Thursday, November 19, 2009


Well, Cucalorus this year……hmm….well, I am a little undecided on my experience this year. Maybe it was the fact that I had sooooo much fun last year, that I was expecting soooo much out of this year’s festival…or if I truly didn’t enjoy myself. I am still figuring out this answer. I was really syked when I found out that my film was actually going to screen in the festival. I actually got a lot of great feedback from people at Cucalorus and the days following Visions. This was a fantastic feeling for sure! It was a lot of work and trouble trying to re-record sound for my film in time for the festival. It is difficult when you actually like what the original product was and you have to change it. It was a bit nerve wrecking sitting there waiting for my film to go on. I wasn’t nervous all morning or the night before. But, the second the films began, I started feeling overwhelmed. No one else had watched the new cut with the new sound, so this was a bit scary. In the beginning of the screening, the right speaker in the front of Jengo’s started buzzing in and out and even losing its sound. Right at that moment I knew that if this happened during my film, it would definitely lose much of its dramatic effect. And it just so happens that that speaker went out right in the dramatic point of the film…thus killing all intensity of the experience for the audience. This was a huge bummer. The way that the sound is set up is that the interview is louder, and of main focus….the interview was sooooo quiet at Jengo’s. And we also put smalls sounds that create an eerie strange feeling…but they are set low, to not over power the man’s story. This was upsetting for sure…although I still got good feedback and questions from people. That screening was truly a mess!!! First, the screeners were adjusting the screen during the first film…then the woman from the Ukraine that was there and had a film in the screening….her film ran for about 2 min without the sound! No sound…I was a little more fortunate. And they didn’t even re-start it! THEN…the sound from my film started playing again at the beginning of another person’s film…it was crazy…I have never seen anything like that happen at Cucalorus. And THEN….I heard all about that filmmaker from Australia showing up at Lumina to see his film and it was put on wrong by someone…and they told him that they would screen it on Sunday…but he was already having to fly out before then…he came all the way here and never saw his film…that’s an expensive trip…did the festival pay for that?

Not to mention the fact that all of the parties and such were scattered all over the place and I felt like I didn’t see as many people in one place at a time the entire festival this year…unlike last year…so I was a bit bummed I was not able to catch up and network with as many people. But, I did enjoy the filmmaker’s brunch…although I never got to enjoy the filmmaker’s lounge. You know, come to think of it, I think that much of the scatteredness of people had to do with the fact that Thalian’s large theater was under construction, thus it was soooo far to go to see the late night screenings, which I enjoy the most. Honestly, I mainly went to the shorts. I went to one late night, “House of the Devil,” which was no “Dead Girl,” but it was pretty cool. It was shot on film, so this was a nice thing to look at…andddd it was set in the early 80’s late 70’s….so I always enjoy seeing how people are able to adapt and date their films. Agghhh I guess I’m just bitching. I enjoyed my mom coming to see my film and also her watching the experimental films…esp the abstract ones….priceless!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

48 Hour Film Race

I truly enjoyed this assignment! I actually like having to work with all of the constraints. It forces you to be creative, and honestly some of my best work has come from being under time constraints such as these. I have always found the Dogme 95 stuff fascinating and exciting. I am glad I have had the opportunity to work with these sorts of limitations in this class. Not only this specific project, but, pretty much every single project that we have been assigned in this class. It has given me a completely different perspective on filmmaking. I am actually pretty content with the product that came from this race!

My idea actually spawned from my previous project in Modes of Animation, in which I also used barbies and did stop motion animation. On the last shot of that project, which was the second story out of two animations that I shot for that specific project, I was infuriated by the fact that the dolls just wouldn’t stay standing and they kept falling and knocking over the props. I had to keep starting entire sequences over and re-shooting them entirely. It was exhausting and without a doubt, TEDIOUS. The Donald Trump doll fell on the last shot and enraged with frustration I had a temper tantrum. I slammed him down on the floor, and unlike the barbies who are made of a solid, rubbery plastic, he broke into a million pieces. My roommates were a bit weirded out by the fact that there were tiny body parts scattered around our house. I threw most of them away, but I left his hand strategically placed around the house, just as a joke (that was apparently just strange). After that night, I told myself that I would never do this stop motion animation stuff ever again.

When we got the jars, immediately this idea came to my head. I stuck the hand in one of them, and put some of the Barbie heads in them too. But, I still needed more body parts because I had 6 jars. So, I began cutting the barbies into bits…needless to say I felt like a serial killer getting rid of the evidence and such…or maybe mobsters, Tony Soprano and Christopher chopping up Ralph…or even Christian Slater chopping up a stripper and a bell boy and dumping them in the dessert…awkardddd. And barbies actually have this piece of white plastic in the interior of their limbs under the rubbery stuff. It looked like bone…ughhh it was a little sickening. And, Halloween had just passed so I had a lot of fake eyelashes sitting around, so I utilized them too! I think that everyone ended up being very weirded out by me, I guess it was a bit strange? I don’t know. But, I like it…I would actually like to continue it and add some more to it. It is so short…although short and sweet is good sometimes. I am really getting into this stop motion animation stuff. It is sooo much fun! I am definitely going to do more!

The tent making night was sooooooo much fun. Some of the most fun I have ever had in a class in college. EVER! Everyone’s projects were so different, and so awesome! I was really impressed with them. I felt like we were all soo relaxed that it was easier to speak freely and discuss eachother’s projects with one another. I hope we can do something like that again before the semester is over. I just don’t want it to end : (. This is my last semester in college and I am soooo sad…im really glad I took this class, because I believe it has truly helped me as a filmmaker. I feel much more at ease about creating my own films outside of school once I graduate…I feel much more confident!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yes Men

Wellll....that was certainly not what I was expecting it to be. It actually had me a bit anxious at times because I couldnt believe that they were not only doing the things that they were doing, but they were also getting away with it. It is genius to take a site that has an almost identical url to another and replicate it. There have been so many times that I have typed in an almost exact url that is only off by one letter and I have only noticed my mistake merely because I have been sent to a completely different site, or a site that does not exist. If I were to be sent to a site that looked official Im sure I would be fooled as people were with the site these guys created. This is actually quite frightening, because if someone did this with a site that you ordered things off of, you could easily give your credit card info and other important info to complete strangers….well I guess this has really happened and I am the fool just realizing one of the methods by which this is done. Anywho, I found this film fascinating. I loved hearing about all of their previous endeavors before these projects, such as the Barbie and g.i. joe doll switch up. This was fantastic, but Im not sure if I misunderstood….but did they intend that to be a call to gender role battles and such as it came off to people….or was it just a humorous joke.

What I find the most fantastic is that these guys are actually out there doing something that many people around the world could appreciate. Its so great to not really by lying about who they are (because their site and group does exist)….but at the same time come off as the World Trade Organization and give them this negative look that people have not realized. They are dishonest with us, so it almost seems as if this is just fair, an eye for an eye, to be underhandedly, well in my opinion it is genius, getting the word out there. (woah, too many commas to maybe understand that) But, since they are being so sneaky about what they are up to, that is, the WTO, then I don’t feel like it is wrong. If we honestly don’t have any sort of hand in the decision making of our country that this group makes, then why should they have any control over these sort of matters and the way in which they are being portrayed to people. I mean I get why they would be mad….but I mean we should be mad as hell too! Im so inspired by this sort of activism…because it is appealing to people because it is funny…but funny because it is picking on a giant organization that pretty much deserves to be picked on.


So the subjects of these two articles kind of rings true to me this month because I, too, have encountered similar issues with the film I submitted to the Cucalorus Film Festival. Ultimately, the entire film was mine and Carolyn's because all of the images were archival footage, the only thing that wasn't was the voice-over track. But, although this was taken from a true story, it was so chopped up and manipulated that if it were to be read by someone else it would barely be recognizable to the man who told the story originally in his 3 hour interview. Which I must mention that our film is only 5 minutes long. Anyways, at the moment I have been given the okay to resubmit my film if I re-record the audio track. Because at that point, nothing will belong to the original director of the original project. The article "Molotov Man" is truly all about what I have been going through with my film, because the director is worried about his obligations to the original subject of his film, while I believe my film has taken on a whole different meaning that is completely separate from his original project. Who decides this ultimately? I guess now that they have made the directors sign that they own their projects in class now makes it a little less complicated. But, as the article writes about, everyone views things differently and things are changed when they are reworked.

We even encountered issues much like this when myself and my group in Intermediat documentary class shot a film about two dj's who take music made by others and manipulate and make it into something different. We were told by many of our prof. that as long as the music was manipulated enough it shouldn't become too much of an issue on the festival circuit. And while searching out festivals to submit this film to I came upon a project entitled, "RIP: A Remix Manifesto" directed by Brett Gaylor. He has made a film about the dj girltalk, who has made his career on the "ripping" of other people's music. The film is about how artists should be able to do this and crazy enough people have the opportunity to download the raw footage from the film and actually edit it and manipulate it in their own way and resubmit it to the site. It is kind of playing on its own subject matter. I find this extremely interesting.

When taking American Film after 1961 with Dr. Kreul, we read soooooo much about this idea of allusionism and post-modernism in which people are recycling old ideas and making them new. I specifically remember this example of emparchment or something of this nature....i couldnt find the article, but it gives the example of a piece of parchment paper that is written on once and at some point in time it begins to be written over top of...but all the while if you were to go and peel that paper down to the original layer you would find the original source. Copyright laws and such are a touchy subject that I myself don't know where I stand on the issue, but it seems that at this point in time a lot almost everything has been done at some point or another. I believe that this is also the standpoint of many modernist artists, specifically the poets because I have read a lot about those people in my modern poetry class. Alot of them like to re-work past pieces or incorporate those ideas into their art....which we specifically read "The Wasteland", which is mentioned in the article as someone who has specifically done this re-working. And it is the truth that most comedies and comedic cartoons that we love so much would have no humorous qualities without the re-working or allusions. In American film I was actually so surprised with how many things I have been exposed to that I believed to be the original piece, but have in reality only been reworked. There is an article by Noel Caroll that I specifically remember in my mind. I actually think that most people don't realize how much this sort of thing actually happens. And like the article,"Ecstasy" mentions, how could we possibly even catch every single account in which this occurs. But, if they had actually passed that law that a person cannot take a picture of a person or a building or anything with out permission, where would art be today. That would be a catastrophe.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

AHHHH the Lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng take

I am actually extremely happy with the way that the Bolex shoot went this weekend. I was a little hesitant about the idea that we came up with, the whole, magic tent idea. We were a bit worried that we would not have enough time to make it make any sense. But, when we started rehearsing it, it actually ended up working perfectly. It was so much fun knowing that we were under that much pressure to not only make the time, but also perform it correctly without any mishaps. I was thinking that it would be hectic and stressful for us, but everything went really smoothly. We got our props set up quickly and we had a pretty simply camera movement. We just put the camera on the tripod and panned back and forth with the action, which proved to be very efficient for our time dilemma. It was easy and it looked really awesome! The writing on the tent was also clear enough to read in the background. It was difficult to see when we watched it on the projector in class, but I wonder if everything is in focus. From what I could see it was. So, I am really proud of the way this project turned out, because I am still a little hesitant about the way that our multi plane animation looked in the raw footage. It was much faster than any of the other group's projects. How in the world did we manage to mess that up?!! I mean it looked nice visually, because of the colors and such, but it was just wayyyy to fast. And we even shot off 3 frames on each position. I began shooting my stop animation project for modes of animation, and I haven't gotten a chance to run it through final cut at regular speed yet, so I am a bit worried at the moment. I hope I won't have to re-shoot. Anybody have any pointers?

Anyways, the last time that I shot on 16mm was in Intermediate Documentary, and we had shot inside. So our film turned out really awesome, but it was a little darker than we had anticipated (and we had used so much light, too). So I was a bit concerned with what would happen on an outdoor shoot, seeing as I had never done this before. In my opinion, we got everything perfect. The lighting was great! This gave me confidence to use the Bolex for my 495 project. So I went and ordered the film the next day. Although, I got the tri-x 100 reversal rather than the film that we used.
I am curious to see what everything will look like once it has been inverted and the speed is changed. This is not the portion of the project that I have been assigned to, so I can't wait to see it! I would really like to see all of the other group's raw footage, hopefully we will look at it in class this week!

I am a bit excited about the 48 hour film race after this shoot, because it definitely gave me that rush of having a short period to make a deadline. Although, working alone may be difficult to conjure up ideas so quickly (I hope not). I thought it was soo great to push ourselves during this bolex shoot. We had that ticking clock lingering over us, because we kept being reminded that we only had 40 min....30 min....20min....aghhh. Although, at the time it is a bit maddening, when it is finished it is a bit of a rush with a sense of accomplishment....achieving our goal!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

48-Hour Film RACEEEE

Well, this weekend I will be attempting to shoot my bumper for modes of animation. I am going to ATTEMPT to do a stop animation film, but I have never done this before, so I will have to see how it goes. If it turns out alright I think that I would like to do this same sort of technique for the 48-hour video race. Im not sure if this is a bad idea or not, in terms of it being a time consuming project. Although, I think that it would be even more difficult to make a rotoscope animation in 48 hours. Wowza! That would be stressful for sure. I plan to use some sort of digital camera to shoot stills for my animation. I would prefer to use film stills, but due to the time restraints I don’t think this would be do-able. Also, it will be more efficient to use a digital camera since I can see what I like and what I don’t like before I shoot it and it is too late, as with film cameras. But, in terms of subject matter I am just not sure. I guess that will all depend on the prop that we are given. It might be kind of cool to work with human actors rather than figures, like we did in the pixilation project. The only issue that may arise with this is the time constraint, because figures/toys/etc are easier to manipulate and work with than actual people.
If it turns out that I am pretty terrible at this method, or I just don’t like the look of it, I will have to resort to a different method. I really don’t want to take on the rotoscope thing, seeing as I have two rotoscope projects that I will just be finishing with this race begins. But, it is an option, and it is a fun option, just verrrrry time consuming. Would a found footage project count as this cameraless filmmaking, because that is always an option. Found footage, combined with maybe some film scratching and manipulation. Ultimately, I would like to do the stop animation thing along with a mixture of these methods. I would like to take another shot at working with bleach, paint, and scratching on film, but mixing it in with the animation. Maybe even layering it in over the stop animation and possible rotoscope. It could actually be pretty cool to integrate all of these things to create a dynamic image with many layers. Layering images has always been something I incorporate in many of my films that I have created and edited, so why not now. I have just never worked with the integration of these specific methods of filmmaking, especially any sort of animation.
I like working with deadlines, because it makes me get things done. But, it is also very stressful, so I wonder how this project will be on the nerves? I have a feeling it is going to be nerve wrecking. The only upside is that we are working alone, thus, we only have to depend on ourselves to get the thing finished. On the filpside, working alone is a bit intimidating because ultimately, what is shown to an audience is strictly you, no one else. That’s definitely a scary and invigorating thought. I am just curious to what the prop will be. I guess this limitation thing is much like that Dogme 95, where they have all of those things that they cannot do, such as use artificial light, no props, only hand-held, no non-diegetic sound, and etc. I thought this sounded ridiculous when I first heard about it, but then I saw one of the films and I was fascinated by it. It was actually really cool. It was such a bizarre film narratively, and you can’t help but just watch everything, knowing that there were all those limitations and it still looks that good. It is pretty amazing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Scratch Film Junkies

Well, it is a very different thing watching these films after you have learned many of those techniques that they use to make them. I feel really good about how ours turned out. But, I feel that now that we did it and also watched what it looked like, there are many things I would like go back and re-do. But, I guess that that is pretty much the process of this sort of filmmaking. You are “experimenting” with the different effects of every technique. I think I would really like to play around more with bleach. Bleach was one of the last things that I played with and applied to our project, and I truly loved the effect. I believe that I saw a bit of that in the Scratch Junkies film. I don’t know. There is this effect that I saw in that film and a couple of other people’s in class that has this sort of bubbling green thing going on. I remember you mentioning that this is bleach, but most of the bleach stuff that I did just cleared away the spots to white, rather than this color. I did sort of get this effect on one part of our film, but I thought that it had merely turned green because of the green markers and paint I had applied to it. I really want to incorporate this film manipulation into my experimental senior seminar project. I can’t decide if I want to just find some old film to do this on, or if I really want to risk taking some of the film that we are shooting off and manipulate it. This is a bit risky with the cost of film and developing, but maybe if some of the film doesn’t turn out to great we may use it for this.
Something that I would like to play around more with is the actual drawing of animation on the strip. I had actually done this with a little fish and some water that slowly filled the frames, but when I applied the bleach I got a bit carried away and messed it all up. I kind of wonder why it still didn’t show up on our strip when we watched it, because I had not only drawn over it with marker but I had also scratched the animations in. A bit time consuming for it not to show up. I also felt like the film we watched played a bit with that tape and bleach method, because there were some great lines of white that I just didn’t get how they did it. I am just assuming that this is the method for this look? I am actually upset that I didn’t get to see the first Scratch Film Junkies. I would have been curious to know how my viewing and feelings have changed about it. I do know that all of the Stan Brakhage films that I have watched over the years are in a new light for me. I feel like I would just watch them in a bit of a trance and maybe zone out a bit because I didn’t know what I was looking at. But, now I feel like I am probing them and wondering how they did everything. So, this could be a gift or a curse, because I can no longer watch these films and feel them as they are. Now, I watch them and am constantly thinking about things outside of the art itself. Yet, this is how it is for any sort of filmmaker I guess. Dr. Sue said that once we had taken her class and many other theory classes, we would never be able to watch film the way that we used to. Or the way that most people just go to a movie to “not have to think,” as many say. I find all of filmmaker thought processes far more fun than just zoning out and not thinking. But, she is right. Once we have learned how something is done, it is held in a different place. And sometimes we can even appreciate the filmmakers more than before. This is definitely the case with this sort of film manipulation. I am now fascinated by it, and I want to get out and do more of my own. Where can I get these old strips of film?