|· Creswell (introduction)||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/03/09/cresswell-place-an-introduction/|
|· J.E. Malpas||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/03/19/place-and-experience-a-philosophical-topography/|
|Site Visits –|
|· State Library||Did not complete|
|· Public Records Office||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/03/26/public-record-office/|
|· Melbourne Museum||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/03/30/melbourne-exhibition/|
|· Professor Martyn Hook (& the reading associated with his visit)||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/04/05/martyn-hook-guest-lecture/
|· Professor Paul Gough||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/04/18/guest-lecture-paul-gough/|
|· Abigail Belfrage||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/06/01/guest-abigail-belfrage/|
|· Jeremy Bowtell||Did not complete – Absent. However I have had a lot of experience in post-processing thanks to completing an internship at a media production company this year. I address learning these skills in this post: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/04/19/video-experiment/|
|· Brief 1||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/03/11/brief-1/|
|· Brief 2||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/06/01/brief-2/|
|· Brief 3 (with presentation slides)||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/04/23/brief-3-mid-semester-crit-personal-project/|
|· Brief 4|
|Work in progress posts|
|· Individual project||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/03/20/storey-hall-recordings/
|· Group project||https://www.mediafactory.org.au/george-downing/2015/03/19/ingress-augmented-reality/
|Final Reflection (1000 words)
Creswell’s notion of memory inscribed in place is most relevant to my project this semester. He identifies how ‘the very complicated nature of the experience of place’ makes it an effective tool in producing memory (2015, p. 120). This is certainly true from my experience: without any knowledge of Storey Hall’s history I still felt there was something surreal about the exposed brick wall. It seemed to suggest ‘hauntings of past inhabitations’, as I have previously written about (Creswell 2015, p. 7).
Moreover, Creswell references Edward Casey’s notion of “place-memory”: ‘the ability of place to make the past come to life in the present and thus contribute to the production and reproduction of social memory.’ (p. 121). By preserving this exposed brick wall amid Storey Hall’s renovation, perhaps RMIT hope to encourage the public to investigate the building’s history (which certainly worked in my case). This is exactly what I wanted to do with my project: make the past come to life in the present. “The Brick Wall” suggests there are histories or even ghosts concealed within the fabrics of every building, one only has to look closer or metaphorically go beyond the physicality of these fabrics to see them. A seemingly mundane brick wall can therefore become a portal to another time, as it does in the film.
It is in this way that my understanding of place has developed throughout the semester. Rather than simply viewing place as a physical location or buildings as merely brick and mortar, I am much more conscious of the stories that these places are made up of. In my opinion, it is these stories and histories that make space into place and what shape the atmosphere and hence the reaction different people experience.
This inspired my approach to creating “The Brick Wall”. I wanted to explore the metaphysical aspect of place and space by establishing a suggestive mood rather than presenting a factual documentary, ideally evoking ‘a sense, or spirit, of place’ (Creswell 2015, p. 129). When the idea was in its initial planning stages, I was deciding between an experimental mood piece and a straightforward documentary about the Guild Hall Commune in 1917. Evidently, I chose the first option. Not only is it much more suited to my creative style, I also felt I wanted to intrigue audiences and hopefully encourage them to research the buildings history themselves after viewing the film. I personally found the experience of researching and reading about Storey Hall’s rich history fascinating and surprising. So rather than explaining exactly what happened in 1917, I simply wanted to suggest that something of great importance took place in the building. Ideally, this will spark the interest of spectators and incite their curiosity.
The most challenging part of the course was bringing my idea to life on an extremely small budget and without a crew. I knew what I wanted to do very early on in the semester, and had to work very hard to pull it off. Without the assistance of other group members, every single task was my responsibility. From writing the script, to calling up actors willing to work for free, to securing a location, and finally to directing and filming the entire movie. The whole process really highlighted the importance of a team in film production.
However, I did enjoy the freedom working individually allowed. I did not have to run my ideas past anyone: I had complete control over the entire concept and production and I am grateful that I was able to do this. While the film was challenging, it was also extremely rewarding and satisfying working towards my own creative vision. As the first creative short film I have made, I am very happy with the results.
In saying this, there are a number of things I would change or improve if I were able to produce the film again. While I do like the aesthetic of having no diegetic sound, I would like to see how the film would look if I had sound effects from activities inside The Commune. These would include the sound of Vida Goldstein’s footsteps, the polishing of a boot, and a match lighting a cigarette. I feel as though these could really enhance the atmosphere of the scene. They could just as equally detract from it as well, which is why I would have to try it first. Essentially, what I need to remember for next time is to always give myself the option to test different stylistic choices, so that I know for certain what works best.
In terms of my creative practice, I’ve come to realise that I enjoy a level of spontaneity in filming. While I did have a basic script and storyboard to work from, I like to give myself room to change things around on the actual day of shooting. I also feel as though I need a large amount of control in film production. As I have already mentioned, I had complete control over the direction this production took, and I know that I would have struggled with being in a group and losing this. I have often thought that when I make a film, I would want to do everything: from scoring the soundtrack to cinematography, all the way to post-production. Otherwise, I feel as though my personal creative vision would be compromised. However, I have learnt from this experience that making a complete film of any length as a one-person crew is immensely time-consuming and difficult.
Overall, I have highly enjoyed this studio and am proud of what I was able to create over the semester. It has certainly solidified my aspirations to be a filmmaker and inspired me to start writing a personal screenplay over the mid-year break.
Word count: 961
Creswell, T 2015, ‘Working with place – creating places’, in T Creswell (eds), Place: an introduction, 2nd edn, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, pp. 115-164.