The Screening & Final Reflections

The screening, once again was an awesome night; and I was incredibly impressed by the standard of the documentaries presented. It was amazing to see the progress everyone had made since last semester, even just in terms of the cinematography!  It was a great experience to see my group’s own film on the big-screen for the first time and to get a gage of audience perception of the final product, which was nice as it seemed to be pretty well received. I really enjoyed all of the films of the night, everyone choosing such great and diverse topics! There were, however, in my opinion a few documentaries which stood out among the masses.


To Be A Poet 

Fabulous choice of participant! His story was so captivating, his speech so articulate I found it so hard to imagine that not long ago he had been illiterate. I loved the way it was framed around the poem, which was able to capture his story perfectly. It was short and sweet, and although it did leave me wanting to see more; I think keeping it short worked perfectly. The audio was perfect, and I actually can not fault anything!!

Long Story Short

One of my absolute favourites of the night, so touching! (a lot of tears in the cinema during this one) I think the choice of participants, two elderly people nearing death who had lived such different lives without regret was brilliant. Not only were the questions asked and the sections of footage perfect, but it was also impeccably shot. I loved the dolly shots towards the bright, bright light at the end of the nursing home hallway that suddenly changed direction as it neared the light and headed up to the doors labelled with the names of the individuals. Oh and the music was so fitting to. All in all just an amazing documentary!

Alternatives

That cinematography!! The one thing I couldn’t get over whilst watching this documentary was how amazingly it was shot, from the framing of the landscape to the amazingly bright yellow-green of the grass; it was fabulous. The participants were also very passionate about their sustainable lifestyle, so good choice there too!

The Things That Nana Remembers

A sensitive, moving and personal story of the events of the holocaust. I loved that they took the topic in a different direction, as well as the juxtaposition between the now and the recollection of memories. Oh and the end was brilliant.

At The End of The Day

A fabulous film about drag queens. Loved, loved, loved the central character! He was so perfect, love the contrast between his natural blokey, man’s man appearance in juxtaposition with him all made up in drag was amazing. The way he spoke about manliness and his analogies was hilarious. The choice of colour style from black and white to colour, and the song choices were also fabulous!! Watching the make-up process on the younger guy (assuming filmmaker) was also brilliant, as well as the Drag Bingo clip in the credits – all in all a great film.

Henry The Magpie

So creative. It was so amazing how the narration was able to shape and create humour out of what would not be considered humorous footage! To think of the time it would have taken to capture the perfect footage to tell the story also, is definitely impressive.  So different to all the other docos presented, job well done.

Just A Game

This was yet another very entertaining film. So fast paced and jam packed with information. Loved all the sketches they did, and think they did a fabulous jobs communicating their contention – one of the very few incredibly subjective documentaries presented.

Circus Stew

I thought they did a fabulous job in presenting and piecing that beautiful archive footage together, absolutely loved hearing the stories and memories from the guy who filmed the footage all those years ago; especially the one from which the film derives its name Circus Stew. Good choice of music, and great work in allowing the amazing archive footage speak for itself – it truly was visually spectacular. Am definitely interested in what Mark Holden will do with it in his  pieces. Only criticism, some of the audio cuts were a bit abrupt and cut off too early.

Jehova Who

This group did an amazing job in objectivity, allowing the subjects to speak for themselves without twisting it to fit a contention – which could oh so easily have happened!! Although, I’m sure all the audience came to their own conclusion about what they thought about the Jehova’s Witness community; all ethical boundaries were respected and no one was made fun of, rather presented as they are. I loved the church elder from the beginning of the film, so firm and aggressive in his belief system, and also the contrast between him and the family with the young child.


I honestly was so impressed by all the films, and enjoyed them all!  After a great deal of time spent editing, and a few minor disagreements about certain elements of the film, I think my group all came to agree on won thing in the end- that we were happy with the film we produced. Focussing solely on Jason, which was a completely different direction than we ever intended was a bit of a risk that paid off in the end. The collaborative effort of our group and advice from both the class, Paul and Robin; allowed us to utilise everyone in the groups individuals skills (Neha’s after effect geniousness, Simon’s ability to make music, Moses’s cinematography skills, and Michael and my own editing skills) to produce the dramatic, stylised piece which despite all the changes in subject we as a group been aiming to achieve from the outset. I am so proud of what not only my group but everyone else has achieved this semester, was definitely an enjoyable semester overall and everybody has amazing films to show for it too!

Interview 3- Jason

This Sunday night we headed out filled with both anticipation and excitement to do our third and what we were all really, really hoping will be our last interview. It went pretty well! Jason our participant a once skeptical mentalist who now claims to be a psychic entertainer, was both incredibly fascinating, excited and friendly. We honestly could not have hoped for a better participant, he was so well spoken and the interview portion of the night (despite some incredibly annoying camera technical difficulties) just flowed, his stories compelling. The demonstration portion was equally compelling, as the interviewer I became the test subject for his hypnosis and psychic exercises. I was put under hypnosis, and unable to control simple movements which was definitely the most weird and surreal feeling I have ever experienced. We lit these scenes really dramatically, pretty much shooting in pitch black with a spot-light effect; so hopefully it will make for some good footage. The introduction went really well too, we set up the green-screens pretty quickly (even though the putting it away process was no where near as smooth), and Jason had actually already memorised the script, which was perfect! We got a couple of different takes and a bit of a framing variety between these takes, so I’m excited to have a play around with it in after effects and get our introduction together!

I am really excited to view the footage, and If the footage and audio ( which we were unable to monitor aurally due to a missing head-phone jack) turns out as good as we are hoping this interview definitely holds the potential to change the whole direction of our film!

Stuck in a Rut

We have reached that point in our film where although we can say that we have two thirds of the interviews we intended to get, we by no means can say our film is two thirds of the way done. We are really struggling to piece the interviews we have thus far together, and can all agree on one thing it is definitely lacking in a common thread. We do have one more interview to come however, this one with a very interesting man named Jason who started out as a mentalist/ magician and has now transitioned into being a psychic entertainer. We are really hoping he will be the missing piece to our puzzle, yet at the same time can not put all our eggs in one uncertain basket as we do not specifically what we will get, or if we will get anything useful at all.

To assist with getting ourselves out we have decided narration will be a perfect way to initialise the story and the thread, virtually setting everything up in an expository type manner. Using almost every history channel cliche` ever and making the whole thing a bit over the top we came up with this:

“Beyond the world of the five senses, lie subtler realms known only to the initiated. For, time is not what it seems, with one event following the next like an endless row of dominoes because according to the ancient scriptures – all events, past, present and future – unfold simultaneously through infinite parallel universes. It is the role of the fortune teller and psychic, to pierce the veil of the present and illuminate a path for those who seek to know. “

We are hoping to get it said by our final participant Jason, filming it on a green-screen to make the opening really strange – think him floating space, all seeing eyes opening and closing behind him, light illuminating from his hands – the works!! Stylistically we know what we want, and it won’t be your standard doco that’s for sure!!

Now we just have to hope our final interview goes well and get editing like crazy.

Pondering Stares, Deep Answers & ‘Abstract’ Footage AKA The Interview Task

During the first tute of the semester we were presented with the in-class activity to go out and record a documentary style interview in whatever manner we wished, so into groups we split and off we went … after a brief struggle as we tried to rekindle our technical knowledge. Our group interviewing Simon had a nice flow and I think we did a pretty good job, Simon was a good articulate participant, Amy worded her questions well, Neha was good on camera, AND I was fairly average on sound (not my strong suit haha). We got a few various angles to play around with and some classic cut-away shots of Simon gazing out the window pondering life’s mysteries (as much as he hated doing it). I thought our edit job was pretty good and despite a bit of over-exposure and a too high gain resulting in lots of background sounds. We definitely could have used more cutaways too, and perhaps discussed the direction of the interview a little more to have obtained more of a progressions/ thread. It was definitely an enlightening exercise which left me with a lot to ponder when it comes to the actual interviewing stage of our actual doco.

Come second week, and back out with equipment we went, this week to capture abstract footage for cutaways. Neha back on camera and me back on sound we headed out to capture our footage. I am not too sure what exactly happened to our mental states this particular morning, but its safe to say we lost the plot just a little  almost completely, and got quite silly! And whilst we definitely had a fun morning, this resulted in a variety of the most random footage you will ever see, which had no relation to anything what so ever, and no usable nor abstract sound as we talked / laughed through it. (These were actually recorded pretty well though this time, I must say). My mood when reliving all this footage was at the same level of silly and the cutaways were added in quite horrendously. I mean there is an arrow spasm at one point and a few too many terrible crossfades, the works. BUT definitely learnt a lesson in putting more thought into obtaining cut-away material, as it really can add more interest value to an interview and has the ability to look visually spectacular. Having some ambient sounds could have really have made more of an impact also!

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