Week 6 Epiphany

For a while now Paul and Robin have been telling us that it is important to write about our ideas, because it is very difficult to develop and refine our thoughts simply by thinking about them. Writing is always something that I’ve found useful for developing my ideas and I generally end up writing a lot more than I had originally planned. Take my ‘Doors’ scene deconstruction as an example; I could never have guessed that I would write over 1000 words about a 4 shot scene, but that’s what happened. It wasn’t until I started writing that new ideas came to me, which linked to other ideas. Ultimately I think any process that actualises a thought process can help to generate new ideas or refine them. Although I do not mind writing, my favourite form of ‘idea generation’ is talking to people. Not only does this process force you to put ideas into your own words, it helps you to explain them clearly, so that someone else can understand what you are talking about. The other night, my dad asked me what I was researching and so I told him a bit about Andrè Bazin. By telling him about my research I was able to clarify exactly what I thought the most significant parts about Bazin’s theories and critiques were and structure them into a blog post. Dad also asked me questions about Bazin, some of which I hadn’t even considered being important and others I didn’t know the answer to. This inspired me to do more research in order to find the answers to his questions.

In Wednesday’s class, we discussed our ideas for what we wanted to do for the rest of semester in small groups. Beforehand we had a short amount of time to start jotting down our main ideas, so that when it came to talking, we had a sense of what we were going to say. Prior to this lesson, I had some vague, disparate ideas about what I wanted to do, but nothing was really coming together. I think listening to Paul and Robin speak about their plans for the semester, then writing about my own ideas and finally speaking about them was an invaluable exercise because it helped me to collate all of my ideas into one unified plan. Sometimes this process of simply putting thoughts into words is all it takes to come up with a solid idea.

I also think filming helps to generate ideas; it is just a more practical way of doing it. Paul has been saying that if you just start writing, then an idea will eventually come to you (this theory is the basis of the ‘free fall’ writing technique). This is similar with shooting a scene; even if you don’t really know where you are going to end up, it is useful to just start filming and often the organic process of improvisation will spawn some really interesting outcomes.

On another note, the best thing about Friday’s class was watching the other class’ edits of the same scene we had done in week 5. What my group had interpreted as being quite a slow, awkward scene between strangers, had been turned into a fast-paced, suspenseful, action sequence by a group in the other class. This proved how different people can take very different meanings from the same piece of text. It also exemplified the power of the director as a creative force (or maybe the editor in this case, I’m not sure), because this group had obviously taken the scene and completely made it their own. Their sequence had been graded so that the colours were saturated, which established a stylised and rather dramatic aesthetic. Extreme closeups of one character’s feet pacing were interspersed with a slow zoom towards the other character, which built to a climatic ending featuring explosions. The scene was also intensified with the use of an ominous, tension-building soundtrack. All in all, I found this edit to be extremely effective; it was rather inspiring in terms of showing what you can do with very little resources, non-actors and a limited amount of time.

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