Showing posts with label 2006. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2006. Show all posts

Feb 7, 2012

X (2006)

Presented with the challenge of shooting (and manipulating) an experimental short on film, X was the result of a few late nights spent scratching my reel and coloring individual frames with a red sharpie.  I can't say I had much of a plan during the process, but it was fun.  This experimental film class also resulted in some of my other random edits like, The Other Time Machine and from 84.

What made this project stand out was that we each presented our films at the Sask Film Pool in downtown Regina at the aptly titled, Terrible Film Festival - a regular event each semester for those taking the avant-garde class. It was a pretty casual affair where some films played on a loop, others were screened traditionally, some in make shift tents, and some overlapping each other.  The entire exercise was really about playing with film, not just from behind the camera, but actually working with it, splicing it, and in some cases, tearing it apart. I remember my friend Tyler actually tried burning a piece of his film and it sounded like cooking bacon when it played through the projector.

I kicked things off with my film on a loop, and a last minute decision to use a mirror to reflect the projection around the room.  My entire idea really centred around 'X marks the spot' because I figured so many of the films would be just as busy and nonsensical as mine, but at least mine would have a red X throughout to give you some place to look. It kind of worked.

At the very least the evening was something out of the ordinary, and it created a more lasting memory for a project that would have otherwise just stayed packed away.  Our professor, Gerald Saul captured highlights from the evening and gave each of us a DVD of our short films.  

Looking back at it now, this was one of those stereotypically ideal film school situations that I'm glad we were forced to take part in.  And I couldn't forget it if I wanted to, as that mirror I was using ended up broken in the back seat of Tyler's car and stayed there for my remaining few semesters in university.  See my experimental film below.

Jan 13, 2010

University of Regina Collages (2006-2007)

Created around the end of semester in the spring of 2006 I was going to be saying goodbye to several friends who were graduating. Starting my university career in 2002 I should have been graduating then also, but my evolving plans and a couple wasted classes determined otherwise. As a student I found inspiration in a lot of things outside of the classroom . . . still, with the snow thawing and things rapidly changing that semester, I could appreciate the milestone of how the absence of friends was going to alter my experience and so I thought about making a video.

What I decided to do was collect a few of the home video clips that I'd shot over the semester to include with a photo collage of the university - kind of creating a time capsule on DVD of what the place was like then. You may think that you'd have to wait a decade or so to really see some major changes, but we actually all came to the University of Regina when things were just about to shift.

Regina, Saskatchewan had been awarded the Canada games for 2005 and in 2003, still in my first year, ground had been broken on an expansive new phys. ed building and a set of twin tower residences. Those residences have since become the focal point of the new campus and dramatically altered the green space that the university centered around.

By 2006 the games had passed and the buildings were all in full operation, however, construction had begun on a brand new lab building right next to College West - now the old residence - that we all lived in. It was probably this that inspired the photo collage more than anything. I knew that in just a few years the building would be complete and it would instantly date the footage and remind us all of the semester that that giant crane and construction created so much noise. I even mentioned the new lab building in my retrospective short, Quirks, as the park location we shot at in 2004 was now covered by a lecture hall.

I gave out my DVDs as everything concluded in the winter semester of '06, ending my collage saying 'may our time at the U of R serve as a reminder that we are always working to better ourselves'. A bit cliche perhaps, but true nonetheless.


In 2007 I found myself staying in Regina over the summer for the first time. Not really intending to make a project necessarily, I ended up shooting a lot of pictures of the campus with the weather being so nice. It's worth noting that when you're in Saskatchewan for predominantly winter months it can be tough to fully appreciate your outdoor surroundings. In any case, I created a secondary video of the architectural details of some of the campus buildings - which are actually quite notable, as both the modernist/minimalist library and classroom buildings were designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect behind the World Trade Center.

What came out of all these photos was essentially what I had hoped in 2006. Time has passed and with each year the landscape and tone of the university that I attended changes. I'm really happy to have both these videos to remind me of a location that I not only lived in, but experienced in so many ways. Just as the University of Regina evolved so much when I was there, it continues to inspire my nostalgia as it reinvents itself for new students.

It was only a few years ago, but as far as I'm concerned these shorts now represent a completely different time.

Jan 9, 2010

Calgary Zoo: Edits (2005-2006)

Having been to the Calgary Zoo numerous times, I'm almost always surprised by how different your experience can be each time. Short of going on safari, it's actually the next best thing to capturing candid and spontaneous shots of animals that you otherwise can't see in Canada. Over the summers of 2005 and 2006, I made several trips to Calgary and spent the afternoon at the zoo.

There's potentially more footage to be shown here, but I thought it was about time that I at least reorganized the original short edits that I uploaded back in 2007. To refresh the quality of the videos (which were originally quite pixelated) I re-uploaded the three short clips that I had cut from several longer travelog type videos I'd made titled, At the Zoo.

Intended to be slice-of-life, observational type shorts - these mini clips are no different than the longer projects really. What I enjoy about seeing some of this footage now is how my shooting technique still spoke to my style as an editor. You can see by the shots that I was thinking how I'd cut for a transition, for example, how shooting the skylight of the African Savannah exhibit outdoors, and then zooming out from the skylight indoors was a simple way to move through space. Some of these things seem so obvious when watching, but most amateurs (and film students even) don't always think about how their shooting style translates - or that they even have a style for that matter.

There are a lot of clues here to how things have evolved in nearly 5 years time. However, editing aside, these are fairly casual, fun, and upbeat vids. Animals are easy subjects, and certainly energetic enough to make for lively clips. Enjoy.


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

Apr 9, 2009

The Geology Student (2006)

Of the long list of film school projects that I stockpiled over my 6 year stay in university, there's only a handful that I haven't revised in the editing suite. Sometimes there are small technical aspects that need fixing, sometimes my view of the concept has changed, and sometimes it's just a matter of making the project seem relevant. I suppose The Geology Student was never altered after all this time, because it's actually the kind of short I still want to make more of.

In late 2006 I was in Film 400, where our class was assigned a project to each make character study shorts. I had done this years earlier in Film 200 where I created, Mean Mr. Mustard is Homeless. I wanted to take an entirely different approach this time, specifically because I felt I had enough 'serious' projects under my belt, and my portfolio was lacking comedies - it was also the reason that through Film 400-401 I was busy making Elliot.

Probably because I always poked fun at my friend Jeanette for being a geology student and studying 'rocks, rocks, rocks', I guess I landed on the idea of shadowing her and ran with it. Jeanette was a good sport, and we agreed on a time that she could give me a tour of the geology department. The department, coincidentally, was just below the College West Residence where both Jeanette and I had lived throughout our time in uni.

My plan was to be as casual and campy as possible. I asked as many loaded questions as I could think of, and instructed Jeanette to give me as many details as she could in her answers. There was no script or outline, which was the point, as I had every intention of constructing the video in the edit suite - allowing me to put things out of context, in whatever order, and have her answering pointless things.

It was always the idea to shoot the assignment like a mini-mockumentary. Like I said, I was also working on Elliot at the time and was keen on keeping my focus on things that I felt would help that project. The natural dialogue, spontaneous shooting, and unseen locations (for me anyway) all proved beneficial in keeping the short relaxed and funny. As expected, the editing was a joy because of all the options the banter provided.

When the project was completed in November 2006, this blog didn't exist and I hadn't uploaded anything to YouTube yet. It's why this simple short seems more significant to me - it was already an ideal YouTube short, already the kind of quirky flick that was straightforward enough to appeal to most people, and at last, it was a comedy!

The Buick to the Future Series, The Gizmo Tree, Siblings and Space Drama, to name a few of my shorts, all followed in the Geology Student's footsteps. And while my shift to focus on creating more shorts has remained, I think I've worked out a nice balance of experimenting, creating art and creating entertainment.

Obviously my telling is always going to be more subjective than I might think it is, although with a short like The Geology Student, there's not really much more to it than what you're seeing on the surface. The point in me promoting all my old projects, however, isn't about me saying how great they are - it's about developing a larger story, and explaining where the pieces in my film making puzzle fit. It's nice to have some lighter anecdotes to include for once, and finally get to the bottom of which rocks are naturally shaped like tigers . . .

*UPDATE 2010*

In June 2009 I submitted The Geology Student to the Film Competition and was voted in as a weekly winner for week 3. Starting in late March 2010 voting for the semi-finals began with 40 filmmakers - the Top 40. Eliminations occured on a weekly basis moving from 40 to 32 to 24 to 16 and then the Top 8. This marked the beginning of the finals, in which I was one of the 8 remaining filmmakers.

From here only a single filmmaker was eliminated each week, but after 2 months I found myself in the final round of the entire film contest as one of the Top 2. In the end I finished in 2nd place as the runner-up for filmmaker of the year with the Geology Student gaining over 170,000 views during the contest.

*Original Film School Version

*2010 Finalist Version

Mar 9, 2009

Alphabet (2006)

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.

Alphabet (2006)

Directed by Luke Fandrich

Feb 11, 2009

from 84 (2006)

December 2006. As my final assignment that semester in an experimental film class, I completed from 84. From what I recall, the project was to embody something personal - a diary of sorts. It was a broad focus, but having recently gone through a bunch of childhood pictures I decided that my personal experiment would consist of the abstract patterns and textures cropped, largely out of context, from those photographs (many as you may have guessed were from the year I was born, 1984).

My goal was to create a video patchwork that related to those loose first memories and how despite experiencing a wealth of new things in our first years, we lack the foresight to tell ourselves to remember. There are obviously numerous clues relating to my own childhood in my selections. Wallpaper of my bedroom, toys, clothing with race cars, random family members and different outings all mix together with other indiscernible fragments to create the illusion of a lost past.

To assist in the viewing, I used repetitive narration to directly address the common idea of locking numerous moments, periods of time, or memories in a photo. However, I also intended the repetitiveness to portray a sense of continually looking over the past and still coming to the same conclusions about it or landing on the same highlights. In many ways this short was influenced by the video poem I made earlier in the semester, Alphabet, about trying to recall my first day of school.

What I think is most successful about from 84 is that its depth is dictated by the viewer. Some will find clues that relate to their own past, some are simply guided by the anchoring wide-eyed glare of my central baby picture, some are taken in by the words, and others will find it to be completely pointless and empty. And therein lies the wonder and completely generic nature of childhood.

Like I've tried to do in so many of my other experimental shorts, I incorporate a bit of whimsy with as much of a clear thread throughout the piece as possible. I'm not trying to trick anyone or appear overly ambiguous to fake meaning, but in this genre especially, many freely express a love/hate relationship. Keep in mind that the experiment here is as much about what you choose to look at, as it is about what visual triggers are provided.

In short - keep an open mind and think critically. 

Dec 7, 2008

Educated Detours (2006)

I hold a lot of nostalgia for the summers in between university when I'd come back home to work, make some money, and whenever possible make a movie. At the time, school felt big in a lot of ways. I tried to constantly remind myself that the time I had there was limited, and that I'd have to use it wisely to figure out what my next steps would be. Easier said than done.

By the summer of 2006 I was feeling the pressure of not knowing what I'd even be able to do, let alone where I'd go to work when I graduated. That, mixed with my desire to make a road movie with my good friend Paul, a summer spent doing manual labour, and a brand new HDV camera resulted in the plans to shoot Educated Detours by the end of August. A summer production with friends would prove to be the perfect escape.

The original inspiration came from a drive home during the holidays. The open prairie had me thinking that it would be fun to shoot something on the back roads out in the middle of nowhere. I hadn't made anything that really embraced my location in such a big way before, and I wanted to create something more ambitious for my portfolio.

Educated Detours Trailer

The project actually took a lot of planning to get underway. Making a 20 minute short was considerably longer than most of the other videos I'd made, and we'd only have 3 days to do it in. My friend Paul had to come down from Edmonton and my friend Andrea came from Calgary to help out as well. Shooting required a lot of driving to find the right locations, the summer heat proved tiresome, and all this was happening just days before I was moving back to Regina for another 8 months of school.

With the movie now a few years old it's crazy how similar some things turned out based on the predictions I made. I left school without graduating which was never the plan, but I took the same leap of faith in coming back home to figure things out before moving further away. In Educated Detours I equated a degree to a treasure map, but I think it's broader than that. With or without the degree I think I was bound to approach post-university life the same way. Regardless of the badges we carry we're constantly looking for quick payoffs, rewarding ventures, and ways to get us closer to our goals. There are always obstacles along the way.

University was a catalyst for growing up, but I don't think we ever stop searching for the opportunities to help us achieve the things we really want in life. Educated Detours is a pretty straightforward and simple movie that has gained more value as I've gained more perspective on what school really meant to me. Plus, that was a pretty good summer and it's nice to have this as a reminder. Things aren't all that heavy when you can have fun and when your real goal was just to find an excuse to create something.

When everything wrapped up it was nice to share the project with family and friends, and to this day Educated Detours remains one of my favourite summer shoots. Also, be sure to check out some of my snapshots taken that summer. Enjoy, Educated Detours!

May 14, 2008

A Chill in the Air (2006)

It was late January in 2006. Trying to reduce my workload I decided to stretch out my degree and for the first time I didn't have any production courses in my semester. This was the downside, and because I didn't yet have a YouTube channel to keep me entertained with mini-projects I was on the look out for contests and festivals that I could make a new movie for.

All this festival thinking was pretty new to me at this point. I'd only been a part of the Medicine Hat Film Festival and Youngcuts with my film Keys to Existence earlier in 2005, but little did I know that I was on the verge of doing something pretty big.

On the Youngcuts festival website they always had little blurbs about contests and festivals that were going on, and because I'd had my film in Youngcuts itself, I often checked the site every few weeks to see if there was something else I could take part in. I came across a link for the Make Shorts, Not War! Contest being put on by the National Film Board of Canada and Citizenshift right after Christmas, but had pretty much brushed it off and decided I didn't want to do it.

The basic idea was that you had to make a short film that embraced a message of peace and that included archival footage of Canadians in WWI provided by the NFB on their site. I initially just assumed that their would be too much competition and that I probably wouldn't get in anyway. Well, I kept coming across the link.

It was the end of January and bored with my classes already I thought it might not be bad to at least make an attempt at the NFB submission. Things rapidly accelerated from there. The moment I decided I wanted to do the contest was exactly one week before the submission deadline. I had just bought myself a Mini-DV camera that Christmas so this became a good excuse to use it. Feeling suddenly motivated and excited, I got to work. I still have the original notebook where I scribbled my first ideas about the project that would eventually become A Chill in the Air.

My idea was a video poem about renewal, using nature for inspiration I focused on how the changing seasons related to the loss and recovery associated with war. The poem came together quickly and the shot list followed that night. With my notes and plans in order, the video was shot and edited the next day - even with my scattered ambition and hunger for personal projects this was a record for me. From concept to completion, the project that I hadn't planned on doing was done in 24hrs time - now it just had to reach Montreal by the deadline.

In a strange coincidence, I later found out that the core production class I was taking my year off from, actually provided this contest as one of the short film assignments that students could do. Without even being in the class, I had still managed to give myself a memorable lesson. I don't think things would've gone nearly the same had I been told to do this.

A few weeks later I received the news. Out of 280 entries across Canada, A Chill in the Air was an English Top 10 finalist (there was also a French Top 10). There were a couple other entries from Regina students (from my university) that I knew in the finals which lead me to discover the assignment - again, a strange coincidence considering the number of entries submitted. I had my first crack at promoting my film online, and the voting began. I used my first blog to promote the contest to my family and friends, and found myself being voted up week after week.

The significance of the contest became more clear when my hometown started to show me some support. The Medicine Hat Newspaper donated $500 of ad space and ran the ad seen above several times throughout the competition. I received numerous words of congratulations from old high school friends, city council members, and really anyone who came across my blog, my emails, or that ad - it was funny to hear how so many of my old friends had heard about the contest because their parents had clipped the ad to show them. I gained enough support to make it to the final round, the Top 4.

As the contest neared the end I became increasingly excited. If I won I was going to get a trip to France as an official videographer for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. For 2nd place, there was a $5000 production grant from the NFB. They were huge rewards that both had the potential to open a lot of doors. The contest wrapped and the news came on March 31, 2006 (my 22nd birthday) that I hadn't won. I finished 2nd place in the popular vote, but 3rd place according to the official rules. 1st place was determined by votes and 2nd place was completely the judges decision. I was given honorable mention. A nice credit, but that was it. My first major film contest loss was tough to take. With such a quick acceleration into the experience, the loss was like hitting a wall.

It's funny how I didn't care about the contest at first, or how I hadn't planned on doing it. Suddenly it was all consuming. By the end (much like my Sasktel Experience) I was so invested in the routine of promoting and talking about the project that it hit me hard when it was all over. It was such a new experience and I didn't know how to handle the loss. I literally came as close as I could to winning without it happening. The worst part is feeling like there's nothing you can do. In the contest I pushed hard and turned to friends and family like I never had before, but when it ended it was tough to know what I was supposed to do with myself. By the summer, when things had settled, I was able to see just how incredible and amazing the experience had really been. Even without winning, there was a lot I took away.

Time has healed any loss that I felt then and now I only have nostalgia for how exciting the whole thing was. After the contest ended I had a featured story about my film on the local news and radio stations. A Chill in the Air was later played at a festival at the University of Toronto. I received letters of congratulations from the Premier of Saskatchewan and from the Dean of Fine Arts at the University of Regina. I got a great new credit to my name (and a good story to tell!). And, in July (of 2007) I was asked for a little follow-up from the people at the NFB/Citizenshift about what I was up to now. Here was the blog entry they did.

A Chill in the Air
became so much more than I ever expected it to. It goes to show how you never know where the opportunities will come from, or how some things just take on a life of their own. For the first time I've uploaded A Chill in the Air to my YouTube channel. I know I've talked it up quite a bit, but it really is just a simple film with a simple message. I guess sometimes the best ideas just are.

A Chill in the Air
Written & Directed by Luke Fandrich

A Chill in the Air on the NEWS!

Mar 24, 2008

The Geology Student

In Film 400 we were asked to do a character portrait. It could have been someone you knew or a fictionalized person, but the basic idea was to just focus on that individual and give a glimpse into some aspect of their life. I decided to make mine about my friend Jeanette who was a geology major, and whose specific terminology of rocks and minerals I often got a kick out of poking fun at. I took a bit of liberty in editing her answers just the way I wanted (not sure it's obvious, haha), but it was all practise anyway for the mockumentary project Elliot that served as my final film for that term. You won't find any hard hitting facts in The Geology Student as I tour the geology department with Jeanette, but needless to say, there were quite a few laughs. Enjoy!

Nov 4, 2007

Dorm Xmas Tree

I'm a Christmas junkie, so as soon as Halloween ends the holiday season starts for me. The ritual has usually been pretty simple. I'll throw on a Christmas movie, this year it was Christmas Vacation, and I'll put up my plastic tree. It'll be up until mid-December when I take it down and head back to my parents house for Christmas. A tree is a great decoration though, and it certainly sets my dorm apart by making it feel more comfortable, relaxed, and home-like.

Here is a quick little video of me putting up my tree last year. There was really no sense in making a new video because the process and the look are pretty much the same every year anyway. It may only be me and the department stores setting up this early, but here's a little dose of Xmas to get you counting down too.