Doing this particular project brief was challenging on many levels. In one respect I found it problematic to explore key aspects of the subject and then making it cohesive as an entire piece. This was particularly noticeable with regards to the beginning, although my intent was to have a creepy vibe, because Jessica’s favourite film genre is horror, it was hard to make the rest of the footage seamless. I believe that I succeeded in giving the film a dark edge by choice of colours and sounds while also exploring fundamental aspects of her character. I found editing the piece far more challenging than previous times, possibly because I had more time and I challenge myself further. One aspect I found I successfully applied was illustrating my concepts with little accompanying text — something I’m normally inclined to include. I wanted to prove, to myself more than anyone, that I could create a piece of work without relying on text to reiterate or over-explain concepts and images. I found sufficient time was imperative in enabling me to create this piece of media. Previously I had not allowed sufficient time to think about or create the work I’d visualised, to allow it to develop. This time, however, I allowed myself to make mistakes and correct them accordingly; hence ensuring the work that was what I envisioned and more. The possibilities of creating a portrait on one individual initially seemed limited but, as I thought about what I could create, numerous ideas came to me. The best plan of attack, for me, was to focus on a theme and then build from there; as mentioned earlier I set the video in a sinister hue and then elaborate. An essential lesson I learnt in this particular creative process was that being successful does not depend upon being obvious, I realised that, although a tired cliché, a picture can tell a story, and possible give a better insight than an obvious narrative ever could, but also enables the viewer to bring their own interpretation to the film.
The Simpsons is the iconic, satirical American sitcom cartoon. Shown all around the world, it appeals to a vast audience including different social, age, and economical demographics. Through a narrative structure and stereotypical characterisation it explores, with some derision, the typical America lower-middle-class family. The empirical audience can appreciate the social commentary the show explores while also conscious that it is comedic: therefore understanding that hyperbolic displays of emotion or impractical storylines are intended to amuse an audience. An informed audience can further deduce, that perhaps The Simpson’s family epitomises the destruction of the American dream: exploring themes of consumerism, corrupted politicians, wealth disparity, secularism and insufficient education systems.
It is the general audience’s social construct, particularly those of modern-westered civilisations, which enables The Simpsons to flourish and remain relevant. If the show, however, were introduced to someone of a strong religious affinity often in theocratic countries, it would then adopt an entirely new interpretation. Homer may be interpreted as repugnant and abhorrent in his gluttony and violence; Bart as disrespectful and mischievous; Lisa as pretentious and narcissistic; and perhaps, Maggie as sloth — who knows?
It is the characters faults however, that ground The Simpsons in reality. An empirical audience does not aspire to conform to the family’s mould, but rather can empathise or sympathise with respective characters: ultimately, Homer is well-meaning father; Marge a hard-working mother; Bart a rebellious yet loving son; and Lisa an intelligent and compassionate daughter.
So, what is collaboration? Collaboration is an exciting process that for us, as media students, will become very involved in through out edification. It is often employed to allow a group of individuals to as a team to create innovating and exciting concepts around any given project/activity. ‘Forming, storming, norming, performing’ is the formula used to explain collaborative team dynamics and their functions; although a pretty dry summary, it does Successfully explain how many relationships use this process. Comparing this process to ones I have used in previous collaborative work, particularly at school, illustrates how collaboration takes effort to ensure the best possible outcome. In school I found the first idea would often be the one we’d choose and then one individual would often take the brunt of the workload — not very collaborative, if you ask me. In The creative power of collaboration’, Keith Sawyer spoke of the negative effects of collaboration: that the group has the ability to make ‘us all dumber’. Although this is true in some situations I have found I thrive in a group environment as I feel people can add or build to my ideas and excel them to a degree that I otherwise could not. Times I have seen faults in this however, are coy or shy individuals who either due to intimidation or confusion do not talk or contribute their opinions, for a while, I was one of those people. It occurred to me one day that perhaps, it isn’t about having the best ideas, or being the brightest in the group, but accepting that your opinion can bring something entirely new or novice to a concept that no one else had even considered.
I am thoroughly looking forward to our latest project brief, where we are asked to create a self-portrait about somebody we know. Perhaps the reason I am so excited is the fact that I can expand beyond myself, to workout how to best describe someone else, this, to me, feels far less intimidating than the other two project briefs. The person I have chosen to explore is my long-time friend Jes. The reason I have chosen to explore her life is mainly due to the fact she has seen, done and experienced so much in her 20 years that there is so much I can go off on, hopefully not too much.
One idea I would like to explore is setting this video within a horror setting. The reason being Jes is truly fascinated by horror films, particularly the idea of vampires, something I hope to explore. One thing I am slightly worried about when presenting this project is that I don’t do her justice, and that I’ll focus too much on the superficial, something I was guilty of in my other two projects, however the ideas I’ve had are anything but shallow, however, this gives me another headache: how open should I be? There are things about myself that I would dread someone discussing, mainly insecurities, yet they do form a large part of who I am and why I am the way I am. I have discussed how open I could be and she has very bravely said, ‘do anything’. Whilst this shows her character as well as any video could, it is still a concern. I will vow to make sure she is comfortable in what I say before I show or submit anything.
I have chosen to be far more abstract and artistic in this project brief, the constraints are hardly limiting; which is both intimidating and exciting. I will rely strongly on visuals to illustrate my points, as it is an appropriate time to expand beyond my comfort zone: text. I hope I will learn how to but my ideas in a media form; so I imagine this will be challenging and enlightening, it is very exciting.
The latest workshop was focused on presenting our most recent project brief (self portrait #2) and then giving a walk-through the video and explaining what we felt we did well and what we felt we could of improved on. As If I wasn’t already intimidated enough by the talents in the room, what I witnessed was nothing short of astounding; I sure was not excited about presenting my work.
Although I felt all the works had great merit and ultimately showed us exactly what the individual was like, there are a couple that particularly stood out to me. The first was ‘If I was a car’ by Alexander Ferguson, his title was captivating from the get go, and complemented by his beat boxing ability, for me, really worked. I was also thoroughly impressed by the editing ability: being able to change the number plate to ‘slow ride’; it was very innovative and I though it gave a great insight to what type of person he is. Another self-portrait that really stood out to me was bliss’s self-portrait, mainly due to its abstract nature, as I didn’t see anything else like it, but also her ability to be so forwardly open. Bliss’s manipulation of the artefacts crafted a video that was both chaotic and neat; I will definitely look at her work to inspire me on my next project brief.
When presenting my own work, its safe to say I was incredibly scared and daunted by the works that I preceded. I wouldn’t say my work was anywhere near as well constructed or well-thought-out as the pieces I mentioned above, but after presenting I felt that, perhaps, I did get my ideas through, and that is all I really wanted out of the project. The main criticism I received where that the guitar overpowered the video marginally, and that is something I didn’t realise until it was presenting on the larger scale, and definitely something I will try and improve on the next project, if I decide to use guitar.
Leaving the workshop I felt that I had many new ideas for the next project brief; the main being that I will attempt to be more visual in the next video, as I feel I relied far too much on text in the last project brief: I look forward to exploring my new ideas, actually I’m pretty excited.