Here is our group’s manifesto: How To Be A Famous Filmmaker!
Next, here is our group’s exquisite corpse video:
- Film must become an agent of change. We no longer have time for outdated tropes, exclusionary industries, or authoritative monophonic narratives. Cinema is no longer useful for mere entertainment; we demand that each creation be a step towards a better world.
- There has been a grave error in the history of film. Somehow, it has become accepted practice for one kind of storyteller, the cisgendered straight white man, to speak for us all. This ends now! We must silence the boisterous few that have been allowed to yell above the crowd for far too long. In a world of 7 billion voices, film MUST become polyphonic, with all peoples possessing agency over their own stories.
- The film canon is dead. Or, it may as well be, as it continues to champion the same relics of cinematic eras destined for a dusty attic. Canonical revision is necessary for the heart of film to begin beating anew. We bid our filmic precursors a grateful farewell, and invite in a new era of the film canon that can at last become as modern, dynamic, and enlightened as our own ever-changing world.
My primary role within the creation of this manifesto was to compose and complete all the animation featured in the film, alongside active participation in the overall production design, planning, and conceptualisation that we conducted as a group. Prescribing to the creative vision my teammates and I drafted, I designed our ‘every(hu)man’ protagonist, who would serve as the neutral conduit through which we could voice our message. I crafted the character to be intentionally ambiguous in race, gender, sexuality, and similar defining characteristics, so that our audience has the freedom to project their own identities and filmic frustrations onto the universal protagonist. Alongside this, I intended for the animation to assist in the communication of our manifesto through the subversive design quality of collage, taking inspiration from non-canonical animators in order to create a visual style which matches and enhances our pejorative message. In this, the animated sequences were combined with live-action footage, as well as text, often all occurring on screen in multiple frames at the one time, to create a heterogeneous visual language that questions what film can or should be.
Within this role, and the overall undertaking of this production, I have gained so much knowledge and experience that serves to fortify my beliefs towards the canon, and towards the film industry as a whole. For one, the meticulous animation process, involving hours of repetitive, entirely hand-drawn (on a digital format) images, as well as the design and logistical planning of the intra-film animated world, developed my skills as a creative thinker and producer. Beyond this, I have gained far greater understanding of the indispensability of collaboration and teamwork in film production, as throughout the entire process, I knew that my group members were working equally as diligently and with the same rigour as I was, towards our shared goal which could not have been achieved without the valuable contribution of all members. In this understanding, I have grown from passively accepting to outright rejecting the concept of auteurism, believing the emphasised crediting of an individual director in filmmaking to be ignorant and misinformed. With no single director for our project, the work became a product of pure, harmonious collaboration. As a result, I not only had the opportunity to learn valuable skills directly from my group members, but became further practiced in the art of cooperation, and am able to finish this course with greater understanding of the film industry, and a final production which reflects the core beliefs of myself and my group members, and voices our demands for a necessary and indisputably belated revision of the canon.
- SHOULD THE CANON CONTINUE TO EXIST, ITS FILMS AND FILMMAKERS MUST BE REFLECTIVE OF HUMANTY’S DIVERSITY.
- NUMBERS – LIKE COUNTLESS OTHER THINGS IN YOUR TRIFLING, LITTLE LIFE – ARE ABSTRACT AND SUPERFLUOUS. A CANON SHOULD NOT INDULGE ITSELF IN THE VICE OF RANKING ITS TEXTS.
- DEATH IS IMMINENT. WE MUST NOT WAIT DECADES, CENTURIES, OR MILLENIA FOR CONTEMPORARY MASTERPIECES TO BE RIGHTFULLY INCLUDED IN THE CANON.
In creating our manifesto, I was tasked with portraying the role of the titular Vince Swift and editing the master cut of the video. We were inspired by a retro 80s informercial aesthetic which informed by slicked-back hair and hokey suit and tie combo. The script which was helmed by Laura and Molly provided a lot of material to work with. It was a joy to blurt out such outrageous things with a dead-pan delivery. I was also responsible for collating everyone’s contributions and editing together the final cut of our manifesto. We tried experimenting with Premiere Pro’s ‘team project’ function believing it would be straightforward and simple. Oh, how naive we were! It didn’t exactly pan out for us, so there were a lot of nuanced adjustments that had to be made in order to preserve each person’s vision while also trying to decipher the software’s many unexplainable errors. For example, Molly’s audio files were not in a format which my software could read, thus, I had to manually convert each sound effect. Moreover, Sabrina’s animations were created using a different aspect ratio. As a result, we had to resize and re-adjust the placement of each animation again. It was tedious work, especially considering that these processes were only to accomodate for the system’s failures, rather than actually making creative edits. That being said, each team member was understanding and patient (apart from the odd breakdown or two, of course). In media, things never go exactly how they are supposed to. This project has taught me how to be resilient and to recognise shortcomings, but more importantly, how to stay clear-headed and resolve those problems. Furthermore, having a team which had a bold approach to experimentation, as evidenced by our multimedia product, was a gratifying experience. We were all had a drive and passion for what we were making, we took risks, tried new things — it was an amazing exercise. Each member: Sabrina, Laura, and Molly, all made crucial contributions to the work. Remove one aspect and the entire video would have fallen short. Overall, I am proud of what my team and I have accomplished.
- WE MUST be critical of the old canon! Nostalgia will get us nowhere!!!
- DOWN WITH RANKING!! Why should it matter if a bunch people I don’t know think Vertigo is better than Citizen Kane?!?
- Diversify the films!
Diversify the voices!!
Diversify the histories!!!
Diversify the world!!!!
!DIVERSITY! !DIVERSITY! !DIVERSITY!
My role in this assignment was to collaboratively work with Molly in creating a script for our piece which formed the overall structure of our video. Using everything we had brainstormed together as a group, writing a script not only allowed me to further improve my skills as a creative writer, but also actively forced me to introspect my own views of manifestos and all things film canon through writing a satirical piece. I wrote the script with the intention of pointing out the outdated faults of the old canon, whilst also including a parody of the contemporary film landscape of ‘film bros’ and ‘A24 vibes’. Taking inspiration from cheesy informercials, the script was used to drive the tone and framework of the piece and working through this in collaboration with my other team members allowed for a unified vision that encompassed our collective desire to re-write the canon through our manifesto. In addition to writing the script, I also filmed a portion of the piece, and worked with my group in the editing process. Much like the Exquisite Corpse exercise, this method of everyone doing their sections separately and then collating them all together in the final stages of our production made for a unique experience of seeing everyone’s individual styles and methods come together in a collaborative fashion. In this, the production of our assignment felt very balanced and not reliant on just one person, and in working this way it resulted in a piece that we all felt equally connected to. Through working on this piece, it has expanded my own thoughts on the creation of media products as whole, and the necessity for collaboration in showcasing everyone’s skills and passions.
- Down with the lack of female and minority representation within the canon!
- Enough with constant voting of the same films to be included in the canon!
- Stop forcing contemporary films to compete with the epic titans of the canon!!
My role in the initial phase of this assignment was to compose the manifesto’s script with Laura. Though I had little experience in the screenplay department, I found it quite easy to build upon Laura’s ideas and generate a few of my own. For example, our script initially began with a shot of the main character in their bedroom, flicking through the TV channels until they stumbled upon Vince Swift’s infomercial on ‘how to be a famous filmmaker’ – which is where we would launch into the rest of the script. I had the idea however, to include a short section beforehand that would provide a sort of backstory for our main character, briefly outlining who they were, as well as their aspirations in life. These sort of additions were consistent throughout the script and a credit to mine and Laura’s effective collaboration, even if it was through remote means. Co-writing the screenplay not only gave me scriptwriting experience, but it also allowed me to consider more deeply my criticisms of the current canon, especially since we were entrusted with the job of creating a wholesale revision of the canon and dictating what deserved to be represented within it.
Once the script was complete and our group had moved onto actually constructing the manifesto, I was tasked with editing the first half of Vince Swift’s infomercial. I worked on including images and sound effects that would fit the cheesy vibe we were going for, whilst also giving the video a greater sense of visual interest. This was a fairly simple task and didn’t necessarily extend my skills as an editor, but I do now have a greater appreciation for those who work in sound. I cannot imagine what it’s like to have to consistently pursue the exact ‘whoosh’ sound effect that perfectly pairs with an imagine animation as a professional. It was frustrating enough attempting it as an amateur. Jokes aside, from an editing standpoint, I learnt the most from watching Daimian refine the master copy of our manifesto. It was extremely enlightening to watch someone else edit, and to be able to observe which shortcuts or effects they were intimately familiar with, and which they were less aware of. I feel like most people have taught themselves to edit, so everyone has their own personal way of doing things in premiere pro, and since I rarely get the change to watch people edit (unless I’m watching a YouTube tutorial for something specific I want to learn how to do), I really enjoyed this opportunity. Ultimately I feel that I’ve gained a lot from this group task in terms of scriptwriting and editing ability, as well as becoming more acutely aware of the failings of the cinematic canon.