Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Importance of Creativity and Imagination when making a film

A major part of the research I did for this coursework unit was looking at different films, both feature length and short. This was quite as important, as I will later be making a short film, and it greatly helped me to watch other short films, to get a good idea of the kinds and lengths of the narratives that the films are about. It also showed us how I could fit well thought out narratives into small spaces of time. After looking at various films, it came to my attention that creativity and a good imagination is key to telling a good story, and also making the film fun to watch. A film can be shot in a very standard-therefore boring- way, or in a creative and inventive way that keeps the audience intrigued and glued to the screen. The films we watched were all good examples of this.

Our class was given time to research different short films, and we viewed these as a class, each gave a presentation on our film and analysed what was interesting about them. The first film we watched was "We were once a Fairytale", by Spike Jonze; a short film about Kanye West, which satirizes his "celebrity Lifestyle".

The film is about Kanye West, who goes to a club one night, and after several drinks, begins making an utter fool of himself and disturbing everyone around him. The film's story is interesting, as it has a very imaginative story and representation of celebrity life- it depicts celebrities not as sophisticated, classy people to aspire to, but instead as average people who get drunk and do very stupid things.
The drunk man (about to be removed) with
 This is shown most with the comparison to the other drunk man in the clip, who gets thrown out even though he's acting just like Kanye.  This also shows how people have a certain double standard- though people are clearly annoyed by Kanye's antics, they still put up with him because of his status. This alo feeds into how Kanye is portrayed as being very egotistical in the film- multiple times he states that "this is [his] song" playing and that he can pay because he has money, even though the waitresses say the champagne is on the house. The film is also shot with many crabbing shots and constantly goes out of focus- this reflects Kanye's drunken stupor, and shows us how he must be seeing situations.

The second film we viewed was Lovesick, a film about a 'Love sick' young man and his pursuit of finding his one true love.

The film has a very simple plot, spanning about 40 minutes within the story, as the man tries to chase down a woman he falls in love with at first sight after breaking up with someone who was probably his previous girlfriend. As the narrative continues, we get a better sense of his character, seeing that he jumps to conclusions quickly  (imagining himself marrying a woman he hasn't even met) and how optimistic he is with his goals( as he just gets up after being hit my the car). This makes him an entertaining and also relatable character to watch- we end up rooting for him as the film continues, because we can appreciate his determination. The film also doesn't have any straight up dialogue, mainly told form his perspective via voice over, which further allows us to feel connected with the character. The events in the film also help, as it's told in a cyclic form- first her gets punched in the face by his girlfriend, he finds a new love and chases her down, only to be rejected point blank and punched by the woman's apparent boyfriend and then ends with him finding a new woman. This again reflects the youthful optimism in the character, and also adds comedy, as it seems he'll never get the girl. It also helps that a large part of the story keeps is him chasing the girl- which means the audience are constantly on edge, which makes the twists in the story more effective (such as when he gets punched or hit by the car). 
"Bieber" in the first few minutes
The lead stealing his bike later.
Another good element is the reoccurring features, such as the kid the main character dubs as "Bieber" at the start if the film, and then appears again so he can steal the kids bike. This creates a continuity within the films universe and also a running joke, further adding to the entertainment of the film. Altogether, the story telling in this was very impressive and creatively told, which kept the audience .

Another film we watched was Tick Tock. This film is shown to us played backwards- the events that we view first are the events that happen last chronologically. 

This means that we never really know what the films meaning is right until the end- which means the film keeps us intrigued throughout. it turns out that the main character thinks he has ingested lethal amounts of morphine, and then thinking he only has four minutes to live he goes out to correct all the things he's done wrong, only to then find out his roommate was lying to him about the morphine. We see text used throughout the clip along with the subtitles that tell us what the characters are saying, and this text showed us a sort of thought or idea that related to what the main character did on screen.
 For example, the word "indifference" comes up, when the character calls his parents to apologise for not appreciating them. This means that each word that shows up relates to the action by being a problem or a mistake the character made, and then shows him facing or apologizing for it; the idea of realizing whats important and making amends is even reinforced by the Steve Jobs quote at the end of the film. This is a very good narrative device and makes the film more interesting. The way the film is shown backwards is also very creative and actually adds to the narrative of the film, which means it's a successful use of the technique. It can even be interpreted as either how everything can flash before your eyes on the doorstep of death or how now, the man has been given back these four minutes of his life.

The film I myself presented was called "inside", and was the story of a man with schitzophrenia as he is repeatedly taken over by his different personalities whilst trying to communicate with a doctor. The twist comes when we find out this female doctor was actually another one of his personalities, and she is pretending to be fine so that "they" can get out of there.

(main character is curly haired man)
The film is very interesting and creatively uses different actors to represent his multiple personalities, each being very distinct from one another and presented in specific ways to symbolize what kind of personality they are.
 The dialogue, framing and actor's actions are also cleverly used to show which personalities are talking at which point, as the framing shows the personality and the main character in the same shot every time, with the one speaking in his place in the background, showing how he's being controlled. Furthermore the fact that the film has a very engaging story, but is literally only shot in one room shows how a creative story can make limited locations work well.

Finally, as a class we watched a film called The Fall(2006), directed by Tarsem Singh. The film is beautifully made, and had very minimal CGI used in the film, with most of the locations being real places sought out by the crew to fit the story.
a location in the film
 It's story is of a little girl in a hospital who meets a stuntman who has recently been injured and cannot walk. He begins to tell her stories about a Bandit and his companions trying to overthrow an evil dictator in a fantasy land, all the while trying to get the little girl to bring him morphine to end his life. He does not succeed, and through a series of events the two grow closer and he comes to terms with his life. The film is mainly from the point of view of the girl, Alexandria, and her simple look on life and imagination is what makes the story interesting, She imagines the characters in the story as people she knows, and begins to even influence the story in different ways, such as putting herself in there, as seen in this clip.

The film is shown through a series of flashes from the real world to the story world and the amazing visuals of the story world an dhow they interconnect with the real world of the hospital is what drives the plot forward and makes the film interesting to watch. Furthermore, Alexandria's actress didn't have fully cripted lines and this shows as her interactions with Roy(the man) are very real. The creativity in this film shines through in the writing, acting and the visuals. everything fits together very well and can be heartwarming, touching and hilarious within a matter of minutes. 

So from these films, I learnt how people can create very beautiful and unique story lines by using techniques to enhance the story telling and fit the theme of the film. The way a film is shot can represent how the characters feel, or what the message of the film is supposed to be. It can also make the film more enjoyable to watch and make people feel involved in the film. The sort of techniques used to create a film really depend on the story you are showing and how far you're imagination can go to portray the story in the most effective way. I also learned that you don't need special effects to make a film effective- if you are thorough and think about the film enough and implement your ideas to the best of your abilities, it will be good. Therefore, creativity, imagination and an open mind are essential to a film.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Experimenting with Contrast

Our next task was to experiment with using contrast to make images more interesting. These are the images I took.

Creating images for a story

Our next task was to pair up in groups of two and create a pitch and treatment for a story, and then take images to give an idea of what this story will be like.

My groups pitch is as follows:

Alice is a normal, average girl who has friends, a good family life and is good in school. she's liked by everyone, and there seems to be nothing wrong with Alice's life- except for the strange messages she keeps receiving. Fearing a stalker, Alice keeps this to herself, but then one day it seems like Alice has never existed at all- she disappears without a trace. Her family, shocked and distraught, believe she's run away, and this means that it's up to her three best friends to try and find her.
The main story begins with Alice, living her normal life, but trying to keep her stalker secret away from her friends and family. Then one night while she's alone in her home and getting ready to go for a party with her friends, she is kidnapped. Her parents discover she's missing and start a police investigation, but nothing comes up and they believe she has simply run away. However, her best friend Madison discovers the strange test messages on her phone, and along with Alice's two other friends(Bridget and Gretchen) go out to look for people who may have had incentive to harm Alice. As the plot progresses. they find various red herrings, until they finally uncover that it was Gretchen- feeling unloved and distant from the group, and jealous of Alice- who had stolen her away. The girls quickly turn her in and return Alice home safely.

This is a presentation of a series of shots I took to develop and showcase the treatment.

Photos to show a story
View more presentations from Shazkhan.

The first image is of Alice, as she fumbles with the necklace. The pattern of her clothes is to show her girl personality, and the fumbliung is to show that she's kind and concienmcious. The necklace is a butterfly pendant, showing again how she's cute and girly- but the black colour is forshadowing to what happens later.

The second image shows Alice in her room as she views her texts. I tried to arrange the background to look like a normal girl's room.

The third image is again in her room, but shows her phone discarded next to a crumpled looking red dress. The colour of the criumpled dress and the number on the phone shows how there would have been a struggle and represents danger.

The fourth image is important as it shows the belongings of Alice's three friends. The ones that are the closest are the ones that belong to Madison, and are a pair of boots and a bag with a bright colourful pattern. This represents her character as being more bold and the leader. The second set is of Bridget, who owns the yellow bag and flip flops. This represents her as a bright, warm character and also more carefree with the ditzy colour of yellow on her bag, The final and furthest form the camera are the belongings of Gretchen. Her bag has a more subdued pattern and her shoes are safe and conservative. This, and their position show her distance from her friends and how she may be hiding something,

The fifth image is a simple still of some of alice's belpongings to get an idea of the sort of character she is, compared to her friends. Her belongings are quirky(with the wicker basket bag) but cute and feminine.

The final image is of the necklace form the start discarded on a bench. This is meant to imply how something bad has happened.

Throughout this shoot, I tried to keep to similar colour schemes and patterns(using floral objects multiple times). I also tried to repeated use the same props to create a slight narrative.

Photography task- "love"

After our first task, we continues to look at taking still images in more interesting ways. We were split into groups and given the task of capturing various images that represented the idea of Love in and aorund our school. This is my group's presentation.
View more presentations from Karis Edwards

For the first image of the rose, we wanted a close up, slightly blurred image. This, along with the pinkish colour of the rose represented the softness and innocence of love. The image also slightly resembled a child in the womb, and so can be interpreted as showing the love and closeness between a mother and child.

The second image of the cloud was taken because it resembled a heart that had been swiped at by claws. Coupled with the empty sky around it, it shows how love can lead to heartbreak and loneliness.

The third image  of the car shows how love can be found even in a very dark, mechanic thing as the car, and it's shown through the flowers. The reflection also shows how love can be a close, but private thing, as the person reflected in the glass looks like their outside of the love.

The third image of the blue wall shows a light inscription of initials above a heart shape. it is meant to show how love can be presented through graffiti, which is often associated with gang culture. However, it this case it represents something positive.

The fifth image is of a memorial of someone who passed away. This is meant to show how even after all the years(shown by the plants) the love people had for this person still stands, and that they still remmeber them.

Next, there is another image of roses, but these are behind bars. This can show how love can sometimes be unrequited.

After this, there is an image we took of a sign board in the park. It depicts a graphic of a women and her children. This we took because the picture's clear black and white shows the simple love between the family members.

We then took a picture of paths. This was meant to look like a  picturesque image, that showed the journey of love, and how two paths can meet to make one life together.

There is then an image of dead leaves with new ones. This represented how even if loved ones die, the living still remember them. It can also represent even though old family members age and pass away, the younger generation still live on and look after them til the end.

Our final image is of a lake, which has a flock of ducks swimming it it. The scene looks like something out of a period drama, and supposed to show a nice place to take someone on a date. The flowers and lake, along with the lack of buildings and urban life is to create an atmosphere from a romance novel.

Experimental Photography

Experimental photograhy
View more presentations from Shazkhan.

To Begin our A2 coursework, we began to look at cinema as an art form, and to practice this, we took photos of objects around out house in interesting ways. This was to improve our understanding of how a film maker can create visually interesting shots with a camera.

This is a presentation of the photos I took. Some of these images, I edited to make them black and white, and further emphasise the strange formations of the subjects. I mainly focused on looking at repeated patterns and different textures.