Sunday, April 19, 2009

Flash! Flash! I love you!

...But we only have 48 hours to save the Earth!

48 hours. Its either a long amount of time, or a very short one, just depends on who you are. When it comes to making a movie, its a very short amount of time, at least if you want to make a decent one and have it polished and edited within that time frame. I discovered though that 48 hours was more than enough time for me to make a movie, shooting, editing, and even special effects. How did I do it? Not as some master of the camera, but rather through the use of Stop Motion.

Roommates. Theirs always some anger, some hatred, some rivalry between the pair of them. You never really know who they are, or what they do, one minute their your best friend the next you want to shove a cheese sandwich down their throat in order to shut them up. This was the basis for my movie. 

I found to friends of mine, roommates, and put them in a situation where the hatred for one another had built up over the semester, and suddenly, the time had come, there will be blood. There wasn't any blood in this case, rather some suffocation, and a bit of punching.

I decided to use the still camera on the basis that it would be easier to make a movie that way, its the closest thing I have to an actual film camera. And with myself and my roommate being keen photographers we had the necessary equipment. All it took was a trip to Wag for a cheese sandwich and we had the movie ready to go. 

I ad the fight set up, and with some great input from my roommate and the two lads who would be the stars of this show, we managed to come up with some cool camera shots, moving cameras and something like zooms. All very Wachowski. 

For the final part of the movie in which the words, "My God, its full of stars," needed to be said, I decided to drop into the influences from German Expressionism and fall into a weird world of over exaggeration and elaborately designed sets. Yet keeping it rather rough. This came out well enough with the use of a duvet covered in papers stars that was hung from my bed and then lowered, mimicking the blank sheet we used as the dead Oliver laid still movements, and had him deliver the line as though he had passed to the next world. 

All fun and games really, just a shame I didn't get to see it on the big screen since had other things to do that night.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rough Theatre

From my own perspective as someone who has worked in the theatre this article seemed to hit a lot of good points. I agree with most if not all that it says. In summary I feel that it is saying how art should be seen, with a certain amount of 'humanity' to it, a certain amount of flaw, mistake and general mock up. In an age that it seems most people prefer the digital style art, even in photography and film making, it detracts from the realness of what is capture by the camera. For me there has always been something magical about the days when cinema was young and there was no special effects, just men spending long hours cutting and editing. Special effects where drawn or painted, or stop motion, or props, none of it was digital, and it was glorious.

I remember watching Metropolis and being amazed at the roughness of the sets, the over acting, the make up, the humanity of the film. The same with Nosferatu, I wondered how they made such pieces without being able to add effects, I love the look and feel of the grainy, dark, barely visual visuals. And I wanted more. There is room for humanity in films, there is room for mistakes and obvious camera work and shoddy editing. There's room for over acting, bad make up and poor lighting. If only because we can see that some care and love has been put into the movie, that the person making it loves it, has enjoyed making it, shows us that it is not some mechanical sterile thing but a loved piece of work.

Molotov Man

Advertising. I hate it. I hate what it does, what it stands for and how it does it. I hate that it makes me buy things I dont need, read things I dont want to, makes me fear what I'm eating, drinking and putting into my body. I hate the jingles, the logos, the catch lines, the punchlines, the attempts by old generations to take something and sell it to young generations thinking that we'll lap it up.

But I still buy things. I still eat and drink things I shouldnt. People still buy pills and tablets and magazines and the latest model of some machine that makes toast and fresh peanut butter at the same time. Everything is effected buy it, even art it seems.

One man's actions in a struggle, one man's beliefs, used to sell Pepsi. Its a distressing thought, you have to wonder if the man knows what he has become, if he got some compensation for his image being used, and if he ever one that struggle of his. Most dont care so what does it matter? Their still selling pepsi.

Taking something out of its natural place, decontextualising it and turning it to something new is something that I like, I enjoy. Someone can take an apple, turn it into a hand grenade, set of chairs into a fort. All these things, be it for art, with a greater message or not, are wonderful. But taking something that is showing something as powerful as the act of vandalism and destruction caused by a molotov cocktail, and throwing a tag line on it, makes me sick. I dont see what the image is trying to show me, I just see some corporate big wig laughing over a stock of gold.  

The One Shot/Long Take

Rain. It doesnt bother me. I'm British. I deal with it on a somewhat weekly basis. I loved filming in it, loved the way it made everything look the same, made people want to get something done over quickly so they can dry off, and well, it made for one hell of an atmosphere. Working with Jordan, Kendal and Kristian on this one shot was great, we had a good time, thought up some ideas, helped others out on their projects and got to make our own. We didnt need anyone else, it was just us, and it worked.

So, we thought about what the previous group had done, we had 28 seconds. We had rain, we had a girl, and three guys, we had one camera, and two umbrellas, we had a bike. We made a love story. I rode on my bike, she walked under cover, we see each other, she forgets her worries about getting her hair wet, pops her umbrella and darts to me. We embrace, the crowd cheers, and things are good.

Well, thats what we hoped happens.


I don't know how these guys brains operate, but I wish mine could work like that. They seem to have the ability, or maybe its patience, to work out how the image is going to work with the music and almost exactly how much reel they need for each beat. Its crazy. I can imagine its a case of trial and error, unless they make music after the painting, but if its the other way round, its amazing. There seems to be a lot of layers to their images, rather than just a representation of the sound.

Next time I try something like this, I'll think about leaning more toward the painting side, and then scratching over the image, and see what comes out of it then.  

Projections of Sound on Image

Sound. If its one thing that I seem to have no ear for, yet am lucky enough for things to fall into place with, its sound. Whenever I've editing something, things just seem to fall into place for me. I can pick a good tune to go along with whats on screen, but the thought of it bridging a gap between cuts of two separate things is something that I'd not really thought about before. I'd seen it, or rather, heard it in different films. The whistle of a train and harmonica in 'Once upon a time in the West' is one of my favourites, but thats not to seperate shots, its the same image, why don't these things happen more often? We get juxtaposition of shots that arent the same image, why not sounds?

This is something worth investigating further, can you tell a story with just sounds? No dialogue? Just one shot, with various sounds that tell what is happening. I have a shot in mind.

A train station, the camera slowly zooms toward a lone glass sitting on a table outside the bar of a cafe. We hear the sounds of the station, the train coming in, the people, the announcement, we may hear a conversation, but nothing of importance. What story can be told from this? A love story? A crime? Adventure? Perhaps even horror, depending on what we hear. Maybe I'll try this one out.



I have some disdain whenever I say that name. I don't like it, I don't like what its become, or really, I don't like what it was when I was a child to what it is now. This article then, would surely be something that I would like? I disagree.

This article seems to have some pretentious notion that by calling out Disney as some mass market industry, instead of being some art seeking painter, gives it a blow to its credibility. Its as if Wells is trying to give one back to Disney for not doing it his way. Its bollocks.

Take a single frame from something like Sleeping Beauty, at the time it was the most expensive animation ever created, the detail in those pictures, the time it took for them to make on bush shake, was ridiculous. To claim that so much care and attention put into a movie and not have it called art is ridiculous. Its as if Wells thinks that even 'regular' movies are better than animated ones, since they at least aren't pretend characters. Hoe does he expect an old Disney movie to have mass zoom's and crane shots? When the audience are for small children, who do not care for such things. They want bright colours and a basic story, not something that tantalizes the adult mind with weird colours and dimensions.

A simple film for a simple mind, is what I say.