Week 6: Project Pitch

The two images above are my initial brainstorming for project ideas using two professions in my field. And the two images below are my initial brainstorming with ideas and thoughts added by my classmates.

I have narrowed down my practice to two professions:

  1. Pre-production set design
  2. Pre-production scriptwriting

Options brainstormed in class (expanded from the mind maps above):

  1. Set design: 

a) An installation that incorporates physical design and video. In this idea I would create a blank slate (e.g. a dark empty room) and transform it into a set. I would film this transformation, possibly speed it up, or maybe seeing it in real time would be more interesting? The element of a time constraint could also relate back to my research of the show Saturday Night Live. Using visuals, sounds and lighting I could make my own film set.

b) A more physical and performance based installation idea is picking certain props and placing them in an environment where people can create their own sets with the objects provided.

c) Creating a set in Cinema 4D and 3D printing it.

    2. Scriptwriting: 

a) Modifying and comparing scripts that are similar in some way, revealing appropriation in cinema. One possible way of presenting this printing all of these “snippets” of similar scripts, cutting them into pieces and placing them overlapping each other to spell out “nothing is original.”

b) Sophie Calle is a photographer that uses her photos to create narratives. I could use still photos to create my own narrative, or in this case a “visual script.”

Final Pitch:

The paragraph highlighted orange in the set design subheading is my chosen pitch.

Mashing my ideas together:

I’m interested in many of the ideas I have outlined. This is my favourite pitch but It is possible I could incorporate all or some aspects of my other ideas in some way. For example having the “nothing is original” script snippets in the background of the set. And/Or in front of the video projection of the set being built, could be objects that are being used in the video, inviting the viewer to become part of the set being created behind them or possibly make their own iteration.

All in all, I want to repurpose ideas of pre-production in cinema and television in a contemporary digital installation art setting.

 

Week 5: From Research to Making

Themes and ideas to possibly explore in my major:

  • A set design installation. Re-stage small parts of my favourites film scenes and trying to recreate the same lighting, mood etc. Or even possibly subverting the original film set into something completely different.
  • Exploring the concept of live theatre on television. With this I could possibly create a ‘cold open’ of my own (reference to cold open video of SNL in blog post 2).
  • Pre-production: script writing. Maybe present a range of different scripts over time and how they all feed into each other, exploring the theme of appropriation and how many say “nothing is original.”
  • How cinema has developed over time. A piece that shows the history of cinema.
  • Iterations of screen

Out of Hand Exhibition

 Aki Inomata’s Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?

Aki Inomata developed a visual representation of postcolonial identities living in Japanese people using 3D printed hermit shells that have been modified to look like different cities around the world (Inomata 2017). Using these modified shells, Inomata gave them to hermit crabs to see if they would like them and then subsequently move into the new shelter. The work is shown as an installation with three of the modified shells shown in glass cases in front of projection of the hermit crabs moving into their new shells. Inomata used hermit crabs as an example of colonialism due to the fact that they can be kicked out of their shells by stronger crabs, therefore forced to change shells (Inomata 2017). The Japanese had to rebuild themselves after WWII, adopting an image resembling the Americans who occupied Japan immediately after the war.

At first glance I did not register the shells, looking instead straight at the video projection over the podiums that hold the three modified shells. Looking into the glass cases that hold the 3D printed hermit crab shells, you feel like you are peering into a different world that looks almost utopian but when you find out the real meaning of the shells it reveals that it is all a disguise.

Even something as simple as the layout of Inomata’s work has sparked ideas for me. For example, featuring digitally materialised objects alongside a projection. The theme of displacement could be interesting to explore in my final work. Possibly creating a narrative or commentary on postcolonial identities through film and television representation.

References

Inomata, A 2017, Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?, Aki Inomata, viewed 27 March 2017, <http://www.aki-inomata.com/works/hermit/>

Week 4: Creating Opportunity

Potential Mentors/Inspirations:

  1. Jessie (cousin), Editor: She has led me to get an opportunity to work on an independent film as a runner. Plus, over the last 5 years has been a constant source of inspiration watching her grow in as a professional editor for film and television.
  2. Diana, Set/Art Director: Created an opportunity to do work experience in art direction for a show that currently airs on Foxtel in Australia.
  3. Mike, Teacher: He always gives great advice and direction in working towards what I want achieve in my desired field.
  4. Kyle, Youth Outreach Worker: He works for Queer Screen Australia and has offered me the chance to work in outreach with queer content for LGBT youth.
  5. Jason, Boss (cinema): He’s always wanting to discuss and encourage me in my pursuits. Has offered me work in design within the company.

Examples of internships available as a stepping-stone to my desired position:

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.38.24 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.39.03 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.40.24 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.42.13 PM

Three potential Internships/Apprenticeships/ Professional Pathways (expanding on mentor descriptions):

  1. With my work experience with the production company who creates content for Foxtel I would be based in the art department. I got this opportunity through a family friend who is a set decorator. When working this production company, I would directly answer to the Head Art Director but work more closely with the set decorating team.
  2. My cousin has offered me the opportunity to work on a feature film set in late April, early May, in Cowra. Her friends who have written and directed the feature, have been in contact with me but have yet to completely fill me in on what my duties would be. I’d imagine I would be a runner, filling in any gaps needed. The work would be paid but a little amount as it’s a small independent film with limited funding.
  3. I recently volunteered for the Mardi Gras Film Festival where I met a variety of people. I was asked if I was interested in joining a youth outreach council. The council would be run by Queer Screen Australia’s youth worker who would co-ordinate a range of people from varying backgrounds, in developing ideas on how to distribute queer content to LGBT youth. Also the council would possibly look at making queer content more accessible and relatable through social media, film/television and events.

Week 4-mind map

References

 Pedestrian 2017, Film Internships, Pedestrian, viewed 20 March 2017, <https://www.pedestrian.tv/jobs/search/?keywords=Film&classification=0&location=0&sublocation=0&job_type=0&subclassification=0&salary_start=0&salary_end=1000000>

Week 3: Working with Passion/Finding Motivation

Who are my heroes?

Ridley Scott and the writers of Saturday Night Live.

What does Ridley Scott do?

Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer.

I admire Ridley Scott mainly on the diverse types of work that he chooses to work on. Not only has he made great science fiction films such as Alien, Prometheus, and the Martian but also he produced shows such as the Good Wife which does not resemble the films previously mentioned. He shows that a creator can be interested in a wide array of genres, not limiting themselves to specific archetype.

How Ridley Scott got his start

Scott attended Northern Arts School and Royal College of Art. He describes these years as being very valuable to him and that he still draws from what he learnt in art school to this day. While attending art school Scott got a start in commercials, where he learnt to be quick on his feet and to think more visually. He then continued this path of commercial making for close to 30 years while creating other content. (Guidry 2015)

After college, Donn Pennebaker and Richard Leacock offered Scott a job in design and photography in New York, after he persistently hung around the building they worked in. He had previously rejected a job in fashion photography, which he admits, that could of made him stray from ever making films. After this he returned to the BBC where he continued advertising creating commercials. Scott didn’t make his first film until he was 40 years old. His first film was called ‘The Duellists.’ (Guidry 2015)

In the video below Ridley Scott discusses his early career. Skip to 0:55. 

Influences/Influencers for Ridley Scott:

  • The Searchers (Western movie)
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Kurosawa
  • John Cassavetes

Habits Ridley Scott maintains on a regular basis:

  • Storyboarding anything and everything
  • Drawing
  • Analysing and reflecting on his work constantly and if it’s good to move on and keep creating. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” He expresses how important it is to keep learning no matter how confident you feel in your field.
  • And something as simple as constantly watching new content and experiencing all types of cinema to help enhance his work.

(Guidry 2015)

Saturday Night Live Writers

 Other heroes in my field that I admire are the writers of the show Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey in particular has been a great influence on me. From small town improvisation actress in community theatre to one of the head writers of SNL, she’s nothing short of a driven role model for aspiring female comedic creators.

The short time limit that these writers develop performative pieces’ week after week is awesome. Being able to create humorous content under pressure while working with several other crew members from actors to set decorators to create a live production for television, takes a unique sort of person.

In the video below, various writers throughout the history of Saturday Night Live share their creative process and experiences while working on the show.

References

BBC Worldwide 2009, Ridley Scott on his early career- Mark Lawson Talks to: Ridley Scott- BBC, online video, 25 September, YouTube, viewed 16 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhPA3UsJurk> 

Guidry, K 2015, AFI Film Fest: Ridley Scott Tales ‘The Martian, His Influences, ‘Alien’ & More, Indie Wire, viewed 13 March 2017, <http://www.indiewire.com/2015/11/afi-film-fest-ridley-scott-talks-the-martian-his-influences-alien-more-104746/>

The Hollywood Reporter 2015, SNL Writers Share Their Process: SNL 40th Anniversary, online video, 5 February, YouTube, viewed 16 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2DJxo5XpFI>

Week 2: Research Processes

Where did cinema start?

Moving pictures came to light in the 1890’s, with the short motion pictures. Previously to that from the 1850’s-90’s, photographers had been experimenting with human motion using still photographs.

The Lumiere Brothers were pioneers in the motion picture field. Their films documented solely movement of people or objects, plot and story was yet to be added.

Hollywood started to become the home of motion pictures in the early 1900s. Although at this point, most creators in the industry were till avoiding storytelling in their films. D.W. Griffith was the first director to experiment and create a full-length feature film.

In the 1920’s actors started to carry the films. The popularity and talent of the actor became the defining feature of films. The 50’s brought along more niche and specific films. By the late 50’s television was more prominent adding a whole new set of rules to the screen industry.

5 Comedic Producers/Creators that influence me:

Lorne Michaels and the writers of Saturday Night Live

Amy Poehler: Parks and Recreation

Tina Fey: 30 Rock

Paul Feig: Bridesmaids

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jackson: Broad City

Saturday Night Live:

Saturday Night Live uses both stage and live television to create a medium that is uniquely it’s own. It turns improvisation and television on it’s head. The improvisation becomes practiced and the television becomes more like a theatre performance. The show has had a long history, spanning from the early 70’s to the present. A lot of things from style of comedy to cameras changing from film to digital has influenced the making of Saturday Night Live. The show is able to be a lot faster than it used to because of digital cameras and other technologies.

In the video below is a ‘cold open’ between the first skit and the monologue on Saturday Night Live. It features direction, set changes, costume changes and live camera work in limited space of time.

Broad City: 

Broad City is important in comedic shows for portraying women in a way that was only ever slightly shown on television. Physical comedy is also a major player.

What Does a Film Producer do? 

A producer, depending on the budget and man power of a film/show can do anything from:

  • Employ various professionals needed e.g. accountants, directors, lawyers etc.
  • Inspire commitment
  • Raise funds, secure finance
  • Assist the writing team
  • Distribution

(The Conversation 2014)

What does a film/television writer do?

 Each major film or television show has a different process when it comes to the hierarchies of the pre-production team.

In the video below, the writing team of the television show Bates Motel explain how they navigate the creative process in the ‘The Writers Room.’

 

References:

A & E 2014, Bates Motel: The Writers’ Room (Season 2) A&E, online video, 12 March, YouTube, viewed 8 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqtbB3Z9n34>

The Conversation 2014, Explainer: what does a film producer do?, The Conversation, viewed 8 March 2017, <http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-does-a-film-producer-do-22173>

The History of Motion Pictures, viewed 8 March 2017, <http://faculty.washington.edu/baldasty/JAN13.htm>

The Tonight 2016, Creating Saturday Night Live- Cold Open to Monologue Set Change, online video, 23 December, YouTube, viewed 8 March 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00jIG1Sq8lg>

 

 

Week 1: Defining my practice

Figuring out my practice:

  • What field am I most interested in?

Anything to do with digital media, particularly screen based.

  • Key Words related to my field:

Script writing, production, directing, editing, film, animation, composition.

  • What roles or tasks do I hope to pursue?

week 1 brainstorm

  • Projects I have created in the past that have helped develop my interest in screen and Media:

– My short film ‘Exchanging Souls’ I created with 10 other of my peers in my video class has helped me realise how much I enjoy creating an original idea and setting it into motion. Creating this project was great for my overall skills in film making and organisational skills.

– Writing the script for my radio piece based off War of the Worlds in first year helped me realise how much I like script writing. For this project we had to recreate the original radio play War of the Worlds. This task saw me take on all roles of a crew. I was the script writer, director, editor and producer. Being able to take on various roles while creating student projects has benefitted me greatly not only in the sense that I learn from it but it helps me find what I am good at in a supportive environment.

– This year I am studying a Statement of Attainment in Directing and Production Management alongside my Bachelor of Digital Media. I have already learnt valuable skills in the pre production process such as budgeting and casting for a film.

  • 5 Important Skills and Knowledge for my field:

1. Time management

2. Practice

3. Imagination

4. Communication

5. Team Co-operation

Prototype Reflection

For my piece I was inspired by a description about a laser Spirograph made by the University of Utah. I then researched how to create a DIY Spirograph. I responded to the brief for this assignment by breaking it up into three parts; electronics, nature of curiosity and interactivity. In terms of electronics I used a few different parts from a toy car and a transistor radio. I used switches, motors, batteries and a laser pointer. When responding to the theme of the ‘nature of curiosity,’ I thought about optical illusions and then pairing that with a laser which would then entrance the viewer. And thirdly in my response I thought about interactivity within in my work.  I thought the use of a potentiometer which regulates the speed, changing the pattern of the laser. The viewer would be able to turn this dial and create their own laser pattern.

Images: Left- The toy car I pulled apart. Right- Diagrams of the circuit and laser projection.

The laser Spirograph when complete is meant to:

  • Use two motors, a switch, battery and a potentiometer in a circuit
  • The circuit is then mounted and small mirrors are mounted onto the mirrors, so when the motors is on they spin. One mirror is meant to face the other motor and the other on an angle towards where the laser would be projected onto.
  • Then the laser pointer is directed at the mirror that is facing straight towards the other motor, it then bounces off the angled one and onto the intended projection surface.
  • Finally, the potentiometer dial is used to change the speed/direction of the laser.

My prototype used half of this set up I had gone through numerous motors than I had ‘fried’ when using a soldering iron to join the electrical wires. I used one motor and mirror with the laser pointer to project a simple spinning circle onto the wall as my potentiometer had also been ‘fried.’ At one stage in the creation of my prototype I had it all working but that was for only one test before parts kept failing one after the other. Therefore, my prototype only resembled half of what my final product would be.

When presenting my prototype, the audience seemed to to be impressed even with it’s simplistic nature. The laser projection seemed to capture the eye of a few people as it is very mesmerising. Feedback given related to what I had to done when creating the work such as had it been fully functioning before? And what aesthetic theme would I use? For example, Jo referred to theme of ‘hack toys.’ Hack toy themes follow using bits of old toys. Alternatively I could use more ‘polished’ objects that were not salvaged from old toys to create my final work.

Images: Left- The intended laser projection for my final work. Right- The circuit I created for the prototype.

Changes for my final work:

  • To have all correct parts plus plenty of back ups, in order to account for any error when experimenting.
  • To create more than one laser projection.
  • To figure out a way to maintain battery life for a considerable amount of time, as the AA batteries did not last for more than a couple tests.
  • To create a solution for the laser having to be manually turned on. I would like to set up a device that keeps it on continuously.
  • To decide where to position/project it. Possibly on a one of the large white boards that can be mounted or hung from the ceiling.
  • To choose what kind of aesthetic theme I would want when presenting it. Hack toys or a more polished theme?

 

References

Trooperrick, 2007, DIY Spirograph, Instructables, weblog post, 2007, viewed 27 Septemeber 2016, <http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Laser-Spirograph/>