Sep 28, 2007

Las Vegas Video Postcard 2005

You may remember that I had already done a Las Vegas edit and shared it in the Dusting Off Video Postcards entry when I started this blog. After rewatching it, and since completing a few more edits, I thought I could do better.  I don't plan on doing a bunch of re-edits, but I do want my videos to stand out and I think there's a lot of value in showcasing the quickly evolving Las Vegas strip. Not long ago, I also did an edit of the Fremont Street Experience and downtown Las Vegas, which I think turned out pretty well too.  Here's a slice of my short time in Las Vegas from 2005.

Sep 23, 2007

Directing Class

I was sitting in my new Directing class last Thursday and it hit me that half of the people in it had glasses. I have nothing against folks with glasses (although I don't wear them), but it was the stereotypical thick rimmed black 'filmmaker' frames that really caught my attention. Do people go out of their way to get these when they decide they want to be a filmmaker? Half of the class is about 10 people, and it didn't matter if it was a guy or a girl they were still wearing the same style.

I've often considered myself outside of the expectation of what a filmmaking student should look like. I'm not 'artsy' looking, and have got the 'well, you don't look like a stereotypical film student' comment from new faces a few times. I'm not saying I've got it right, I just want to know what's the deal with the glasses!?

If the first few paragraphs didn't make it clear, the class lent itself to a lot of reflecting. It's not that don't care about the material (in fact I should be more interested considering it's a 4th year production class) but I feel that in so many ways I've already experienced, and put to use, what the prof is drawing diagrams of on the board. This kind of comes off as arrogant, but to be fair, I've done a handful of festivals so far and have gained a certain level of confidence from having my submissions accepted, and twice as often rejected. This kind of relates to some of the previous posts that I've made where I've expressed my desire to get passed all the prep for something more practical and real. I sat through class mostly feeling anxious about putting the lessons to work, and kept myself focused by doodling. Am I really paying for this? My attentive student skills seemed to have melted away in first year.

Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty I feel I need to learn, however I'm skeptical as to whether I'll learn it here. No matter how much practical training you really get, especially in the arts, it seems twice as valuable to learn through trial and error. There's also a fine line between how much responsibility I think the school has and how much I have in preparing myself for what I want to do. I guess it's fair to say that directing class is getting me thinking, maybe randomly, but in the right direction . . . I hope.

Sep 19, 2007

White Pass & Yukon Railway

This was the first vacation I ever recorded. It was 1998, I was 14, and I was on an Alaskan cruise with my Mom, Dad and sister.  I shot a lot of great footage on that trip, but some of the best was from the afternoon that we spent on the White Pass & Yukon Railway. The trip took us from Skagway, Alaska through the northern tip of BC and into the Yukon territory.  It was the definition of a scenic ride.

What makes the White Pass so incredible is that the rails are literally on the edge of mountains, which in turn allows for some incredible views and maybe a bit of vertigo too. It was used back in the gold rush to transport workers and miners, but now, and for obvious reasons, it has a lot of tourist appeal. I don't think any video could ever really capture what the experience and views are actually like, but it's certainly fun to try.

Sep 10, 2007

Newport Beach Edit 2004

Here's a new edit. I'm starting to run out of old vacation footage, but to say the least, all these little clips I've been putting together have been great editing exercises. I made this video from the footage I shot on an afternoon at Newport Beach in Orange County (on vacation with a friend and her family in 2004). As summer starts to fade away, the thought of going to the beach and escaping another Saskatchewan winter is sounding better and better. I guess the video will have to do for now. 

Sep 8, 2007

Welcome Week & Sam Roberts Concert

There's a positive vibe around campus, but this is familiar territory for me. To be honest, because I didn't have to move into a new room, because most of my classes didn't even start this week, and because the weather was mild at best, it's easy to say that it has been a stale start to my last year of university. Not that it's been bad or anything, it just hasn't been all that riveting either (concert excluded). 

I guess to an extent you expect life to throw some bookends or defining moments at you because it seems like it's the right time. Well, maybe it's too early or I just haven't been looking hard enough.  Probably a bit of both.

I've got high expectations for what this year will mean, but I'm also fighting against the reality of what I'll do next. I'm ready to move on, but it's funny how much you feel like clinging to nostalgia at this point. Where did the guy I was in first year go?

I guess the obvious highlight this week was the Sam Roberts concert on the green, although the beer gardens was a big draw too. There have been numerous talks of back to school celebrations for several weeks, and it seems we've had 3 false starts (good times that didn't go as planned). Oh well. I guess most note-worthy is that Brother Down by Sam Roberts sticks in my head as one of those songs that takes me right back to first year. It was really his big break, and I guess there's some poetry in that he was here singing it.  I actually met Sam Roberts briefly when he performed with the Tragically Hip a few years ago.  We went to see them arrive and he came out to chat with us for a bit.  It was especially cool now that he's even more popular.

Next week school is officially in swing, and as the old adage goes 'good things come to those who wait'.  Maybe I'm trying to look for too much meaning, but then again I am an arts student. I guess that was the point of all those classes.

Sep 6, 2007

Lost Animation

Back in 2004 I took an animation class where for my final project I ended up making a claymation project called Over at Grandpa's. The premise was simple: an old man goes to change a light bulb, shocks himself, and gets the energy to dance the day away. The project was completed, but I've only got a rough copy of it on film. I can't even transfer it because the film is so rough. It's kind of a shame, but I was thinking about all of this because last night I was going through some old picture CDs and actually found the scanned images of the backgrounds I had drawn. To clarify, the old man was plasticine and he pretty much just ran through these various scenes on his dancing escapade - it was a stop motion test really. Here's the proof the project even existed.

Update - You can view the film strip from this project here.

Sep 3, 2007

Film 486: Found Footage

I've done some pretty weird projects over the years and the found footage project that i did for my experimental film class is one of them. The idea was to use whatever footage you wanted and switch up the meaning, or tell a new story. My film, The Other Time Machine isn't difficult to understand, but it is kind of strange. Crazy to think that this project is nearly a year old now, but in any case, enjoy my experiment!

Sep 1, 2007

Back to Film School

It's officially September now, and a final year of classes is but days away. If I'd have gone home for the summer I would've moved back into College West (residence) yesterday (Aug. 31). I was lucky to escape moving, not just between home and school this time around, but within residence itself. 

I put up with a headache back in April when the residence office had me move ONE room over. Still no good reason for that decision. After another ordeal about a week ago (proof that the squeaky wheel gets the grease) I was allowed to keep my current room. It wasn't so much that I put up a huge fuss, I just begged and pleaded. Pitiful that I have to fight to NOT move when I'm already living here, but at least it worked.

To some extent there is a lot that I could say about how I'm feeling at the start of this year, but mostly it's just the same feelings I've had every year at this time. I'm excited, anxious . . . really I'm used to it all. School is still several days away so it's too early to say what's good and what's bad, but I will share with you my back to film school tradition.

Back in September 2002 I came to the University of Regina to start my first year of post-secondary education. The Buick (which wasn't mine yet) was packed to the brim with my stuff, and I was incredibly nervous. I didn't know anyone in Regina, but it felt great to finally be stepping out on my own. 

The first thing I did when I got to my dorm room was set up my TV and DVD player to watch a flick while I unpacked. September '07 marks the 6th year in a row (ya, time to graduate I know) that I've started off by watching (what has now become) my back to school movie: Dazed and Confused (1993).

To be honest, I think I chose to play this movie when I first moved in because I figured it would make me feel less nervous to realize that there was no way things were going to be as bad for me as they were for Mitch Kramer (one of the incoming freshmen). Dazed and Confused is a comedy about "the last day of school at a high school in a small town in Texas in 1976. The upperclassmen are hazing the incoming freshmen, and everyone is trying to get stoned, drunk, or laid, even the football players that signed a pledge not to". -IMDb

What can I say? Another year of school can leave you pretty damn Dazed and Confused, so I figured I might as well just start out that way. That movie helped me with my educational transition at the beginning, now it's helping me at the end. It's great for a laugh, and no, it's probably not the best message to live by. But, it is a good time and that's what I'll be looking for in my final year of university!