The Experiment! – Experimental Films

Last week, I had the chance to Experiment, Explore & Break the rules. 

Experimental Film!

All these years, of looking a bazaar stuff and waiting one day for my chance to make something weird and awkward. HAS ARRIVED!

In a small lecture, I was explained what to look out for when watching experimental films. Yet I discovered something than just new terms and interesting examples. I learnt that I truly enjoy ripping through an experimental artwork and finding what I take from it and what I believe it can tell me. Yet when stating my assumptions, there was some with similar opinions and others with completely different takes from what I had interpreted. Did I try to prove them my point being the only valid one? NO! I enjoyed their opinion as it opened my perspective even more. I can now say

I LOVE EXPERIMENTAL FILM….Oh so I thought

While working on our very own experimental film, I realised the challenges were harder then I thought. In the pre-production of our experimental film, we all pitched to each other, what we thought would make a good experimental film. Yet breaking it down, we had to think of scope and what messages each part would create. Whether it be intentional on our behalf or up to the audience to interpret a meaning. Unaware we had already started the most difficult part of experimental films. For us to get started, I firstly pitched an idea which I believed could sell something. Yet as we continued working on it, we realised the scope and difficulty in creating it causing us to jump back to square one. Frustrated and eager to finish our pre-production before the ever closing film date we tried again, returning back to the drawing board. Soon settling on an idea, we believed we will feed the audience directly giving them less of a need to think and break down the concept. Although I wish I could have done the opposite, for the first attempt I think it would be okay. Thus began the production of our experimental film Idle Hands.

While working on our very own experimental film and viewing multiple references, I believe I have a new appreciation for the rules of filmmaking and how they can be broken to cause the audience different emotions. For instances, in standard filmmaking, a narrative usually is present with individual or multiple protagonists which the audience follows through the eye of the camera around the characters. Yet with some experimental films, the audience member is subjected to the camera’s point of view where it can focus on anything it wants and force the audience to make up their own understanding of the narrative. Whether it be focusing on an object to give it some personification or showing the audience an obscure scene without prior context. It’s up to the audience to understand what is the narrative or message that is being told. However, the hardest part is knowing if you get your message or narrative across. For instances when I was brains storming I  had a group of people hear my idea and had them explain their connotations they get from my portrayal. Which then gave me the challenge to decide to give them those connotations or change my approach to get my real idea and subtext across to them.

From this experience I have had during the creation of our experimental film, I believe I have become more aware of what I add when filmmaking, for instances when placing a prop or positioning an actor I now believe slowing down and thinking of the connotations I am going to create is going to give my films a better look and meaning overall. For example, if I were to do the film a character living in an apartment, I will have to consider what I place for the scene and how I direct my actor, as the audience can pick up on things that I wouldn’t have considered first. For instance, if the actor doesn’t seem confident within their body language when strolling through their character’s house, it would give off conditions that it may not be their house and could be someone else. Overall, I believe now that if I slow down and analyse my scenes and techniques I use as separate things rather than a whole item. My films could have a deeper meaning and give the audience more reason to believe my story world and connect with the narrative overall. Although I did not implement this in my experimental film, the exercise of forming subtext and trying to add it within the film has opened my view on what I should look out for when creating my future films.

For our experimental film, I took on the role of Producer, First Assistant Director & ColorGrader. As I didn’t have a strong idea to direct and another group member wanted to take the editing role, I thought it would be good to do some team management AND organisation.  Given the opportunity, I was able to find some of our key props for the production, like our globe and our stable surface for our globe. Besides those items,

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I didn’t overly have much of an impact besides grip work during the production. Yet during the post stage, I kept an eye on the progress of the edit and made sure to give feedback when I can. In addition to my feedback, I was given free rain to colour grade the footage and choose and modify the colour of our close up shots of our cast. Giving us the unusual colour of green and reds mixing together to create a slight horror and smokey like effect.22.PNG

In future, I would like to create some experimental films that consist of loops with slight distortion. For example, my favourite animation experiment at 00:08, consists of a loop which slowly changes over time, yet tries to stay close to the orignal as possible. In addition to this kind of project, I would like to make some sort of art workpiece consisting of my own visual effect skills, an example of this is the opening for the anime “Kiznaiver”. Which plays with virtual camera depth of field and lenses which creates nice blurs and blends.

 

After working on this project, I can honestly say our project was not up to the standard I would have liked it to be. As during the production, there was a lack of formality and film standard like shot-lists, clappers, continuity, use of cuts, prior lighting tests and many others. Without some of these elements, we weren’t able to notice our grainy footage during filming in addition to not having our stock footage organised to match with our footage itself. With too much of the production relying on post-production I believe we could have fixed some of these issues if more planning was done and more effort for our overall message before rushing and filming. As well I believe using set production roles and sticking to them and making sure they are completed best to their ability. Yet with these areas not being to a standard during our film, I believe I had learnt a lot more and gained more appreciation for the pre-production and the requirements and effort needed to pull off a successful short film.

and I look forward to the next.

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