This topic was about technology and the spectacle that filmmaking has become. I found it very interesting how many films are considered ‘spectacles’ because of their production value and use of technology. There are many cases in which making a ‘big’ film becomes more important than the narrative. Especially in this modern era of filmmaking. Most of the big box office releases are these spectacles, and that’s because they sell so well! People go to the cinema to escape from their reality, so having a loud and bright film is often what consumers search for. The recent release of the new ‘Independence Day’ film is a great example of this. The film is full of explosions, vibrant colours, outlandish concepts and tons of visual effects. However, it falls down so much in basic storyline and script, which are some very basic elements of filmmaking. Although some of the modern films lack narrative, there are classics like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ that contain a marvel of effects, music, concepts and storyline. Every element of storytelling is used to the extreme and that’s what makes it such a spectacle. So there are definitely some films that have included new technologies to help enhance them however a lot of modern ‘box office’ cinema tend to lack basic narrative and film principles.
This topic was about audience reaction. I found it incredibly interesting to learn about how filmmakers use ‘target audiences’ to produce and commercialise their films. Personally, I prefer watching films in a large audience and space (like a movie theatre). I usually find myself reacting to other people’s reactions than the film itself. That being said, I tend to go back and watch it again in my own time to focus on my own reaction. I enjoy knowing how others feel about a film so I can utilise that in my own work. For example, ‘Suicide Squad’ was released recently. The anticipation for this film was incredible and when I went to the midnight screening, the audience’s reaction to the film was incredibly positive. However, when I watched it on a quieter night, I enjoyed it less because I focused more on my own reaction to it. Using both of these methods of film watching allows me to know what the audience and general public enjoys and what kinds of movies ‘sell’. It also allows me to get a deeper understanding of what I prefer to watch and thus create. I don’t enjoy seeing films in small intimate groups (like the IMA or the GOMA theatre) as much. There are less reactions to observe so I end up over analysing a few people rather than focusing on the film. But this can also simply be my overwhelming need to analyse everyone. Overall, I personally enjoy seeing films with crowds of people, just to see how they react.
The title sequence to the 2002 film, City of God, is filled with harsh colours (blues and reds), loud and sharp diegetic sounds and quick cuts between imagery. The quick shots between varying imagery also show the location and introduce the kind of people we will be seeing in the film. The sequence begins with rapid quick cuts of a knife being sharpened on a rock. This harsh diegetic sound creates an uneasy feeling among the audience. The cuts then change to images of chickens being killed/cooked while one looks on, visibly scared of what’s going to happen. This is most likely foreshadowing what’s to happen in the film. The next quick cut is of two boys walking along the road, discussing how he’s never going to stay in the ‘hood’. This then cuts to the chicken escaping and running away from the men who’s going to cook it. The sound changes to a fast paced non-diegetic soundtrack, building intensity. This could be seen as symbolism, the boy is actually the chicken, trying to escape being killed. The boy and the chicken then come face to face with the gang and the police on either side of them, confirming the symbolism of the boy and the chicken. The intense sounds (diegetic and non-diegetic) and quick cuts build a fast pace and create a sense of rhythm for the rest of the film, engaging the audience.
The lecture for this week talked about Inclusive Design. To me, inclusive design is collaborating and accepting everyone. In the creative industries, no matter where you work, you will always be working with someone else in a different department. Every area will have a different vibe or personality and communicating with your team is so vital, so inclusive design is therefore, vital. Inclusive Design in film would be including everyone in a project, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, religion, ability etc. As a pansexual female, one of the most heartbreaking things to hear is that someone won’t work with/for you because you’re gay, or a woman. Not only do the teams need be inclusive, but whatever is being created should try and avoid alienating groups of people.
Project Implicit is a non-profit Organization and international collaboration between researchers who study “implicit social cognition”. They have created “The Implicit Association Test” and made it freely available on the web: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about.
I think a lot of the inequality in the workplace and in the final creative product comes from a lack of knowledge and understanding about different groups of people. It’s so important to become educated and understand the issues facing those who are oppressed.
For me personally, I try and include as many LGBTQIA+ and Female characters in my films, not only because i resonate with them, but because i know first hand that my groups of people are not represented well in the media. After doing this test i will try and make a conscious decision to include more groups of people into my films, so everyone feels included.
In our lecture this week, we looked at job interviews. A common misconception in the creative industries is that we don’t have job interviews because we just do ~creative stuff~ but it’s actually fairly intense. The only job interview i’ve ever had was for my current job as a waitress. My boss asked me when I was available, why I think I could work well there and what my greatest strengths and weaknesses are.
My mum runs a law firm and whenever she holds job interviews, the one question she always asks is, ‘What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?’ She uses this question to see how well the applicant can think on their feet and if they would have the right energy for the workplace. She said the strangest she ever heard was, ‘I dunno.. probably die?’. Needless to say, that person wasn’t hired.
In the creative industries, it’s important to be able to express personality in all aspects. Wether it’s writing emails, taking phone calls or having a job interview, your employer/future employer needs to know who you really are so they are able to figure out what kind of employee you will be.
When I asked my mum why she didn’t hire that person she said, ‘They gave up almost immediately. They didn’t even try to respond. It shows that they are lazy and unmotivated.’ I was a little bit surprised because i thought she just read too much into this response however after reading the lecture, I totally understand where she is coming from.
Employers want to know that you can think on your feet, that you’re serious about what you want. If you’re 100% honest and passionate about the job you’re applying for, you should be able to answer any of the strange questions they might throw at you.
In our lecture today we discussed copyright and contracts. Copyright is defined as ‘The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.’ by the Oxford Dictionary. Personally, copyright is a simply a reassuring factor that my creative material won’t be stolen. As well as copyright, we discussed contracts. More importantly, contracts while working with other people. This interested me greatly as i’ve had many projects fall through because of lack of communication and understanding.
When creating a film, you need to have as much documentation supporting you as possible. I’m currently producing a short and I had no idea how many contracts you actually needed. We’ve got location forms, casting forms, equipment forms, funding forms and most importantly, group contracts. The group work contract is probably the most important while creating something with others. All parties must agree to the terms and see them through. If this contract fails/isn’t put into place, the likelihood of the entire project falling apart is incredibly high.
In our lecture, we filled out a contract found online (it’s not an offical legally binding contract, but it’s close). What i learnt is that copyright is not fun and in fact it can be quite boring to figure out. But it’s so so important to know. Especially in the creative industries. There have been so many cases of copyright infringement that results in creative people losing credit, money and respect.
A great example of copyright infringement is the case of Rogers vs Koons. Art Rogers shot a photo of a couple of a couple holding a line of puppies in 1985.
In 1988 artist Jeff Koons created statues for his art exhibit based off the photograph by Rogers. Koons sold several of the statues and made a significant profit before Rogers found out and sued him for copyright.
Jeff Koons claimed he was parodying the work however the court found that there were too many similarities between the two. Koons was forced to pay a monetary settlement to Rogers. This case was huge in the art world as many people started to question if you could still use other work to influence your own.
It’s a fine line between inspiration and stealing and I think the copyright laws help protect your creative work from being ‘stolen’. That being said, I do believe that people should be able to take direct inspiration without it being considered a copyright infringement.
In our lecture, we looked at how we’re going to support ourselves as artists. The cost of creating a feature length film is pretty extraordinary if you want it to have a decent production value. From hiring equipment to spaces to cast and crew, the price of creating a film is constantly growing.
Two options that drew me in were crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is asking the public for donations so you can create something. It is also used for donations. The idea of crowdfunding stood out to me because you’re not just asking one investor and thus creating a sense of obligation. Many films have been created this way. My favourite example of this would be the 2013 movie, ‘Wish I Was Here’.
Zach Braff created a kickstarter for this film, after seeing the success some projects had with crowdfunding. He raised over $3 Million to make the film. In his campaign, he created a sense of community and belonging by including all the details of pre-production and how they would make the film once they raised their money. This allowed the donator to know exactly where their money is going. By offering rewards for certain amounts of donations, he was able to raise the money in a fairly short amount of time. Of course, a student or someone less well known would struggle a bit more using crowdfunding, simply because they don’t have such a large fan base.
Another example but on a smaller scale would be the short film, ‘Kung Fury’. Created by the company Laser Unicorns, they were able to crowdfund around $630,000. Although they aren’t as famous as Zach Braff, that is an incredibly substantial amount of money for a film. They also provided rewards and updates, keeping the public in the loop.
I would create a kickstarter for a film because i think it is an effective way to receive funding. However, because a lot of people aren’t tv super stars and don’t have the amount of resources Zach Braff has, I understand that i might not make as much money as him. This just means that i would most likely have to ask an investor or outside resource as well.