Considering the intense researching that I put into this project there are both bits I feel paid off well and other bits I wish I did differently.
In terms of the poem itself I kept it short and simplistic intentionally to portray the innocence and naivety of a child. I wanted to focus on the element of innocence in amongst gun crime to emphasise how the glamourisation of gun posession particularly in America can corrupt the unknowing and I feel this message came across well. Peer feedback revealed that people thought this message was well expressed.
I am happy with the variety of footage that I chose as it mixed light hearted fun such as the ideologically perfect model holding a gun with the horrific gun shootings in columbine. I feel these worked well together and expressed a good variety of sources in a relatively thought provoking way.
The timing and pacing of the edit was very important to me to express the emotion I wanted its audience to have and to make them think. I tried to edit the pace to mimic the emotions although I don’t think this was always overly effective or parallel with the music as at times the edit lines were a bit too obvious. I do feel however it was at least fluid in parts and on reflection my editing skills are definitely improving because of this.
The biggest weakness of this film was the sound quality. If I was to do this task again I would have done it much earlier before the deadline as sickness meant I was unable to book out an edirol recorder. Recording my voice off my mac just didn’t have sufficient sound quality and this was bought up in peer feedback. As the recording of both the soundtrack and my poem was so poor quality it meant amplifying it and playing with the levels was not very successful. Throughout most of the piece it was difficult to hear the poem which is a shame because I felt it would have added an emotive atmosphere to the visuals. After presenting my video this was the biggest flaw which was mentioned.
Personally I felt the strengths of my piece were originality and visuals. Although a few of my clips were also used in poetic eye pieces with thematic differences I feel I took a different approach. If I put more time into the sound levels I could say I was happy with what I achieved.
Using all of my research I have created a one minute film around the subject of gun crime in primarily America but also worldwide. The imagery that I wanted to create was surrounded around the idea of how whereas it was once the norm for fathers to teach their children how to ride a bike it has become a terrifying new trend for young children to be proudly presented with their first gun as it if were a toy.
The title ‘Old enough to grip.’ comes from this idea of guns being in immature hands ; often the only criteria required for gun ownership seems to be the ability to hold something, hence an increase in younger people committing such crimes. I wanted to contrast between the glamorisation of firearms and the consequences it can have and the tragedy it can cause. For these reasons I wrote the voiceover as a poem from the perspective of a young seemingly innocent child, in both a simple lexical style and an immature voice (pretty much my normal voice but not even trying to sound more mature).
Learnt to grip, Learnt to hold a gun.
Daddy taught me how to aim today. Told me it was fun.
My finger pushing down fast on the trigger,
He carried me on his back so he could make me bigger.
Next he taught me how to run,
My doll under my one arm the other my gun.
He tried to warn me not to aim for anyone’s face mind.
An eye for an eye and the world will go blind.
The line ‘an eye for an eye and the world will go blind’ is reflective of my own views. There are many strong views for this argument so I wanted to reflect this with the juxtaposing of a woman holding a sign with opposite views ‘Disarming me will not protect me’ in contrast to the previous clip of the Columbine shootings. I chose the to leave the audio on the first clip untouched for maximum impact ; A bank where you can pick up a free gun might seem funny but when the audience sees the consequences as the film progresses with intense music and muted clips it leaves the audience to form their own opinions.
Music – Nancy Sinatra- Bang bang (My baby shot me down) Instrumental runs throughout the background as I felt this song was sinister with a reverb effect and the lyrics which are considerably well known have plenty of connotations with gun crime and a step further ‘My baby shot me down’ is thematic with children with guns.
‘Too many children are dying too young’ – Gabrielle Giffords
Only yesterday morning gun shooting surviver Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Arizona stood up and told America
I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something …
It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.
The issue of gun ownership is very real and undertaking the project has really moved me. It is something I am very passionate about and so In respect of the increasing numbers of victims killed and families torn about through shootings I present to you Old enough to grip.
I have been sifting through so many American articles about gun crime and the recent Pro/Anti gun debate that when I came across this article in my newspaper yesterday I really just had to blog it. Just literally up the road from my house an armed man came into a corner shop. Not in any busy city centre or near anywhere where gang crime is ripe but in a sleepy city away from the centre of Birmingham.
Whilst we like to think about the shocking nature of gun crime in America and how easy it is for anybody to obtain a gun it is so easy to not realise this is a matter much closer to our hearts then we realise. Although over 300 million people in the USA own a gun all is obviously not so perfect in the UK either when somebody can obtain a killing machine to rob a few bits and bobs from a corner shop. The worst bit? Or perhaps the most worrying thing is that this article is not front page news. Nope not even second but a few words in the corner in the middle. What else are we being hidden from.
In my poetic eyes piece I am consequently going to obtain footage internationally rather than just the states as gun possession although not as common as in America does most definitely exist in Britain. It is just a relief that on this occasion nobody was shot.
For my poetic eyes project I have been searching through archive footage , newspaper cuttings , audio and photographs in order to educate myself about the subject of firearms possession. A major influence for me was feature film Bowling for columbine which is written, produced, directed, and narrated by thee famous and considerably brave in nature Michael Moore. I first watched this film in 2002 the year of its production and now I am older and have researched thoroughly into this subject this film moved me more than any other has for a very long time.
A groundbreaking film for Michael Moore ‘Columbine it won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, a special 55th Anniversary Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and the César Award for Best Foreign Film. Many people believe that this film was the key to Moore’s fame and respect as a filmmaker. The thing that sold it seemed to be its controversial nature, at no point in the film did I stop asking the question ‘Should you really be doing that?’ or ‘Should you really be saying that?’. Without doubt Moore asks the questions nobody else will and he eventually exposes the elephant in the room many of us probably hadn’t even noticed was there.
‘Bowling for Columbine’ is so named for the events that happened in the morning of the Columbine high school shootings in 1999 where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold the two young students who undertook the attack attended a school bowling class early that morning, at 6:00 AM, before they committed the attacks at school starting at 11:17 AM. The juxtaposition of joy with disaster is a motif that runs throughout the whole of the film. Cartoons bring light humour to the subject until you come back down to earth with a (if your me a tearful) thud as you see young children not even old enough to talk playing with a real loaded rifle as if it was a teddy.
‘Columbine’ is archive heavy, so a part of you may easily be led to believe the anti-gun message is credibly backed up. It is pretty difficult not to be drawn in with such sensationalised footage. A bank where if you open up an account you get a free gun regardless of any existing mental health conditions and a children’s cartoon that cheerfully promotes the message that
“Happiness is a warm gun”
Seriously. Its the way that these shocking figures are put across so matter-of-factly that sends shivers down your spine. Who even knew that in Virgin, Utah a law was actually passed requiring all residents to own their own gun. Now that would be an interesting amnesty , where you would be punished for not owning a dangerous weapon capable of destroying innocent lives. As you can probably tell I already had existing strong views on this subject but this film churned something very deep inside of me.
What type of world are we living in when someone can come into their own school and brutally murder 12 students, a teacher and injure a total of 21 students. Students there to learn and give themselves a chance of a future only to have it cruelly taken away by an act that this film shows is only too common. Fast paced and cleverly crafted editing shows the list is never ending. Archives of this nature is endless as I have also found myself in my research for this project and it certainly provokes thought.
He took a risk exposing what he did and audience response in America wasn’t exactly positive. I do partly agree with the response that Moore’s film was biased propaganda only trying to parody American society as idiots. I do not think this was intention, I believe he effectively exposed a common attitude in American societies flaws for us all to see all over the world. The thing about this film is that although Moore obviously has some strong values he puts it across in a way that at least seems to be unbiased fact from his use of real life interviews and real life opinions which lets us make the decision for ourselves as an audience.
Moore was both applauded and booed at the Academy Awards on March 23, 2003. I think perhaps that this may actually be the perfect reaction he wanted. A controversial and thought provoking film it is one of few I would personally rate 5 stars.
For my poetic eyes assignment I am going to be researching into the contreversial growing tradition of gun ownership in young people. In light of recent events in America I wish to question the views that many people have. The fact that the majority of people in America still believe that guns are vital for self defense personally upsets me but I am going to look into both sides of the argument. Gun crime is not just something we see in American culture, In the UK The Government’s latest crime figures were condemned as “truly terrible” by the Tories recently as it emerged that gun crime in England and Wales has soared by 35%. Can guns ever be responsibly used outside of war? Or are we facing an ongoing war where civilains from any background can obtain a killing machine?
Recent stats would suggest this.
Juan. (2013). firearmschild. Available: www.juancole.com/images/2013/01/ firearsmschild3.jpg. Last accessed 25th Jan 2013 Daily Mail. (2003). Gun crime soars by 35%. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-154307/ Gun-crime-soars-35.html. Last accessed 25th Jan 2013.
I have begun to piece together words and tautologies that express my feelings about this subject.