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.

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