How has my practice changed over the duration of the semester in this studio? What have I learnt?
Starting off the year, I was unclear of what this course had in store for me and what the outcomes would be. The first project we did was a presentation based around a case study – I chose to do my presentation on Youtuber I like quite a lot. Filthy Frank is possibly the dodgiest and crude Youtuber out there, making videos ranting about particular types of people and pranks that really push the moral boundaries. It’s in this sense that we can see that his style of humour is an acquired taste. When presenting, I could see that almost everyone found what I was showing was ‘weird’. Only one person was laughing from what I remember. This presentation really showed me how broad online video can be, but also the moral boundaries users push when it comes to racking up views online or just making a funny video. The online landscape is filled with trolls, and the fact that people can essentially post whatever they want does make you question what’s really right and wrong when it comes to online content.
Moving forward into Project Two, I paired up with Kim to again tackle another case study and create sketches from it. At first, we both wondered if comedy was a good plan – we both had done comedy as our case study for Project One. However, we weren’t exactly funny individuals, so we decided to look into the travel video genre, using the works of Devin Graham as our main case study. This was the first time I had really done sketching in video form, and at first, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I was lost for a long time trying to figure out how to create so many sketches based from one case study, but once I found out that the sketches were there to be used to analyse the case study, it became a lot more clear. I was very proud of the sketches I created, based from Graham’s work. The feedback I received was positive towards the technical side of things, but I was advised to try looking more into form and narrative next time, which definitely opened up my eyes a bit more to the aim of the course. At the end of the day, we are exploring narrative/non-narrative with online video practices.
Thus, when it came to Project Three, we had a general idea that we wanted to explore narrative in the travel video genre, but we just weren’t sure how to do it. After discussions about a ‘video diary’, we landed on the concept of data collection, which is something every can do on their smart phones. I think this applied heavily to the studio prompt, as the readily accessible software on phones allow for people to share their content online so easily. This also gave our project a more DIY approach, which was encouraged throughout the course as it is essentially a characteristic of most online videos. Again, this time we were producing more sketches – even more than Project Two. I still had problems though as I found it difficult to create such a large amount of sketches based on the concept we had decided to explore further on with. As this wasn’t a case study, it was difficult for me to come up with sketch ideas as I wasn’t analysing something. Mainly Project Three ended up being a series of experiments based around particular apps Kim and I had looked into, along with playing around with narrative structure.
The panel responded well to our presentation and concept, but marks were deducted as we didn’t create 14 sketches. I believe if I put more time into brain storming more ideas for sketches based around sampling and data collection, we would have received a higher mark. In the end, even the sketches I had created I wasn’t particularly happy with. For some reason they didn’t turn out how I wanted them to – I wanted the narrative structure to really come through. However, Kim’s work was very strong, and her Moves sketch was what we decided to proceed with for Project Four.
This finally leads us to the current state we’re at, as we’ve just finished Project Four! Now that we were focused with a particular concept, I thought the work we were creating was a lot more stronger. All the iterations Kim and I created were based around Moves as were advised to become ‘Moves’ experts. The sampling has also become a big part in the way our footage has been captured. The final prototype I was very happy with, and I think mainly because it was the first time Kim and I were working on it together – all the sketches we had made previously were individually created. However, we extensively worked together to create the final prototype, and I think the end result was pretty terrific.
I’ve definitely got a better idea of the aim of the course now then I did at the start of the year. At the end of the day this is course about experimentation and creating something that hasn’t been done before. I think I’ve learnt from this experience that in order to create something new, there’s a lot of trial and error – all the sketches that we made previously can be seen as this, but they were also research which is another factor that led to our final project. Research and analysis is something that needs to be done as it allows us to understand both form and technique.
Thus, I think I have taken away a lot from this course as I created content I never thought I would in this course. Sketching is something I would like to continue doing, even once I graduate – I think it gives filmmakers the chance to experiment and test out certain ideas which might come into play later. Of course, working in a team is something that helped a lot this semester, which is interesting as the class, including me, voted against working in pairs. I definitely now see how working in a team can benefit you a lot, as you can share ideas and obviously use each others strengths to create something. As I graduate this semester, these are things I will take onboard moving forward as I head into the workforce.