Mar 9, 2009
I think one of the most challenging things about growing up is the way our relation to time changes. We become nostalgic and equally obsessed with the future. When we're young we don't think about remembering, and as we get older we wish we'd remembered a lot more - of the good times anyway. This notion was the basis for my video poem assignment of Film 400 in September 2006. The short titled, Alphabet.
In starting off another year of university, and in one of my final core production courses no less, I had education on the brain. For my video poem I started to reminisce about my journey through elementary school through high school and onto university, thinking about the significance of being in a classroom for a good chunk of my life. I had several ideas revolving in my head, but I kept coming back to the idea of trying to remember my first day of school; how I couldn't remember the beginning of something that became so profound and defining in my life. If you ask me, it was the perfect fodder for a film assignment.
For my theme I decided to focus on leaves with a school yard playground as a large portion of the backdrop. To me, leaves were the perfect symbol of memories. They grow, die, decay, come in a variety of sizes and colours, portions breakaway or breakdown, and as nature has played a major role in some of my other shorts (A Chill in the Air), the way it renews itself is similar to our own re-defining of our past from time to time.
The title, Alphabet, is an obvious reference to education, but it's also meant to express the concept of something simple becoming more complex: letters to language, etc. as in comparison to the first day of school and ones entire educational career.
In the grading of my assignment my prof wrote:
"Great visual structure that has a sophisticated flow with the music. The mix itself is deftly created; the images have an internal movement that allows you to move from scene to scene with a special fluidity. The use of the camera in relation to the structure and meaning of the work is quite sophisticated. Great treatment of the assignment, Luke!" 93% - I was happy :)
More than the theme of the project, which is honest but somewhat aloof, it was the technical aspect of this short that actually made it stand out. This was the first school assignment that I ever shot on my Sony HDR-FX1 camera, which proved essential after my slow evolution from 8mm to Hi8 to D8 to MiniDV. I still feel that had I not pushed myself to use my other cameras to their full potentials, I wouldn't appreciate the wealth of options my newest camera still affords me. For surprising myself with the result, that alone, made the assignment a great experience.
My friend Tyler, a source of friendly competition throughout the semester, also made a video poem in Film 400 titled, Thoughts in Motion. It's tough to reminisce about the class without including him in the mix.
Directed by Luke Fandrich