Monday, May 3, 2010

Ranking the Assignments

1) Rhythmic Editing: I was a big fan of this assignment. The creative way of forming a pattern by editing a certain amount of frames at a time was an awesome idea. I really wish I had the opportunity to do this assignment again as I though that the final product evoked inspiration to do even more rhythmic edits.

2) Long Take: Probably the most fun we had in class. I love how fun it was to design, film, and edit this project. I really felt the working as a team dynamic of this assignment.

3) Cameraless Filmmaking: I felt that my creativity was unleashed on this assign. While at first I though it was basically the film studies equalivilent to arts and crafts, I really likes the final product. It’s as if the whole project relies on the filmmaker’s artistic “id” to create something that is extremely bizarre and cool. I really dug this assignment.

4) 48 Hour Video Race: Now this was just crazy. I loved how we had little time to conceive and execute this project. The small window of production inspired the type of creativity that thrives off of impulse. Even though in the end I would have preferred more time as I could of done a lot more with the project, I really appreciated the idea behind the assignment.

5) Multi-plane Animation: Stop animation was the only form of animation that I understood and enjoyed. Although it was a couple of hours of constantly moving an object not even an inch every couple of seconds, I enjoyed working with my group and the final product was terrific.

6) Found Footage: It was a cool assignment I guess, but I have already done something similar in my intro to editing class. Also since it was the last assignment, I was more preoccupied with other assignments in different classes.

6X1 Cont.

I thought that 6X1 was an extremely interesting class primarily because it gave us film students a chance to actually work with… film! I know the business is steadily changing in this regard but it was still an interesting experience none the less. Anyway, if there were to be an 6X1 part 2, I think I would try to invent new experiences working with film stock. I would embrace the cameraless filmmaking and long take animation experiences (maybe do something that combines the two together maybe?). Furthermore, I would continue with the rhythmic editing assignment, as it what perhaps the coolest thing we did (and it’s extremely simple to boot). Maybe we can combine stop-motion animation with the rhythmic edit and do something really crazy? I would also embrace shooting in 3D, as that was an assignment that had the potential to really be exciting only if we had more time.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mystery Workshop

I must say that Star Wars is one of the defining films of my childhood. Since nostalgia is what defines us as people as well as a civilization (culture), I would say that the film is one of the reasons why I want to be a filmmaker. Some people don’t understand why the films are such a cultural phenomenon, and I believe that is because they did I grow up with it. However, that being said, I can understand why they are befuddled by it, considering how ridiculous the films actually are. Fortunately, both dynamics make it extremely fun to parody, which we did during the mystery workshop. The scene our group filmed was a recreation of the bit where the heroes discover the remnants of the planet Alderaan. It an absolute blast recreating the cockpit of the Millinium Falcon using phone parts and Christmas lights. Also, simply saying the (albeit corny) dialogue gave me flashes of childhood nostalgia. Basically, this workshop reconfirmed my love for a film that has been a part of me my whole life. Awesome idea for a workshop I must say.

Scratch Film Junkies (II)

Expeiriencing the second film by the Scratch Film Junkies after working on our own camera-less film granted me more of an appreciation for the vast amount of intent that goes into these types of films. While watching St. Louise, I was enamored by the technique of the artists. I especially appreciated their bold use of horizontal animation design. The incorporation of stock footage was interesting as well, as their work with the medium was far more impressive than my own. Overall, the rhythm the filmmakers managed to create was quite impressive, as it was not even present in my work. Although this type of work is clearly not my forte, I believe that I can perhaps incorporate aspects of film manipulation as a way to creatively enhance more narrative forms. I believe that this is where bold filmmakers experiment with their ideas before revealing them to the masses.


I feel that Wells had some intriguing ideas pertaining to animation as a film medium. Similar to most kids in my generation, I grew up on mostly Saturday morning cartoons produced by both Warner Bros. and Disney—a far cry as what is perceived to be abstract. In essence, I equate his notion of orthodox animation as a character based structural form and unorthodox as focusing on abstract form and rhythm. It is essentially similar to how people respond to narrative film when compared with avant-garde. Personally, I admire the form as far as creativity and experimentation involved in producing unorthodox animation, but for whatever reason I am stuck in my conservative notions of compelling stories. Our minds are either hardwired or conditioned to create connections through images and sound that create a story, even when it is against the desires of the filmmaker. When emphasis is on the media itself without attempting to create a narrative structure it is difficult for me to see it as “complete”, it is an element which can be appreciated in itself but falls short of constituting something for the mind to create associations that are more concrete. Cell animation, above all else, is extremely laborious and time consuming. Before computer animation took over, traditional animation almost did not make it because of the vast amount time and resources it takes. Because of this, I do appreciate the creative effort involved with experimental animation, and I would like to think that experimentation is essential to progression.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yes Men

Okay, what a terrific film. I was disappointed that we could not finish watching it, but I was left intrigued as to how they recycled footage. The Yes Men incorporated the reuse of footage in a highly creative and innovative matter. A opposed to simply taking video clips from various sources to create something akin to found footage, they incorporated it into a website template. Their website offers a critique of the owner (more specifically, the World Trade Organization). By duplicating their website, the Yes Men provide a damaging critical deconstruction of their organization. What was shocking to me is that they uncovered the apparent fact that many people actually do not read what is on the WTO’s web page. It is amazing that simply by making something appear to be authentic to the original source, how easy it is for people to be fooled. I mean, it is hard to fathom how if a group was going to invite an important speaker from the WTO, they would not read the website at the very least to gather information to ask him about, or in this case to make sure that the site is truly authentic.

As a film, Yes Men is brilliantly constructed. The personal story of the two people was quite interesting to me, as I love their bold determination to achieve their goals. The film never loses sight of the fact that they are doing something important, despite their often ridiculous and rather humorous methods of achieving it. Above all else, it is simply a really cool story of how a small group of people managed to take material, re-contextualize it, and then release back to the public as a satirical farce. It just saddens me as to how it relatively easy it was for them to do it.

Molotov and Ectasy

I personally thought that the Molotov reading was very interesting as I was intrigued by the dynamic of having it being written by both people on the opposing sides of the story. What this does is offer a more complete, objective viewpoint while maintaining emotional resonance that is only attainable through the subjective. In other words, this style is better than having a third party telling the story for both sides. Initially, I was perturbed that Meislas was angry over other people using her photograph. Joy attempted to adapt the photo for her own needs artistically, and actually provided her a credit. Personally, it would be an honor for someone to steal my work as it clearly indicates that it inspired at least one person. However, I came to understand Meislas’ point of view, as she did not want to re-contextualize her subject. In essence, what I gathered from the essay is that art is that it can be interpreted in an infinite amount of different ways, and I think everyone should be allowed to express themselves in any way they desire. However, it is important to be respectful of the original artists that inspired them.

The Ectasy reading was rather intriguing as well, as it approach the subject from an perspective that is unique to my own. It is indeed absolutely impossible not to be influence by other works of art. As film students, we are encouraged to watch films to learn about various styles and techniques that have been traditionally past down in film’s rather brief history. In a sense, speaking in terms of narrative filmmaking, every filmmaker is guilty of ripping off DW Griffith. I believe that the idea is to “steal” other people’s ideas and use them to tell the most personal story that you possibly can. That is where originality really lies. Art is a dialogue between people, and once you release what you have to say you public, you must encourage people to take what your statement and see how it relates to their own lives.