Reflecting upon the seminar once we had presented it, I feel that we worked exceptionally well as a team. However, I feel that while my participation was crucial to our team, I wasn’t as available for them as I could have been. I also did not supervise the camera crew properly to make sure they could film the seminar adequately, and led them to their own devices. We ended up with some average footage, poor quality sound, and out of focus material. However, we are at uni to learn, so I wasn’t too harsh in my feedback. I edited the seminar video with what we had recorded, and did my absolute best to make sure it was okay. We seemed to have more content in the video due to our seminar comprising of 4 individual guests. The video was 9 minutes long instead of 5. All in all, I believe our group was amazing at putting on the seminar, and I really enjoyed working on it, even during the insanely busy times. I believe my involvement and effort would deserve a distinction, as I failed to be there some weeks, and I do not believe that anyone who does that should be highly distinguished for whatever reason.
We were only a week away from the seminar in week 11, and we were running around like crazy. We had set up frequent meetings outside of class time to work on individual projects such as posters, concepts of the visuals for the seminar, guests and technical bookings. Trello had become obsolete, as Arthur and Vicson preferred to use Facebook as a means of communicating tasks, which seemed to work quite well with everyone. We went out into RMIT and put up posters for our seminar, not realising that we needed prior permission to do so. This was something which I felt I should have researched beforehand, and have learnt for next time. We also began organising the equipment to film the seminar down in the building 9 AV loans office. We were told that we had the same equipment allocated to us that every other group had and that we could not alter the booking for different equipment. This was annoying, because I did not want to use the cameras that were allocated to our group. In hindsight, using DSLRs such as a Canon 5d would have worked better for the type of filming we wanted to do, but we worked with what we had. We then organised pick up dates for the equipment, but I could not help with it due to the fact I did not have a car to drive the equipment around. Aki and Jia Jia volunteered instead.
We entered the pre-production phase of marketing our seminar. I took on the task of producing the promotional video for our group, outlining the script, treatment and schedule for how we would make it. I used Trello to allocate the members roles in making the video from editing, shooting, sound to directing. We went out and shot a small piece of footage, basically a tracking shot of four of our group members’ faces staring with anticipation out into the distance, and recorded some voice over for the video. We mainly used stock footage found from the web to create the adventure and epic vibe we were going for. Vicson and Lauren edited the two different videos which became core marketing tools for our seminar. I then resided to working on tasks such as assisting Arthur and Vicson in their role of producing the seminar itself, and completed tasks that they needed me to do. However, I did become a bit absent for a week due to assignments being quite frequent during week 7. This is when I returned to the group and apologised for my absence. Through their understanding and personal appreciation of the circumstances, they welcomed me back, and we began our work, underway for the seminar date.
In the beginning of my involvement with the international jobs seminar, I was two weeks late. I had not attended class due to unforeseen circumstances that had kept me away for some time. However, my group involved me with open arms, and made me their pre-production manager for quite some time. I was tasked with creating the framework for our preparation using a website called Trello.com, a work flow managing website that would assist us with tracking our progress.
Through my prior knowledge of filmmaking and production, I tasked myself with the role of producer and director for our promotional videos. I began to create tasks on Trello for people to do, and made sure that people were happy with their tasks, and didn’t feel a great weight on their shoulders from pressure, too much work, or lack of confidence with the task. I ensured the facilitation of all members when using Trello, by running a short 15 minute presentation on how to view, edit, and keep up to date with the programme, while also creating accounts for all crew members. However, I lacked maintaining frequent contact with group members outside of class time, and had reduced all contact to the online Facebook group. Links are in the description, along with photos.
Group page (closed): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1654474481452823/
Group PR page: https://www.facebook.com/RMITescapees
Throughout the semester in Media 5 and ‘The Scene In Cinema’ I have undergone a very personal and artistic process of self-discovery. To avoid sounding pretentious, allow me to elaborate. What I mean, is that I had to take control of the course on my own, guiding myself to set tasks for myself, complete them, and reflect upon them critically. Not only that, but I also had to go beyond the basic structures of making film, editing it, reflecting, and so on. I had to create something new, and unique unto my own interest and inspiration as an auteur.
The projects that I undertook as a part of my self discovery and education was the creation of a ‘Universal Shotlist’, a reflection upon my own producing process of film called ‘The Stokeward Methodology’, a sketch shoot of a film called ‘The Loveable Moron’, and finally an insight into the spontaneous creational technique of imagination known as ‘The From God Method’.
I found the creation of my own tasks to be a daunting proposition, as I was so used to being spoon-fed assignments and information in order to complete a course. However, somewhere along the way, this wasn’t a course anymore, it was an evolution of who I was as a filmmaker. I found that being kicked out of the nest, so to speak, I had to constantly reflect upon my own self and think about what mattered to me as a filmmaker, and what I had to say. What was something that I could offer that was different? I used my weekly reflections as a way to critically explore my own thoughts, and analyse what I could improve on, or what I could build on. Through this process, I identified that I could begin the process of writing my own methodology out in a manual style form, so that others could examine and possibly identify or learn from the way I make film.
The ‘Stokeward Methodology’ kicked off yet a series of self awareness and criticism, allowing me to build on my own practice. I did so by engaging in the creation of a film, as well as simultaneously writing my methodology, as a real time step by step process of how I would go about creating this film. By doing this, I was intensely engaging in the process of scene production in a way that could both be practical and theoretical.
Through creating the pre-production work for the film, known as ‘The Loveable Moron’, I decided that it would be not as beneficial to shoot the scene, but to take a part of the pre-production phase, and build on it, do something new with it. I took the shotlist that I had written up, as it was in a traditional format that is used universally across the film industry, and decided to include some extra modifications to it. I wanted to correlate the director’s insight and higher thinking, along with the technical details and specifications, to create a universally used shotlist that can be more efficient and useful on set. By adding in the section of ‘Purpose’ for the film, I was able to demonstrate the director’s intensions when capturing a particular shot, to the DOP and videographers. This was then put into practice in ‘The Loveable Moron’.
‘The Loveable Moron’ then became a reality, as I decided it would be interesting to test how the shotlist would work when filming a scene with no prior knowledge of the script, the background synopsis, or any idea of the shots, and what they would be. Once I had filmed the dogma version of the sketch shoot, I analysed the DOP’s work as both a cameramen and a director in the scene, based on only 20 minutes of reading both the script and the shotlist. The film is now posted on my blog, along with all the other details that will be linked at the end of this post.
I found that the efficiency that my shotlist had created was excellent! We shot the scene in less than an hour, allowing for a smoother movement on set, and a universal understanding between the three people on set (myself, a friend, and the DOP/Director). However, the DOP did have a problem with the shotlist, as some parts were not elaborate enough for his comprehension, or understanding. This was a really good criticism, as I was then able to understand that I should build on making it more coherent and concise.
Finally, I wanted to understand how I could come up with this film as a concept from my imagination. So I undertook the task of writing ‘The From God Method’. I analysed the psychological patterns that unfolded in my mind when following specific steps to create a film’s narrative and concept. Through this, I felt that I could engage in higher thinking, and become more aware of my own creative process. This was probably the best and most interesting part of my exploration, as I could truly delve into my mind, and understand a higher level of thinking that I was not aware of before.
The Universal Shotlist
The Stokeward Methodology
KEEP IN MIND:
There was NO:
external sound equipment
IT IS PURLEY RAW DOGMA. A SKETCH SHOOT TO DEMONSTRATE CAMERA COVERAGE USING THE SCRIPT AND THE UNIVERSAL SHOTLIST 10 MINUTES PRIOR TO SHOOTING
I have shot the film and am now editing it. I had my friend act in the sketch shoot of ‘The Loveable Moron’ with me, as the quality of acting or production was not the main focus. What was the main focus is having another friend who is a highly skilled and experienced DOP, use a Canon 5d mk ii DSLR with no tripod or microphone, film the entire sketch film with the universal shotlist and the script.
Throughout the experiment, he was a little confused at times due to the shortened descriptions and lack of detail, to save space, on the shotlist. He understood a lot of what he was reading and began shooting. While the quality is not the main focus, he stuck to the shotlist and filmed handheld to the best of his ability. However, he did have some qualms with the way the shot-list was ordered in a shoot-edit style. I reflected upon this criticism and explained how I had made the shotlist in a shoot-edit style (despite that being impractical in my opinion) to save time, and to allow for a quicker, but more technically problematic shoot. It was not on the forefront of my mind, but his criticism had made me realize some technical issues with the shotlist.
As we finished the shoot, he noticed how the shotlist was very elaborate and explained a lot of detail, but he still felt as if he was not entirely sure what he was doing. What I learnt from this experiment was that if the DOP does not have prior knowledge of the film, the universal shotlist may not serve as great or efficient a purpose as I thought. However, it is also the shotlist’s conjested space and small amount of in depth description of purpose and technique that may have contributed to the confusion. The final edit of ‘The Loveable Moron’ will be a very interesting study to reflect on.
What I intend to do by making this sketch shoot of ‘The Loveable Moron’ is to hand a DOP without any prior knowledge of the script or shot list, and have him direct and film the scene with only a DSLR camera. Now, I’m not expecting anything high quality, but what I am hypothesizing is that the DOP will be able to shoot exactly what I want, without me having to direct or give instruction. This case study aims to reflect how the universal shot-list that I have created informs a DOP of the major components of the films construction, and how effectively it will assist him/her in the execution of the film’s camera coverage.
If we’re talking about how concepts for film are created, we would often have a discussion about inspiration, stimulus or natural creative ability. However, there is one method that still baffles me, and is often a method that is not disclosed when reflecting upon the constructing of filmic concepts or narratives. This is called the ‘From God’ method. This is when we, as auteurs, can in visage a story or a scene in our minds using nothing but our imagination. We have the capacity to create whole worlds from nothing, as if it just came to us. It is often hard to elaborate on that creative process, as we feel it is spontaneous and not a product of long term pondering or thought. This is what I want to investigate in this writing, how we have these ‘From God’ visions of our films and their content. I was sitting at my desk in my mother’s house, thinking of a new idea for a film. This is harder than it sounds, basically because I don’t want to invest in any old idea, unless I know that this is worth an investment of over 500 hours of work. It is a huge investment, so I am very particular about what I want to write.
So, as I sit there, I begin to listen to different pieces of music to be able to feel different emotions based on the tempo, the rhythm and feel of the pieces of music. In this process, I listen to music in a very deep sense, I analyse the lyrics, and what they mean, I analyse the rhythm and if it makes me want to dance or sit there with a whiskey and cry my eyes out. Feeling these ranges of emotions, I consider which ones I like, what do I want to feel, and what do I want others to feel if these pieces of music were my film. There is a direct influence of music in my films. So, I pick a few songs and listen to them in chronological order, one after another, this creates a connected flow of emotion that remains consistent for the duration of the listening. I have now created a emotional response in myself to the music that will last for a while, almost like eating until I am full, then waiting it out until I am hungry again. Now that I have this emotional foundation, I envisage this emotion being the basis for the film I want to create, then I ask, how would I convey these emotions, and what is it that I want to say? This is all taking place in my own mind, I am not speaking, I am not sharing this with anyone, this is a psychological process that is unique unto myself as a ‘From God’ method. I would think about how the selection of songs inform my thinking, what am I thinking? I am thinking that a woman did me wrong, and now I am a broken man, a shell of what I used to be. So, the music would probably be something like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley, right? What do I want to say about this? Do I just want to tell a story of a woman doing wrong to her lover, or do I want to say something unique and unheard of before. This is where I say something, something that has come from my own experience, my own thoughts and life lessons. It’s almost as if I am consoling those who can relate to this experience, or as if I am validating the mystery of human emotion in love.
I have my message now, and what am I going to do with it? How am I going to get this across in a film with this kind of emotion. This is the part where the ‘From God’ method comes in. I feel as if automatically a character assembles him or herself in my mind, then another, then a conflict arises between them, then a setting, then the emotional foundation of music comes into it, then a narrative construct of the protagonist overcoming an obstacle to better him or herself. It all happens so quickly in my mind, it feels like flood gates open and that I cannot control the water just rushing and flooding my mind with this whole universe. I believe that this may be a product of conditioning to having created stories for a long time, an ability to construct unique stories and characters based on a creative neurological pathway inside the auteurs mind being so exercised that it can come as naturally as a handshake or a sneeze. But for some reason, this only happens once I have taken the steps involved that were mentioned previously, then there is this rush of creative input and creation.
The reason that I call it the ‘From God’ method, is because the creation of a universe happens so quickly, and in such a mysterious psychological pattern. In the religion of Christianity, the Bible states that God created the universe in 7 days, for myself, I create the life of one person, and the universe around him in a short burst of imagination that is triggered by a psychological pattern of consideration and informing my (or the film’s) emotional foundation through music. I become invested and involved in the film itself as god.
So, I am now ready to put all the planning into practice for “Loveable Moron”. I want to demonstrate how my shot list and unique camera techniques can create coverage for a small scene. What I want to get from this is to learn how to get coverage of a scene in a new way, and to demonstrate how my planning methods can be put into practice to create a scene. I intend to get two of my friends together just to act out the scene, and i will shoot it on either a Canon 5d mk iii or a Sony EX3, depending on its availability. I believe I should shoot it on an EX3 so I can really tailor the settings to create a unique and particular style when I film.