Throughout the self-portrait brief I attempted to contrast the way I see myself with how my friends see me. In the last brief, I focused solely on how others perceive me, figuring it was the most accurate description of myself; however, on reflection I realised I was simply shying away from being overtly personal. In the start of the video I used friends’ words to give the audience a concise description of myself upon which to build. Throughout the video, I attempted to show strengths and weaknesses along with my passions and hobbies, feeling as though showing one or the other wouldn’t give an accurate depiction of myself. One weakness I focused on was my disorganisation: an integral part of who I am. I showed this through an audio clip of myself and friends talking about how undisciplined we can be. I also emphasised my love of music throughout the video, something I used in my first project brief; however, I focused less on musicians and, rather, used my own composition as an audio piece running as a motif through the video, giving the piece a sense of structure. Also, through editing, I attempted to tie the visual cues to sound clips to again give the video a sense of form: using a photo of my journal combined with various typing audios dubbed over, enabled the audience to see that although I love modern technology can be an ‘old soul’. I still feel there is a strong place in the world for ink and paper. My ‘old soul’ was further symbolised by the record player that I visually edited to contrast my love of the old with my love of the new, and how I strongly believe they are complementary rather mutually exclusive. There are points through the video, however, that I wished I could have improved, in particular the video shot of my cat. My love of animals forms a strong part of me, but I didn’t feel it was fully integrated into the video.
Overall, feel as though I painted an accurate depiction of myself; however there a plenty of areas I would like to improve and am looking forward to doing so over the duration of the course.
Last week I was meaning to post my Writing Angles work on the horror genre, I forgot – but here it is now!
What is about William Peter Blatty’s ‘The Exorcist’ that has people enthralled with one eye open, what makes us turn to the next page of Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’ or offer a dubious laugh at the clichéd interplay of Oren Peli’s ‘Paranormal Activity’?
Some may argue horror movies are symptomatic of the modern ere, yet a century has past since George Méliès took the first foray into the horror genre with graphic and horrifying depictions of Demon Mephistopheles* in ‘The House of the Devil’.
Over a hundred years later horror filmmakers still hark about to such early cinema, and use evolutionary fear to cause trepidation; being that of the dark, the unknown, predators and, of course, our mortality. The latter is a prerequisite to all horror films, the fear of death is so innate that even to conceptualise our death is enough to put most on the edge of their seats, a good result for any filmmaker, horror or otherwise.
Some horror films, however, explore the world of immortality and ironically this can sometimes be as, if not more, frightening than death. In Bram Stoker’s 1922 classic ‘Nosferatu’, the depiction of Count Orlok is not a converted one; a tall shadowed man with the long clawed hands and glass-eyed expression all portray immortality as something entirely abhorrent.
In modern day horror, filmmakers go beyond intrinsic fears and explore our psychology on a much deeper level, enabling them to give a once innocent image an insidious reputation, for instance, the children in John Wynham’s ‘Village of the Damned’ or the clown in Larry Cohen and Tommy Lee Wallance’s ‘It’. This metamorphosis is an unnatural one, and is engendered by such films, once more begging the question, why do we watch them?
Perhaps it’s about catharsis, the thrill, or to be ‘that’ person who attempts to prove ‘horror movies don’t scare me’ whilst cringing as ‘Chuckie’ turns a corner with a knife. Ultimately we tend to love them as they have become engrained within our society. Maybe the most obvious reason we love, yet endure, such films is the comfort we feel in knowing they’re not real, or are they…
In this week’s reading, Blood in the Gutter by Scott McCloud, we were introduced to the concept of closure: the idea of only having parts yet being able to perceive them as a whole. This was further discussed by Liam Ward in our Media One lectorial as he gave us visual examples of how closure actually works.
Closure is what happens between shots, the gaps that allow a viewer to gauge and interpret a series of events and give them meaning. I spoke in my Reflective Portfolio about how Liam Ward showed the effect of comparing Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones and then one of Liberal MP Christopher Pyne and allowed, without commenting, the room to make an association.
We were also introduced to the Kuleshov effect: the idea of deriving a meaning or association between two consecutive shots, that would otherwise be insurmountable if the shots stood in isolation. A short film was used to illustrate this: It showed a man’s face followed by either a bowl of soup, a child in a coffin or a women lounging on a couch. Although the man’s face remained the same, the audience had to readjust what he might be looking at, thereby interpreting his expression differently: hunger when looking at the soup, sorrow when looking over the dead child and lust when looking over the woman. Illustrating how sequencing and editing different footage together allows an audience to change their interpretations and the effect closure can have to create distinct and sometimes polar interpretations of the same image.
This week’s lectorial consisted of two incredibly insightful speakers: Adrian Miles and Liam Ward.
Adrian Miles primarily spoke of the ways in which we approach study and how often we find comfort in conceptualising an idea as if it were a ‘thing’. This was of particular interest to me as, like many, I am guilty of this. When a large assignment is due soon, and I haven’t completed or, in some cases, haven’t started, I relieve my sense of anxiety by thinking and planning what I could do and how I would approach it, all the while not even attempting a tangible start. Reflecting on Adrian’s words, I had somewhat of an epiphany: I am the only one that can facilitate or actualise my success.
Points made in Adrian presentation some-what reminded me of the snippet from the Ricky Gervais Show –
Prior to this ‘lectorial’ I had envisioned the world of editing as simply correcting others’ faults; now I realise I really couldn’t have been more ignorant. Liam said ‘editing is deliberately breaking things’, never having viewed editing like this I was initially perplexed, yet as he explained further I realise it’s much like a Rubik Cube: taking all the pieces that pre-exist and amalgamating them to work as a cohesive unit. Liam further enshrined his point by simply showing a photo of the infamous Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones and then one of Liberal MP Christopher Pyne, forcing us to make the association: pure evil. Liam also explored the idea of editing as something that creates meaning, describing how surveillance footage as one continues shot would be boring and insignificant, yet pulling elements out and constructing them thoughtfully, can allow the footage to evoke an entirely different meaning or interpretation.
Prior to our media one session I was anxious about presenting my work to the class, not realising it was a unanimous feeling as we walked through Building 9. There was something so intimate about presenting something where the brief was quite literally ‘you’. Although I was satisfied with my end result, I still had no idea if I was going to do something entirely different to everyone else; endeavouring not to embarrass myself, I very much stayed on the ‘safe side’. I felt a rush of relief when told we would only be presenting to a small group of people, and also when we were shown examples of our tutor’s work before ours. Once presenting the work I realised we all chose very similar ideas, the major being the dichotomy of home life compared to social life. I definitely, without realising, conformed to this theme, as I felt it painted two accurate yet different portraits of myself: how I interact with friends compared to how I am at home.
The act of critiquing work is something that I struggle with — I’d rather send someone down the ‘yellow-brick road’ than tell the honest truth (not to be disingenuous, but rather to save hurt feelings). The ‘colour-coded method’, however, allowed us to be candid, but meant that, perhaps, the punch was softened. I found it relatively easy to say something positive or to give alternative ideas I had, yet when it came to things that didn’t work not many put their hands up. Being the self-deprecating teens that we are, we self-assigned ourselves to this task, showing that we are ready to critique our own work before others. This is something that we will surely become more comfortable with over the duration of the year, and we will hopefully realise that constructive critiques are necessary in order to improve in our craft.
Before our lectorial I didn’t have a great understanding of the copyright laws in Australia, something fairly obvious by what I submitted in my first project brief. Copyright laws are something that will obviously become integral to our careers in media, and getting some insight in the lectorial was very beneficial. One point I found practically interesting was determining if something was substantially similar to an existing work, particularly in modern-day society, where it is said that no one can truly think of an original idea. The copyright laws pertaining to music were of interest to me, I really had no concept of what was allowed or not, especially considering applications and websites like YouTube and Sound-Cloud make listening to music for free very easy. After being edified on the copyright laws I returned to my project brief and rectified where I was in breach, and am able to take such insight with me to my next project brief.
The second part of lecture was about Exploring the Unknown with Kyla Brettle. I found Kyla’s presentation very interesting and captivating, and helped me understand the necessity of going beyond complacency and pushing my comfort levels. I have always felt at sometime during my course I would love to travel and explore places all around the world, something Kyla’s presentation only further enshrined. Her radio shorts were very fascinating. Radio has always been something I would be interesting to pursue post-university and the fact that it has given her the opportunity to explore the globe and offer life-changing opportunities was of profound interesting to me.
The final part of the lectorial was with Paul Richard, who, through way of antidotes, demonstrated the need for organisation and preparation before endeavouring to do any projects. For someone who is intrinsically disorganised, this is something I may have to add to my ‘dear future self’ list. During my ‘self-portrait brief’ I experienced a case of ‘that’s not going to work’, when an idea to film my cat simply wasn’t working as well as I’d hoped; due to poor organisation, I had no ‘plan B’, something I will implement with my upcoming project brief – hopefully.