The most difficult part of this assignment was trying to come up with a concept that we could execute effectively. I’ve always struggled with ideas (i usually take on the producing roles) but was very excited about working on experimental film and with my group. I believe we form a solid team so we were able to work together pretty well to try and find a concept. We went through a few stages of ideas and concepts but most of them felt too cliche or not ‘experimental’ enough. I spoke to my friend about what he usually makes (he is an experimental filmmaker) and how to get inspiration. He gave me a list of films and told me to start watching a few of those and see how they make me feel. After doing this and speaking to the rest of my team, we decided on a concept that we believed we could execute quickly and to the best of our abilities.
I definitely have a new appreciation for the planning and concept building that goes into making an experimental film. Before this process I just saw experimental film as random and weird shots and music that a creator enjoys. I definitely didn’t think of it as deep or well connected to the world and society as i do now. I have more understanding of how much work the editor has to do to put together an experimental film. Josh spent a really long time trying to cut the loosely tied together film to try and create meaning. If I got the opportunity to make another experimental film, i would really like more time to fully develop an idea and find actors, locations etc. It would’ve been really great to have a massive and detailed film but due to the time constraints, we had to stick with a simple idea. I think my team will be making one soon.
I know that i will definitely be able to take lots away from this experience and also be able to use all that i have learnt in my own films. During the lecture from Huw, the slide and topic that really caught my attention was about why student films were so terrible. After discussing this, I came to the realisation that the reason most of my short student films were terrible was because they lacked any sort of creative or artistic form. All the films i have made, i have had the vision of them being very unique and different but was unable to execute that vision properly. Instead of them being filled with colour and interesting technique, they became bland and flat. In all of my future films I plan on challenging myself to add at least one element of experimental film. I would like to make horror films and it would be really interesting to add elements like change in form and increased symbolism. Some of the artistic choices made in our short film OD.exe featured these elements.
Some of the main experimental choices we made in our project was our use of overlaying stock footage/audio. We wanted to create the feeling of connection with the outside environment within our filmed footage. As the film was about ‘overdosing’ on social media and society’s need for technology, we thought it would be good to show the perspective of decay and death from animals and plants, as every human is technically still ‘animal’. We were inspired by the scene from the 2014 film ‘22 Jump Street’ by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (even though it technically isn’t an experimental film) because it showed the subconscious of human thought really creatively. We wanted to capture something similar to the crazy and random things happening in the characters heads. Another film that influenced me personally was the 1949 film, ‘Puce Moment’ by Kenneth Anger. The film was really unique to me as everyone who watched it really enjoyed it but it also made them think. To me it was the representation of femininity but to others it was something completely different. It made me think more about how femininity is represented and how we can show it in different ways. I wanted our film to contain shots that spoke a certain message but was able to be widely interpreted. I thought our use of stock footage and also the simplicity of the shots really bought this concept to life.
I think our group definitely could’ve improved on this project by having a clearer idea closer to the filming date. Our concept was slightly last minute and it was only during filming that we started to understand what we were doing a bit more. I think doing more research and also watching a wider variety of experimental films could’ve helped us. We were also very focused on trying to avoid the ‘shit student film’ stereotype and i think this took away from what we knew and were good at, thus making the filming take a bit longer than anticipated. If we had a better idea of what experimental film was and had done more films like it, we would’ve been able to have a better grasp on the assignment and maybe gone out of our comfort zone a bit more. Although I enjoyed our final copy of the film, I do believe that the idea was a bit old and dated. That being said, I think we took it and moved it into a new realm which i was really proud of. Overall, i’m really happy with OD.exe and the work each of my team members put into it to make it great.