Analysis/Reflection 2 (Q4)

In the tute we screened a short film called Rolling – a film made in Film-TV1 a few years ago.

In 300 words or less describe what you thought worked or didn’t. At this stage we don’t expect you to have a great deal of film knowledge or language. Don’t be afraid to use your own words. Things you could talk about – script, casting, timing, camera movement, location. You may not remember much detail, if so, it could be helpful to talk about your first impressions, after all this is what most of us are left with after one viewing.

I thought the story idea was great for a short film. Short films cannot afford to be overcomplicated, so Rolling nailed it – it was simple and straightforward, even heartfelt. I liked how the film opened with the (almost) ending, piquing the audience’s interest in the crazy amount of toilet paper rolls and the plot unfolded via a subsequent flashback. At the end of the film, we return to the beginning scene of the dejected-looking man and his toilet paper rolls, and we find out that he scores a chance at his crush.

It was cliche and predictable, but it was a good example of a simple story idea executed well. It kept the audience engaged and made us all go a little ‘aww’ at the end, which I suppose is what films should do: engage and entertain.

The locations were easy. I think with the short time we have, we may not be able to use too many locations. From what I recall, there were two locations throughout the film: the Asian grocery store and the man’s apartment. The grocer was quiet and pretty much void of people, so that made filming easier. The man’s small apartment also allowed for the camera to easily capture the entire room filled with toilet paper rolls, so we got a sense of how excessive those rolls were. Some aspects to consider when choosing locations: 1) layout – a space where the camera operator can navigate around easily and smoothly is ideal, 2) noise – private property (e.g. the apartment) tend to be quieter, but public spaces (e.g. Asian grocer) may be crowded and noisier. Such noise may hinder filming, so I felt the quiet Asian grocer was perfect for Rolling.

The male lead was fantastic as the awkward secret admirer, but the female lead wasn’t as good an actress – she delivered some of her lines rather unnaturally.

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Analysis/Reflection 2 (Q2)

Select from one of the readings, up to but not including Week 5, and briefly describe two points that you have taken from it. Points that excite you, something that was completely new to you.

Week 3 – Sound design

  1. How to listen and what to listen for:
    This particular section was interesting because we so often take our listening for granted. We don’t usually scrutinise sound—its various layers and textures—in an environment. I’d imagine the sound of a chick hatching would simply be a cracking eggshell, followed by a couple of chirps. However, deeper listening would unveil sounds more than cracks and chirps. Listening conscientiously is vital to creating good sound design, so I’ll be sure to pay more attention to my surroundings.
  2. Sound depicts identity:
    I thought this point would be useful for the short film my group will be working on. Our film is basically about a mother who eavesdrops on her son and his friend from his bedroom door. She hears curious noises and imagines her son and his friend doing “terrible things”, such as watching porn and smoking up. These “curious noises” include water bubbling [in a bong] and moaning [from porn videos], so we’ll have to find alternative situations whereby similar noises would be used. For example, the bubbling water could have actually come from a kettle, instead of a bong. We’ll have to find alternative identities for those sounds.
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Analysis/Reflection 2 (Q1)

In the film Clown Train how does sound contribute to the atmosphere of this film? Describe what you heard? Can you make reference to another genre film and how they utilise sound to create tension and a unique filmic space?

I hear a constant background sound (that I can’t really describe) that is typical in horror movies during high-tension scenes. The sound editor drives up this sound as the film escalates to a climax. There is also static noise from the lights going on and off. Sound definitely adds to the suspense and intensity of this film, creating build-up that keeps viewers on the edge.

This student short, VICTIM, also uses similar sounds to create tension – lots of static and build-up. It uses that similar background sound in Clown Train and layers it with sounds of birds chirping, jogging, etc. Towards the end, the sound editor adds more sound effects (e.g. leaves crunching, branches snapping) in more frequent and sudden intervals.

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Analysis/Reflection 1 (Q3)

Select from one of the readings from week 1 or 2 and briefly describe two points that you have taken from that reading. Points that excite you, something that was completely new to you.

There were some great takeaways from the Slogans for the Screenwriter’s Wall reading, and two of which are:

  1. The importance of props
    I hadn’t realise the importance of props and the role of the director prior to this reading. For a director to get an actor to do what he wants, he can manipulate their actions by inserting certain props. This ability to conceive and predict an actor’s actions and behaviour would require a deep understanding of the actor himself, which is possibly why directors enjoy working with the same actors over and over (e.g. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, Wong Kar-Wai and Tony Leung). I’d always assumed the onus of “good acting” mostly lay with the actors themselves, but the director appears to have a more important role than I’d previously imagined.

    In this scene from Moonrise Kingdom, the Scout Master (Edward Norton) conducts the morning inspection and holds a cigarette throughout the process. I thought it a very useful prop because he filled in the periods of silence with smoking and used it as a pointer when directing the scouts. It probably also served as a distinct separation between him and his boy scouts; he appeared more “adult-ish” – man vs. boy.

    I find a good way to determine the usefulness of a prop is to imagine the same scene without the said prop – which would be Norton’s cigarette in this case. He would have appeared less contemplative when reading the papers and it would have made those periods of silence less entertaining.

  2. Character progression
    What would a story be without its characters, right? Zilch. In the first lecture, Jasmine said bad characters are boring characters. We watch films for drama, so obviously, we’d like to see that happen. We love to witness the journey characters take; we love a revelation, a transformation. We need to see a character make progress, whether it’d be good or bad. Often times it is the former, but a good example of a “bad” progress is the character Harvey Dent from Batman: The Dark Knight.

    In the beginning, Harvey was an upright district attorney who campaigned for justice – a White Knight, they say. But he and his girlfriend Rachel end up at the Joker’s mercy, Batman chooses to save Harvey instead of Rachel and she dies. Harvey survives, but is disfigured and is now known as Two-Face. He is overcome with grief and sets out to enact revenge, killing several in the process. He even holds Gordon’s family hostage and threatens to kill his son. Batman, however, comes to the rescue and kills Two-Face.

    So there we have it: Harvey’s 360° transformation.

    One of the story ideas I came up with was a 40 year-old nurse, Liz, who becomes cynical about love after her third divorce and decides to give up on it. However, she falls in love with a charming terminal cancer patient who is left with six months to live. I’ll definitely be putting more thought into developing my characters now, especially Liz. Perhaps we could swing from forlorn and distrustful Liz to happy and hopeful at the end. We’ll see!

Thanks for reading, guys.

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Analysis/Reflection 1 (Q2)

Consider Jasmine’s lecture on Screenwriting and briefly describe one point that you have taken from it. A point that excites you, something that was completely new to you, perplexes you or even one you take issue with.

One point that struck me most during Jasmine’s lecture was the fifth point: Make your character interesting.

This point was obvious enough, but I realised our desire for dramatisation is imbued in our reality. No one likes a boring person. That is why people like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber constantly grace the front covers of OK! and US Weekly. Good characters are controversial and multi-dimensional; they’re always struggling. Hollywood big shots like Christian Bale and Chris Hemsworth enjoy phenomenal success, but they are less publicised partially because they appear “normal” – they don’t spit at fans or swing naked on a wrecking ball. They are good people, and good people don’t make for drama.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy ranks high on my list of favourite movies. Besides a very successful narrative based on the hero’s journey, the LOTR characters were incredibly well-developed. One of them is Gollum, a wretched creature whose sole obsession is the Ring. In the beginning, he appears purely despicable in his quest to retrieve the Ring from Frodo. However it is later revealed that he was once a hobbit who morphed into a hideous monster after the Ring had corrupted him. Throughout the trilogy, he constantly fights his obsession and tries to help Frodo. He is weak-willed and fallible, but his internal struggles make him a very interesting character that viewers can empathise with.

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Analysis/Reflection 1 (Q1)

In 200 words or less please outline your goals, desires – what you want to get out of this semester.

Upon graduation, I hope to dabble in the field of marketing and branding, so I hope I’ll be able to learn how to write and tell a good and effective story. On top of that, I also hope to pick up a multitude of technical skills, such as directing, lighting, sound design, etc. While I won’t be able to specialise in all these fields, I hope to at least gain a better understanding of their mechanics, i.e. how they work.

I’ve also always enjoyed and admired short films I watch on Vimeo and YouTube, and I never thought I would get the chance to produce my own short film! It’s all very exciting and I definitely hope to produce a great one – something entertaining, something meaningful, something with soul, something Vimeo and YouTube users would “like”.

Here’s a particularly lovely one:

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Final reflections on Networked Media

Congrats, Summer class of 2014! WE ARE DONE. Some hardworking champs we are, to be hanging around school while the rest of the campus is on break.

Most of what I remember from the past six weeks of Networked Media revolve around Niki and blogs. Guess what. I’ve actually managed to sustain a blog for six weeks! Kudos, Kimberly! New achievement unlocked! I most definitely deserve a shiny badge for this.

My favourite part of the course was definitely blogging. I like having my thoughts somewhere to go. But what I didn’t expect was that this exercise would help me get to know my classmates better, way beyond classroom interaction. It did; I now know Dana is a kick-ass illustrator, Mardy is a superb wedding photographer, Esther has a way with words, Bryan loves cookies and Tim‘s latest wish is for the perfect housemate. (All the best, Timmy.)

On a more academic note, it also made sure I was engaged with my least favourite part of the course – the readings. They can be dry. Like very dry. Like Weetbix without milk. Yeah, not cool. There were some I couldn’t understand quite well, like DNS and ANT, but there were others, like the six degrees of separation, that were more interesting and easier to grasp.

Nevertheless, I’ve learned plenty. I’ve learned that the media landscape is evolving at a much faster rate than I imagined. I’ve learned that the world is getting smaller and smaller as we speak. I’ve learned that few things are impossible. I’ve learned that new media has a very exciting future and Networked Media is the first step to understanding it. Tough course – even tougher in six weeks. So thanks Elliot, for being an amazing tutor and cupcake wizard.

Peace and love. Until next time!

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The second last workshop

We continued to work on our final Nikis yesterday, which means: more Assange.

(Image credit: VICE) Assange used to have a good pal on the Wikileaks team. His name was Daniel Domscheit-Berg (also known as Daniel Schmitt). However, Schmitt left Wikileaks in 2011 after Assange “suspended” him. Schmitt later wrote a book titled Inside Wikileaks: my time with Julian Assange at the world’s most dangerous website. There was a chapter dedicated to Assange. Schmitt spoke about their early friendship. Assange had lived with Schmitt for a period of time, during which Schmitt said Assange was a difficult person to live with. More interesting tales followed. Apparently…

  • Assange was a lost cause with directions – he often lost his way to Schmitt’s house multiple times and Schmitt would have to pick him up every time.
  • Assange had a beyond impressive level of concentration – he would stay up for nights on end, rooted in the same position, in front of his laptop.
  • Assange ate everything with his hands and merely wiped them on his pants after he was finished (and Schmitt was worried Assange would destroy his couch).

As a whole, Assange appeared rather peculiar and egocentric. So we’ve explored this side of his personality in the Niki, hinting at his inflated ego through his mannerism and speech. We hope that has worked out well. Throw us some feedback tomorrow, guys! See you later!

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I did a photoshoot with the gorgeous Amira a few months ago. This was shot in her studio at Monash, where she studies Fine Art and majors in Painting. Isn’t she just stunning?

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Continue reading

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Shooting film

Whenever I whip out my digital SLR to take a photo, my mom likes to remind me: “Don’t waste your shots!” I chortle and tell her this is not a film camera and I can take a virtually unlimited number of shots. She doesn’t understand.

My mom came from an era of analog cameras, where people worked with 36 exposures a roll; the concept of SD cards and a “Delete” button was foreign. My mom was careful with her shots. She wouldn’t have taken a photo of every #eatclean #fitspo smoothie she had. She wouldn’t have taken a photo of every #ootd (i.e. “outfit of the day”). She took photos of stuff she really liked, like me and my brothers. Like our dad throwing us in the air. Like us on our birthdays. Like us on our family vacations.

She obviously never made the switch from a film camera to a digital one.

I hardly had a chance to use a film camera. When I was young, I was a destructive monster – my mom was right to guard her camera from me. As I grew older and into a more responsible teenager, I received my first pocket digital camera at 16. It was a Canon Ixus. I loved it for the following two years. But I began to get frustrated – I wanted more control over my shots; I wanted better photos; I wanted a DSLR. But I couldn’t afford one then and the alternative presented to me was a SLR, albeit in its non-digital, analog form. Fine, I said to myself. I’ll just give it a go. And a secondhand Minolta X-700 was purchased.


I fell in love with it. Hard. I began to view photography in a whole new light – it was art. It taught me, perhaps, even a way of life. The moment before you click the shutter is a moment of meditation. You pause, you think, you contemplate. And it is that meditative experience that brings new meaning to a shot.

Here are some shots I took last September in Sydney with the Contax T2, a new (non-SLR) film camera I’d bought then:

A002237-R1-01-2 A002237-R1-02-3 A002237-R1-04-5 A002237-R1-05-6

But film photography is a dying art. After all, it is more cost-efficient to shoot with digital cameras in the long run. Major film manufacturers have been cutting back on film production; the complete cessation of film production is probably a matter of time. When that time comes, it will be a sad day and film enthusiasts around the world will mourn in unison… But until then, I’m a very lucky girl, to have been able to experience the magic film cameras afford.

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