Jul 31, 2009

Evolution of Editing Luke (2007-2009)

The significance of graphic design in relation to Editing Luke has been undeniable. As a way to stay current and as an excuse to play on photoshop more often, this blog has seen some dramatic changes in the last two years. It's certainly been good practice for my design skills (which have continued to improve month after month).

With my video work and musings remaining the focus, I've tried my hardest to use imagery as a net to get people to stop and have a look. Anyone familiar with my style will attest to my love of bold colour, strong graphics, and a sense of organization that is best described as structured-chaos (I decked every dorm I ever had in floor to ceiling posters creating some intense wallpaper). To say the least, as a filmmaker and editor, I'm a visual guy.

From my latest blog header to some of my earliest, below I've posted a sampling of how Editing Luke has changed and become even more polished. In 2006 I took a picture of a series of old downtown rooftops in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta. As the first header of Editing Luke, that rooftop and elements of that photo have remained central to my theme. It's obvious the evolution won't stop here, but for now, enjoy part one of this visual recap.

Jul 29, 2009

Personal Movie Making: A Response

My friend Dave and I had a brief conversation over MSN last night. As was typical, we shared a few witty remarks, mentioned the road trip we’re going on, and I brought up my idea for constructing a project out the footage I’d like to shoot on the holiday. In response, he remarked to the tune of “you’ve avoided doing any personally themed or revealing projects over the years” seemingly emphasizing that making a video journal out of our antics was a stretch from my usual work. This got me thinking, because to the contrary, it seems exactly like what I have been doing.

Dave seemed quite supportive of the project in any case. I’m sure it wasn’t too big of a surprise that I said I’d be filming something. In the meantime though, I thought that addressing his statement in a blog post was a good way to inject some of that ‘personal’ (and public) response he enjoys - and a good way to elaborate on how I see my approach.

In some respects, Dave’s right, which is why I wanted to write this post. In terms of my relationships (or often lack-there-of), specific details about my jobs, or the specifics surrounding my family and friends I’m often very selective about what I share. There are many things that everyone doesn’t need to know, wouldn’t care to know, and that don’t advance what my goals - especially with this blog - are. Gossiping publicly about my own life doesn't do me much good - and facebook and msn already consume enough time. However, and regardless of this, I strongly disagree that my ‘creative’ contributions haven’t been personal, honest, and true to my character.

Some of my projects like A Chill in the Air or Keys to Existence have an obvious social commentary - both of which have been recognized by critical eyes. Other shorts like from 84, Day Dream Day, and Educated Detours blend personal elements in an experimental or narrative form. Even my split screen experiments can be read as self-portraits in the context of my editing. It's not like I don't have anything to say, there are over 35 entries and over 100 edits that I've posted as part of my videography, I'm just not writing a word for word autobiography is all.

In a response not simply in relation to Dave‘s comment, I thought this was a worthy topic for highlighting my entire online persona and my public filmmaking. I see my story and history being told in the combination of ALL my work, not simply in a single edit or single sentence. My film work isn't about a quest to get people to know my life story anyway, I want people watching my work to get something out of it for themselves.

Speaking of personal, welcome to Editing Luke - if you’re here, you can scroll through over 2 years of my life - including everything from my declarations of new found ambition, to posts about and leading up to dropping out of film school, followed by my nostalgic and contextual take on my own work. To be clear, this is personal - not everyone puts in the time to do and say these things as an 'artist' or editor. The projects and edits I’ve produced say a lot about my story, if not directly, than about the filmmaker/editor I’d like to be and the things that inspire me.

While it’s clear that Dave and I have significantly different approaches to our creative work, I’ve always enjoyed his perspective on things. In a friendship that has wavered since first year of university, he’s often been my biggest critic - if not the most eager to question my achievements. It’s been refreshing in many ways, if not a mixed bag, as he’s also admired and sought advice surrounding my dedication. It's what also makes our friendship so interesting.

Herein lies the difference between our view of being personal, and how I distinguish myself. From his perspective, he likes to (for lack of a better word) gush about his struggles or hang-ups. I don’t. I vent in the same way by reflecting on my own larger outlook. I put things in perspective as a way to create context, as a way to find my way out of my problems. My distaste for something is combated with 'the glass is still half full' approach and look at what I learned. I like to be relatable, and my personal strengths don't come from feeling powerless (not that I think Dave's do either).

This goal to be relatable is true of my work. The fact that I’m subtle about my own life doesn’t change the fact that I’m still sharing my viewpoint and a history. There are clues and directions and moments of inspiration in everything I do, but I’m also aware that everything I do isn’t intended to change the world. I think about this when I make shorts. I can learn so much just by participating and creating individual variations as opposed to endlessly struggling to be completely 100% unique. For the sake of comparison, it's like I can experience more by riding the bus than by trying to re-invent the wheels it rides on - I'm probably going to see something someone else might not right away.

I’m aware that there are a lot of people just like me, and while no one can be completely original, as any good editor would say, it’s the way in which I can take all these borrowed pieces, experiences, projects, and personal histories and combine them that makes a unique whole - that’s me. My personality is broad, diverse, scattered, highlighted by defining moments, influenced by many, and shared through what I consider to be a level headed filter (which is this blog and my work).

I feel like I've created a bridge between my honest emotions, my artistic ambitions, and the reality I face. Presenting my personal weaknesses or my daily life problems in this forum would just be misdirection - like I said, as much as my film experiences are meant to be public, my projects aren't entirely about documenting my personal life for consumption. In many instances my projects don't borrow on my experiences at all, instead the project itself is the experience. I'm just trying to be forward thinking.

I’m giving anyone who cares to watch or read the chance to get to know a piece of who I am. The idea that a single thought or vision would completely define me is ridiculous though, and my work is about triggering your reaction just as much as it’s about sharing mine. If you can't see the personal thread of Luke Fandrich, of me, in all I've done, you're forgetting that all of what you're seeing was written, told, designed, edited, photographed, experienced, filmed, posted, promoted, submitted, won and lost - BY THIS GUY *pointing at myself*

So this personal response is for you Dave. Cheers to our different takes, and the conversations that inevitably come out of them. I get that you may think you’re being more open by being more blunt - it doesn’t mean there’s any more information there. We're all crafting an image, but for my sake, I appreciate the fact that you challenge me.

Jul 28, 2009

Playing It By Ear

I can't believe it's the end of July. In some ways it still feels early in relation to the projects I made last year because many of them didn't really take off until the fall. Still, things are changing quickly, and much like my approach to my projects changed with the debut of Editing Luke, I think I may be on the cusp of my next re-invention.

While I don't see myself curbing my artistic whims to upload random shorts, I am feeling more pressured with my time to produce different content. I can see myself creating original edits or montage videos with more found footage to specifically focus on my skill as an editor. The personal side of this blog will always remain fundamental to me wanting to do it, but as a portfolio, there are more previews I'd like to work on to attract actual opportunities - or like I've already done, to continue using this blog as an accessory to my resume.

I find it funny how on some days I look at my progress and feel like I've done so much, come so far, etc. and other days the weight of my goals seem to daunting to even pursue. In part, I think this feeling is also a mix of realizing that a lot of people just don't care. I mean this generally. Regardless of what I do today or tomorrow, whether I make a video you like or don't, whether I update or not, we've all got our own lives to live - if I can hold your attention for a minute that means something to me though - it's certainly a big part of the equation anyway.

I'm playing it by ear. I don't have a lot of new things to say at the moment, but somewhere between my daily grind that passion that will fuel my next leap - my big move to the big city - I want to think things are going to be okay. I want to know that I've inspired someone in the way that so many have inspired me.

For now, it's back to the drawing board.

Jul 26, 2009

Rushmore: Edits (2007)

It was one of those trips that started out as nothing more than a novel idea. A road trip to Mount Rushmore had been in the back of my mind for quite some time, but the reality of ever actually going seemed like wishful thinking.

The idea really came about because of my location in university. Regina, Saskatchewan is the largest Canadian city to the famed monument near Rapid City, South Dakota despite still being hundreds of miles away. I figured with the isolated location of Mount Rushmore, I might never be in a more convenient spot to actually see it. It was something I really wanted to cross off my bucket list, and having previously explored places to the north, west and east of Regina, it only seemed appropriate to check out the landscape further south. Little did I know that just over a year later at the end of the 2007 winter semester, my friend Andrea and I would decide to take the lengthy drive through the open prairie and into the Black Hills (here's an old school postcard I found while there).

The original project, Rushmore, was a travelog I cut together using photos and footage I shot along the trip. I added my personal narration to elaborate on the experiences and my general mindset at the time, while also using it as a way to tell a condensed story to my family and friends who I was most likely to share the video with.

It was just after returning that my blog, Editing Luke began. In an effort to share some of my previous projects and edits, some of the first things I ever shared included a post about why I love editing travelogs and a history of the video postcards I had cut together. Below you can watch the original South Dakota video postcard (also used as a preview for the complete travelog Rushmore) I cut together just a few weeks after returning.

Original 2007 South Dakota Video Postcard

During the week long trip, Andrea and I visited Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse memorial, the town of Deadwood (made even more popular by the HBO show of the same name), Devil's Tower in Wyoming, and Chimney Rock in Nebraska traveling along parts of the Oregon Trail, Pony Express, and the path taken by explorers Lewis and Clark - just to name a few of the detours. Because sharing the entire Rushmore travelog would've been way too long and indepth for the average stranger visiting my blog, I decided that there would need to be revisions to the main project. So, I cut some new postcards to highlight my footage - making for some great editing exercises.

I figured that my personal story was still connected to the footage and was certainly available to anyone who wanted to hear it, but for the sake of sharing my edits I was content to focus on the locations. What I find endearing still, is that even the simplified cuts maintain the enthusiasm and low key energy that made the trip so amazing and memorable in the first place.

There have been several small revisions and additions to these edits since 2007, however the South Dakota postcard is exactly the same. The newer edits include a video for Mount Rushmore, an edit for Devil's Tower, an edit of our day driving through Nebraska, and a Black Hills Photo Collage. Watching them now, each video embraces the nostalgia that I was feeling even then - just weeks after being home.

It's tough to fully explain what the meaning of the trip was, but in a poetic sense I think our quest for Rushmore was about getting lost, finding new places, and enjoying a journey out of the ordinary. For a mountain carving in between miles of what could be described as almost nothing, the trip was eye opening. Of all the things I expected to find traveling the open road, inspiration was the one thing I hadn't prepared for ahead of time.

All footage shot and edited by Luke Fandrich.

Mount Rushmore 2007 - South Dakota

Devil's Tower 2007 - Wyoming

Chimney Rock 2007 - Nebraska

Black Hills Photo Collage 2007

Jul 22, 2009

'Free Hugs Prank' by MediocreFilms

It's very likely that you've heard of the Free Hugs viral video; maybe you've seen it online or got it in an email. Hey, you might have even seen the original here on Editing Luke way back when. It was one of my first posts in 2008.

The Free Hugs video is the one where the guy, you guessed it, gives out all those free hugs leaving everyone smiling and feeling good about themselves - seriously, the videos are pretty uplifting. If you haven't seen the original, go to YouTube and type in 'free hugs' to see literally hundreds and hundreds of spin-offs from around the world. I've been a big fan of all these vids for quite a while now, but came across this comical twist just a couple days ago - the Free Hugs Prank: $2 Deluxe Hugs video by MediocreFilms. This should make you smile :)

Jul 19, 2009

'A Chill in the Air' Original Notes

January 2006

Associated Post:


It's interesting having old notes like this to look through. This little Andy Warhol notebook is filled with pages of rough ideas and shot descriptions that I wanted to capture in my rush to complete my submission for the NFB/Citizenshift Make Shorts, Not War Contest. After writing a poem to serve as the structure for my short, I scribbled out a rough shot and edit list of the symbols I wanted to create. 

The focus of the contest was about Canadian soldiers in WWI and recognizing their sacrifice in regards to peace - using (in part) historic clips from the National Film Board of Canada to put the film in context. I wrote about contrasting the decaying bark of a tree with the ruins of cities, leaves representing dead soldiers on the ground, the symbolism in the changing seasons as a reflection on the generations that followed, etc. Looking through these old notes remind me of just how anxious and motivated I was for those few days in late January. You can read about the full story and how the contest went by clicking the link above.

Jul 15, 2009

The Other Time Machine (2006)

What can I say about a project that came together largely by chance? Early in the fall semester of 2006 I was taking an experimental production class. One of the first assignments we received was to create a found footage project using the old video edit suite at the university. Right away I was convinced that I was going to do this project using my own equipment, because scheduling and planning around the university was continually a hassle - however, and mostly because my friend Tyler and I had discussed editing our projects at the same time, I ended up working at the school.

Not every project can be a masterpiece. This was the idea I had in my mind prior to pulling my project together. I had no VHS tapes to work with, I was completely willing to pull something together using the old tapes in the suite - a true experiment/found footage project if you will.

That night Tyler and I were hanging out in the suite and Tyler was the first to edit his project - which you can see here. He seemed to have a rough idea of what he wanted, but I'm sure he was winging it too. When he finished it was probably around 9 or 10pm, which strangely enough is what I consider to be the best time to work at school. I have a number of memories surrounding late night projects and wandering the hallways in the middle of the night - I also lived at the dorms so part of the wandering was about finding my way home sometimes, haha. Anyway, the point is that the editing became a mix of running for slurpees, watching old Weird Al clips, and catching up with Tyler - who at this point wasn't much more than a familiar face from first year.

Tyler had a copy of The Time Machine, Death to Smoochie and Back to the Future which became the basic elements of my edit. The dread of doing the assignment turned into the excitement of things falling into place. I genuinely had a lot of fun pulling random clips, working on the old VHS equipment, and dubbing audio from old tapes. The whole time machine element seems kind of funny now because this was all before my Buick to the Future series was even a consideration.

While The Other Time Machine is a flawed video, it's always made me laugh. Despite being crude both in content and construction, it was the inspiration behind a lot of other experiments that followed. The most notable being Space Drama in 2008, which was a much more intensive, personally motivated editing exercise. The Other Time Machine is significant mostly for the history and time it marks in my film school career, but I won't make too many promises. Some people love this, some people hate this - it's a lesson directly from Film 100 (or technically Film 400 something). Enjoy!

The Other Time Machine (2006)
Found Footage Edit by Luke Fandrich

Jul 12, 2009

Expialidocious by POGO

I think it's funny that this is the second time I've posted a remix video that someone has cut from Disney's Mary Poppins. The first was Scary Mary, the footage cut into a convincing horror movie trailer. This one is perhaps even more brilliant. From what little I know about POGO (or Nick Bertke on YouTube) he seems to get a kick out of remixing popular video content. He has a mix from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one from Alice in Wonderland, and there's several others. This one, Expialidocious is by far his most inspired and catchy work in my opinion. I had to go out of my way to find a ripped mp3 so that I could put it on my iPod. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

Expialidocious by POGO

Jul 8, 2009

Editing Luke by Luke Fandrich

If there is any question than let me crush the debate by saying, yes, this blog is very important to me. It's not just the feedback, the interesting people from around the world visiting, the scrapbook like posts, or the occasional festival/screening offers - no, my greatest motivation from all of this has been the personal guilt. Why haven't you made a new short, why don't you write more often, why don't you take more risks? A day rarely goes by that I don't check in, or that I don't think about trying harder to improve something on this site.

The redesigns, evolving content, and numerous projects are clear proof.  It's a bit compulsive, but it's also what I always hoped this effort would be.  It's a reason to keep pushing myself.  It's embarrassing how I get lost in my own posts sometimes, but Editing Luke is a consuming venture that I can't help but love.

Reliving my own experiences through my own words/my frustrations/my successes has to be one of the coolest things - the blog is just a journal, and yet the fact that anyone can read it somehow makes it feel more real, even important.

September 13, 2008. I know the answers I want to hear, and reminders of one's own passion and perseverance seem to require review from time to time. I'm still growing and trying to find a path, while at the same time I think my pursuit might be easier if I were to focus on making and promoting a single series of work instead of this grab bag of variety. One way or another I'd like to introduce new faces to the mix. It's tough to balance, but it is what it is. Like I said at the start of this post, I can sit at this monitor for a long period of time; Long enough to re-edit, review, renew, but more likely, to continue searching for what I'm looking for and challenge myself again.

March 31, 2009. Somehow I've become an adult, somehow I've done things that I wouldn't have imagined I would have by now, and unsurprisingly there's still so much I look forward to doing with the bits of experience I've acquired. I don't think my checklist will ever be complete. Were it not for the sense that our time is fleeting, would any of us really feel pressured to push ourselves harder?

March 21, 2008. I've learned to trust myself and believe in myself, and whether I'm in school or not, I finally understand that I'm beyond what it is to be a film student. Regardless of what anyone else may think, I'm a filmmaker, degree or not.

April 1, 2009. I don't suppose Regina will ever really be as different or as personally revealing as my imagination says it should be. Instead, it'll always remind me of change and the choices that ultimately resulted in the path I'm on - It was a living scrapbook that I was a part of for a few years.

August 25, 2008. I'm just another dreamer, another guy with some hope, Just a man on a leash, tugged by someone elses rope. But from here things look fine, with camera in hand, I'll shoot what I'll see, I'll edit and I'll land.

May 31, 2007. (My first post in its entirety) So Luke's Emporium of Senseless Insanity and Wonder is no more, and here instead is Editing Luke; a blog about filmmaking, movie ideas, projects, goals and so on in the realm of a student filmmaker named Luke and his production pseudonym fandrix. It's been on my mind to do this for sometime, and I've had this blog sitting idle, ready to replace the other, for a few months. Keeping an online journal is work, but ultimately, i think it'll be a good way to focus my ideas in terms of thinking about what I'm doing as a professional career. I use 'student' filmmaker a lot (which i still am), but i feel it's time to start thinking of myself as a filmmaker (or video/media maker if you want to get technical). Whether you read this is clearly up to you, but i hope to use this as an outlet to motivate myself and bounce ideas around. I welcome any and all comments as things get underway (in fact i encourage and love comments), and hope you find some interest in my ramblings. Thanks for checking out the new space.

July 8, 2009. Thanks for helping to make this what it is and what it will continue to become.

Jul 4, 2009

Looking For Film Work

After leaving film school this simple phrase is most likely uttered by all aspiring filmmakers - "I'm looking for film work". As expected, it's easier said than done. Finding a job isn't exactly the problem, but finding quality, inspired, and motivating work (in any field) is a constant challenge.

Now to be clear, I feel quite lucky. My first job out of university last year was with Stream Media Inc. I'm currently still working as an editor and videographer with them on a contract basis, but since things have slowed down since the beginning of the year, that work alone doesn't pay the bills anymore. For a more steady income I took a job as a creative copywriter last month for a national wedding website. The job, while not immediately related, may be more valuable than expected as it looks like I'll be in charge of creating original video content for the site in the coming weeks - still it's not exactly what I saw myself doing. And throughout all this, I've maintained doing small video projects for extra income - promo vids, wedding vids, or even submitting my personal work to contests and festivals. So what's the problem you ask?

Well, it's not so much a problem as it's my post-uni coming of age. The idea of being in a single job for decades scares me to death - and at the same time, those lucrative film jobs aren't falling in my lap like I might of expected they would back in first year. While there's plenty of ways to infuse my creativity into the business world for the sake of making money, what I long for is the chance to do it in the creative world for the sake of making an impact. I'm not even referring to big budget Hollywood films or TV, I just mean something that I can feel passionate about.

Part of the challenge is my location, and on that front I feel like I've exceeded my expectations. The fact that I've been making money doing things that are related at all still surprises me. A bigger city is definitely part of the plan though - Calgary or Vancouver most likely. At the same time I wonder about things taking off with my current jobs. It's not out of the question that I'd stay in little Medicine Hat, Alberta if it meant making decent money and still being able to pursue my personal projects.
It's not an easy road I'm on, but I guess I was always kidding myself when I thought it might be. These challenges and experiences are clearly worth something, and at least I can hope that they'll push me to try new things. As all my former jobs have done, there's plenty of stories to draw on for material. I guess it's about finding ways to connect your own reality to what it is you want to ultimately achieve - pinpointing how the things you do now will help you out later.

Maybe that's the answer. Every student eventually has to face the reality that parts of work are simply about completing tasks, and others are about personal satisfaction. There's clearly a balance of positives and negatives to be worked out. For me, I'll just continue to chalk everything up to experience and hope that my own persistence leads me to new challenges, creative outlets, and more fulfilling opportunities. I think no matter what place I end up in, I'll always be telling myself that I'm still looking for more film work.

Jul 2, 2009

On Location: Buick to the Future - Episode 3

Project: Buick to the Future - Episode 3
Shot: July 2007
Location: Cinema 6 Drive-In (Outside Regina, SK)
Revisited: June 2009

Tyler (or Doc in BTTF) revisited this location for me. You'll notice the Cinema 6 sign was used for several of the posters for Buick to the Future, and the this dirt road divided the open field and drive-in background that both appeared in the short. It was a crazy hot day when we shot out here, and the most noticeable difference is that all the grass looks considerably shorter than when we were out there. There was also an old steel frame in front of the Cinema 6 sign that we used in some of our earlier photos. The drive-in appears to be a storage lot now, it was already closed down when we shot there. Not much has changed here, but the fact that I have makes it seem so remarkably new again.

On Location: Buick to the Future - Episode 1

Project: Buick to the Future - Episode 1
Shot: June 2007
Location: University Parking Lot - Regina, SK
Revisited: March 2009

Just as it was in the summer semester of 2007, this was the parking lot that the few summer students living in College West used. During the regular year it was usually full, but with school out and a giant dirt lot to play in, it was the perfect backdrop for the first episode of Buick. Not long after we finished the first few episodes the lot was overrun with construction for new pipes, which was followed by half the lot being paved over. It's still pretty stark, but I think we used it to our advantage.

Jul 1, 2009

Canada Day & Fireworks

It's Canada Day - and to continue with my tradition, I'll once again share my firework work videos from years past - surprise! 

The first video was shot in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta in 2004 and the second in Regina, Saskatchewan in 2007. Regina, where I was going to university, was an interesting experience because the fireworks from where we were standing were directly over our heads. It's Medicine Hat's display that always wows me though - that was a good year! Happy Canada Day!