somehow this week, the readings for each of our subjects all seemed to interconnect. while this was kinda helpful in that they were all discussing similar topics, it did get a but confusing where they kinda all blurred together into one and i wasn’t sure which reading was for which subject and needed to be used to answer which question. and it didn’t help that the reading for this subject was the same as one we did for cinema studies this time last year and both it and the reading for cinema studies this week were covering documentaries of some form or another. luckily, my brain is completely fried and i managed to get through them all without a complete and total meltdown. and here’s what i gathered.
at first glance, i wasn’t really to sure where the connections were between boardwell and thompsons “film art, an introduction” excerpts and our course. but i think i got it (i’m prob wrong so feel free anyone to comment and give your own opinions). this reading began with narrative and the construction and functions of narrative and it’s effect on it’s audience. it then moved on to experimental films before finishing at the different types of documentary. these three sections can be combined to create what we are doing in integrated media this year with our korsakow films and the little sketch tasks.
we were given a simple task to make a 6 second video. but we still needed to make them. and that is where all of these topics come in. do we try and make a story when we film them? do we try and simply document something? or do we want to make them abstract and random, with no meaning? and yet, each of these are linked. when we choose what it is we want to film, we must then choose where we film it from, for how long, how close in, what it does, if we move the camera and why we are choosing that. and every one of these influences the film as a whole. and then, as an audience, we seem to immediately and subconsciously try to associate a meaning to whatever we watch. as the reading stated, as viewers, “We often infer events that are not explicitly presented”, that is, we try and make connections out of what we see, even if nothing is explicitly shown. the reading claims that “In general, the spectator actively seeks to connect events by means of cause and effect.” but what if there is no discernible cause and effect?
this is where the experimental film joins the conversation. are our films experimental? are they abstract? are they associational? certainly when i filmed a painting on my wall, i was not trying to tell a story. there was no cause for filming it and no effect that occurred from it being there or bing filmed. and yet, can connections be made between that film of my painting and say my other film of a wallet being opened and closed? again, when i took those films, i had no connection in mind, just trying to fill the “something square” criteria. and yet, there may be abstract connections made. or even connections through causality, space and time. yes, both were square items, both were filmed during the day, both films were 6 seconds long. but perhaps the film of the wallet opening and closing following that of the painting insinuates purchasing the painting and now having no money? i don’t know. i just thought of that now. and i made these videos 2 weeks ago. and this make me realise how all the different elements of this reading fit together. that nothing is accidental, we all set out to make something when we film. even if we don’t know what that something is. but there’s another element to that, that the viewer can take what it is that we have made, whether there was an intended meaning or not, and create a narrative, or a story, or simply a meaning or set of connections.
and this is just with 6 second clips. imagine what it will be like when we actually make our korsakow films.
the constraints of this weeks task are more convoluted than ever. and i thought timing something round was hard… now i have to not only work out what defines me, but i have to film it? i’m at that stage where i still don’t know, we are all still learning who we are, that’s why we’re at uni. and i don’t want to go with the obvious, i like to try and think out of the box, but it’s not always so easy.
i don’t want to just film my parents feet because i can’t show their faces (and also, i hate feet). when asked to film objects (well, actually, parts of objects) that define me, what kind of things can i film that don’t blend into the 3rd constraint of places that define me. i mean, my first thought of something that defines me is my bed. i spend the majority of my life there and i love it. it’s the centre piece of my room and i hold it very dear to me. but is my bed an object or a place? same with my car. i love my car, i use it all the time, but it kinda feels like a place. i guess a place is something i would define as something you could go inside right, like a house or a building. but you can go inside a bed and you can definitely go inside a car. and then an object is something you can use or do something with, like a ball or a pen. so a house doesn’t fit into that but a car does, you use it to get place, or you sleep in a bed (or use it to put things on). so which is which? maybe i just shouldn’t use my car or my bed. but they are really important to me that i can’t really think of a film that describes me without having them in it.
the next point is how to film them. we can only film parts of the objects, no whole. first off… why no wholes? is that too obvious? do they want us to be more abstract? will it become to narrative-like if we just show things that are special to us plain and simply? this task really brings the abstract ideals to this, because i need to consider whether, when i’m filming only parts of objects, do i want them to be understandable? can you tell what these parts are? or do i want them to be mysterious, as in we know that they are important to me but from the way they have been filmed, you can’t really tell what they are. do i only film one thing for each constraint or a range of objects and places that can be put together to form a bigger picture. am i trying to create a narrative or do i want to be as abstract as possible?
so many questions. i guess we’ll find out soon enough considering i need to actually start filming these videos
i always like to check out the blogs of my fellow students. it’s useful to see if they’ve found any sites or videos out there that relate to the content that maybe i haven’t but also jus tot see what they’re up to. everyone interprets this course differently so seeing what others have thought about each weeks stuff can really broaden my knowledge and my take on the subjects covered that week. and it’s fun to see what kind of videos others have made in response to the constraints because everyone makes such drastically different videos, it helps me see how maybe i could make mine better.
one of my favourites this week was from the blog of Kylie who had some create video responses last week. although i did really enjoy the traffic one, i’d have to say that my favourite was the slow record video. not only did it combine one this week’s constraints, slow, with one of the first week’s, round, but there were just so many different elements in such a simple video.
i loved it. loved the simplicity of it. we’re just watching a record spin for 6 seconds but the entire 6 seconds we are kept interested. what i thought was great was the way the record itself actually blends into the rest of the frame, so really all you can see is the smaller circle in the middle which is the label of the record. and you are left watching that rotate slowly as the words move from right side up to upside down and back again, all the while you can kinda but not completely see the shine of the black record itself spinning.
however, my favourite part of the video was the double slow. not only are we watching a record spinning slowly on it’s turntable, but we are listening to the music as it plays. the music not only keeps the video interesting and draws us into the spooning record, but the tune itself is a slow tune. thus we are presented with a slowly moving record playing a slow tune. its like inception… slowception. i guess this is what happens when you read waaaaay to deeply into a 6 second video. but well done kylie. i loved it
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?
the sound, along with lighting, are the most important factors in the film “clown train”. while the flickering lights do at to the overall suspense, it’s the music and sounds (or lack of sounds sometimes) that actually create the mood, drama and suspense of the film. the soundscape at the beginning of the film creates the entire environment before anything is even seen. not only can we tell that the film will be taken on some mode of public transport, but the soundscape has an eerie feel to it that leaves the audience uneasy. the distinct lack of any other sound except for dialogue while the characters are talking further enhances this, making it seem all the more isolated and tense. the sound effects, such as the noise of the flickering lights and the dramatic beats after certain things the clown says or does again just reinforce this eerie and tense scene and puts the entire focus one what is being said rather than try to watch the background. the creepy music slowly builds while the clown is telling the joke which increases the suspense as both the other guy and the audience is unsure of where the clown is going or what he’s going to do. all these different sounds and the occasional lack of sounds combine to make a thoroughly creepy film.
although not necessarily a genre film, there is a scene in the Hunger Games: Catching fire that demonstrates similar sound techniques. most significant is the lack of sound used. at the end of their first day in the arena, katniss’s alliance goes to sleep while she sits up to keep watch. we see her looking around at the others and feeling tired when all of a sudden, all the sound cuts out and all we hear is her breathing. this creates an incredible amount of tension and suspense. even though all the audience can see is katniss’s face in the close up, they know something bad is about to happen by the lack of any background sound. this use of silence seems vital in creating the mood for suspense scenes or films as it excentuates the characters actions and emotions and makes the audience become ultra-aware of their surroundings. like in clown train, the misc then begins to very softly build once katniss see’s the fog. however, it is still eerily silent. once she touches the fog, all sound returns in a sudden and very loud manner and the audience is shocked right back into the scene, similar to the sudden sound effects and increase in music used in clown train after specific things the clown says or does.
i believe that it is the relationship between silence and sound that play the most vital role in creating atmosphere in a horror or suspense film. without this relationship, there would be no tension.
for me, a really useful and interesting reading was “slogans for the screenwriter’s wall” found at the link provided. it had a lot of really useful points and tips that need to be considered when developing a script or screenplay for a film. for me this is incredibly important because writing is my weak spot when it comes to the production process so tips and tricks are greatly appreciated. i can imagine these being very useful when it comes time to try and plan out the story and write the script for our film in this subject.
two of the most interesting pointers from this reading were:
“If you’ve got a beginning, but you don’t yet have an end then you’re mistaken. you don’t have the right beginning.”
“If it can be cut out then cut it out. everything non-essential that you can eliminate strengthens what is left.”
that first point was a revelation to me. i had never heard that before but it was very interesting. one if the ideas which i came up with for the short film has in interesting story yet no ending. and i am still struggling to come up with an ending for it. i have thought of multiple different ways to solve the conflict however none of these have really seemed right. maybe, thanks to this point, i may need to strip back this idea and look at it from a new angle with a new beginning and this may help me work out what the ending will be.
the second point isn’t so much new as it is very useful. as can be seen by my answers to this and the previous questions, i can write a lot and often it is too much. especially when the film that we have to make is only 5 minutes long, e cannot include everything we want to include. cutting is very hard. especially a script. so it’s important to know that whatever i do cut will only make everything else better. if i can bear to cut it then it is not vital and therefore can be cut. our biggest issue going forward with our short film is too much dialogue/exposition and not enough action. it will be important to keep in mind what is necessary and what can be cut to only have the most interesting stuff left behind in the film.
i’ve included below some of the other points that i found useful from the reading, i just thing they’ll be useful to have here for future reference.
“character progression: if you’ve thought out what kind of character your protagonist will be at the end, start him or her out as the opposite kind of person at the beginning”
“action speaks louder than words”
“drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty”
“what you leave out is as important as what you leave in”
“if it can be cut out then cut it out. everything non-essential that you can eliminate strengthens what is left.”
“exposition is boring unless it is in the context of some present dramatic tension or crisis. so start with an action that creates tension, then provide the exposition in terms of the present developments.”
“the start of your story is usually the consequence of back story.”
on first impression, i enjoyed the film “rolling”. while it’s difficult to recall it in much detail as i only saw it once a number of weeks ago, i will try to analyse what i thought worked and didn’t. to me i enjoyed the middle of the film but not the start or the end as much. i am unsure of whether or not it was intentional but the lights changing and going greenish during the opening where the male character was walking down the aisle threw me off. i couldn’t tell if this was a directorial/creative choice or just a problem with lighting and white balance but i couldn’t work out why it would be an intentional choice because i couldn’t find a reason for it being there.
i also didn’t like the ending as much, i felt it left a bit too much hanging and i would have liked to have seen the story continued for at lest one more scene once the girl had entered his apartment. i understand that this was meant to be left to the audiences imagination but i feel like a well written reaction from the girl in regards to the toilet paper could have been funny and more enjoyable than being left wondering what she would say.
on the other hand, i thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the film, the entire middle section. i thought the actors were great and had been cast well and the dialogue was believable and funny. the comedic timing was done well although i thought the cuts between shots were a little slow sometimes. the locations were great, in particular the boy’s apartment because it was a small room which really emphasised how terrible the situation he had gotten himself into was because he was practically submerged in the toilet paper. on the whole i did enjoy the film.
we finally got an interesting, (mostly) relevant and even somewhat entertain (towards the end) lecture/symposium this week. adrian and the others actually appeared to be answering the given questions (although i’m not too sure how that first question about reality tv related to the course) and there were some rather interesting points brought up.
for me the most interesting question and subsequent discussion was in regards to the increased accessibility of media nowadays and whether or not this is ‘ruining’ films. what was important about this, as jasmine (i think it was jasmine) said, is that ‘ruin’ is a very strong word. which is true. ‘ruining’ depends on how you classify and describe ‘films’ in the first place. its a very personal word and thus it differs for every person. Adrian then took over to discuss this in further detail, claiming that what is made on technology such as iPhones doesn’t even classify as film. first off, that’s because it’s not recorded on film, nor is it a physical video. it’s an all new thing. lets just call it a moving image (or MI) for the sake of this post.
now, of course, the definition of a film is different for everyone. when we think about film in the traditional sense, does this include television? or can it only include what we see up on the big screen in a movie theatre? is there a difference between a film and a movie? where do short films fit into this? or youtube. and then we get to vines…. are they films? they’re not tv. but isn’t television just film being broadcast to an electronic box? when you start to think about it like this, it all gets very confusing and the lines start to become very blurred. but i think that’s all what this course is about. blurring the lines between all the separate technologies, everything is connected today.
i’ll give you an example that adrian gave us when answering a different question in the lecture. this example was big brother. when we think about big brother, we think it is a just a television show. but it goes far beyond that. for one, it is happening live and continuously. even when no-one is watching or when the cameras aren’t on, the tv show is still going. and we see it on tv. but it goes beyond our television sets. it has it’s own website – an online forum where people can find out more information about the ‘characters’, see extra footage that they watch online or even rematch old episodes. we see recaps of it during the week during other programs, news about it written in the newspapers and interviews with eliminated contestants and hosts on the radio. then there’s the voting system, which incorporates the vastly growing medium of the mobile phone. people can not only watch from any time from their mobile devices, but they are a part of the show, sending in votes to determine who stays and who goes, a mechanism which rakes in millions of dollars. so, what does this have to do with the point i was just making? i’m not too sure, i may have gotten a bit carried away there. but this example showcases how widespread our media is today across the different mediums. interactivity is the key. people want to be able to be a part of what they are experiencing.
this is where korsakow comes in. if interactivity is what the public wants, korsakow is here to give it to them, albeit in a weird, abstract way thats not well known and kinda difficult to understand. but surely this is where the future of film and tv and other motion pictures are heading, to the realm of the interactive media where people can choose their story so that it is unique to them, they can be a part of the narrative. all this accessibility to production means ins’t ruining film, it’s creating new types of film, new categories that can’t even be defined. and are allowing for more people than ever to be creating their own content and experimenting and interacting with something that once only the elite and rich could do. this is what Sørenssen was talking about. this is what adrian means. this new accessibility is creating a new era of film or moving image. it is free, it is raw, it can be interactive, it can be made by anyone. the only reason we keep holding back is when we call it film. it is not film any more and that title is constraining us. we need to be able to drop that title and move forward. create new things. interact and experience all new mediums. woooooo!
my only question i would ask, based of the boardwell and thompson reading, is whether our korsakow films are supposed to follow a certain structure? should they be exhibiting cause and effect? narrative plot lines? or are they supposed to be random and abstract and experimental?
finally, i would like to add that the discussion (argument) at the end of the lecture between adrian and one of the students was brilliant. however, have to disagree with adrian, i believe our lives are narratives. they have beginnings, middles and ends. there is no meaning in a narrative until the reader assigns a meaning and that is the same with our lives. we take what happens and we give it meaning. our lives follow a cause and effect structure just as narratives do.