MY METHOD OF WORKING pt…. (losing track)

Darren actually did an acting class to be able to relate – he wanted to be able to cry in front of an audience. The day that happened – he quit.

I just wanted to understand what performance was…” 

A lot of what Aronofsky said resonated with me… about how people should question the meaning of things – and how that expresses character. I really enjoy listening to what he has to say.

I am just happy that finally my research has got me somewhere… it has made me feel something but confused.

Darren Aronofsky

Yes.

I have finally, FINALLY, found a director I feel like I understand.

Since re-watching Black Swan – I have been watching interview after interview, reading articles – it is amazing. I have been wanting this drive the whole semester – I have been craving this feeling, and it’s happened by watching a film that previously inspired me. I have been watching lots of films as of recently, ones recommended by people around me, but I went with my gut feeling – and as I walked into that video store, I knew Black Swan was something I felt like watching.

This has proven to me that I should believe in my own instincts. I became so stuck with what other people in the course thought of me, what I believed was expected of me as a film student and what I thought I needed to do to make films.

I am going to was Aronofky’s films – all of the feature films her has created. After listening to his point of view, what I have read about him, and the visions he has – I like the way he seems to work. I say seems, because I need to keep reading and seeing. Or alternatively work with him… But the way he works with his actors and what he gets out of the actors is mesmerising.

One of my favourite scene’s in the Black Swan is the dance club scene. It gave me shivers. It’s where you understand that she is morphing into the black-swan (in my perspective) – the lights flash so quickly, and at times it seems are though the two separate bodies (Nina and Lily) are one. Bloody breathtaking. It’s also so interesting and different about it. 

The characters played are out of this world – they are extremes yet so damn relatable. You have an understanding of them, and you need to understand why they do what they do, and it all seems so natural. Aronofky’s says in one of his interviews, “I just want them [actors] to feel free”. This stood out to me – and it’s sticking in my mind. The characters are so emotive, so connecting and addicting to watch – it’s as though they have been pushed to their limits. For me, it seems that actors working with Aronofky’s are actors that want to really prove their abilities and talent to act. They want to see how far they can go – and he gives them that support to do so. Again, this is from what I have read and what I have seen. But it’s as if being in this film with him gives them this chance to push themselves to boundaries to what they usually wouldn’t go to. They may get that creative length to make what they can of the role and give it their own signature which only they can accomplish.

“It’s the same thing with actors – like you can have an idea what the scripts telling you but it doesn’t mean anything until an actor tries it on and sees what comes out of them and then you have to work with that because you cant force what they are doing into a mould because you will suck the life out of it.”

Another thing Aronofky mentioned is that he can have a view and perception of what they film may look like but he needs to the actors on set to really gather an understanding of what can be brought to the table (loosely quoted and paraphrased).

“Actors have to be free and your collborarators have to be free to express ideas and come up with ideas “

After watching ‘behind the scenes’ videos, Aronofky’s seems as though he is a very ‘hands on’ director – very interactive.

“Working with actors is all about trust”

 

“I work hard with actors – telling them im there to protect them and let them explore and to really go for something “

 

“A story that only you can tell “

 

http://www.empireonline.com/interviews/interview.asp?IID=1167

http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/6-filmmaking-tips-darren-aronofsky.php

Black Swan

 

I have just realised why the hell I am studying film. It is films like this –

I remember the exact moment after I saw this film for the first time. I saw it in the cinema, and I was with a few friends. Before it we were laughing and talking about what has been going on at school; who liked who, and what sport are you playing for the term. Leaving the cinema was a completely different phase in my life. It sounds stupid, but honestly – I can not think of any film that has moved me and completely engulfed me more than this film.

When I got home I couldn’t even speak – I went straight to my room and grabbed my laptop. I researched everything about it. The meanings, the storyline, behind the scenes, about the actors, ballet – anything. I couldn’t work out why I felt how I felt. Then I laid on my floor looking up at my ceiling reliving the whole film in my head. I then called my mum and told her EVERYTHING. She was nice enough to listen, but as I was speaking about it new things started to pop into my head about the film.

It was at this time that I realised I wanted to create something that moves people.

Today I re-watched this film – and it had an even larger effect on me. The room disappeared and when my sister would interrupt me I would get so emotionally disturbed I wanted to cry. That sounds crazy – but that’s exactly how it felt.

This is my epiphany – this would have to be my favourite film. It inspires me, it emotionally takes me – and I have missed this feeling. All these stupids doubts of myself, or whether I should be ‘classed’ as a film student – stereotypically, maybe I shouldn’t. But I know what I like and what I want – and I want to be able to move people like this film moved me. Maybe that isn’t through the medium of film – maybe it’s something completely different. But I have found clarity. I am so damn thankful for it as well.

I don’t usually watch thrillers – they have never been something I enjoy. I am going to watch more – because if I think this film is my favourite film, then maybe I should do my research into more thriller films.

Right now – I can’t actually write down what I feel. I want to write down my analysis of the film – but I just can’t. I want to indulge in this moment and just keep it going in my mind. I want it to keep spinning and I want it to keep playing back.

Thank-you Black Swan.

 

MY METHOD OF WORKING pt10

This week has been very enlightening for me – I feel a little less stuck and confused. I feel a bit more pro-active now – with actually setting legible tasks to do. I can discuss films and I can set goals to do. I think doing my own research and reflecting on films is helping me a lot. I am teaching myself how to critique films, point out what I like and what I don’t like. It also gives me a chance to watch different kinds of films, some that I may not usually watch.

The next research task I am going to do is researching drama/acting school and participate in a class. I don’t really know how they work, but I guess thats why I need to research. Personally I want to get over my fear of performing in front of people and stop being curious about acting and discover if I actually enjoy it – by doing it. By doing this – I also want to gain a perspective into a ‘performers’ point of view. Because I know that I am completely nervous doing any sort of performance, and to be able to direct an actor do we need to relate to them?

Although in saying all this – I still want to do exercises as a director with actors. I think this is where the list of actors may come in to place. I not only want to experience acting/performing but I want to further my skill set in directing and directing actual actors. So with these two sides, I want to explore them both. Along with researching films and directors, and performers – I think I will build research into something maybe like a case study or even an investigation.

I want to include the production side as well – so while directing (with the scripts we are given…?) and working with actors, I want to work with other people in our course. There will be someone using the camera, someone doing sound etc (if they would like to). I also may want to perform in their scene? Maybe. I think if I am going to commit to doing drama/acting outside the course, I need to put it to practise. That is – if anyone will take me. But I also want to help others with their projects if they need help.

MY METHOD OF WORKING pt9

Boyhood (2014)

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Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)

Genre –
Drama (IMDb)
Richard Linklater Film History – (25 Films)
Known for –
Before Sunset (2004) (Want to watch)
Boyhood (2014)
Before Midnight (2013) (Want to watch)
Dazed and Confused (1993) (Want to watch)
Actors –
Ellar Coltrane – Mason
Patricia Arquette – Mom
Lorelei Linklater – Samantha
Ethan Hawke – Dad

My View / Critique

I was writing an essay and thought I would watch this at the same time – my essay didn’t get done. I was totally engulfed in this film. It blew me away. I found myself becoming personally attached with the characters. I was transfixed. Watching the characters age just blew my mind. The concept of this film it so very cool and so very addicting to watch.

Ethan Hawke felt so real to me. His performance felt very real and I loved his advice to the kids throughout the years… It’s stuff I wanted to hear when I was young. It was an understandable film and very relatable. Mason’s acting was just so consistent – even though he was growing older, he was never that different to what he started off like. With the 12 years difference – everything related and everything shown related to final character resolution. Watching Patricia becoming older sort of blew me away – how her was shorter, and body shape changed. All characters had different journeys and each one I could recognise with something throughout my childhood.

The way it was filmed – was equally at fantastic. The way that they were growing up almost gave it that documentary-like feel. It felt like I was a part of their life, or learning about their life. Sometimes throughout watching the film I would forget that it wasn’t a real story and it made me almost angry because it just felt so real. Except the scenes in the car where there were multiple camera shots and it wasn’t realistic (to be a ‘live’ documentary). My favourite shots were the medium-long shots of Mason. Within these shots Mason at his age is really capture – environment included. The miss-en-scene and Mason were completely  attached, colour wise, and it gave a really homely feel (images below).

So I really enjoyed this film – the way it was structured and the personalisation of it all. I think Time is such a huge theme – watching it pass and seeing someone age 12 years in a few hours is a little scary. It made me feel reminiscent of my childhood – the good and bad. It also made me think how TIME has just gone by – and I think about all the things Mason overcame and went through, and I think about all the things I overcame. Everything he did lead him to his ending position – so it makes you think that everything has happened for a reason and everything that happened, the good and the bad, creating who I am today and where I am. Watching anyone age and go through life’s obstacles is relatable as it really is life.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 8.16.37 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 8.16.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 8.17.11 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 8.17.22 PM

MY METHOD OF WORKING pt8

Casablanca (1942)

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Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

Genre –
Drama, Romance, War (IMDb)
Michael Curtiz Film History – (172 Films)
Known for –
Casablanca (1942)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
White Christmas (1954)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Actors –
Humphrey Bogart – Rick Blaine
Ingrid Bergman – Ilsa Lund
Paul Henreid – Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains – Captain Louis Renault
Dooley Wilson – Sam

My View / Critique 

My Dad is a huge fan of this film – he loves it. He say’s “it’s a CLASSIC!” – and he adores Ingrid Bergman. As I watching the film, at the beginning I will admit – I was distracted. The scene when I was shown the cafe area – I really enjoyed it. I loved the camera movement. It’s as if all corners were covered and it allowed me to feel the atmosphere of the place. It had so many angles, from woman and men. It just kept moving around the space to really create a ‘real’ space – to make it feel real and understandable. When I was first introduced to Ilsa, and she asks Sam to play the signature song – there was the mid-close up of her face and I loved it. It was a long extended shot and she did nothing – she wasn’t looking at the camera and she only moved slightly. I thought this was beautiful – I felt as though I knew emotion, and looked at her while she remembered something. I wanted to know what she was remembering – but I think it was such an affective way to show an emotion that an outside person wouldn’t understand, only her. It was also so simply done.

At the time the film was made, I am sure it was unheard of for a woman to admit an affair – or even be having an affair. I honestly, did not expect it… Looking back, it seemed set up – but I have just never seen an affair like that played out. She loved both – yet she thought her husband was dead. Her husband and Rick differed, but found moral compass together through her. Each man had great strength – and I thought Ilsa did as well, as she was compassionately supportive. Although, I am sure people will disagree. But thinking it was a triangle, I was wronged. The captain played a consistent part. I found myself going on a little journey with each character – as they were all in compromised situations and had decisions to make.

The Mise-en-scene and lighting… I loved it. The lighting in particular. The lighting was not subtle – sort of like a stage show. When Ilsa walks in as Rick waits while he drinks, a spotlight comes straight on to her face and just continues to allure to the audience her beauty. Her beauty is talked about constantly – and she is beautiful. The film really makes an effort to highlight this face – the close-ups and lighting. There are such dreamy soft shots of her, where she glitters and just looks beautiful.

MY METHOD OF WORKING pt7

I am going to investigate acting (performing). I am going to do acting classes.

The last time I did this what 2008 (maybe) and I quit because I was given a role that was a main and couldn’t learn my lines. I quit. I always tried out for drama plays but I was nervous, and every time I was going to perform I would vomit or faint – so I kept away. I sit here angry at myself that I didn’t overcome this… Can I overcome this? Do I need to overcome this? But since I was a little girl, films have been a huge part of my life.

I have always been inspired by them. Although, I have never really investigated, within myself, why they leave me feeling so eager to create, to do, to analyse and to just imagine. I can’t come to fact as to why films can affect my whole mood and temperament.

I only like going to films with people who are willing to talk about it with me after – to come to the details and to point out how the result happened – how the actors went, how it looked etc. When I go with someone to see a film and I attempt to talk to them about the film and they just don’t react or say “it was good” – I judge the person and get angry they can’t elaborate and say why or they don’t even want to figure out why is was good. I have always done this, even before this course. This course has made me worse (in the way that I want to talk about details and everything that makes up the film I just watched) but I have always done this. Also when people say “well that was unrealistic” – I also get angry because that statement in general frustrates me. If you read that and don’t get why I get angry – then I would probably be angry at you too. So basically, I sound like an angry person. But I’m not, I swear.

Films make me feel like anything is possible (well, not all – some rarely make me feel like talking at all). The people behind in, within it, make me feel like I could do anything?! But I want to investigate why and who, and what and how. The ‘two sides’ of something that is united. The 1s and 2s (as Paul would say). I want to learn more about directors AND performers.

Last week I went to the video store. This video store has recently been made ‘smaller’ (it moved across the street into a little hole in the wall) and so I went in to rent Amelie – and was sadden by the small space. I then went back to return the film today after having a coffee with my Mum. I told mum how I am feeling lost and how I am interested in the director and the performer – and she thought it was great. She doesn’t know how I will go with acting – but she thinks I may as well “give it a crack”. She also laughed, which is a little unsettling. I was going to drop the film (making a conscious effort to call them films rather than movies) into the dropbox and I thought – I may as well go in and say hi. It seems lonely and claustrophobic. I started talking to the guy that works there (will find out his name next time) and I found he studied Media at RMIT years ago. I went in to rent ‘The Thin Red Line’ (Terrence Malick,1998), as Paul suggested, and the guy working there said “For $1 you can get two more”… So this is when he started telling me his favourite films (and I came to realise his huge knowledge of film), and his perspective on what I should watch. So I came out with The Thin Red Line, Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) – his suggestion of the director Mum suggested, and Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) – as my Dad suggested because of Ingrid Bergman (actor/performer). This is what I have started off with – and I told him I would see him next week for more recommendations.

This is a part of how I am going to investigate further into the director and the performer – now I guess this includes it’s audience. Originally, I had the ‘two sides’ – but by the method of investigation I am taking, it includes the third side – the audience. Maybe I will ask people questions and let them tell me why they like/dislike the film – as just a part of working out why, which isn’t just from my point of view. Although, seeing how this goes I might want to base this on my views – and gain clarity for me for what I want to do in the future so I can work towards something. This might be me getting my groundings…

Also I am not just going to watch the films – I am going to write a post about each one. I might even delve into TV series as well. Whatever makes me feel like writing after. It might be a random film on TV that I watch and feel like talking about. The director may not be highly esteemed, and the vilm might have a ‘bad-rep’ overall (reviews etc) – but maybe this can help figure out why. I may even like it…

In each post I  write –

Film Name, Director and Year Made
Genre 
Actors (selective choice)
Directors Film History 
My view / critique 
and maybe some GOOGLE facts about the Film or director if I feel like furthering my knowledge. 

I don’t know what I am doing – but to get anywhere, this is how I am going to start.

MY METHOD OF WORKING pt6

Yesterday’s class (for me) was very productive.

I have been asking myself a lot of questions lately – regarding what I want to do and what I see myself as being in the future. I have been so confused lately and have been putting the pressure on… for no reason. It’s what I do. I am a stress-head and me stressing being confused comes across in class. I know that. I can’t even get a solid sentence out – even idea. I am constantly doubting myself and my knowledge. Because at the moment – I am feeling somewhat lost. I have been asking a lot of questions and not finding an answer this equally to more questions. I don’t know what is wrong or right – and I don’t even know if I have a direction.

Yesterdays class forced me to write down these question and say a loud what I have been thinking. But I didn’t really say it out loud – because I doubted myself as soon as I started talking and Paul’s unreadable face intimidated me and so I wanted to get out what I was saying in a better way. Yet, I couldn’t form words. I can’t find clarity at all at the moment.

The way I am living is ‘stable’ (so to speak, in comparison to what I am use too) – and this fact has given me a lot of time to think about myself… I haven’t had this much time to think in a long time. I am usually filled with exterior problems, issues (whateverrrr) that spins through my head. I am also use to moving around A LOT and never living in the one place. I have found myself living in the one place… which is also strange, because I have never lived in one place. So I don’t have a bag constantly packed, I don’t have to plan everywhere I go meticulously and I have time to myself. Although, now I have hit a dilemma of myself and what to do. I don’t even know. This relates to my investigation somehow – I swear.

So back to yesterdays class, this is what I wrote –

____________

“I have been trying to gain perspectives of films on different angles. I have tried to look at it in different roles – such as director and the actor. I have realised that there are two sides – yet they should come together as a unity.

 My cinema teacher said today that a film is 3/4 the way the actors perform. So ¼ is everything else – the mise en scene, the way it’s ‘covered’. He then continued to say that casting would almost be the most important part. This makes me think – actors (performers) have a lot of responsibility. I then thought back to who did the casting. That’s where this big decision comes from. Then I think where did the requirements for the casting come from – again that’s another role, another person/team. At first I completely disagreed with what he had to say – because, come on. Then I started to create the circle, how its formed and who decided what. It also, strangely, makes me want to be a performer or know what it feels like. Do they have as much power as he said they do? Do they really make the film what it is – and do they control the quality by 3/4ths? Why does this make me want to be an actor – is it because I use to dream of it when I was a little girl OR is it because I want more control?

 This makes me think – the people who direct and act in the same film? Surely this is a lot of control. Now you are taking the full responsibility of everything PLUS the performance? Could I do this – am I capable? I guess it’s the best of both worlds. But maybe I can’t act – maybe I am terrible. Maybe I can’t direct but can perform yet take on both roles? But what if I feel so passionate about something I have created and I can find no one to play the role that I have put my heart and soul into thinking up? Does this mean I am capable of doing it? How can I have a non-bias view that I am actually good at acting OR directing.

 I don’t know if I want to act or even direct – I really don’t. But I want to know both sides, or to even see if there is two sides?

 Director and performer – to direct do you need to understand what it’s like to perform?”

____________

What? So many damn questions. This is what happens when I write – anything I think, just goes straight onto what I have written. Good think or bad thing? I need reassurance all the time. Does it even matter? Oh well – moving on.

So this is what I want to do –

Originally – yes, I wanted to create a scene. But now, I am not so sure… This right now, is what interest me. This is what I want to investigate and delve further into. I am not a fan of writing essays – but at this point,  I think I might have to. But it leaves me annoyed – because I really want to create something. I think by doing this though, I will create clarity within my mind. Tomorrow this might change (I am obviously temperamental and my mind is not staying in one place, even though physically I am).

WEEK 5 – epiphany #5

I really enjoyed today’s class. I finally directed. It was one short – but we had a great amount of time for trial and error. We used the camera hand held to work out the spot – and we changed it multiple times because we didn’t like the set up.

I really like doing these exercises in class – and I don’t want to stop doing them. I think they are really fun. I also learn a lot about the process – and directing is actually really fun. I like working with people and trying lots of different things. Such as different camera angles, different positions and working with the actors.

Watching how they move on the camera – how certain people take direction.

But what really intimidated/ excited me was all the actors that were keen to be a part of our scenes. Knowing the brief and the large amount of them there were – it shook me a little bit. But in the best possible way. It made me really keen to create a scene. Now I am really excited.

 

Found Scene – #2

Amelie (2001)

Amelie (Jean-Pierre, 2001)

 I haven’t watched this film for years – and I have found a new love for this film. Not only the meaning behind it but the way it’s shot. It’s incredibly unique (in my perspective) and very strange as well. I am sure many people would disagree with me – but personally I like it. I am very inspired from it – maybe because it reminds me of my childhood. But now I feel like I understand why I use to think it was so beautiful (due to how it was created through coverage).

I have chosen to do the Credit scene plus the introduction to the parents. I think the start of the film is at such a high quality (through the use of whole lost of different techniques) and it takes you into a bit of a journey throughout the duration of the film.

 

  1. Introduction’ – 0:22 – 4:35

After a few titles, the audience is shown an establishing shot with narration (no camera movement). The second shot is where the camera movement begins to start – this time subtly (as moving the camera on tracking shots is used very often in this scene) to again establish the environment (Paris – Eiffel Tower in the background). This slowly moves down to the subject matter of the glasses. In the first few shots it is as though they are establishing the environment but not yet the main characters – like short, but not quiet, unrelated scenes. The audience is then shown a man (still highlighting a similar environment [through the window]) with a tracking shot. I am a huge fan how they have used tracking shots – it makes it feel more intimate and it’s just so smooth.

The next few shots have been done in post-production (I assume) as we are shown another story – but this time the environment has already been established (with the French styled music as well) and we are now going from the very start (sperm and eggs). The next shot (pregnant woman) is magnificent. I would assume this has been done with multiple still shots – as she grows and then there is the birth. This is a fast paced process (even though pregnancy is not fast paced).

New music chimes in and the audience is shown beginning credits and are shown Amelie as a little girl (assumed as she was just born). There is a jittery feel throughout this start – as though it’s been replayed through as old film camera. Post-production (again assumed) there are small details of scratches and colour grading has been done to create an ‘old’ effect. Some shots become over exposed and flared and then the frame is brought back to a greenish/yellow tone – a little bit like sepia but not. The camera almost looks (and it may be) hand held). The camera wobbles towards Amelie, but what I am guessing a home quality feel (parents videoing their children on a hand held video camera). Although the way it’s filmed doesn’t feel like it would be her parents, but an outsider that she trusts. Maybe even herself as it looks like to be her little world and how her mind works.

I think on set lighting would have come from one or two sources – as there is a lot of shadows and tonal gradients on Amelie’s face (also emphasised through post-production). Direct but soft lighting. The camera comes in and out of focus in a fast pace – and some shots are even sped up. This creates a quirky feel – especially against the soft and slow music. There are a lot of shots (or even one shot that kept rolling on hand held) that have been cut and put together timely with the music and as some shots are sped up there isn’t a dull or slow moment and this is emphasised through the continuous cuts to different shots. Although some shots are shown to be ‘real time’ paced (such as dominos) to create a little bit of suspense and the importance of the moment. I think the actor is very controlled but the camera movement almost looks like it has been thought out on the spot. It’s effortless in the way it goes in and out of focus, the camera moves towards and away from the subjects face. Light flare has been used in a way to change to the next edit/shot. The flare and small moment of over exposure then returned to a non-natural light makes what is happening feel real yet still a bit fantasy like. As though it’s a whole different world and we are in the world of the little girl. I think this is to establish her character – and describe to the audience who she is and how she is entertained. The audience is able to see snippets of it. The shaky camera enables a personal feel and relates to the young girl – as the camera (movement) too seems a little naïve and playful. Close-up shots are used very often – but are very quick, almost temperamental. Quick cuts are made constantly and there seems to be no formula of shots. Every shot goes on for a unique amount of time – some are 2-second shots, others are 5-second and it is constantly changing. Throughout Amelies activities – cuts are made to edit some parts of what she is doing. When she is blowing into a piece of paper – the audience is shown parts of the act in segments. But very quick segments. So it seems you aren’t missing much – but a cut has still been made to continue with the fast pace. A film reel sound is heard at the end as the music slows down and Amelia goes out of frame – ending the credits.

The audience in then introduced to her parents. Tracking shots are used in nearly every shot (to highlight them in their environments). This continues with a fast pace – but just movement in general. There is a huge focus on movement. Through the use of this shot – the audience is also establishing an environment. The tracking shots are used to come close to the character and also to move around them. This is more structural as the camera doesn’t make any ‘round’ movements – it’s very direct. There are slight pauses as the end of the shots as well. At the train station it goes from the woman talking and the camera moves at a very fast paces towards the father (there is no focus while the camera is moving towards him and everything is blurred). The pool scene shows the camera rising up in a smooth moment. The camera so far has been very experimental and is showing so many different angles. The introduction of the parents is so fluid (I think anyway). The camera follows in an untimely way – yet making it timed beautifully. The camera movements highlight the mise en scene – establishing the environment. The mise en scene feels very thought out and well detailed – and the camera movements compliment this factor. We are shown the environments of the character and how the character ‘lives’ within them.

In the wife’s section – I like how the camera follows her head movements. This is still at a fast pace but throughout each section, such as when she gets up from her will the camera follows in a head/close up – cropping her head. There is just such a huge range of shots – from above, from below to establish her. Then there are formulas with the husband and wife that the audience can relate them together – and links them. Similar shots are used to establish the both of them (tracking shots coming closer and then another where they are seated (separated shots) and the camera is going from left to right). The music then ends to highlight a new scene.