fight in order to defend his honour. The other is your typical skinny geek. Everyone would automatically assume that the jock would win. But the geek is surprisingly vicious, and more than holds his own. Will he grant the jock mercy? About averting current perceptions and archetypal stereotypes.

Reflection #7: Editing Individual Exercise #3

For individual exercise #3, we had to use footage we had filmed along with footage from other groups in the class to create some kind of coherent, visual, experimental observation. For my piece, unfortunately all of my groups footage had been lost, so I decided to use every other groups footage. In a way this was a far more therapeutic and rewarding process, utilising footage from other peoples’ perspectives, that I had never seen before, it allowed me to draw conclusions and links between footage I don’t believe would have been possible had I used footage I had shot myself, and therefore had previous knowledge of. Through this process I drew links between seemingly discordant footage and represented a picture that to me, showed the slow encroachment of humanity upon nature within such places as the city, through imagery of plants combining with urban sprawl and the constant auditory motif of the crossing signal. The images of humanity seen only through shadows created a sinister presence which was fully revealed in the final shot of the fork lift, a very impacting, loud and visceral shot, with a juxtaposing beep of its own.

I chose not to shoot further footage as I felt the point I was trying to get across was expressed completely through the footage I already had available to me. I also believe that making a concious decision as to what would need to be added visually, would take away from the links and connections I had created in the editing process. Through removing myself from the filming process and being solely involved in the editing process, I was able to connect with the visual aesthetics of the footage to a greater degree and find emotional links and connections that otherwise wouldn’t have been found, having a preconceived notion of the footage’s meaning and various qualities.