“it’s all about us”

Last week’s guest lecture looked at the relationship between the actor and the director.
The reading for last week was titled The Director and the Actor.
And finally something hit home.

We have been going through this whole production phase so very focused on us. On the makers, and on the making. Yes, our task is to make, and we came to university to learn how to do that, but this semester I believe I have forgotten (if only partially  that we make texts for an audience. Year Twelve Media (yeah, going all the way back to the industrial system of a high-school education) was so very focused on selecting an appropriate audience, and working to those constraints. I suppose that helped guide us, to an extent. But there really hasn’t been much mention of audience (for FilmTV, or Integrated Media). Maybe we were meant to figure it out ourselves and I just missed the boat….

Even then, the creation of our films so far has revolved around the crew. Learning to be a crew and learning how to crew. So, the lecture was very pertinent  As much as this kind of tunnel vision has enabled us to hone in on what we need to do, there is still a great deal more then just us and our work that makes a film come together.
When we filmed our Lenny III, I got some friends to come in and help out and act for us. No, I twisted their arms and bribed them with food until they agreed. My words to my non-actor, camera-shy friends were, “It’s really not even about you, it’s about us” I told them we need to practice our roles behind the camera, and we need someone infront so that we know when we are stuffing it up completely.

But it’s not.
The actors want it to be about them. The make-up will want it to be about them (to an extent).

The actors will want to use this, they’ll want it to be great (just as much as we do – I hope!).
And we need to remember that.
Sure, it’s about us learning. But there is more then one party involved in the process.

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Who’s the one actually auditioning?

Auditions on Friday showcased a range of talent.
It was a really interesting experience – and sometimes it left me wondering who was auditioning for whom?

I organised all the auditions through Star Now (see our post here) and despite the somewhat vague casting call we got a range of responses.
Leaving the age range open seemed the best thing to do at the time – mostly because Paul and Christine talked about the older actors being nutcases – and it was good, but now we have a more specific idea of how we want the characters to be it seems like it would have been better to just have it open to over 35.

Overall it was a positive experience. Using the space in the basement worked well (although directing people to it was tricky). Filming the auditions was the best idea and talking to a fellow actor who does auditions proved useful in knowing how to run things to appear professional about it.
We tried hard to run it smoothly and professionally despite being nervous ourselves – I feel like we are

Some of the interesting things:

– People lied about their age.
– People came late, and then took up other’s time (holding up even our director).
– People were so nervous they were shaking, and others just made us nervous.

We were even fortunate enough to get those kinds – the ones Paul told us to be careful of – the know-it-all professionals who believe that they themselves are doing us a favor by appearing in our student film…. while there were others who were keen just to gain experience from the opportunity.

Anyone who plays a part in the film is really doing us a favour it’s true, but we want them to treat the experience with a professional manner so as we can do the same – that way we both gain something from it.

KORSAKOW FLIM AND REFLECTION

EXPLORATION

Martin Scorsese writes that he “love[s] the restrictions of the frame”¹. It can exclude and it can include. It can restrict the knowledge of the audience if we choose for it to do so. Whether they are conscious of it or not, directors produce films indicative of the way in which they see the world. In cinema studies we  are always taught that directors do everything for a reason. In my own practice (and especially in group work) I have felt that this is not always the case, but perhaps it actually is – the reasons are just not apparent to myself at the time of ‘making’.


At first, my Sketch Tasks did not appear to be linked, there emerged no common thread; sometimes they felt like they were about nothing (something that looked nice, something that was interesting at the time). The videos are as they have been designed to be; raw, unplanned, dirty, unrehearsed. But they do have things in common. In the creation of my sketch tasks, I have selected what is in the frame, and what is outside of it. Sometimes this was a conscious effort (excluding my shadow or reflection in order to create a more mysterious feeling), other times it was not – but it happened all the same. When I consciously engaged with my surroundings (and broke away from the digital grind) I did not find it hard at all to uncover material that I felt was worthwhile capturing. Once I began to practice experiential learning (as outlined by Mason²), I found I was more frequently stopping to think about what I was looking at and hearing. I found it easier to spot things that would spark my interest.

INTENTION

In my Korsakow film I have set out to connect all of my films in a way that is poignant and reflective of my own experiences. The biggest, most obvious connection being that all the sketch tasks were created by me, and therefore indicative of the way I see the world.
My sketch tasks, being varied and experimental have no common thread – they are not even filmed using the same devices. I used as many different apps and camera devices I could get my hands on in order to best experiment and appreciate what certain devices and applications could provide and others could not. (See earlier posts in regard to my anguish about Android apps)

I thought long and hard about what text I could use to connect the videos and the process and kept coming back to the idea that I wanted to communicate a particular viewpoint (my own). I have chosen to use text from Voltaire’s Candide,  because I want my creation, my k-film to be meaningful. Voltaire’s works are of particular interest to me and I find it to be a fairly accessible text. Moreover, the phrases I selected can all stand alone, and at the same time when strung together they create meaning.

REALISATION

I began this task feeling that it was largely an exploration on my part. Having no target audience outlined (in the structured, regulated way one would expect from a media task), it seemed as though we were making it more for ourselves, then for an audience. Like much of the content uploaded onto the internet it begins by being made by the maker, for the maker. Some of it is worthwhile, some of it not so. That is why we need filtering online. My work was not created with an intended audience, it is an exploration of the software. However, I would be interested in receiving feedback from the online community. I am interested in learning more about the people who use Korsakow, and the audiences they target with their works.

I found structuring the kfilm a difficult task. It does allow for a certain degree of manipulation of what can come next, however, I felt that my kfilm would work better if it was more random. It was perplexing to note that  when I began my first draft, using a limited array of keywords,  the same videos would turn up until their ‘lives’ had been depleted – and then the film would abruptly end. Following this I began to re-think my keywords, grouping my videos to create a structure and flow; ordering (or ranking them) to pave the way for the ending  – sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. Unfortunately, I feel this is inherent in the nature of Korsakow and the kfilm.

I feel that I have been successful in creating a series of sketch videos linked in an interactive and engaging way. Whilst there is no apparent narrative nor an intended audience, there is a common thread in all the videos. The text is all derived from the same source and creates and interesting story about my work and my shared view with Voltaire on the world.
(I feel it’s more appropriate to use story rather then narrative, but I’m still not really sure that is even the best term for it!)

Watch the film here!

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Thinking in screen language – why my ideas have not been very good…

The task of developing an outline for a short film is daunting and scary.
More-so when every idea you churn out seems flawed.

I’m not a writer. Yet.

(But I want to develop that skill eventually – there’s nothing more glamorous to me, seriously, then the image of a solitary writer; getting up at 5am and writing till midday, then going for long runs or walks, hardly talking to anyone, becoming utterly consumed by your work)

My ideas seem to involve way too much talking, not enough action.
The best short films I’ve seen – in class, on Vimeo – have had minimal or even no dialogue. This made them more engaging, it was necessary that the viewer pay attention. It’s also nice to be shown things rather then told.
My first excuse at why I’m bad at this: I don’t like action films (true). I like films with intricate characters, going through difficult situations. Characters that grow, and change. Characters that are influenced by things and want to or have to change. I don’t like fight scenes, I’m hardly keen on explosions and I’m not really interested in wars on the screen. I’m more interested in the people involved.
Excuse number two: I like films with dialogue. Good dialogue is good. But too much dialogue is boring.

But why can I only think in dialogue? I watch enough films (probably not enough short films).