Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12/2 performance

Honestly, I can't believe the performance went as smoothly as it did. I felt that each part was played out very believably, especially the moment when Jill entered (watching the faces in the crowd at this point was really funny) I did feel guiltier than I expected to, I felt pretty bad for the people standing on the "if you drank" side. I'm glad that people talked about it as much as they did, people were coming up to me all day telling me how much they believed the situation. It's funny how much adrenaline people seemed to get from this, myself included. ha. I think it was a great break in the usual ways for presenting art, or having openings. I feel like it was much memorable than most art events are, simply because it involved the audience so much. I also think that our "advertisement" performance at the community dinner was a good, unusual way to promote the event.

okay, so the criticisms. we absolutely did not have our shit together in documenting the event. which is no good at all, because we need that footage. Also, we had some communication issues as to who should be doing what and it felt really rushed and scattered close to show time. all things considered though, I think we did a great job working together (with ourselves and the MCA faculty and administration) to pull this off. Next time though, I'm going to overestimate how stupid nervous I'll get right before showtime and make myself a dummy checklist.

outline revised presentation-we could probably talk while the film is running, because most people will have already seen the film.

discussion of concept/process-four different perspectives on the idea of "absurdity", we each wrote our own character and had a different person direct our scene.
dinner scene-questions of American "normality" how we should act a certain way in certain situations, even if this way is completely against how we would feel most comfortable acting.

2. stunt documentation
show documentation, discuss concept behind deliberately lying about "free wine"
why does it take a "reward" for people to view art?
what happens when this reward turns into a problem?
who do we let define reality? authority figures? (reference ideas of different perspectives present in our film)
what does it take to make us believe something is real?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

success and such

I will consider this event a success if even one person comes to the screening/happening. I think it is already a success in the sense that we have collaborated and created not only a film, but also a series of events surrounding the film. We've proven that students can collaborate and create something together, even if that something we've created doesn't necessarily make the viewer "happy". It feels like we have actually created something with a very strong statement, and we haven't been caught up in what the general acceptance level will be for the piece. As an artist, I believe in developing ideas and letting those ideas grow into a project that will create discussion. Based upon this definition, I think that our project has been successful. we haven't limited it, and we've followed every seemingly crazy idea we've had about it. These ideas have produced discussion about things we didn't even know we were addressing when we began the project. (the entire debate about motives behind viewing art)

In order to create discussion about our "wine stunt" we will need to have another event, this time, an event to discuss what happened and our motives behind it.

This is the outline for our artist presentation so far:
we will serve "real food"-$75 of pizza
we will sit at a table and hold a discussion/presentation of the film for anyone who would like to come
this will probably need to take place in callicot or myers during the evening. or maybe lunch again.
it will be relatively quick-probably no more than 30 min.

film presentation-both film and documentation of wine stunt
discussion of concept of film, of concept for wine stunt, community dinner,importance of collaboration to our concept.
questions from the audience.

a more detailed outline- presentation
discussion of concept/process-four different perspectives on the idea of "absurdity", we each wrote our own character and had a different person direct our scene.
dinner scene-questions of American "normality" how we should act a certain way in certain situations, even if this way is completely against how we would feel most comfortable acting.

2. stunt documentation
show documentation, discuss concept behind deliberately lying about "free wine"
why does it take a "reward" for people to view art?
what happens when this reward turns into a problem?
who do we let define reality? authority figures? (reference ideas of different perspectives present in our film)
what does it take to make us believe something is real?

I think that we should all talk about a specific portion of it, maybe whichever portion we feel most comfortable speaking on. and maybe if one of us is absolutely not into the idea of talking in front of a bunch of people, then that person could be in charge of all the technical-getting the film to screen, etc.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

list of stuff we need for screening
1. laptop
2. projector
3. 4 casseroles
4. turkey
5. plates
6. napkins
7. cups
8. utensils
9. serving utensils
10. tablecloth
11. table
12. red chairs
13. candles
14. portrait
15. cups
16. napkins
17. rolls?
18. grape juice
19. mint extract
20. wine bottles
21. leaves
22. microwave

2 video cameras and 1 stills camera for documentation

performance review

Overall, I felt that the performance went according to plan. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of people who attempted to interact with us and with the guesses people were making about what we were doing. Generally, people seemed a bit confused/surprised by what we were doing, but they made guesses about us commenting on Thanksgiving, or the idea of a family dinner. Something I think we could further exploit/explore was this idea of "privileged" that we set up. We sat at a fancy "reserved" table, we could get our food first, and we didn't bother interacting or even acknowledging anyone else. This seems like it could lead to further performance/commentary on the way that certain people in society are given special rights compared to the general public. As far as my individual performance goes, I felt that I did alright. I almost broke character after Wesley screamed, but aside from that I felt that my character's general annoyance with the rest of the "family" was well portrayed throughout the dinner, and the interactions between me and the rest of the table seemed appropriate for the characters we set up. We documented the performance with stills, but in hindsight, it would have been a good idea to have it filmed as well. Especially for the scream portion, and the reactions to it. In the future I would like to incorporate performance, especially performance that interrupts people's "normal" routines. I thought that the timing was the most successful part of our performance, and I'd like to continue to explore ways to create work that goes outside of traditional art gallery boundaries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

what monday means

We will sit in between the two buffet tables facing the guests of the community dinner. They will have to walk by us in order to get to the food. They will have to notice us, to confront us, and possibly interact with us, ultimately realizing that we will not speak to them or acknowledge them. In a sense, we are like an advertisement. Since this action is out of the ordinary for the community dinner, it will hopefully cause the people at the dinner to question and discuss what is going on/why it is going on. They will more than likely question the more obvious absurd things about us first-why we are dressed the way that we are, why there is a microwave at the table, etc. Hopefully these questions will lead them to discuss what these different costumes and our actions mean. Our act of eating on display will create a sort of small commotion; it will interrupt the normal routine of the people who come expecting a “normal” dinner. The dinner that we eat is symbolic for our piece, as it represents the idea of a “normal” family and all of the fronts that acting like what we are told is “normal” comes with. The performance comments upon the ideas of reasonable versus absurd. Where do these ideas come from? What officials/voices in society do we let determine our ideas of normalcy? For example, reality shows seem to be gaining popularity over sitcoms because they claim to show us what people are “really like.” They show us a side of “reality” that we cannot normally see, and this further influences our opinion of what is real and what is staged. Since our “family” will be on display and undoubtedly looked at, we will be commenting upon this idea of privacy and reality. What is real and what is staged? What does this mass marketed idea of a normal family mean, and what happens when that idea is exposed and deconstructed?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

oh, just, you know.

some more performance stuff i've been lookin' at

Chris Burden

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

storyboards, rehearsal notes

Rehearsal Notes-
for Wesley's scene (the scene I'm directing)
maybe one extra light for the bathroom-most lights will come from the mirror
a bit cramped, so higher camera angles will probably work better
use sink to ice beer, dye tub blue, put fishing pole in tub
get tons of shots to use for montage. multiple angles.
maybe an handheld shot for the telephone scene-contrast the rest of the shots which are from a tripod

for the dinner scene
all of us on the same side of the table, centered under portrait
microwave in the middle of the table
film will end with wesley passed out and crawling, credits roll over this, then my character will walk into the screen (clicky shoes) and shut the microwave, this will be when the film cuts to black.
we might need a sheet to make the wall the table will be situated against a better color/look longer. the other doorways and such might be distracting.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

character studies: Jane Davis

1. How does your character think?
She thinks in a very compartmentalized, guarded way. She is scared to believe certain things because of what others may think of her. She tends to keep different situations completely separate from one another and she likes to organize and hide away certain thoughts. This organization system she has built for herself makes her very good at remembering. She is very scared of forgetting.
2. How does your character think he/she thinks?
She thinks that she is very free-minded and open. She prides herself on her ability to remember everything, and she is constantly convinced that her thoughts are messy and unorganized.
3. What does your character want?
She wants to be remembered. She believes that people will not remember or even like her if she doesn’t keep her composure and mental structure intact in the most aesthetically interesting and pleasing way.
4. What does your character think he/she wants?
She thinks that she wants the best for other people. She thinks that she wants to be the epitome of likeable and in order to achieve this, she strives to appear flawless, every aspect of her day is well designed.
5. What does your character believe?She believes in organization, in compartmentalizing her logics, and in separating and dividing her thoughts/emotions/feelings in order to deal with them in a more effective manner. In short, she believes in detachment and productivity.
6. What does your character think he/she believes?
She thinks that she believes in
7. What is your character’s truth? Mythology?
She prays frequently to a god she can’t name. She relies heavily on her ability to see multiple angles of a situation, and sometimes she suspends this ability in order to “pray.” These prayers consist of her quickly asking/confessiong something in order for her to feel okay about forgetting it.

8. What is your character’s real truth? Mythology?
Her truth is in separation and boundaries. She is scared to be close to anyone, anything. At the same time, however, she takes everything very
personally, and holds onto memories in a compulsive way.

9. What does your character need?
Other people to recognize some of her efforts, but also a good amount of time alone to build up her ideas. A space to organize her thoughts/ideas. A means to remember these things. Video cameras, cameras, journals, etc. She needs to feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense that she is not forgotten. This, however does not always rely on other people.
10. What does your character think he/she needs?
She thinks that she needs very little. She thinks that she mostly just needs a space to live, and a means to record/organize her thoughts.
11.What actions does your character undertake?
Obsessive organizing, cleaning. Also, obsessive recording of thoughts, memories, ideas.
12. Why does your character think he/she does what he/she does?
She sees it as a simple way to remember and to honor memories. She doesn’t view her compulsions as problematic, even the ones that may seem absurd to someone else. She thinks they are simply a means to organize.

Monday, October 26, 2009

assignment write up/re-edit

I felt that these additions to my first stop motion film improved/expanded upon the original. I would have liked to have been more successful in a few places, especially the part where the tinfoil is supposed to come out of the tin. Conceptually, I wanted to expand upon this extremely artificial world that I built in the first project. I wanted to show this world imploding on itself. This project became one about "escape hatches" and that an idea I would like to further develop and explore. This idea-the idea that we can create these artificial means to escape reality is completely fascinating to me. For this project, I specifically focused on the idealistic world that the magazine National Geographic creates. I liked thinking about this idea of traveling without actually moving, and I feel like the shots with the plane and the scrolling conveyed this idea alright. I'd really like to add sound, but I'm not quite sure what I want yet. I think it would really add something to the piece though.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

storyboards, revised concept, etc.

So here are the storyboards-as far as location goes, I'm planning on using the stop motion room. I'd like to build all of my sets from magazines and cellophane, like I did on the "one frame" project.
I really wanted to think in a literally "vertical" way, so make sure to read the storyboards from bottom to top for each column. As far as the concept of the piece goes, I am wanting to create poetic filmmaking by analyzing the "vertical" approach. Deren describes this approach as investigating a single mood, as opposed to relying on plot to drive the film forward "horizontally". I'd like to use cut-outs from vintage magazines to explore the "artificial" mood/feeling. I'll use mostly cut outs from advertisements, because these seem to be the most artifical. I'd like to also touch on the idea that national geographic creates an artificial world for the reader, in the sense that it allows the reader to believe they know a particular place that they may or may not have experienced, so I'll also use photographs from the actual magazine portion as well. So the film will explore a pretend world built by only the elite travel magazine ideal, and items that relate to these advertisements. (i.e. cellophane, tinfoil). This absurdly structured world will disenigrate into chaos and implode in a foil explosion, hopefully causing the viewer to feel the absurdity that is created by the idealized standards.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

response to reading

"The distinction of poetry is its construction (what I mean by a "poetic structure" ), and the poetic construct arises from the fact, if you will, that it is a "vertical" investigation of a situation, and that it probes the ramifications of the moment, and is concerned with its qualities and its depth, so that you have poetry concerned in a sense, not with what is occurring, but with what it feels like and what it means."

This reading felt like somewhat of a debate between the idea of "horizontal" filmmaking -filmmaking which uses plot as its driving force, and "vertical" filmmaking-poetic filmmaking that focuses on meaning and mood. I don't really believe that these things are mutually exclusive. While I respond very strongly to the images and exploration of detail/mood in the more "poetic" films (like Deren's) I also respond very strongly to storytelling to create detail and mood. Is there a way to combine "horizontal" and "vertical"? I feel like many films do this. Just the idea of image and words combined for me creates both poetry and a story. Or a story with poetry?

response to meshes

The film seemed to be an exploration of duplicity, manipulation, and perception. In both technique and "story" these themes are reinforced. The film begins with the viewer being in the position of the main character, immediately causing the viewer in to participate in the film, to be a part of the film. The film continues to build layers on the idea of perception by showing the same sequence of actions with different views each time. The repetition of mirrors throughout the film also suggest the idea of "looking" or perceiving. Maybe this film is an extended metaphor for the idea that there is no absolute truth, there are multiple truths. Multiples are used repeatedly throughout the film. Multiple keys, multiple mirrors, multiple knives, multiple characters. The film causes the viewer to question. "is it a knife or is it a key?" Maybe the film is also addressing the questions "is it truth or is it cinema?" or "Am I you? or am I me? who was just killed?" The film seems to address ideas of self and other, it tears down the distinguishable walls around the idea of self.

Monday, October 5, 2009

responses, etc.


The thing that stuck in my mind the most is the use of the nun-like character with a mirror face, that image is striking and unforgettable. The character's face is anonymus and unknown, therefore it is absolutely terrifying. I could imagine many different faces behind the mask, and each was more terrifying than the last. This image does a very good job of NOT showing the viewer something that they are terrified to see. It makes it even scarier. The sound helps carry the emotion in the film, and it is also very difficult to shake from my memory. The compositions of the shots were always contrasting. She would contrast a linear, harsh black and white contrast shot of a staircase with a shot of a window with smooth, billowing curtains. The tricks of story are also interesting to me, the overlap of characters, and how the main character could see herself. The end feels like a twist, maybe she was supposed to wake up from the nightmare but she never really did. The film has an unsettling feel to it, the entire time I felt scared, it was incredibly suspenseful.

My favorite parts of this film were the ways she transitioned between different scenes, and the end shocker when she completely obliterates any concept of time the viewer had. The first cut between the scene at the beach and the scene at the dinner party had the strongest impact on me. Maybe it was the complete contrast of the scenes, or the way that the people at the dinner party completely ignored the girl crawling on the table. I am also very interested in the performance aspect of her work, the films are largely focused on her actions, and the way that she interacts with her environment.

Miniature project stuff


This film is a series of moments to study the question: “What defines someone?” These moments purposefully lack the typical identity of the person-the full face/body is never shown. This creates a character sketch without the typical establishing shots of the character; it leaves space for the viewer to put the pieces together.


I am currently a photography/filmmaking student at Memphis College of Art. My work focuses mostly on portraits, not only portraits of people, but also portraits of ideas, places, and things. I strive to create character sketches for these concepts, and to study their fragments to learn how they fit together to create new meanings. By using multiple images next to each other, I can create a dialogue between the images. Filmmaking lends itself to these concepts, as I can create new conversations between images using editing and montage techniques.

final edit, titles etc.

How do I set the poster image for this? I keep trying to in final cut but it still won't set correctly when it is viewed online. hmm. also, quality seems a little bad. maybe it was exported wrong?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

project 3 shot sequence

this is the setting for the nighttime shots-

here's the shot sequence
I'd like this film to focus on one character remembering something, and the film will be told through a series of up close views of everyday motions (for this character).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


so a quick word choice correction-when I called smoking and applying makeup "mundane" I meant to call them motions that involve very small amounts of movement as compared to a more "active" movement like running or climbing a tree.

As far as distilling my idea, I've decided that this film should be a short character sketch made up of small movements. I'd like to focus on hands and on the things they are interacting with. Maybe if she is smoking you don't see her mouth like most smoking shots, but you see her hands spill the box of cigarettes. Another shot could be her trying on different rings, and choosing one. I'd also like to incorporate "passenger seat actions" the way people act when they are in the passenger seat of a car, does she put her feet up? hand out the window? holding a cigarette? As far as the model being aware/unaware of the camera, I'd like to get to the point where I can shoot scenes and she's somewhat forgotten that the camera is there. So maybe this is a matter of quantity. I feel like overcoming the awkwardness of the camera will be something I need to deal with without resorting to a surveillance type camera. I think there are other ways to do this, it might just involve a ton of time. I really want to start to solve the problem of creating a character or a sketch of a character without showing too much or saying too much. I'm also wondering if I should cross cut between two characters performing mostly the same task (maybe getting ready to go out) and having them meet at the end. It sounds a bit cheesy, but I think it could be pulled off, and it would be interesting in an editing sense as far as transitions go.

idea with some flesh

So, to expand upon the idea of filming people's miniature movements, I've picked out some spaces, a model to film, and a color scheme. The film will be focused around the actions of smoking and getting ready to go somewhere (applying makeup, etc.) I want it to be a character study, seeing how I can show some of the character of a person by the way that they do certain small tasks. I'd like to document these simple actions, does her foot nervously swing when she smokes? Does she speak differently with a cigarette? hand motions, eye motions, all of these minute actions that go into another small action. I'd like this film to have a voyeuristic feel, like we are watching something very personal-especially the bathroom make-up shots. Maybe I could shoot through a window or between cracks in the door. I'd also really like to learn how to achieve a strong mirror shot. This will also be a good experiment in editing and compressing time as this could get really boring really quickly. I'd like to try some Godard-Breathless style jumpy cuts for this part. Another thing I would like to learn through this assignment is how to make things look like super-8 home movie footage, I think this aesthetic would go well with the subtle concept, and I'd like this to look as much like film as possible. Maybe shooting in this square format could also be interesting? like a slide show...

Here's some test photos to help visualize the aesthetic I'm going for...

these spaces/greenish color scheme-

this model-


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


here's the stop motion with titles and whatnot...

reading and ideas

"Values become engulfed in miniature and miniature causes men to dream"

"On the other hand, the planetary image of Bohr's atom-in scientific thinking, if not in a few indigent, harmful evaluations of popular philosophy-is a pure synthetic construct of mathematical thoughts. In Bohr's planetary atom, the little central sun is
not hot."

1.) Taking a very small motion, like someone's hand fidgeting, or the little hairs on top of their heads moving in the wind and combining this with a very scientific graph could be interesting. I like this idea of "mathematical thoughts." Is there a way to map the world around us in a way that is mathematical only to the person thinking the thoughts? Maybe an exposure of the different ways people notice and approach situations. I could film normal, mundane movements of someone sitting down, and have somebody else with a voiceover analyzing the situation and essentially verbally mapping out what is happening as they see it.

"But he entered into a miniature world and right away images began to abound, then grow, then escape....large issues from small...thanks to liberation from obligations of dimensions"

2.)This quote immediately makes me think of disproportional things, and believability in a film. It also makes me question the "truth" of cinema, and I think that it is important for films to do that, whether in a subtle or big way. This could be a good excuse to continue with my experiments with cut-outs, to see if I could create a world with minimal movement, and much distortion. Basically, I would continue to cut out and make "actors" out of miniature props, and I would have them interact in different ways. I'd like to expand on the world I created in my stop motion project, maybe really go into the different spaces that were created, especially the sky. Going into and out of all the windows and openings cut out of the images could be very interesting as well. I'd like to work with the metaphor of "windows" and what is contained inside of them.

3.)This quote also makes me think of filming real people, but in a very very minimal and miniature way. For example, if I were to shoot a scene where two characters were talking, I would never show full shots of the characters, but I would show their minimal motions and hopefully imply character by them. (i.e. smoking a cigarette, twitching feet, moving hands, moving hair behind ears) very mundane motions. I have no idea what the conversation would be about, maybe something very mundane, or maybe there wouldn't need to be any dialogue at all. Could I show (in the most un-cheesy way possible) these character's relationship without words?

some inspiration for those close up "mundane" people shots (the godard portion)...

Monday, September 14, 2009

002 stop motion write-up

Overall, I felt that the project was successful (as an experiment) despite some technical difficulties. Conceptually, I was working with the idea of limiting myself to a few materials (some old national geographics, tinfoil, cellophane, glue, tape and scissors), and to convert my ongoing obsession of covering real things/people/scenes to inanimate collages. In this case, tinfoil served as the covering. I also wanted to experiment on a small scale to see what it felt like to be completely in control, since these were inanimate objects being covered. This gave me some serious tedious time to try to work out why exactly I am so fascinated with covering things. I've came around to the conclusion that it must have something to do with the way society is constantly encouraging us to change, to improve. These old (early 1960s-early 1970's) National Geographics I was using are less than politically correct, and filled with especially questionable advertisements. I think they are the perfect example for what society expects a well-rounded American to enjoy, and the advertisements contained inside of it are an example of what Americans are supposed to be. The men are most often represented as explorers and conquerors (especially within the articles of the magazine), and the women are represented as housewifes, supporters, and items to be adorned, flaunted. I focused mostly on the expectations for women to be housewives, and the many, many kitchen advertisements that support this idea. The tinfoil comes from the kitchen, and I repeatedly make it explode from the inside of things, maybe a metaphor for the thing that we are told to be as something that is internalized and something that eventually becomes destructive. Those are the conceptual ideas I discovered as I was working on the project. I'd like to work to develop this concept some more through my next films.
As far as technical challenges go, I had some major difficulties with the istopmotion. It kept rearranging my images, and that got old, so I switched to just taking stills with the D40 and importing them into quick time movies, and doing all of the editing in quick time. I tried to edit in final cut pro, but I lost so much image quality, I may have been importing things the wrong way.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

3 ideas

more visual inspiration from Cristina Couceiro:

idea #1-use a stop motion technique with magnetic letters. The letters will move around on the fridge and spell out words. maybe something like "should we?" and then "we should" then the letters will travel off of the fridge and crawl up and eventually completely cover a person. (more letters would have to join the ones that came off of the fridge, so I was thinking that I could have some cheesy horror movie sounds and letters could come out of the air vents and under the cracks in the door, the window, whatnot.

idea #2-Using images extracted from National Geographic magazines, I will create a stop motion collage. I have some issues that are about space, so that might be the scene I start in. The scenes would morph and change into completely opposite scenes. For example, the film may start out in space, but that scene might end up being in a TV which would allow the scene to morph into to that of a living room, etc.

idea #3-I'd like to use pixelization to cover people in tinfoil, cellophane, and yarn. I'd like to film people in ordinary situations, i.e. watching TV, walking down the street (the material would have to "catch up" to them, and I think this would be neat) or laying in the yard. I imagine the structure of this film to be like this: character one is watching television, and he (along with the space he is in) gets covered in tinfoil without him so much as moving. Character two is sitting and playing an instrument, and she gets covered in cellophane. Finally character three is doing something very active, like running, and she tries to run away from the yarn, but it chases her by the two characters covered in cellophane and tinfoil, and she eventually gets covered in yarn. I'm really not sure how I could pull this off, but I could see it looking really cool if I did. Maybe I could simplify it a bit.

I'm really leaning toward idea #2, I think it gives me the most leeway to explore different spaces and techniques. I feel like ideas one and three could be neat, but I have no idea how I would go about actually filming them.

geez louise these ideas are neat

such an amazing idea, geeez.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

response: project 001

Conceptually, I don't think I had any ideas other than making some meaningless but visually appealing stuff. Technically, I wanted to experiment with the scanner, and see how I could incorporate scanned images into the whole photoshop/quick time mix, and I think those parts were pretty successful. I also wanted to think a ton about set design, color schemes, and lighting so that the visuals could be the most effective. My shots are a bit boring, I didn't get too wild with moving the laptop around to create more moving shots. That's something I'd like to focus on for my next assignment, less stationary, eye-level shots and more moving, unique-angled shots. As far as achieving rhythm and pushing the boundaries of the programs goes, I think I did an okay job. I was thinking about adding some animation to the scuba shots, but I ended up wanting to try to create rhythm through the contrasting colors and content, instead of adding something on top of them. One thing I'm still a bit confused/frustrated about is the fps/document length adjustments. I don't understand the relationship between the two. I'm sure it makes tons of logical sense, I just can't remember how it works. That was the main frustration for me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

response: Retour a la Raison

The fragmented nature of this film really kept my attention, it felt like a puzzle of a story, I kept making probably unnecessary associations between images. It seems to almost have a narrative, we are introduced to two characters, a man and a woman, and the camera mostly follows them. Inter-cut with the activities of these two are absolutely absurd images and text that seem to somewhat push the narrative of the man and woman along, but their real function seems to be more to fragment the idea of narration. I think that this is an exciting concept, as memories exist only as fragments, and this film had a memory-haze feel to it.

Walter Benjamin

write about what Benjamin says about the aura:

what is its value? is its withering away good or bad? neither or both?

The value of the aura reflects the degree of uninterrupted originality the people perceive the work to have in relation to the ritualistic view surrounding the work. The idea of an aura of a work is dependent on the how the work existed in history and the condition the work is in as a result of it. Mechanical reproduction interrupts the aura, it allows multiples to exist at the same time, and this causes the aura to wither away. This withering away of the aura provides opportunity for film to be experienced at the same time by a collective of people in different places. This brings new opportunity for critique, and new ways for more audiences to experience the work. I would consider the withering of the aura to be a “good” thing. It questions not only the perceived ideas of value and originality of art, but it also questions the ways in which space and the degree of reproducibility affects the perception of art.

how can today’s films (focus on one) be understood in terms of Benjamin’s ideas about the aura and mechanical reproduction?

Man Ray’s Emak Bakia unconsciously seems to portray the meaningless extravagance that Dada filmmakers embraced in reaction to the film medium. Film cannot be separated from mechanical reproduction, and this film formed associations between nature and the mechanical world. It could be that the “natural” shots (the eye, the flowers, etc) represent the idea of the aura and the withering of it in favor of the mechanically reproducible world (the cars). It seems to be a metaphor for the world that is created (mechanically) inside of a film.

what role does their “readymade” status play in this?

The readymade status of film plays with the way in which the audience participates. The film can exist and be shown in multiple places at once. This status, this freedom of reproducibility allows more and more people to participate in the world created by the film.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

i've gotta learn this stuff

and this translucent stuff

Monday, April 20, 2009

stuff is changing mhmmm

first of all...

alright. I've got ideas that I'm more excited about.

but first of all, something totally unrelated, I read this in an interview with michel gondry:"He and Spike used to shoot “exquisite corpse” films. (Spike shoots thirty seconds and shows Michel only the last frame, and then Michel shoots thirty seconds and shows Spike only the last frame." 

okay, so I really want to do that this summer. any takers? it doesn't matter if we live in different cities. we can work it out. 


I test shot some stuff for my dancing movie. and i came to the conclusion that the "pop" trick shot effect is going to work. and it looks pretty neat. SO instead of overwhelming the film with my poetry, and instead of making it kind of a downer, that i'm not excited about shooting, I want to monopolize on this popping effect and combine it with the music. So here's  how it's going to go: I have a cheap-o casio keyboard in which I will score the movie with. and I also have tons of instruments sitting around. So I am going to start the movie with the 1 character dancing and a cheesy casio beat playing in the background, and then a little instrument will pop into the character's hand (and this instrument sound is added to the score). So that character will keep dancing, then another character will pop onto the screen and dance, and then another instrument will pop into that character's hands, this will continue until the frame is filled with 3 (or more if i can swing it)  people playing instruments. then random objects will start popping into the frame to crowd the characters. I also want the background to trick shot change from white to red cellophaned and from white to tinfoiled. so the film will end with a climax of nosiy characters and objects crowding the screen with a tinfoiled or cellophaned background. it's gonna be tricky. but i think it will work. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

revised plan

thanks so much for all the great comments. okay so here's my new plan: 

visuals: the story arch goes like this: three characters,  standing in front of a white background. the shots cut inbetween each of the characters. film starts with medium shots of each character's face, then the music comes on, and the characters start awkwardly bobbing their heads. as the music continues and gets more intense, I start reading poetry over the music. I am not on film. BUT there will be cuts of mouths on the screen that will sync to certain parts of the poems. probably the word RED. (I'll probably still film a few scenes of the characters reading the poems, but i don't plan on using them right now.) as the charcters dance, and the poems and the music continue, objects start popping onto the characters. (as far as the technical part of this goes, I'll have the camera running and the character dancing, and people holding an object on fishing line, then i'll tell the character to freeze, and we'll lower the object on fishing line in front of them, then i'll tell them to keep dancing. I realize there might be a jolt with this plan, but it's the smoothest one i can think of.) the objects on the characters will pop onto them and off of them. and while the red costumes add up, the background will also be turning red, (i'm gonna cover it in red cellophane) As the background turns red, the characters will also be cellophaned. so the cellophaning will start from the bottom, and by the end both the characters and the background will be covered in red cellophane. during these scenes i will also be dumping red glitter on the characters and i'm really considering doing something with red paint. Anyway, the film ends with the characters in mass chaos ripping the cellophane off and throwing paint all over themselves and glitter falling on it all. 

this sounds like its gonna be real long. but i'm keeping it under three minutes. 

as far as sound goes i'll either pick and choose parts of poems OR i'll read all of them and work with layering them over the visuals and the beats. 


Monday, April 13, 2009

pre prod

location: it's either this or my kitchen i've been using for my films 

lighting diagram, if i use the kitchen again. 

some ideas for the red costumes

a very chaotic storyboard

1. alright, so the poems listed below will be read over some beats.  either a casio keyboard, or my friend siphine's beats. I'm not sure about the order of the poems yet, or about how many i will use,  but all of that sound will happen in final cut. 



And why not the sludge of decimals the metal of colors the color’s comes slick blue stripes by something-new-ish again and again over under on the chromatic and the monotony






In the accordion keys on the

Acrobats on the






Of war on the pretty faces of the dead

A sense of order

And chaos

Of broken organs

And dismembered guitars

On a beach of beached values

Like whales their ideas of “normal”

Broken by fishers of men soul hunting

For any gratification under the salt of the world


With their prostitutes, and their Jesus

building an army

Making peace with violence and loving sex like a war


She’s tall and skinny and takes her coffee the color of a once crisp business card that’s been left in the dirt after a meeting gone sour.


He likes to call himself “mobile” and “open” even though he’s never left home, just took over the business cleaning up after his father who died with Jack in one hand and a knife in the other. He just took one sideways look at his dad, called the funeral home, and caught up on the cleaning appointments for that day.


But he’s nice. And she’s clean. And they met just like they do in the movies. But their sex is never bloodless and it just isn’t lit with that same tungsten light. 8 years experience cleaning other people’s homes. These people live on wheels as to avoid too much commitment. She thinks about this sometimes, like she thinks about the photographs under her bed, rotting away with their pages of glossed memories. And she decides she’s not really cut out for the stationary life in all its shades of beige.


But everything we see about her life is nice, and mostly clean. It’s an exhausted metaphor, vacuumed, waxed, etc. everything they told her she needed and all that she didn’t want. It’s a pity people don’t act live only in our imaginations.


He never called it a problem, maybe a compulsion at best. She was his therapy. He was her secret cause. It was nice, their house on Jonathan street. No wheels, and always clean. But their relationship was never bloodless, though they had found just the right way to light it. It looked so bright from the outside window, and sometimes she would stay underwater in the bathtub maybe a second too long watching the bubbles blur to the surface and repeating in her silent misdirected way, I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m so happy it hurts, I’m so happy I could die right here. And one day she did.


 And on that same day, the owner of the business card that she compared her coffee to once quit cleaning and just stood outside and counted all the mobile homes on the freeway, and prayed to god or whoever that he wouldn’t die alone.


by the red door with a Spanish man with a

ponytail, when another Spanish man with

out a ponytail with a hat and

he walks past alone and muttering to


himself and us in a language I don’t

understand. So I smile and play the

ignorant American. He and I sit

alone by the red door that only

opens from the inside when the man with


the hat without the ponytail comes back down

muttering and motioning to his noise and

“intoxionada?” I smile laugh

he smiles at my stupid smile pulls


a little red guitar out of his pocket

it says MEMPHIS in bold white writing and he

says something else then goes out the red

door that only opens from the inside. 

2. storyboards at the top...

3. answer these questions:

a. What are each character's life goals/objectives

there aren’t really established characters. But I would say the overall motive here is to explore the connotations with the color red.

b. What are each major character’s obstacles to reaching their objectives?

These things that keep popping in front of and on them, these predetermined roles.

c. What are the actions the characters will use to overcome their obstacles and reach their objectives?

They will dance dance dance

d. What are the ways and means the characters will use?

Dancing writing reading, mostly dancing

e. What adjustments do the characters make when their actions and means don’t succeed?

From subtle awkward to more courageous awkward

f. What realistic doings are the actors engaged in?

they are trying on new selves. I think we do that everyday.


4. Breakdown the Script to determine the following:

a. The number and types of actors required

4 actors-awkward dancers

b. How many scenes each actor will be in and the total length of their performances.

Total length of each actors performance will be about 30 seconds. Total length of the entire performance-mayyybe 4 minutes

c. The requirements, number, and types of locations.

One location, a lighting studio. I need a white background that I can paint red.

d. The number and types of stunts and special effects.


e. What special costumes and makeup will be required?

Glitter, cellophane, maybe tinfoil. Lots of red costumes. Anything that is red, and can be worn in some way.

f. What props are required?

See item e. 

5. location scout-either the lighting studio at school, it has a power box, two outlets, and a few lights, or the kitchen i've used for my past 2 films with a white sheet for a background. 

6. see map at top

7. either this friday and saturday night. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

music videos for some inspiration

this one just looks cool at first, but it gets repetitive

Passion Pit, "Sleepyhead" from Neon Gold Records on Vimeo.

trick shots yeahhh!! this is the kind of editing i want to go for. 

this one for a color scheme-red/black/white. i love how bold it is. it gets repetitive too, though. Not enough of an arch for me. but you've gotta love a band with a color scheme...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

reviewed idea

Idea number one seems to show the most promise. However, I want it to have a stronger arch of action, so I think I'll combine it with parts from idea number two. The theme of this project was to show people awkwardly dancing, and to transform them using trick shots into costumed characters very unlike the ones they began as. I want the different actors to go through many different roles in this one film. For example, the film will begin with these 3 different awkward dancing characters. Different costumes will pop onto them (using trick shots) and the costumes will drastically change the way the character is perceived. This was the original idea. Now I am thinking about changing the background as well, and incorporating the idea of a monochromatic color scheme from idea two. The characters will be placed in front of a white background, and I could make every piece of costume that pops onto them red, so the film ends with these red characters, and as they are being costumed, the background could also be gradually painted red to match the character. The film would end with a character blending in to his or her background. As far as the audio for this film, I have a series of poems I have written that deal with the color red. I am thinking about layering a voice over of these poems with the music the characters are dancing to. To tie in the seriousness of these poems with the strangeness/goofyness of the characters dancing, I could use elements from the poems for parts of the character's costumes. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

3 new ideas

1. trick shot dance
In the lighting studio against the white background I will have different people dance. These people can't really be good at dancing, they need to be more of the head bobbing awkward types. As they dance different objects will suddenly appear on them, in a trick shot way. Some sequences I've been thinking of are having hats suspended by fishing wire appear above their heads, and mustaches appear on faces, maybe feathers appear on heads, wild masks, etc. The sequence will end with the characters in their awkward new costumes. I would also like this film to be in black and white, and the music will be a cheesy casio keyboard drum beat. It will probably only be about 2 or 3 minutes long. 

2. red room/tinfoiling/transforming a space 
I will paint every object in a space red. Actors in red suits will appear with red mouths. i would want a variety of closeups on the different mouths. This project would probably be based on my fear of mouths. I don't really know how to explore that, but I want to see what kind of mood i can create with everything painted red. I would like to explore space and how things can blend into the background . Maybe I could intercut the red room shots with shots of the same red characters covering the red room and every object in it in tinfoil. This could be a commentary about the inevibility of conformity, no matter how unique something seems. 

3.the highways essay
I'm still toying with my original idea about highways and my hotel memory from the last project. I'm not sure if it fits in with my manifesto though. And I still haven't really established a reason for filming that idea other than pure aesthetic/common memory grounds. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

color scheme ideas

i would like to have a muted primary color scheme in my sugarcoat film.  


i like the way these screens are set up

and this is interesting...the shots are boring but I like the idea

response to test shoot

The main thing I learned from my test shoot is that I need WAAAYY MORE sugar. I dumped spoonfuls on my model, and it looked silly. SO I am going to mix up at least 3 bowls of pink sugar and dump them on my model by the bowlful. I have also decided to have my models use sugar as makeup, and they will also have falsie eyelashes that I can get sugar stuck in. The close up shots were by far more interesting than the medium shots. So I would like to focus more on facial features and the texture that the sugar makes. I'm thinking about ending the shots by dumping water on the models to make the makeup and sugar run. The lighting setup was 2 lights, one major rim backlight to make the sugar look extra glittery, and the other light was at a 45 degree angle from my model with the silver umbrella over it. I'll need to change the lighting for the close ups, some of them looked a little bit murky. I'm also considering mixing glitter in with the sugar, just to give it that extra pop. Also, I need some feedback on if I should have only sugar falling on the models or if I should incorporate some more sugary foods. The color scheme for the final piece will be pink, blue, and yellow. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

a more organized breakdown

1. script breakdown
a. number and types of actors-3 women 
b.scenes/length-each woman will be in about 1:30 seconds of the movie, making about a 5 minute movie
c. 3 locations-my apartment-kitchen, bathroom. the MCA stage.
d. no stunts, no special effects
e. frilly, lacy bras/underwear. frilly/lacy dancer dresses
f. sugar sugar sugar...plastic gloves
2.number of days to shoot-1 to 2

shot sequence diagram

preproduction/sugar test

characters-3 women, dressed in only lacy frilly bras and underwear, maybe wigs to make them look a bit alike

locations-(my apartment) kitchen, bathroom, stage at MCA

costuming-lacy frilly bras and underwear

script ideas- okay, i'm torn between a few ideas-either I want to have each of the women tell a story of a time a man treated them unfairly, but they would tell the story in kuchar brothers style campy voices. or i don't want them to speak at all. maybe incorporate a voice over later, or maybe let the images do the talking, and have circus music playing. i am leaning toward that one.

shot/scene sequence-

scene 1-the kitchen-
each of the 3 women are filmed seprately, on the floor in the kitchen, sitting against the blue wall
progression of sugar coating. no sugar, just a medium shot of the woman in her frilly bra. the woman will be cropped below the nose, i won't show the top part of their faces. various close ups of the hands in clear plastic gloves pouring sugar on the woman being sugarcoated. shot where the woman's face is in the lower part of the frame, but she is waving her hair around to obstruct her face as the (backlit) sugar falls on her. The women's movements create an arch of action. She starts out in full use of her body, moving and whatnot while being sugarcoated. as the sugarcoating progresses, the women move less and less, until they become puppets for the hands. variety of close up shots on her body to capture the texture and movement of the sugar. one woman will roll in the sugar, like a fruit being sugarcoated. the hands will always be in the screen fussing with the sugar, and finally stuffing the woman's mouth with a hostess snowball and lighting a candle in it. These actions take place for all 3 women and i plan on cross-cutting the shots together

scene 2-the stage
the three women are dressed in glittery, frilly costumes, and they perform a short choreographed dance as glittery sugar falls on them. medium shots from behind the women. spotlit.

scene 3-the bathtub
one woman will be drowned in a bathtub full of blue water (after being sugarcoated) someone will dump sugar from above the bathtub onto the woman being drowned. overhead shot, cut to a medium shot of the side of the bathtub, the hand drowning the woman, and the woman being drowned. close ups on the sugar falling, and the way the sugar looks when it hits the water.

color scheme-muted primarys

pink sugar
sugar test results-the sugar can be dyed with food coloring. i think i'll go with this obnoxious pink. granulated sugar sticks better to wet skin and is more glittery than confectioner's. the confectioner's has a nice floury clumpy texture though. I might use both. but i definitely want to backlight the pink sugar to give it a nice glittery feel as it falls onto the women.