In order to gain feedback upon my final film my first step was to distribute it generally online to a mass audience. Doing this gave me a basic level of feedback quite quickly and easily.
In order to reach an audience interested more specifically in experimental film I joined a ‘experimental film’ forum to see what an audience of these expectations would think of my film.
The feedback from these ‘experimental nerds’ was very positive.
I enjoy the stop motion scenes and you synced the live-action with the stop motion well
Ultimately what the audience feels and thinks from watching my film is of a great importance to me , especially hearing the opinion of someone who knows the genre well, however also equally important for me is to reflect about what I have accomplished personally and what I have not so that I can improve.
Strengths of my piece
I feel from what I have learnt throughout this module that my film is true to the term ‘experimental’. I am satisfied that the techniques I have used are outside of the norm and challenge expectations. For me, especially after completing my Dada poem, I realised that probably because of the rest of my mainstream film production education it is very difficult for me to fight the innate urge to polish and fit things into a logical order. Redrafting, has normally been an experience of making small changes to make things look ‘better’ but to start again even, just to play with an idea was a surprisingly rewarding experience for me. My redraft of music for example was definitely a good idea I thought, although my final choice of music might not have been typically better in a mainstream way I thought it spoke a lot more emotion. Although I thought this would originally be a weakness, letting my inhibitions go and letting myself be experimental, I felt was ultimately a strength.
In terms of using actual experimental technique rather than planning, I really enjoyed adding lots of layers together which I achieved individually through different techniques. More importantly however I felt this worked well in created something a bit more out of the box and when put all together created some thing very dreamlike to fit with the theme of why young boys should never be sent to bed.
I felt that playing around in this way also linked in well with the childlike essence that I wanted originally. The fight scene, puppetry and animation was all made up on the spot so for me I really was just playing and I think this comes across quite clearly.
Even the double shadow produced from the light of the projector was a coincidence but, peter pan does have more than one shadow so this was a lucky coincidence. It showed me that just enjoying yourself and producing from the heart rather than the text-book can some times just surprise you!
I didn’t plan any of the colours in advance but choosing colours according to how I felt in producing them left a result which I felt also added to the dream like state. Real isn’t always necessarily better.
Because the film used so many layers I felt that it has a lot of potential room for interpretation, that is what I ultimately wanted to achieve most of all, to make my audience think about some thing that they had never before. To be that Peter Pan that doesn’t want to grow up and stay within the dream without having to get up and go to work.
Areas that need improvement
I felt my weakness within these piece lay within editing, my intention with my editing style was to create some thing playful but this still could have been slightly smoother still to cut between the various techniques that I used if only to pass as more professional.
I felt that the sound worked well with the piece in creating emotion but upon reflection, it may have been quite interesting for me to warp the sound in some way to create a more dreamy and distorted effect to match the visuals.
How I aim to advance from this experience
I discovered a great deal about the way that animation can be used, as I wish to create media for children I feel that is an area for me to work on and advance myself in to make the most of its ability to create the impossible as demonstrated in ‘Dream Catcher’.
Particularly in the beginning of this module, where I created my sound edit and montage mash-up my eyes were opened to the not only importance of sound but its capabilities. For me, I still find it personally difficult to let go entirely of traditional characteristics of the way that sound is used in mainstream sound but I feel like I am starting to see its potential. To let go off this instinct, I will continue to create pieces that are purely visual to see what impact I can still make.
Throughout my education I have always been told that a story must have a beginning a middle and an end, an equilibrium, disequilibrium and an equilibrium again but now I’ve seen that even if that is not the case than a film still can, in a strange and interesting way still speak to an audience. Why shouldn’t the audience be able to come up with and place themselves within a narrative themselves? I look forward to playing with this question on the future.
This module has most definitely taught me that it is okay to let go of theories and what I know works from past experience to try something new. I feel that creating art should be as much an eye opener for the maker as it is for the audience and this is some thing which I look forward to playing with in my future projects too.
I feel like this module has shown me what producing films means to me personally and I hope that comes across well in a passion throughout my future pieces of work in university and professionally.
Looking at other peoples work at this stage where I have completed my own film allows me to assess my own techniques, see what is unique and what works well and what does not.
The final film that I have decided to comment on is the work of my peer Charlie Smith-McMahon who created short film Time and Space (and faces).
As a doctor who fan it appealed to me immediately the way that he had used a mainstream market to discuss an idea using atypical techniques.
I thought this was somewhat similar to how I had taken the classic peter pan and tried to utilise it as a way of taking an audience to a new place within that.
I thought the strengths of this piece were the use of humour and unusual perspective. It is definitely challenging the mainstream!
A potential area of improvement could be perhaps to play around with the use of colour and lighting to add another dimension to the visuals. However I feel the simplicity of it also works effectively too in clearly displaying its message of time and space.
In order to gain feedback from the success of the techniques I have used. I have been fortunate in that the ‘Student Showcase’ have put Dream Catcher upon their blog. I have also used social networking site Delicious.com to distribute the link to my film: https://delicious.com/onethousandpics. I will update this blog further with any significant feedback.
Dream Catcher is an experimental film created using a mix of stop motion, projection and other techniques and is based on the themes of time and memory within peter pan.
Kate-Marie is looking for some feedback on this piece of work so please feel free to comment and let her know what you think about it.
Using the risk assessment in my previous blog as a guideline to shoot the swordplay scene we still had a few slip ups
but because I had made precautions no property and more importantly nobody was damaged.
I wanted the audience to realise how the themes, growing up, are relevant to us all and also to add another theme of play. That is why the main focus of the shoot was to enjoy ourself, to gain enjoyment without purpose and that we did.
To create a dreamy effect I duplicated the footage and on the second layer added a blur. I also experimented with just how surreal I could make the footage by adjusting the RGB settings and raising the blue well above the rest. I hoped that this would make the footage fit in well with the sky on the footage from the projection.
I used a vignette again to blend all of the footage together and shrank the footage into the corner of the toy boat footage. I then doubled up the sound effects to narrate the action both within the animation and played around with overlay setting until I was happy with how all of the layers blended together.
And this is the final film, utilising projection, stop frame and action to hopefully bring Peter Pan to life.
As I look back at what I have created and what I have learnt by undertaking this module I always aim to learn from my mistakes and further develop my strengths at every opportunity. In order to do this I am learning to evaluate, and to better my chances of evaluating successfully I have looked at the ways that my peers undertake this process.
Daisy Clare Roberts talks about this process on her blog. Her evaluation was very detailed and honest, and most importantly she talks about what she has taken from the process to utilise again in the future. This has encouraged me to think about the progress I have made myself throughout this module and how this will benefit me in the future and where my weaknesses lie, what I need to do to improve.
Throughout the production process I will continue to update this particular post on the technical processes and techniques which I experiment with to put together my final film and the results.
Within Peter Pan, flight is a motif often used to create a sense of fantasy. Within my own film, I created a short stop frame animation using an origami bird and captured its movement using animation software ICanAnimate.
I put that footage aside for the moment and worked on a backdrop which would place the scene. For this backdrop I opted for footage which I filmed on holiday in Westward Ho! as I particularly liked the motion of the sun setting and the connotations of this with time.
I wanted to create an overall dream like effect so added a surreal vignette as an overlay into premiere Pro and Compisited it with ‘Difference’ transparency to blend the two together and sped the footage up by 800%.
This is the effect that I created.
After playing around with the blending until I was happy with the sleepy effect that it had, I added the animation of the crane using a similar technique. Using the motion Tool I shrunk the size of the animation, so that it was still oversized to be surreal but so that it was around the right size to make sense in proportion to the backdrop. I then, for every frame of movement using the motion of the sea as a reference moved the animation slightly to the right and then back again to create an effect of flight.
And then came the first really fun part! Having put together the back drop I projected it onto a projector screen and thought about how I could bring it to life. To stay with the theme of play and bring it into the world of the lost boys I decided to use a toy boat to bring the narrative to life.
I put my camera on a tripod and using a remote to minimise movement used the movement of lego characters to create a fight scene and ultimately the death and possession of captain hook. Or how I see it childhood.
I particularly like the disjointedness that the technique of stop motion on projection had on the continuity in the movement of the sea. As you can see I also changed the music to be more menacing, in reflection of the animated action which although improvised in between each time the camera was set up is still considerably more action-filled than I expected.
For the next part of my film, I filmed a small combat scene to give a (slight) sense of realism to the piece. Considering the potential danger of stage combat I considered it necessary and professional to complete a Dream catcher risk assessment first to ensure the safety of my Actor, crew and the location.
When conducting a risk assessment, consider all the likely hazards, who may be harmed, property which may be damaged, and the controls already in place. Then, for each likely hazard, bearing in mind the controls already in place, record the ‘risk assessment’ level (see table on following page). The further action(s) to be considered will be determined by the level of risk assessment.
Polishing is a very important part of the process when it comes to film making, at times, I personally have found it tempting to rush when you can see the finishing line. So I was very intrigued to see how the other people on my course were finishing off their pieces and how they approached this.
Looking at my peer Freddie Lulham’s development on his blog, it was quite interesting to see how he was retrying certain ideas before finalising anything.
Within any experimental piece of work I think that this is a very good approach to explore any idea or theme in good depth.
Theatre to Cinema: Stage Pictorialism and the Early Feature Film (1993)
In the above book Brewster et al discuss the transition of ideas across the two mediums of theatre and early cinema. It is interesting to note the suggestion in this book that this tradition of transposing ideas in this way has been around from the ‘1913’s’.
Today, in modern cinema there are still plentiful examples of films being crafted from other mediums. For example, Romeo and Juliet, which according to Brode (2001: 42) could quite well be the ‘most film-played text of all time’ demonstrates how even an old text can still be interpreted and bring interest to a modern-day audience via the screen.
In creating an experimental film, it was hugely helpful for me to see a show which already had fantastical elements and which was also an older classic which still lives on, so I took a trip to the RSC. Being shown was an updated and at least I felt a symbolically deeper interpretation of the book Peter Pan by J.M Barrie.
The show ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’ dealt with lots of themes that are touched on in the original book. Love, death and of course a young boy who really doesn’t want to grow up, much to the annoyance of a heartbroken Wendy.
Within the RSC performance this was dealt with in reference to the suffragette movement, and a reluctance to face up to the change and responsibility of equality. I personally felt really touched by the use of a childhood favourite to deal with the theme of growing up in this way.
“I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us, isn’t that right?”
In Peter Pan, the characters spend all of their time running away from the crocodile Tik Tok. Within the show the crocodile was a really sinister creature so I’m not surprised, I probably would have done too but this representation of time as some thing to fear provoked thought within me.
I realised that childhood fantasia was therefore, an interesting way to deal with time and memory and somewhat ironically growing up.
I hope that my new interpretation of peter pan will come across well on film. Without an obvious narrative, as I want the audience to take the message in a way that is personal to them, my film will be based around the theme of time and memory in the context of growing up and puberty. Even after a tough fight Peter Pan still becomes what he fears, a man.
The thing that it excites me most in taking a classic text in this way is the fact that the J.M Barrie classic has been interpreted into plenty of formats before, other spin-off books, radio plays and even multiple Disney films to name a few, all with a different take on the story. To be truly experimental however, my aim is to take a whole new slant on the theme of time and memory, which will take the viewer to a whole new time using a mix of existing memories.
I have opted to use 2 layers of animation within my final film. In the context of my own film, I am particularly interested in the way that stop frame can be used to create a surreal effect rather than as a technique to create the unreal realistically.
To come to this decision I looked carefully into examples of these two variations within the media. I chose to use stop frame rather than CGI, partly because of expense but also because of the way that it is easier to create a jumpy and unrealistic rhythm that way.
Within mainstream media, CGI is used as technique to create the opposite. If we take the works of Disney for example, a film production company that prides itself of creating motion that whilst isn’t real holds a smoothness and polish, they create characters that are personified by human qualities rather than anything else.
Only disney can make you fall for a carpet! On the other hand, scattered and rustic stop frame animation, using a physically manipulated object can create a feeling which almost isn’t human.
Looking at the work of svankmajer again this creepy piece of his, titled the ‘dimensions of dialogue’ uses the movement of the animation as a character itself maybe even more so than the character itself.
Watching this experimental piece in particular made me feel very uncomfortable. Looking at the comments on youtube also, demonstrates how features like these within a film which challenge the norm and typical expectations can create a large impact on an audience.
In summary, this research into experimental narrative has shown me how the technique used to manipulate the movement of a character can have just as much impact as the characterisation itself through speech etc.
I am therefore going to use a simple animation technique using lego pieces, as although I want to demonstrate an idea of ‘Time and memory’ the essence of play is something which I aim to demonstrate through this technique to link the two themes together.