Seminar series blog post #3

In the end, I thought our seminar went very well. The feedback was resoundingly positive, despite my anxieties on the day. We met up at about 2:30, discussed how we would go about doing things then split off into groups to collect furniture, technical equipment and meet guests. I went to grab furniture, which turned out to be incredibly frustrating, as we probably didn’t have enough people to help, I ended up doing most of the heavy lifting. I also had to make a second trip because we didn’t have a side table which was necessary for the set up we had envisioned. I also picked up a couple of fake plants, which we hadn’t originally planned. I thought this snap decision worked fantastically in our favour, as it filled the space on stage and framed the guests well.

Once inside the space, I set to work organising the set, projector, zoom recorder and popcorn machine (which people were panicking about but no-one was doing anything).  The time constraint was stressful, and my divided attention caused me to mess up and forget to double check the zoom recording, which ended up being off for the first half of the seminar.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, the seminar seemed to me to be a big hit. In no other seminar have I seen so many people sticking around to chat with the guests afterwards. And the guests were happy to oblige, which we were suprised but immensely grateful about. It took a long time before people started packing up, so I took the initiative and started returning furniture, which turned out to be more stressful than getting the furniture there, not least of all because I was doing it myself and we didn’t have a trolly.

Overall, I am very proud of myself and the group for what we accomplished. If I could do it over again however, I would be a little more on top of my other group members, as it seemed as though once people had organised themselves, they were content to sit back and wait till the seminar begin (though certainly not everyone). Massive props to Natalie, James, Jim, Dom and Henry for their efforts.

Seminar series blog post #2

It was a while before we began editing the trailer. In the meantime we had gathered ideas and footage from films we thought we would like to use in the trailer. These films included the rover, mad max, walkabout and a few others. Given that our seminar wasn’t until week 9, we were under no pressure to get the trailer done in a rush.

In the meantime, I attended meetings with the rest of the group. Putting forward ideas and helping troubleshoot any issues that were popping up. One thing which I feel i had a decent input in was in regard to the staging of the event. I insisted that we needed a lamp, as the group was quite reluctant to have any stage lights as other groups had done. Otherwise, I felt my role was to confirm and reassure others on there ideas and work, making suggestions on things such as the poster design and the guests were inviting.

Editing the video went very smoothly. While Dominic did the majority of the technical work, I assumed the role of the director, making decisions on the arrangement, what we should and should not include, and advising on where to make fine cuts. I also did the voice over which I was quite proud of. The end result was awesome, far better than any group before us (if I don’t mind saying so myself).

Seminar series blog post #1

The other week we divided up the tasks we thought we needed to complete prior to the seminar in week 9. I opted to join the group developing the video trailer for the event, as the whole reason I chose to be a part of this film seminar is I am more interested in making video content than anything else. After brainstorming a few idea, Dominic put forward a rough outline for a trailer, which was basically exactly what i’d had in mind. The idea was to make a satire of the standard kind of epic trailer which is all to common these days, complete with suspense, explosions, and a deep voice over. I contributed a few extra ideas I’d had which I wanted to see be in the trailer.

While most of the trailer is going to consist of found footage, we agreed that we should film some parts ourselves. For one, we thought it would be too easy and not much effort to rely entirely on found footage, and two, there was one shot that I thought we had to have; that is, Jim (our house) turning around, shrouded in darkness, wearing a hood, saying something corny. We rented some gear and hijacked an empty classroom. The shoot went very smoothly. In the end we had about 4 shots we were confident that we could use.

Analysis/Reflection #7

Unfortunately I missed class on Wednesday and failed to produce anything to show for the class, which we were meant to do over the 5 days following class on Friday last week. I’d copped the brunt of mid semester assessments and clearly didn’t manage my time effectively enough. I am excited to undertake this however, and have some ideas which I will, ideally, complete over the next few days.

The propositions today (Friday), were incredibly interesting and inspired. After presenting, I challenged the ideas I put through in my own proposal. A particularly interesting propositions came from Jason, who talked about focusing on doing exercises based off of a concept with very little pre-production, instead favouring improvisation, with the intention of exploring a new method of film making. This contrasted with my own proposal, which was more of a reflection of my interest in exploring and polishing my understanding of traditional production. Likewise, Maddie’s proposal, in exploring the pros and cons of two vastly different methods of directing also struck a chord. What fascinated me was her explanation of the directing style of Nicholas Winding Refn, director of Drive and Bronson. Apparently Refn shoots everything in chronological order, and only comes to set with a few rough sketches, allowing him and the actors more flexibility and freedom during the shoot. I was relatively happy with my presentation, but couldn’t help but feel like i’d missed the point to a certain extent, given that most of the people after me gave a relatively concise delivery of the direction they intend to take, whereas mine was more like an analysis/reflection post.

My Method #4

At this early stage in my career (if indeed I can call it a career), the most restrictive factor in my process is budget. After a quick google search of the cheapest successful films made, I discovered that the highest grossing (or most critically acclaimed) low budget film was made for a mere 7 thousand dollars. This film is Monsters directed by Gareth Edwards. The word mere is used with heavy irony. 7000 is a lot of money, especially when I myself am working very little and dependent on youth allowance to pay rent, bills and any other things I must pay for, on top of any luxuries my lifestyle demands. Where does this money come from, how do I get around budget, grants? The idea of grants seems so completely foreign to me that even the thought of applying for one leaves me intimidated and demotivated. Do I then take out a personal lone, as Kevin Smith did when he made Clerks, a risky move which paid off for him, but he is an exception among thousands, and he had the benefit of living in the same country as Hollywood. Obviously these massive budgets are for feature films, and it will be a long time before I am in a position to even consider the possibility of making one. More likely than not, I will be taking advantage on the kindness of friends and milking favours for all they’re worth.

My Method #3

A matter of production, directing and filmmaking as a whole with which I have very little experience is casting. Up until now, I have used friends, though granted friends with an aptitude for performance, in all productions I’ve worked on. My short film in Film/TV 1 serves as a prime example. My lead actor I went to school with and performed alongside him, as well as made our high school short films together. My lead actress was a friend whom had expressed a keen interest in acting to me, and a keen enthusiasm for my project. My key supporting actor was a co-worker who has more professional acting experience than the latter two combined. A Major thing that I must face as a director however, is electing people who (more often than not) I will not know, but rather will be suitable if not perfect for the role intended. I am simultaneously nervous and excited about looking out for talent, holding auditions and working with new people. I think that I am naturally good with people, making them at ease in a new environment, despite the possibility of myself not being entirely comfortable.

My Method #1

My largest concern when tackling a film project is to communicate a tangible and organic story. While, arguably, most of fluidity of a film comes in post-production, probably as important is the performance of the actors. Key to this is how the director communicates what he wants and expects from the actor. If the director does not clarify what he/she desires from an actors performance, or if the actor lacks confidence in their action, this will naturally be portrayed on screen. This has become all the more evident to me since, so far, in this studio we have been using each other as actors, mostly likely none of whom are actors, let alone professional actors. A self-conscious performance reminds the audience that they are watching a performance and a movie, a confident performance makes the audience forget they are watching an actor.

Found Scene – American Psycho: Business Card Scene

This scene for American Psycho takes place before any actual murdering takes place. It is in this scene where we meet his first victim, Paul Allen. The main function of this scene however, is to illustrate the competition in status these men are constantly participating in, and how much Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale’s character) cares about these things.

The scene starts with a shot of Bateman and Luis Carruthers discussing his reservation at Dorsia. The camera tracks forward to rest on a mid-shot OTS when Bateman replies, “lucky I guess.” Carruthers compliments his suit. Camera changes to a mid shot of Bateman, his fist resting on a chair in the foreground, with Carruthers in the background, illustrating him as an annoyance to Bateman, his positioning being less significant than Batemans fist. Bateman slaps Carruthers’ hand away when he touches his suit, providing a logical point to cut to the next shot.

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The camera tracks Paul Allen as he enters from the left side of the screen to approach Bateman. Quick cut to Bateman of him reacting to Allen acknowledging him by the wrong name, checking his tie, before cutting back to the previous shot. The voice oScreen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.06.30 pmver begins, explaining the situation. As the voice over happens, there is a cut to Marcus Halbistram, the person Allen confused Bateman for, panning from left to right as he enters the room and shakes hands with a colleague, Halbistram nods in acknowledgement toward the camera as he enters, as if he is acknowledging the voice over talking about him.

Cutting back to Bateman, the shot is an awkwardly framed close up, contributing to the feeling of restrained frustration implicit in Bateman’s face. There is series of fast cuts back and forth between Allen and Bateman as they exchange snide remarks, until it cuts to Craig McDermott, accompanied by Timothy Bryce and David Van Patten, entering the board room. McDermott calls out and compliments Allen on the “Fisher Account”, more quick cuts as Bryce inquires about squash.

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The pacing of the scene slows dramatically as Allen takes his business card and flagrantly passes it to Bryce. The camera pans to follow the card as it changes hands, there is a whooshing sound as it happens illustrating the significance of the card. Allen then moves to exit the scene, discussing his dinner plans, dropping that he has a dinner reservation at Dorsia, When he mentions Dorsia, the camera is focused on McDermott, Brice and Van Patten who all respond with contained shock, before cutting back to Allen shaking hands with an extra.

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Bryce and McDermott make comments before the camera cuts to Bateman removing his business card holder from his breast pocket, cutting to a close up as he opens its. The motion is accompanied by the same whooshing sound as before, and the sound of the case being flicked open is reminiscent of a sword being drawn. Quick cut to Bryce inquiring if its a gram (of cocaine), before cutting back to Bateman placing it on the table, “new card”. Close up of the card on the table, the camera rests on it for an extra beat. Batemans colleagues all lean forward and praise the card. Cut back to Batemen looking very smug with himself, citing the various characteristics of the card. Van Patten then places his card on the table in response. Cut to the two cards adjacent to one another, with Brice’s voice cut over the top exclaiming, “that is really nice.” Cutting back to Van Patten once more, he declares the characteristics of the card before requesting acknowledgement from Bateman.

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Cutting to close up of Bateman, the camera is framed slightly off in such a way that it amplifies the tension. Bryce then ups the ante, pulling his own card out and placing it on the table. The camera cuts to a close up of the card, in the same fashion as the previous ones. Once more cutting to Bateman, he is starting to break, barely able to get his words out through frustration, then requesting to see Paul Allens card.

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His colleagues exchange a glance, before looking away, Bryce takes a second look at the card before looking around, this gives off an air of significance and intimidation surrounding the card. There is a slowly building hum as this exchange takes place before turning into suspenseful strings as it cuts to a close up of the card. The card is framed and lit in contrast to the others presented in the scene. It takes up most of the frame, is slightly tilted and lit in such a way that it almost spotlit. Batemans voice over exclaims all the things that a so great about the card in exasperation. The camera cuts from the card to an extreme close up of Bateman, who looks as if he could feint. This sentiment is further signified when the camera cuts to a close up of Bateman and Carrathers, Bateman lets the card slip from his fingers before Carrathers asks him if something is wrong, “your sweating.”






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Analysis reflection 5 q2

i feel as though I achieved what it was I was hoping to get out of this semester. My primary goals were to get better acquainted with the equipment, including the camera and audio mixer, and to get a better understanding of how to use premiere pro. I definitely achieved this, having used the camera regularly, as well as spending a significant amount if time in the editing suits.

The most interesting thing I got out of the semester, however, was just how hard it is to find willing interview subjects, and working around them so as not to be a burden, given that the subjects get very little in exchange for their time.

More than anything though, I feel I learned from my mistakes this semester. The audio in both of my interviews are damaged, and despite this being a great setback, I have become more conscious and careful about the production process.

im proud of the work I did this semester and look forward to paying the knowledge and experience from this semester to my projects next year.

GTA V review

Last week I made the terrible decision to buy Grand Theft Auto V. I say it was a terrible decision because the game is so ridiculously huge and awesome that I ended up binging on it for hours a day until I had finished the main story line. GTA V is a testiment to how far video games have come, featuring interchangeable characters, a immersive and organic world, and attention to detail previously unseen. The option smoke a bong in your house or do yoga in the backyard, are just 2 of the many bizarre and seemingly mundane activites you can do in game. The characters a loveable and dynamic, my favourite being the speed freak trevor who could snap like a twig at any moment, sending him on a murderous rampage, but still being hilarious and likeable, not an easy feat. The cinematic cut scenes are completely acted out and the level of dramatic depth the audience experiences as a consequence is deeply satisfying.
I very much look forward to GTA online, which is due to be released in about a weeks time. Free to play for any owner of GTA V, GTA online offers the ultimate GTA experience. In any given session you can play with up to 16 of your friends, hijacking planes and getting into shoot outs with the police. This game could very well be the death of me, but I burning with anticipation. 10 out of 10. AMAZING