People watching…


Today, instead of doing my uni work in the cramped, hot little space that is my room, I decided to go to the state library and soak up the good weather.  Turns out I was not the only one with this idea. I was already doing work for film 3 as I sat there, and so I began thinking about the people sitting around me in regards to character as I tried to plan exercises to explore this aspect of my project. I realised there are certain things you assume about a person based on how they’re dressed and what they’re doing, and that whilst this relates very obviously to character and how you choose to present them in a drama or documentary piece, its true to life as well. It’s hard to talk about someone as if you know them based on what they appear to be, but this is what you are expected to do when viewing a movie or a documentary, and so that’s what I’m going to be doing for a few of the people I managed to film in the above clip.

For example, the person to the left (closest to me) looks like a uni student. There’s nothing explicitly telling you that, but the way he’s dressed is specific to our age group (long hair, skinny jeans, boots, beanie), and the fact that he’s both dressed like that, and reading a book, tell me that he’s a creative person, something that reminds me of RMIT (or at least, the part of the school I’m involved with). There’s also the fact that he has the time to sit outside and read, telling me that he likely works or studies part time, and that he’s alone, suggesting that he’s filling in time or has something else close by (like uni). Of course, I know that I was there on a Sunday, so uni may have had nothing to do with it, and that I myself came alone and not because I had class or was meeting someone, etc. But it’s still the assumption you make, and I think that’s really important when thinking about character, because a viewer may not even realise it but I think you can express so much through costume alone. For example, why did he remove his jumper but not his beanie? It was a hot day, and yet he chose to keep it on. Is he embarrassed to take it off now, in case he has bad hair? Is he trying to be sun smart and protect his head from the sun? Or does he simply think that the beanie defines him and makes him look a part of something fashion-wise? I suspect the latter, and yet I’m not really sure why, but I think others would too. A beanie is a statement, I think, and if you were to choose to do the same thing with a character on screen I think you’d be doing so knowingly.

The girl in front of him, with the overall-dress and stripy top comes off as a city dweller. She’s fashion conscious (I wouldn’t suspect that someone wearing a skirt-come-overalls piece of clothing was doing so without thinking it was a fashion statement), and she is fitting into a trend by wearing black sport shoes as casual footwear. From that I assume she understands trends and hence spends time in the city, and wants to look the part, suggesting someone well-versed in fashion and city life.

Then there’s the person to the right, in the grey hoodie and jeans. Really, a hoodie and jeans doesn’t tell me much accept that he doesn’t care to look the part of a specific group or follow trends like the two characters I just mentioned. I would presume that he’s more academically or sport oriented than he is creative, but the only thing I have to base this on is that he’s not attempting to be creative or make a statement through his choice of clothes. He’s also sitting alone, doing nothing, so it’s hard to guess why he’s there or what he does when he’s not. It’s interesting. I actually though there’d be more to his character when I started this paragraph, but I really don’t think I can tie anything down to him. There are too many possibilities that come with such a generic outfit. Something I think though, is that he’d be nice, and I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because he doesn’t seem like the kind of person who’d be preoccupied with keeping an image or only talking to like-minded people? Maybe because he’s wearing light colours? Maybe it’s because he’s alone? I’m not sure.



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