Future Thinking

The thought that it takes ten years for the mind to master a skill or discipline is at first somewhat daunting. However, with greater reflection it starts to make more sense and is somewhat relieving.

As mid semester breaks approach I’m often plagued with a fear that my skills aren’t sufficient or that I’m no knowledgeable enough to be an accomplished worker within the media industry. When considering it takes ten years for me to master my skills in a set discipline I have merely started my journey. This relief was also brought about by the piece’s discussion of education being life long. As I enter the industry my knowledge and skill set will continue to grow either diversifying or honing in on a particular role/practice.

I am also constantly drawing information from other areas of knowledge. Whether I’m reading, watching or listening, I’m constantly consuming information. Each of these things however unconnected and disparate, are building my own unique understanding of the world. These sources are forming my own taste and unique way of understanding and expressing.

The importance of compassion and the ability to harbour mutual respect is something that typically needs to be considered more within education. As a story teller this is central to my work. The human connection of content is paramount and as media becomes more decentralised, content needs to apply to various audiences. Conversely, as the piece points out, we mustn’t lose our ability to connect on a local or regional basis. This is linked to the demand for local content that reflects each community’s individual tastes and values. As content is easily accessible globally, peoples need lies in content that connects them on a cultural level. Content that audiences can see themselves reflected in.

 

Finding Time in a Digital Age

Increased Speed

Speed creates slowness. It is only in contrast, to a newer, quicker speed, that existing speeds are perceived as being inadequately slow. Slowness was desired and sought out when it ceased to be the only option. It’s favourable, in that it provides people a greater duration for which to experience life and particular moments. It has become a countermovement to the rapid lifestyle that is demanded of us.   

 

The Paradox of the Smart Phone.

Smart Phones allow us to save time with their infinite apps and features. Conversely, they also manage to consume our time endlessly with other features we never used to interact with such as Facebook and mobile games. The smartphone also encourages instant responses to email and reminds users of the immediacy of work. Workers are unable to remove themselves from the work sphere or the potential of it interfering with social or leisure time. As ease of access increases, so too does the expectation of quicker responses to emails and messages.

The same pressures apply to our increased use of laptops and their potential to keep us continuously connected to work. Cloud storage and online documents ensure that work can constantly be accessed in its decentralised nature. Work now has the potential to be connected to from numerous devices, regardless of geographic location. Similarly, notifications remind us of progress to documents or changes to cloud storage. Now multiple people are able to work simultaneously on same document, collaboratively contributing and editing. No longer is creation of content staggered, with specific aspects handled by an equally specific person or team. Instead collaboration is more holistic with various individuals contributing to various stages of production/work.      

Deadlines

With quicker and more sophisticated technology also comes tighter work deadlines. Often these deadlines are near impossible and to be meet them requires rejection of leisure and sleep.  The constant presence of deadlines and our inability to meet them lends itself to people ignoring them until the very last minute. Preferencing working in adrenaline fuelled bursts of creation. Another aspect of the ever constant deadline is that rather than having designated work time we now integrate work into our weekends and social time. Work and social life have blended and now coexist. Deadlines now transcend the work or educational environment, eating into our own time due to the technology that keeps us connected.

The Clarity of the Craftsman

I wasn’t all too sure how to respond to this particular reading. It seems all well and good to justify a life attitude by using Steve Martin and some blues guitarist as exemplars.  Newport was even kind enough to add a rebuttal section to potential criticism. These rebuttals employed the exact examples rather than taking the chance to show how adopting such an attitude can be beneficial to the everyday worker. Newport probably did exactly that in later chapters that I am not privy to (If he did ignore me).

Surely, a middle ground must be found between a utopian craftsman mindset and ensuring you’re not being exploited as a worker. For instance, I work in (the sometimes soul destroying world of) retail to support myself. Sometimes, I will lean heavily on the craftsmen mindset, ensuring customers are aided in achieving their goals. I’m committed to making sure that I’m exemplifying the business’s values but undercurrent to this I’m making money. Not only that, I’m growing my skills as a communicator and professional to some extent. This isn’t to say that I don’t value the relationships I build with customers and my colleagues but I have multiple objectives. Alongside my goal for profit, I’m also eager to gain knowledge and to work effectively within a collaborative environment.

I think it would be impossible to delineate my goals and objectives for my part time work. At any one moment it could lean toward the Craftsman mindset,  dependent upon how I feel and who I am working with. Ultimately, I can see the true value of such an approach, particularly when beginning work within the media industry; looking to either ascend hierarchies or to build a business or body of work.

Annotated Bibliography Part 2

Ashton, D 2015, ‘Making Media Workers: Contesting Film and Television Industry Career Pathways’, Television & New Media, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 275-294.

This article provides an analysis of the role of the runner as an entry-level route into film and television production. Throughout Ashton refers to existing studies, situating his work within a body of existing research. This article is a study conducted on a number of students working within the industry in the runner position and also those currently undertaking higher education courses. Providing scope to the collected data Ashton employs anecdotal evidence from professionals that began work as runners before ascending the traditional production hierarchy. The first part of the article discusses runners in relation to industries production cultures whilst also addressing the labour market conditions. In the subsequent three parts, the focus is upon the desirable characteristics and dispositions associated with working as a runner alongside analysis of the student interviews. A great deal of emphasis is placed upon the varied and often competing perspectives upon careers pathways provided by the students. This articles proved to be useful as a means of analysing the alternative to working as a freelancer. There are numerous similarities with the role of runner and that of the freelance media worker including job insecurity and the tendency for some work to go unpaid. There are also vast differences, namely the fact that a runner has a clear position within a production hierarchy and that they answer those directly above them. The article is useful for analysing various ways that media graduates can find work in the media industry beside becoming a freelance worker. The analysis provided by this study is somewhat limited by its specificity to Britain. It might be of benefit to investigate whether this trend is consistent across other nation’s media industries and in particular in Australia.

Dunscombe, R 2013, ‘The past, the present, and the future’, Screen Education, vol. 72, pp. 1-5.   

Hamilton, C 2011, ‘The Exposure Economy’, Overland, no. 202, pp. 88-94.

Hamilton provides an overview of the position of freelance writers within Australia’s media industry. Her contention is that although the digital revolution in publishing and communication has liberated writers from their struggles with the monopoly structure of production and consumption, the work offered by the internet is no more independent of capitalist processes than traditional counterparts. Hamilton seeks to identify the true worth of working for exposure and whether this is sufficient for people in relation to sustaining a career. Although the article is particularly focused upon writers, the practise of working for exposure is widespread and commonplace for other freelance media workers.  The Article is quite critical of the practice even discussing its publications use of the model for its website. This inclusion illuminates how widespread and the transparent the practise is, particularly in relation to digital content. Rather than referring to any studies or other journal articles, the piece instead focuses upon anecdotal evidence, quoting writers that have worked in this fashion. There is also the utilisation of some statistics complied by the Australian Bureau of statistics. However, the figures quoted were from 2007 and with the rapid technological progress in the last nine years these figures may be vastly different, even in 2011 when the article was first published. Hamilton concludes that the absence of organisation and regulation in freelance work is both the cause and the outcome of its individualisation, with working hours and conditions largely beyond scrutiny, and inequities that are routinely personalised and internalised. Although not the entirety of the article is relevant to the whole industry, this closing statement is consistent with many other articles that discuss freelance workers.

Ronalds, P 2010, ‘In the Industry: On the Job: The Case for Industry Placements’, Screen Education, vol. 59, pp. 36-39.

 

The Informal Media Economy – Work

In order for a media industry to be fruitful and for those working within it to feel content, an equilibrium between traditional hierarchical business and freelance work arrangements needs to be found. This would be inclusive of fairer work arrangements for those working as freelancers, including financial security. Conversely, those working within larger production companies and business will have more freedom in how they structure work around their lives. This equilibrium would be specific to each individual industry and fluid to allow for changes over time or financial downturn. True utopia would be achieved once freelancers felt a sense of security and those working for large companies were given far more agency in how they managed their workload. Unfortunately, industries are far too complex for this to (probably) ever come to fruition. Instead we have to hope that through research, regulation and shifting attitudes toward workers that we slowly progress towards this utopia.

It would be impossible as a media professional not to identify with the Lobato and Thomas’ closing remarks that we all wish to exhibit the freedom of a Freelancer but with the security of someone working for a larger company. Particularly approaching the end of my degree I’ve thought extensively about how I might structure my career and the goals that I should set myself. I’m draw to the idea of working a number of roles both as a freelance creator but also fulfilling a role in a larger media company for financial stability. I do acknowledge that these aspirations are likely to change just as much as the industry I will be working within will.

Annotated Bibliography Part 1

Ertel, M, Pech, E, Siegrist, J, Ullsperger, P & Von Dem Knesebeck, O 2005, ‘Adverse psychosocial working conditions and subjective health in freelance media workers’, Work & Stress, vol. 19, no. 3, pp.293-299

Utilising an existing methodology, with some changes, this study seeks to identify the the associations of work stress with subjective health in freelance workers. The study takes the form of a previously tested questionnaire that was mailed to members of the union of media workers, mainly in the region of Munich Germany. Working from an existing questionnaire ensured that the research situated itself within a body of investigation which have documented associations of effort-reward imbalance at work with self-rated health. However, this study was unique in that it focused upon freelance workers.  The questionnaire was remodelled to ensure it was specific to the role of freelance workers rather than those working in traditional business models. Although consistent results were drawn from this study, the incredibly low response rate of questionnaires means that this study only accounts for a small portion of the industry. Without comparable studies, it is hard to ascertain the bias of these results. All of these concerns were acknowledged in the article and possible areas of further research were proposed. Ultimately the study tested distinct hypotheses that centred around workload, commitment and reward in relation to worker’s subjective health. The findings demonstrated strong associations of effort-reward imbalance with poor subjective health in men and, to a lesser extent, in women. This poor subjective health was linked to a greater amount of stress due to job instability. Situated with the broader context of the Freelance Media Worker this article proves to key starting point into looking at the wellbeing and lifestyle of these workers. Although conducted on a very specific group of Freelance workers this article provides a starting point to compare and relate further studies and writing on workers’ health and wellbeing.

Ferrier, MB 2013, ‘Media Entrepreneurship: Curriculum Development and Faculty Perceptions of What Students Should Know’, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 222-241.

 Kitching, J & Smallbone, D 2012, ‘Are freelancers a neglected form of small business?’, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 74-91.

 Platman, K, Salaman, G & Storey, J 2005, ‘Living with enterprise in an enterprise economy: Freelance and contract workers in the media’, Human Relations, vol. 58, no. 8, pp. 1033-1054.

This Article is both situated in the sphere of media studies but is also within the fields of occupational sociology and industrial sociology. Published in the the journal Human Relations it tends to focus upon ideas around the shift in the markets’ traditional work forms to more market-based, enterprising organisational forms and relationships. Specifically, the article seeks to explore how freelance work is interpreted, evaluate and sustained particularly framed by the concept of enterprise; both in relation to their work, but also their self identities. The bulk of the article responds to a detailed study of numerous media professionals who had all worked in traditional media business hierarchies. The professionals were interviewed for approximately 80 minutes with their responses recorded.  Interviewees included trade union leaders, clients (of freelance workers), talent managers and freelance media workers. However, the discussion of the study mainly comprised of the responses of those who were working as freelancers. The article is split into a section of reports about prevailing practises and then a main section which examines the what had been reported by the freelance workers. Within this section aspects and quotes of the interviews conducted were deconstruction and analysed. In these instances anecdotal evidence provided by interviewees was discussed in relation to the broader industry. An interesting aspect of the study’s discussion was the ways in which freelancers are paradoxically thinking of themselves as micro businesses whilst also removing themselves from their work to maintain mental health and form a separate identity. Inherently Freelancing is a social profession, relying upon network skills and existing social circles but conversely in is reliant upon resilient worker who can separate their social identify from their profession.

 

A World of Differences

The main concept I gleaned from this particular reading was that although the Media Industry is evolving and changing at an accelerating rate, by identifying the consumption habits of the youth market, companies have the potential to flourish. The other large area of interest was the necessity for companies to invest in data and the importance of it’s analysis. This also  feeds into the algorithms companies use to personalise the way in which people access content and interact with advertisements and marketing.

Younger generations tend to adopt new technologies faster than the older generations and the way they consume their media, on these technologies, is vastly different. The ability to consume media over multiple screens is more and more predominate. Having grown in a world saturated with screens, younger people tend to be better consuming content across screens, platforms and devices. Part of it, is that millennials are merely capitalising upon screen media’s Inherent dependency upon sound, particularly television (streamed or broadcast). Rather than fulfilling the role of passive audiences, consumers are also accessing secondary content to either enhance their primary form of entertainment or to satisfy their thirst for extra stimulation. Another aspect of this push toward gearing products and content towards younger markets is to capture business early in adult life. Rather than banking upon the wealthy and usually older consumers, companies can now look to young people who will remain consumers of a product that adapts and evolves to their consumption needs.

Looking to embrace technology and to adopt advancements is also central to how companies and content creators can sustain themselves financially. The accelerated rate at which the industry shifts suggests that companies need to be flexible and adopt new platforms to capture new and to retain existing audiences.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Schwab’s fascinating discussion around the social implications of our current habitual need for technology draws upon studies conducted on people who have slowly adopted new technologies. Although I’m speaking from no expertise or specialisation I don’t feel that these are entirely reflecting changes to human behaviour. I don’t believe that true analysis can be conducted until we have individuals who have been raised entirely in a technology dependent world. Children who are incredibly young now or primary school age will mature and reach adulthood with a far greater grasp on tech etiquette but also a far greater amount of their information readily available online.

Rather than adopting a cautionary stance or draw comparisons from dystopian fiction we should acknowledge that both legislation and attitudes towards online information will change and develop. Fear mongering and concerns about blind conformity should be replaced with education and confidence that people may take initiative to protect their information. With education beginning earlier future generations will be substantially better equipped to navigate a life that is inextricable connect to the digital world. Rather than viewing the Fourth Industrial Revolution from the exterior discussing its ethical implications to life as we know it, we accept that in time humanity will adopt a new code of ethics.

The possibilities of the digital age extend beyond escapism, entertainment and ease of information. In time the distinction between our online selves and what we consider ‘Real life’ will cease to exist or at least become irrelevant. People will no longer discuss social media as a tool to facilitate our existing social life but rather as our social life. Meeting with people face to face and interaction facilitated by technology will bear the equal significance. We should be excited by the prospect of integrated our digital existence with that of our flesh and blood. If implemented correctly (over time) our lives could become more productive and fulfilled, devoid of the concerns of our second ‘digital’ self.

Film 3 Website Post

Still taken from BROTHER

My exploration for this semester was centred on creating a series of 10-12 vignettes, videos of approximately 1-minute duration. Within this series I intended to explore both drama and documentary conventions as well as exploring a more experimental and poetic approaches to production. My immediate interest for Film 3 was to look at the distinction between drama and documentary production and to explore ways in production can be mixed or ambivalent to distinction.
Each vignette was treated as a non-chronological aspect of an essay focusing upon Perception. Although non-chronological I hoped that in assembly each vignette would shed light on another providing further clarification or even an alternate viewpoint. My particular area of interest was the disconnection between our identities and the physical forms we present to the world. I treated this topic as a mere starting point and wanted my ideas and avenues of exploration to be shaped by my content creation and musings on production conventions. This decision to explore a somewhat improvised style was a means to challenge my current work ethics and my predisposition for extensive preplanning.

Throughout production I found that I had been somewhat optimistic in what I had intended to achieve. I found that my current habits were difficult to break and I constantly gravitated towards one particular idea. In doing so I believe I neglected avenues of exploration just so I could complete a vignette. I privileged the completion of one particular idea rather than investigating an assortment of other potential ideas. I found that focus also tended to lean towards the vignettes I had envisioned and presented in the Pitch. I also faltered in terms of my research and I believe if I had have delved deeper into other works exploring Perception I may have been able to nurture a more sophisticated approach to my content. Throughout the production period I do believe that I was able to expand my knowledge in referencing to both documentary and dramatic filmmaking. Through the various vignettes I honed my skills working in both an incredibly contrived environment with actors as well as naturalistic settings with non-actors. In these instances I was able to apply a diverse set of solutions for lighting and sound recording, both areas of film I was quite ignorant about.

My final product consists of five completed vignettes that I believe reflected my exploration into drama, documentary and poetic filmmaking. I also believe they are a fair representation of the original essay I have envisioned. In this format though I believe that the interplay between vignettes is negligible and true possibilities of this form only take prominence with a larger collection of vignettes.
Asides from this selection, I also filmed footage that could easily form a number of vignettes if I were to continue my undertaking. I concede that my original idea was more concerned with the completion of my final essay of 10 vignettes rather than the mere act of their creation, exploring the possibilities of film. An alternative approach could have been to base my project around a series of exercises that delved into a variety of production techniques or concerns. Although limited in experimentation, I believe this approach could have yielded unique exercises born of technical constraints or the premise of exploring particular skills.

 

Future of the Project

I hope that although Film 3 has draw to a close I will continue to think of vignettes and to potentially even shoot some. I think it’s a project of worth, one with a theme that I find fascinating. I think that with more time I will place a greater emphasis on research and looking at other works that explore similar ideas for inspiration. I think that by paying homage or incorporating other’s ideas I might be able to develop a more sophisticated exploration. I feel that what I have completed for Film 3 is very much an exploration of the format and my work capabilities and ethics. With a continuation I would focus more on narrowing my theme, finding a specific phenomenon that I can analyse to a greater depth.

Shifting my work approach I think would also yield interesting results. I believe that if I spent more time developing ideas and how they would fit together as a film would give me a greater sense of focus. Although I discussed it throughout semester, I think that the way in which the vignettes are assembled is particularly important. By preplanning the vignettes I feel that this assembly could make the film more powerful. Preplanning would also allow any reoccurring events or aspects to be nurtured and accentuated. In saying this, I still believe that improvisation and experimental is key to a project of this type. I have really relished embracing this new way of working and I found that it pushed me into new areas of thinking.

Future Vignette Ideas

Here is a sample of some vignettes I had started working on to varying degrees:

Interviewing a scientist
Or at least someone whose profession means they can talk on a scientific or theoretical level about how we perceive the image we see in the mirror.

Analysing Actions
I initially planned this as a dramatic vignette, shot with a goPro or similar camera. I would get an actor to carry out a series of actions including making a morally questionable decision. I would then pair this with their narration as they justify their actions and grapple with the decision.
Another alternative is to get someone to wear a GoPro and them have them watch back their actions and narrate their actions or to just purely gauge their reaction to their behaviour. Any thoughts or musings they have about their behaviour.

Mirror Experiment
Although my first Idea I never ended up completing my poetic vignette experimenting with patterns created using mirrors. I found that my focus shifted away from this due to it’s lack of people but I believe now that there may be a way the idea can be explored using a model and creating patterns with their face/body.

Skeleton
I was incredibly eager to shoot this particular vignette but the difficulty to find and borrow a replica skeleton dissuaded me. My ideas was to juxtapose narration discussion the beauty of the human ‘soul’ alongside images of the skeleton. I wanted an abrupt clash of the spiritual and physical components of the human being. I wasn’t sure if the narration was going to be a poem I was going to craft myself or a particular quote of some religious scripture. I wasn’t failure with any but I had started researching. Another aspect of this I really want to look at was the eyes socket of the skeleton and the brain cavity. Within the skull is every emotion and sensation we’ve ever felt, all our memories and lusts. The fact its just a hallow space in a skull is a little bit disconcerting.

Old Friends
This was going to be another a drama vignette centred on the reunion of old friends. Both are bitterly disappointed at what the other has become and because they are so hung up on this they aren’t able to appreciate the reunion.

More Booth Interviews:
I also quite eager to continue shooting Booth interviews looking at a wider selection of people. Rather than just getting the white male perspective I want to put the same questions to a number of people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, ages and socioeconomic situations.

Colour Grading Experiment

Naomi

Initial
My initial concern for these shots was that the blacks weren’t very rich black. It made it quite easy to tell that the black cardboard I used was incredibly close to the subject and that it wasn’t truly black. Secondly, I find the shot quite yellow in particular because of Naomi’s strawberry blonde hair.

First:

Edit 1
Bumped up the input level, crushing the black, which result in making the subject really pop! I did fiddle around with the tonal range definition slider but I’m not really sure of what that does. The image is still on the warm side but I feel that it’s far more pleasant. Then in an effort to counteract the yellow I added some blue to the highlights.

Second:

Edit 2
In this grade I wanted to further explore cooling the tone of the image. So in the individual colour wheels for the shadows, midtones and highlights I brought them all closer to the blue side to see if I could counteract the warm hue. I think this image is striking but I find it quite stylised. This in part due to the fact I also played around with the input levels, mainly just to crush the black background. Here though I believe I have pushed it too far resulting in darker shadows around Naomi’s eyes.

Third:

Edit 3

Once again I crushed the blacks as a starting point before further experimentation. This was done to improve the overall look of the image but also that there is a sense of continuity between it and the prior booth interviews I had conducted. For this grade instead of adding blue to the image in an attempt to neutralise its yellow tone, I decided I would play around with desaturating the image. I then also played around with master levels but wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing.

I am most pleased with the second attempt. However, I do feel that it is somewhat too stylised. So I am going to look at more experimentation in an attempt to find a naturalistic look whilst also applying these same attributes to the other interview I had shot that evening. The other interviewee had a darker complexion and hard and I’ll have to fiddle to get the two shots to match.

 

Bel
initial
I had already experimented with different grades for this particular scene however I thought it might be valuable to look at another shot. In particular I wanted to focus on the stuff I shot in bathroom due to the fact that it’s quite warm.
FIRST

1

 

For this grade I used the White balance eyedropper against the wall which seems to have reduced the yellow hue of the image quite a bit.
SECOND

2
Using that initial end I then when on to manually play around with the Fast Colour corrector seeing what I would be able to do
Using the input levels slider I crushed the blacks and also brought down the midtones. This resulting in something that was a little more brooding, no longer appearing fairly washed out. I experiment with adding more blue on the Hue Balance and Angle Wheel but decided against it.
THIRD

3
For the third colour grade I went back to using the three-way colour corrector just in terms of the freedom that it gives. Plus after just using the Fast colour corrector I wanted to compare results and ascertain which I believe to be easier and provide a better result. On the colour wheels I dragged them all towards blue to neutralise the hue of the clip. As per usual I also crushed the blacks and experimented with reducing the highlights. I found this particular grade less stylised than the previous one but it still appeared a little warm.
FOURTH

4
Started with setting the white levels to auto and crushing the blacks ever so slightly. I then desaturated the highlights to zero, which I found not to have a massive effect on the image. I finished off this grade by reducing the master saturation down to 70.

BONUS – 70s Filter 

70s
I started to muck around with the Lumetri filters and I found the seventies ones quite intriguing. All of them were too stylised for my work. I’m guessing using them is probably frowned upon and they’re ultimately just there for people to compare their own colour correction and for a chuckle. Anyway I applied the 70s one to the clip, found it to be quite yellow so I then used the eye dropper for the white balance and now it kind of looks semi alright. Probably a bit too much for this piece but in terms of other projects it provides it with a bit of a cinematic look.

Brother Editing

When editing Brother I ran into what Robin described as a ‘good’ problem. This so-called problem was conveying subjectivity and when to shift away from my subjectivity in the vignette. The beginning of the vignette is from my subjectivity; unbeknownst to my brother’s presence and when he calls it’s muffled by the music I’m listening to. When I cut to the reveal of my brother it’s removed from my subjectivity and the music drops away. The sense then returns to my point of view until a wider frame situates us both in the same location. Once the connection between characters is established the music quickly fades away as my narration is brought in. This required me to spend a bit of time editing the music to make it sound as if it was being heard through small headphones and also further away from an outsider perspective. I also applied similar effects to muffle my brother’s calls whilst the vignette is still from my subjectivity.

To edit the audio I followed a couple of different video tutorials that both outlined processes to achieve a muffled sound. Both however followed the same principle of isolating and removing any high frequencies that tend to be lost as they travel through air and are suppressed by walls etc.


In this tutorial the gentleman opted to make use of the EQ effect. With this he made the sound itself quieter and then removed the high frequencies and some of the mid frequencies. To enhance this sense of distance he used both a Bandpass and added an echo with the reverb effect.

http://www.ivfilms.net/resources/Muffle_Tut/Muffle.html
The process outlined in this tutorial was a little different and used both a Highpass and Lowpass effect to remove certain frequencies. To achieve the desired effect required a bit of playing around with each effect, however the estimations and general guide was quite helpful.

For Brother I experimented with a combination of the procedures outlined in the videos. I began by fiddling with the high and lowpass effects. The result was pretty close to what I wanted. I then added a bandpass and once again shifted that around until I was pleased. Personally I found fiddling with the EQ to be the least helpful of the effects and I didn’t decided to add any reverb either. I applied this effect across each of the music and call audio tracks and then adjusted them independently depending on which subjectivity I was trying to conveying, the tightness of the shot and also depending on their relationship to other audio tracks.

Naomi

This vignette is another portrait of sorts. It’s a compilation of a number of things that I got Naomi to participate in, each linked to another vignette (real or possible). I got Ollie and Naomi over on a Friday night and got them to participate in a booth interview each, a portrait and then I attempt another possible vignette.
I had also planned for another couple of friends to come over so that I could explore a group interview format. In particular I was eager to look at how best to shoot a situation in which the centre of focus shifts. The group I had wanted to put together were all good friends and I believe the foursome would have good onscreen chemistry. There was an instance in the evening where I was casually interviewing Naomi and then Ollie interjected and I started to interview him and a dialogue started between the three of us. Unfortunately the topic of discussion was slightly disconnected from my ideas.

One of the things I wanted to explore with Ollie and Naomi was having them watch themselves live on a screen. To do this I set up both and EX-3 and my DSLR so that they could sit side by side with their image on a screen. Unfortunately due to the fact I didn’t have the right cable to connect my DSLR to the screen, the majority of the sequence was shot on my DSLR. However what was being shown on the screen was captured by the EX-3. I initially envisioned that I could potentially cut between the two.
This was very much an improvised exercise so unfortunately there are a lot of aesthetic shortcomings. I hadn’t planned any questions so for most of the video I make stupid remarks and say “umm” and “like” a million times. Also for some reason I cut Naomi off whenever she starts to say something interesting. I’m keen to reshoot in a studio setting, similar to both the portraits and the original booth interviews. With a reshoot I will plan questions and have an aim for a sequence rather than just an experiment in watching peoples reactions. I also captured them watching back what was shot on the EX-3 and that was quite bizarre to watch. You feel as if the person and the recording of them should be synced but it isn’t. The main thing that I took from the exploration was how weird it was when the screen version of Naomi looked over at her physical self (or appeared to anyway).

In the end I used Oliver’s portrait of Naomi, a segment of her interview and a brief snippet of her watching the screen version of herself to assemble a larger portrait. In this vignette a number of sides of Naomi are explored. First audiences are introduced with a third party’s perception of her as a loving individual but also one that is sometimes uncertain of herself. In the second segment this uncertainty is explored with her discussion of her identity. An in the conclusion there is a short sequence narrated by me about her laughing at her image on the screen. I agree with Robin that this particular vignette is looking at youth and adolescence and our often preoccupation with forming an identity. We don’t yet believe we’ve formed a sense of self.

Production Lesson

getting to work with lighting is something I was quite interesting in learning about I’ve only really had a little bit of experience working with DEDOs but it was great to learn a bit about working with a key light and in particular various ways of achieving soft lighting and hard lighting. Working in the crew setting was really exciting and something I enjoyed. It sounds bizarre to say but when everyone is fulfilling their particular role it’s an awesome feeling. Up until this point only certain aspects of how a production works have been taught to us and with this lesson more pieces of the puzzle were added to the jigsaw. Obviously these techniques were heavily rooted in the drama tradition however it’s important to have a firm understanding of the typical way a set operates. Once you have an understanding of conventions you are then able to break them and rearrange them so that they serve a unique purpose.

COLLOBARATION WITH ED

In class I utilised Ed to assist in editing and to use him as a test audience for the content I had already begun to assemble. I find that I lack the attention to detail that is required to be a successful editor and I often find that I struggle to pass my cutting and a scene as a whole. Due to this today was valuable in that I had fresh pair of eyes that were removed from the project to provide me with advice and to ensure that each of my vignettes made scene and were interesting to watch.

Relationship: Ed was incredibly helpful in tightening a number of cuts in this vignette, particularly the couple of shots in which Ben enters and leaves the shot. Without a lot of experience editing I struggled to pass this correctly and with Ed’s help I was able to polish some issues. I found it intriguing that Ed also didn’t feel that Ben and Bel appeared to be couple, as Robin had. I believe that this wasn’t a fault of the acting but rather of my direction. I also feel that Ben’s stage acting is far more powerful than his screen acting and that maybe his performance has yet to be tailored for filmed rather than presented on a stage. Ed also wasn’t a huge fan of the narration that I situated at the end to explain the scene to the audience. Ed would prefer this subtext to weaved in the scene itself but unfortunately a rescript/reshoot was out of the question. I also believe that because my narration was going to reoccur in other vignettes that it provides an authorial voice to the piece and helped to situate its theme within my central idea around Perception.

Brother: I had yet to show much of this sequence to others and I was somewhat unhappy with the result. Ed’s main critique of the sequence was that it appears my character was just hard of hearing. At this stage though I have yet to add the full audio so I hope that this ensures the themes are conveyed. Once again Ed believed there was worth in the sequence but thought that a reshoot would have ensure that the ideas were conveyed more concisely.

Overall, I was pleased to have another set of eyes critique what I have captured thus far. It was helpful to discuss alternative ways of covering the scenes I had shot and how to potentially assemble aspects of the Booth interviews I had captured.

Brother 

Although a contrived dramatic vignette, Brother is the recreation of an event with the original participants. It is an episode of obliviousness that lead to the realisation that my younger brother is now an adult.

In discussion of possible vignettes with Robin I brought up the fact that it was only that weekend that it struck me that my brother is now also an adult, even though my perception of him is still that of a frustratingly annoying child. Robin encouraged me to script this scene and I found that it was incredibly relevant to my greater project. The idea of the scene is linked to the fact that our ideas of someone are usually fixed even as this person grows physically and in terms of their identity. Like Relationship this vignette will finish with a narration explaining the significance of the events. Unlike that narration though this one is tied to me as a character. In the other narration I was a disembodied god-like presence however in this instance the narration represents my own thoughts after the event.

The decision to cast my brother, Callum, and myself was easy. We both look similar enough and due to the nature of the vignette I wanted to explore working with non-actors, particularly non-actors playing fictionalised versions of themselves.

The production of the vignette was particularly challenging due to the fact I was working without a crew and also because I was acting within it. This limited what I was able to do in terms of framing and meant that each shot would be static. The other issue brought about by this arrangement was that I wasn’t able to see what occurred in each frame or to view the performance of my actors in real time.
Due to the nature of the scene a lot of the audio will have to be manipulated in postproduction as well as a music track added. When recording the audio live I once again used a tripod to hold the shotgun microphone and pointed that in the direction of my actors. Due to the fact I knew most of the audio would be degraded in post production I wasn’t too concerned with my live recording.
Having learnt my lesson from Relationship vignette I though more about my shots before, aware of the number of restrictions I was working with. Retrospectively the nature of this project was valuable as it meant I had to focus upon the decisions more so in pre-production. I also decided to mark the tripod positioning for a majority of the shows as well as the spot where I stood for the scene. I hoped that this would minimise any continuity issues and make my job as an editor easier.

As an actor I felt the experience interesting, as I was able to draw upon my memory to guide my performance. Although I had changed the setting of the event the core events and emotions remained. Directing my brother was easier than expected and I think he did a fantastic job of portraying himself (If he had to act as any other character I may have had trouble). The only concern is that the content I have brought to edit, I have only witnessed on the EX-3 screen. In particular I’m concerned about my close up and whether my facial expression appears appropriate for the scene.

Brother Script

Portraits

This vignette was the product of a peculiar situation and collaboration. Although I had set up the green screen studio for a series of booth interviews due to a number of factors none of my interviewees was able to make it. Therefore, Brydan and myself found ourselves with a spare studio set up for interviews. I had foreseen this so had furiously tried to come up with an idea to no avail. Thankful Brydan had an idea so we started discussing, expanding and experimenting.
The idea itself focused around the creation of an audiovisual portrait. Due to the look of the booth interviews the portraits would be completely removed from an environment and focus upon the individual. We were both interesting at seeing how we could build a character from narration, and someone else’s perception of this perception. As we worked out approach shifted and expanding. The final vignette is comprised of a portrait of Brydan and myself with narration from the other. Both Brydan and myself have similar blank expressions but through narration two juxtaposing characters are present. This not only illuminates the disconnection between visual and audio (in this instance) but also how a third party can influence our perception of others. At the conclusion of the vignette both Brydan and myself are present within the same shot revealing how close our expression is, revealing that the differing narration provided the character development.

Both narrations were extensions of the truth with varying degrees of honesty. Brydan’s portrait was shot first and the narration is a fairly honest description of him. My slightly more abstract narration was born of wanting to construct a juxtaposing character. More thought was placed on the character created in the narration as we developed our idea around what the vignette was exploring. I think that this particular format could work with others; my only concern was that the juxtaposing characters format might become stale. The inclusion of other Portraits would be dependent upon whether they could stand alone as interesting characters, rather than forming a series of people drawn together based upon juxtaposition.

 

 

BRYDAN Collaboration

A few days after collaborating with Ali I once again worked alongside Brydan for his project. In this instance I took on the role of sound recordist whilst also helping to set up the camera. Like the time spent with Ali I found this to be a rewarding experience as it allowed me to focus on my specific role and to ensure I was fulfilling this role. Working on my own project demands that my focus shifts between a number of different aspects including lighting, camera operating and direction. In the capacity of a sound recordist, my duty is just to record audio and to observe.

Skimming Brydan’s script before we begun shooting I realised how dialogue driven it was. I believe Brydan’s idea to be quite fascinating and through his dialogue Brydan reveals that his work is driven to exploration of greater themes. The idea Brydan had initially pitched was quite intriguing and although this shifted over time I think that there was still a lot of merit in his script. Due to it’s dialogue driven nature and location atop a hill I knew that I was going to face a number of challenges in recording the audio for this scene. Although I was aware it was going to be challenging I relished the chance to explore the best ways to record audio in an exterior setting. In upcoming vignettes I intend to record audio outside so I learnt quickly about the burden of wind. During this shoot the placement of the microphone was vital and I think that for the most part I was able to capture an audio track that was sufficient. At times a combination of the gusts of wind and actors moving about caused my track to have a poor signal to noise ratio. Ultimately though I believe I did the best I could in terms of my skill level and the space I had to work with. For work on my own vignettes I will need to minimise wind, find an environment that isn’t so open and to maintain a minimal distance between actors and the microphone.

As a director Bryan worked incredibly well with his actors. He was quite fortunate in that they memorised their scripts like professionals and this allowed Brydan to focus upon their deliver of certain lines and to ensure that their gestures and movements were appropriate for their characters. Whilst I helped to set up the gear, attending to white balance, audio levels etc. Brydan was able to take his cast aside for a rehearsal. Observing this process it was clear Brydan had an incredibly clear idea of how the scene should be acted and how it looked. As we begun shooting with a restrictive schedule it became apparent that there was a slight disconnect between what Brydan had envisioned and what was achievable with our skillset, actors and time frame. Although I think Brydan’s choice of using long takes to yield a unique result I think that shooting may have been quicker utilising a number of different shots. Due to the nature of the piece, an analysis of two differing characters against a stark environment, I believe the juxtaposition of wide landscape shots and extremely tight shots of the characters would have helped to highlight this theme.

Collaboration: Ali

On Ali’s project I offered my almost non-existent acting abilities, portraying his protagonist plagued with nightmares. Ali’s project was focused around the idea of working without a scripting and reacting to the improvised acting. As an actor this meant I didn’t have to learn copious amounts of dialogue, the crux of the film was Ali’s direction and how we worked together. I haven’t had any real experience in screen acting so I found in bizarre carrying out daily actions with a camera quite close to my face. It was beneficial in terms of revealing how important both rehearsing and blocking is for an actor. Often I had to remember particular cues and to ensure that my performance was consistent from take to take. Firstly so that framing was never hindered and secondly to ensure continuity would be easy to obtain in the edit.

Ali is a very clear director and it was obvious that he knew his idea inside out. He knew which aspects were central to the main theme and focus upon these. As an actor this focus was incredibly beneficial as I was able to grasp quickly Ali’s key interests for the project. Due to the minimal dialogue and frequent close ups Ali focused upon my facial expression and allowed me ample rehearsal time and offered feedback that easy to transfer to my performance. I wasn’t aware of any schedule but it seemed that we got through the shoot with good time for each shot. Ali had a perfect sense of how long to spend with each shot and was able to move on when too much time was spent on a particular shot. As an actor I also found it useful that we shot chronologically. For Ali’s project it made perfect sense as the story follows my character through his daily activities.

In terms of my own work as a director I found this a valuable experience, particularly in terms of the actor director relationship. Experiencing this exchange as an actor I was able to see how much a director needs to reveal to their actors. Enough information that they can form a character and situate that character within the film’s universe but not too much that they get lost on the technical aspects of the film. It was also beneficial to witness someone else use DEDO lights to light a small room and to compare this to how I had used them with my own project only a couple of days prior. Overall, I feel that Ali was far more prepared than I was with my own actors. I found that although creative import from actors is incredibly useful relying on them for constructive advice can be detrimental and can cause an unfocused set. Their ideas should provide either refinement to your own idea or an differing perspective rather than as first possibility.
In saying this I feel that you can never underestimate the power of an actor and the knowledge that they bring. I was amazed by the depth of development both my actor’s had gone into to portray my simplistic characters. I found myself struggling to find answers to questions about character’s motivation and reasoning. Without this level of engagement I don’t believe my scene would have result in anything as interesting. I can only hope that my engagement with Ali’s project provided him with a result he was pleased with and felt that I had portrayed his protagonist with honesty.

Relationship

Within this vignette I want to explore the way we perceive ourselves in relation to others, and how our sense of identity is often formed by our interactions with those close to us. To do this I thought I would use a romantic relationship. I didn’t feel that it particularly needed to be a heterosexual relationship but both Ben and Bel are actors I’ve wanted to work with for a while. The other factor was that I still wanted work around the idea of the mirror and it was a justified inclusion as Nina (Bel’s character) applied her make up. Although the vignette is scripted I wanted it to be simplistic and short. I decided to keep the minimal dialogue and I wanted something that would be able to pace appropriately in minute to a minute and a half time constraint. To explore the significance of the interaction I’ve added a short narration at the end. I feel that it will be likely that I will narrate other vignettes and this will serve as a way in which I can link ideas, weaving themes throughout.

I found the shot a pleasant experience and although I was somewhat overwhelmed by the fact I was the only crew member it was a success. This isn’t to say that I would have liked to have spent longer on set design or rehearsals but I’m pleased with what I accomplished under the circumstances. Due to the restricted space I was working in a crew may have been more of a hindrance than a benefit. The space also influence my lighting decision which was a single dedo bounced off the wall and roof to achieve a somewhat softer look than lighting them directly. For sound I set up a shotgun mic on a stand and had that placed as close to the actors as possible. I think that this worked out well and was aided by the quite interior setting. If the scene had been outside then more monitoring of audio would have been required.

Working with trained actors also reduced the stress of the situation. Both actors had prepared aptly for their roles and were tremendously ascertain in ensuring I was happy with their portrayal of their characters and their performance was appropriate. There were receptive to any of my suggestions and I made sure that if they raised ideas these were explored. In retrospect I would have planned more in terns of how I planned to cover the scene and spent time drawing up a shot list. Although I had a clear image in mind for how the scene should look and it’s pacing I hadn’t thought extensively about particular shots. During the shoot I found that I would begin with a particular shot type and experiment if it didn’t feel right or convey the core message of the vignette. Although it meant that the process was somewhat more organic, reacting to the actors and their performance in the space, I felt slightly pressured. In future I intend to work from a loose shot list or at the very least with experience of the shooting in the environment.

Relationship Script

Booth Interviews

Set Up / Process
For these booth interviews Robin and I decided the subjects should be left on their own to muse over their ideas as if it were a video diary. In this way weren’t going to be influence to my presence or be able to seek clarification from me. In initial planning this was going to be shot in edit suite 12 so we were going to explore with smaller lighting alternatives such as dedos for the space that we had to work with. In the end though we opted to shoot in the green screen studio that provided us with more space and thus more freedom in terms of lighting. Under Robin’s instruction Brydan and myself experimented with lighting the interview, opting for a nice soft light. This was achieved by bouncing the light source off the walls and a white board. To deaden the black backdrop we used black board to deflect the light from our source. The end result looked fantastic and I’m thankful Robin took the time to show us a way that a professional looking interviews can be achieved. It was quite a large set up but I know that the skills were learnt and used are translatable.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to interview as many people as I had hoped which lead me to setting up again a week later. Having to replicate the set up on my own was another valuable experience, as I had to set up audio, lighting, and camera proficiently so that what I shot matched previous interviews.

Initial Editing & Viewing
When I first viewed what I had captured I was struck with the sincerity of people’s answers. Although I knew that the questions would prompt people to delve a little deeper I was intrigued by the depth and self-reflection they conveyed. Even those who feigned ignorance, it was obvious the questions had got under their skin and prompted them to start thinking about their sense of identity and how they perceive themselves. Although I had written the questions (and was aware of the direction I wanted the answers to take), I found it a little overwhelming purging some of my deep emotions to an indifferent camera. I completely empathise with everyone who left the booth feeling a little bit distressed or emotionally spent.

I started by finding segments that I found particularly interesting or moments of true honest reflection. I thought was also beneficial to see if there were particular ideas that were present across a number of the interviews. Although I was incredibly pleases with what I have capture I’m somewhat unsure of how it can be condensed and then assembled into a vignette. Robin has advised me to pick out snippets of each interview that have a tenuous link. Doing this would imbue an idea upon their words and to use their words out of context to an extent. I totally agree with this and feel that in terms of my goals I would rather sit on the content until the right format becomes apparent.
Reflection
When discussing interviews with Robin he discussed that the best thing to do is love your subject. If you do this then your presentation of them will be an honest reflection of who you believe them to be. In doing this, the audience is more likely connect and be interesting in what they have to say. In reference to the Booth interviews that I used in my final vignette I’ve allowed Brydan, Ed and Wilson to explore if they critic their behaviour. I could have easily used similar snippets but in doing so it loses its honesty and human touch.

I believe that capturing a larger number of interviews would have been beneficial and lead me into new areas of exploration. I feel as well that a larger cross section of the population would have also yielded intriguing results. There is the lack of more mature voices and I feel that due to this these interviews serve as analysis of youth identity and how adolescence view themselves as very much transitional beings.


PDF – BOOTH QUESTIONS

Mirror Experiment

To get the ball rolling, as Robin has suggested, I started exploring what can be achieved with a camera and mirrors. At this stage I wasn’t focused upon a theme or message I wanted to convey but merely to explore possibilities. I shot with my DSLR purely for simplicity sake but if I am to replicate or further explore the idea I want to explore the possibilities of the EX-3. For this exploration I got hold of two medium sized mirrors and started to look at constraints in terms of the angles at which I could shoot the mirror without my reflection being visible. To look at some of the possibilities of warping or tessellating the image of an object I used some shells, a rock and my ventolin inhaler. Unfortunately they aren’t particularly aesthetically pleasing but they served their purpose well.

 

Reviewing the footage I found that what I captured could be divided into three areas of exploration:

Infinity Loop
Here I was exploring what could be achieved by placing the mirrors essentially opposite one another. My experimenting was focused upon where I could position the camera to best capture the effect and seeing if there were ways to make introduce movement and interest to the effect.

Camera Movement
Through zooming and focus pulling I wanted to see if I could shift between the images in the mirror and ‘reality’ to confused or surprise audience. With this technique I could explore false senses of reality or attempt to create an optical illusion.

Mirror Movement
Utilising a stationery camera I wanted to see if I was able to create interesting patterns/effects by moving the mirrors. I found that this was a particularly interesting effect but quite limited by the fact that I was required to moves the mirrors by hand which was difficult not too capture.

Further Exploration
I believe that this is an area of worth however I feel that to convey a message powerfully it requires sophisticated execution. With a more refined set up and space I believe this quite yield exciting results. Working with larger mirrors would also help to achieve something more aesthetically pleasing. It would also be fantastic if I am able to use warped mirrors, such as convex mirror and ones similar to those at carnivals.
From this experiment it’s clear that this would be a vignette that will probably require people to assist with the set up and then throughout the shooting. With a crew there would be more freedom to explore both camera and mirror movement within a single shot. Incorporating Robin’s suggestion I also want to explore similar ideas with a person looking into the mirror, applying make up or adjusting their appearance in some form. In this experiment I would then movement from the their reflection to the face in ‘reality’ enticing the audience to question the validity of the filmic image as well as what they see of people in ‘reality’.

Pitch

Every semester pitching in inevitable. It should be something that is exciting and fun, sharing ideas with our peers and tutors. However, I tend to find it daunting particular when the idea that is being conveyed is a few weeks (days in some cases) old. Ultimately it is an incredibly valuable experience as it forces you to find a way to articulate an abstract idea in the most comprehensible way for others. Obviously in regards to this subject, the pitches took on a move developmental and fluid nature where the ideas were discussed rather than dissected and critiqued. As Robin had discussed, it’s difficult to pitch filmic ideas because their very essence is of the moving image and sound. When pitching all you have is your voice and at the most limited test footage. In the words of Robin, ‘Humming “Foxy Lady” to someone who’s never heard it isn’t really going to give anyone the slightest idea of the power of Jimi Hendrix.’*
*I’m in no way likening my filmmaking abilities to Hendrix’s musicianship.

Preparation for the pitch was quite valuable as it meant I had to sit down and work out the starting point for what I wish to explore. Here I developed the intricacies so that I could present a clear (initial) layout of my project. It also prompted me to start thinking about my beginning vignettes and to gauge reaction. The pitch itself was particularly valuable due to the fact my idea is still in its infancy and I was open to suggestions.

As per usual I practiced my delivery and jotted down some ideas to prompt me during my pitch. And as per usual I didn’t follow what I devised and failed to look at my notes. So in reflection I’m a little annoyed that I didn’t convey my ideas to the best of my ability. I feel that I shifted between the format of my project and the actual theme of it. I wanted to make a clear distinction between the ideas that underpinned my exploration and the production technics I was going to utilise to achieve this. I feel that my project was meet with indifference, which at this stage I’m taking as somewhat positive. There didn’t seem to be any negative criticism and it appeared that the tutors believed it would be an interesting exercise. I was really pleased with the discussion around tightening the technical constraints. I feel that by working to a strict production process I will be focused to work outside the box (excuse the tired cliché). The production values/choices may become the impetus for vignette (s) and I think that a sense of self-reflexivity (if that’s a word) is important.

 

Perception

The central, or starting, theme of the piece is perception. What I intend to explore is not limited but this theme and I hope to be able to treat it more as a nucleus for the variety of different ideas to then stem from and then refer back to. The piece I hope we analysis or at least explore the way in which we perceive others, the world and ourselves. In this exploration I’m particularly eager to deconstruct the disconnection between perception and the intention. This includes how we view ourselves and the varied and various perceptions others have of us. The fluidity of the theme allows for the project to grow us I not only research and plan content but also as I create each vignette. These will then lead to other ideas and avenues of the exploration I hadn’t conceived when I had begun.  

Process/Method:
The project will comprised of a series of short vignettes of roughly a minute duration. Ultimately, though, the content will dictate the length of the each vignette.
These vignettes will approach the central theme from various angles yet will be pieced together in a fashion that offers greater understanding when viewed as a short film. These vignettes will be a mixture of scripted dramatic moments, documentary interviews and also more poetic and experimental vignettes. The collection of these vignettes will form an evolving essay around the themes of perception and disconnection. Through assembly I want to explore how meaning can be derived through seemingly disconnected facets that provide a greater sense of the whole.
I intend to begin with three planned vignettes that will then provide impetus for further exploration. The fluidity of the project will allow the piece to expand as my research continues and more approach technically and aesthetically develops. My correct hope for the project is to comprise of 10-12 vignettes but this estimation is transitional and will likely change as the project does too. Usually I’m someone who is adverse to spontaneity and prefers to plan quite a lot. However, the content and form of this project warrants me to attempt to explore experimentation.  

Initial Vignette Ideas:
Mirrors – Poetic

Skeleton – Poetic

Interview – Documentary

Relationship – Drama

Blood of the Beast

During my discussion with Robin he brought up a documentary entitled Blood of the Beast. This came about due to my original idea of documenting the daily lives of those working in an abattoir. Robin discussed this as an example that dealt with such a heavy topic in a way that the film didn’t just utilise the shock value of gore. Instead the film focuses on the abattoir as a means to explore the daily life in a small French town, revealing how essential the jobs such a place provides. Although I had decided against following the abattoir idea myself I felt quite compelled to check out the film.
It didn’t take much of the film to make me realise how difficult it would have been to film in an abattoir, or even butchers. The slaughter on the screen was relentless but was so shocking was the emotionless professionalism it was carried out with. Each slaughtered however graphic and difficult to watch, those carrying them out did so with respect for the animal and their profession. It was quite bizarre to watch a highly organised and efficient workplace slaughter animals en masse. I guess I must be thankful that Franju shot the film in black and white. If the endless puddles of blood had been a deep crimson red I don’t think I would have been able to continue watching. With this realisation, I knew that there would have been no way I could have tackled such subject material for my own project.

During my viewing I struggle to stop myself from trying to analyse the point at which the animal become purely meat. Life often lingered within the animals as the blood rushing through their bodies caused legs to buck uncontrolled. Supposedly the animals felt no pain and were technically dead but I felt ill watching as the carcasses writhed about.
Reading back what I’ve written it’s interesting to see how my labels have shifted from animals to carcasses. It’s as if the act of the killing the creatures isn’t the ending of their live but merely the creation of a food product. They are separate entities, the animal and the meat. The only thing linking them is the razor sharp blade of a knife.

What I found fascinating was the intricacies of each different process depending upon the animal and instrument of slaughter. The professionalism and skill of the workers, particularly under such circumstances, was astounding. The violence was never aggressive or brutal in its nature.

Thinking about the Project

Realising that Mini Clapper Man was a pointless exercise (funny though) has been both the best and worst thing thus far in semester. As per usual I found I grappled with the concept of finding an idea. Although I had written on a number of ideas in exercises I don’t feel that any of them would be exercises I could either complete or sustain my interest throughout the rest of the semester. Meeting with Robin today was incredibly beneficial as it shifted my thinking away from trying to find a story to tell within my project. Robin spoke instead about finding a theme or idea that I was passionate and eager to explore. In this instance it was no longer merely finding a story to fulfil a series of criteria. Instead I should search for a concept that I find will emotionally or intellectually stimulate me. Rather than focusing my project around a superficial story I will instead base it upon a thematic centre that my ideas can expand from.

The choices I will make will therefore not be dependent upon a form or genre but rather on the exploration of theme or concept. These choices will be intrinsic to this theme and it should be clear which option would best serve the exploration of this theme. This attitude I believe is particularly worthy to explore in Film 3 as it aspires to transcend formats and narrative conventions to instead focus upon unique ways to present an intangible theme with film content. With this foregrounding my production attitudes I will be able to utilise conventions from both drama and documentary when needed without feeling restricted by the either form. Working in this fashion will also hopefully lead to the exploration of a wide variety of production skills, including traditional drama production as well as developing a documentary interview aesthetic I’m pleased with.

Earlier Ideas for Documentary

These following ideas were born during a class exercise a few weeks earlier. The impetus for the brainstorm was to think about an idea/concept that could be explored as a documentary without interview providing the structure and essence of the piece. In any case, hat was my understanding at the time at and how I remember it now as I write.

With the parameters set up for the exercise I immediately began to sort through a number of ideas that were visually engaging particularly thinking of the visceral. My reasoning behind this was I believe to look at visuals that could then have story or at least some structure added to them. Alternatively story or structure could be born within the act of capturing these visuals or the visuals themselves.

ABATTOIR:
Whether this idea would be most powerful explored in the confines of a butcher or abattoir the idea of preparing meat for consumption is one I believe would be visually powerful. In terms of visual impact I feel that an abattoir would bear more weight but also serve as a challenge to film and then to edit. However, situating the documentary in a butcher would prove to be more intimate and potential serve to highly the human aspect of the profession. Here I am more interested in the process and the various stages that take a living animal to the table. Whether this become more of instructional documentary or poetic would be dictated by the images of the process.

The visuals would purely document the process that is taken to slaughter an animal and then to wash, butcher and package its meat for sale. I find the idea of the having a butcher or abattoir worker narrator the process emotionlessly would serve to show this is necessary profession. Conversely the process could be taken out of context and juxtaposed alongside the cheery tones of a television chef who outlines the butchering process in a clear positive tone. This would not serve as a critic of the current foodie trend but rather to reveal that the process of slaughter and butchering is essential to any recipe and the act of cooking (non-vegetarian) food.

Alienation should be evoked in the audience providing them with the impetus to re-evaluate their stance in regards to eating meat. Not serving to promote a vegetarian or alternative lifestyle but to reassess how they see meat.

KINESIOLOGY
Kinesiology is a health practise I known very little about but I’m intrigued by some of its principals and the various treatments offer. I know a few people who see/have seen Kinesiologists and what they have experience has been incredible varied and in all honest I’m just intrigued and want to learn more.

Using the audio of session with a kinesiology as blueprint I would gather various different footage to create a poetic film. In some ways I would want to attempt to replicate and maybe heighten the experience of someone seeing a kinesiologist in a film.

Voice over of a session with kinesiologist and then utilising images, titles and a variety of archival footage to help to illustrate the patient’s experience. Instead of an interview we listen as the kinesiologist describes their process to the patient. This I believe would promote a greater understanding of the profession, as the audience are able to imagine themselves experiencing a similar session. Here the visuals may not necessary be connected in any way to kinesiology or the patient but will provide a point to explore the process in a poetic or symbolic fashion.

Initial Pitch Idea – Mini Clapper Man

Mini Clapper Man would follow the story of George Twombly who has worked in Hollywood for the a number of years as a clapper loader. He became well known for his signature miniature clapperboard, which was the result of a number of clerical errors (potentially an error in imperial to metric conversion). Having grown up in Melbourne George is finally returning to crew on his first Australian short film. The mockumentary will explore the legend status attached to George whose only reason for his reputation is his clapperboard, which actually turns out to be a serious inconvenience. Throughout the film we watch as the film crew’s patience unravel as struggle to work with Twombly who is unbeknownst to the trouble he is causing them on their first short film set. The excitement they initially had to work with Twombly slowly dissipates.

In terms further my abilities I hope that this idea would allow to spend more time in composing and capturing interviews. However, interviews will be secondary to the production process and the hassles that Twombly causes the young filmmakers. Being in the mockumentary style I’ll hopefully have more control in setting up the interviews. During the interviews themselves I’ll have more freedom to cut off subjects, reshoot particular aspects and spend more time focusing on technical issues, due to the script nature of the interviews. When I say scripted I’m not yet certain if this script will be rigid but more of a framework for actors to then improvise around. All of the characters within the mockumentary would be film crew and actors of the fictional film they were shooting. Due to this the necessity to find semi-professional actors is minimised somewhat. On the other hand this would result in quite a complex shoot with a lot of the gear.

I’m hopefully that the mockumentary form isn’t too much of a cop out in terms of the complexity of the ideas we’re exploring in film III. I hope that it will provide me the closer exploration of documentary production with the script of a fiction film. Whilst also allow me to create a fictional film with documentary aesthetics and production choices.

One man band

Over the weekend I attempted the task of moving the gear as a single person. This included the audio mixer, tripod and EX-3. I discovered it can be done on peak hour public transport. Not comfortably but it was ultimately manageable. In terms of what I ended up shooting, I should probably feel a little guilty. I had the full intentions of either coming up with a extra short film I could shoot with my brother and a couple of friends or a documentary that would (unfortunately) be centered around an interview. As the mid-semester break disappeared I found I didn’t have the idea for a short film or an interesting subject to interview. So in the end I managed to get a couple hours of camera experience, interviewing both my dad and brother. The footage is incredibly disinteresting and mundane but I feel that even in the couple of hours I was able to familiarise myself with the EX-3 a little better. Due to the fact I was on my own I had to set up both the mixer and camera. This was valuable because it showed me what it would be like to shoot a documentary on my own. It was good in the sense that I had complete control but also challenging in the sense I had no one to help with any issues or to closely monitor sound as I manned the camera. As it was just a stationary interview I was able to position the microphone close to the subject and just keep an eye on the audio levels. If I was shooting anything that involved moving actors I would have to resort to either on board microphones or to enlist someone to keep track of audio.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m eager to borrow the EX-3 and shoot a short drama piece. I seemed to have focused fairly heavily upon documentary so far in semester. Focusing on drama I’ll be able to see if I have the ability to envision, write and then shoot a short film. What I hope to set out and complete is a fairly rudimentary short film, the process of its creation being more important than the final film.

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