Showing posts with label A Chill in the Air Project. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A Chill in the Air Project. Show all posts

Jan 19, 2013

A Chill in the Air Storyboards

I recently discovered the rough storyboards that I created in January 2006 for my short, A Chill in the Air.  To be honest, I don't even remember making them, but it's pretty clear that I used them to plan out the project.  Some of you may remember that this project was an entry I did for the National Film Board of Canada Make Shorts, Not War contest.  It was because there was a lot to gain from the experience that I tried to plan out as much of the process as possible.  In the end, the project was tightened up from what I'd written in my storyboards, which is cool because they actually shed some light on my early editing and film making.

Apr 6, 2011

Samsung SC-D453 Video Camera

It was just after Christmas in 2005 that I decided to spring for a MiniDV camera. I'd been shooting several projects in film school on MiniDV and after collecting a small collection of tapes I thought I would benefit from having a DVcam of my own.

There was nothing complicated about my choice. I picked this little Samsung because it was compact, no bigger than my hand, and it seemed ideal for traveling with. Truthfully, I didn't feel I needed a major quality upgrade so much as I needed a format upgrade to output my video to the new MiniDV standard.  For home video sake and after carrying around my Sony handycam in LA and Vegas, it was nice to have something a lot lighter.

The weaknesses of this camera are a result of it's small size.  There aren't a lot of extra features, although it does have an impressive 900x digital zoom. As a casual camera for Internet vlogs or home video, you really don't need much more.  This was 2005 though, and cameras like the Flip HD (which I now own) have made the market for this type of shooting a lot more competitive. 

The first thing I did with this camera was a project titled, A Chill in the Air in January 2006. It opened a lot of doors for me, and was actually directly involved in my next camera upgrade that spring. To this day I still use this camera for casual shooting and experiments. I took with me to Vegas again, and use it mainly to capture home videos. It's still a sleek, unassuming, and easy to use little piece of equipment.

Nov 11, 2010

A Chill in the Air

Shot in 2006, I made this short for a National Film Board of Canada contest by mixing footage of WWI soldiers with stark winter imagery. The focus was on creating a symbolic representation of the recovery, healing, and scares left by war. However, to approach the subject in a less traditional form,

I opted to create this video poem. To read more on this project, the results of the contest, and the story behind it click here.

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.

Apr 6, 2009

On Location: A Chill in the Air

Project: A Chill in the Air
Shot: January 2006
Location: Saskatchewan Legislative Building - Wascana Park
Revisited: March 2009

Wascana Park was host to a number of my projects while I was in Regina, but one of the first was A Chill in the Air. While it may look like just a bunch of trees, it was actually the cluster in the middle of the picture that served as my opening shot and 'ascent to the heavens'. I recall it was a cold January day that I was out shooting by my lonesome, and among the trees I recorded myself questioning whether anything would come of the project. Sure enough the National Film Board competition turned into quite the experience. The trees may have grown a little, but mostly the location feels very recognizable and sparks some great memories. See the original 2006 short below.

Aug 17, 2008

On the Local News

Back in 2006 my short film, A Chill in the Air garnered me some attention because it was associated with a National Film Board of Canada video competition. The full story about the experience can be read here, but I thought it would be worth while to share the news clip that aired about my project in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta. The brief interview can be viewed below.

Jun 28, 2008

Opportunity Knocks!

Since creating this blog along with a YouTube channel to share my work, I've said countless times that I considered this all to be part of my online portfolio. The hope being that a wealth of new people would see and give feedback to my work, and in some way push my credibility a little higher a single view at a time. So far it's all been quite a motivation boost, with over 17,000 blog views and well over 60,000 video views in just a year, and keep in mind that it's largely from talking just about myself and my movies, but until last week I had never been on the other end of the promotional spectrum when I was presented with direct opportunities to accept or decline.

Up until now I've been playing the festival/competition game, and really I'm still playing it. To have 2 different people contact me in a week from my YouTube channel just seemed so out of the blue, that when I first opened the messages I was skeptical to say the least. Before I explain the details of each, I will preface this by saying that both opportunities have been finalized on my part and will be going ahead later this year. Getting curious yet?? haha.

The first message I received came from a segment producer in Minnesota who is responsible for a short film series on television titled Short Cuts. He inquired about having my films on the program after seeing Keys to Existence and A Chill in the Air on YouTube. My first impression was that someone was pulling my leg, but after talking with the producer further the opportunity only sounded better and better. The program is out of Rochester, MN and is 12 part series, an episode a month, in which several filmmakers have their work shown each episode (the episode repeats several times throughout the month). My work would be appearing later this year as the series is already in progress. Now this is no national broadcast or anything, and I'm not making money on this, but as far as I'm concerned it's exposure to a handful of new people, and in the producer's words that's over 35,000 households or about 85,000 people. Hello Minnesota!

The second message came only several days later from a completely different part of the world. Again, I received the message from someone who had just watched Keys to Existence and wanted to know if I'd like it to be part of their festival. In the midst of my high with the Minnesota show I did a bit of research on the festival and accepted soon after. The festival is Aeon 2008 and is a mixed media festival including art, music and film from around the world all showcased over a weekend in a giant field in Crediton in the United Kingdom. Keys to Existence will screen on rotation in the 'video-dome'. A theatre set up in a giant tent that will serve as a point of interest in between performances throughout the day.

Needless to say I'm excited about both opportunities. Even just the simple gesture of someone asking to share my work, as opposed to me going through the promotion process, has proven enough to re-energize my creative energy and has left me scribbling out several new ideas for a couple of short films to share and submit, both on YouTube and abroad.

When I thought of myself leaving university I pictured myself in a job that was just a job, doing work that took away from the creativity that I really wanted to pursue. To my surprise, I'm shooting and editing for my day job, and still have the energy and passion to pursue my personal film goals at my leisure. I've never felt more satisfied with the direction I'm in. I may be broke, but I sure am happy!

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!

Aug 10, 2007

A Chill in the Air on CitizenShift

When I received an email from CITIZENshift in regards to a project I did back in January 2006, it took me by surprise. A Chill in the Air was an experimental film that I made for the Make Shorts, Not War contest. The goal was to take a pacifist perspective and by using footage of WWI provided by the National Film Board, create a message of peace. Overall, the experience was incredibly rewarding. My film was shortlisted as part of the English top 10 out of 280 submissions across Canada. Each week the public voted online, eliminating 2 films a week until the final 4. A Chill in the Air made it to that final round.

In the end I didn't win, but until checking on the CITIZENshift site I had just been using the 'top 4' credit for the film. What I found out though is that I actually came in 3rd place (perhaps 2nd place in the popular vote?). The 1st place film was the one that received the most votes (people's choice), the 2nd place was jury's choice (judges/organizers of the contest choice), and my film is listed as honorable mention (the leftover, haha).

The 7 other submissions are listed as finalists. Throughout the contest I was featured in the news in my hometown of Medicine Hat (a small city of 60,000 people). So if having a bunch of strangers vote and share feedback on my film from across the country wasn't enough, being in the local news ended up bringing me back into contact with people from high school who were suddenly seeing my name again. Of course, there was also a great rallying of support from my family and friends who undoubtedly made my experience such a success.

That winter in 2006 was a pretty eventful one for me. It was interesting to be reminded of that, and to rewatch my film again after all this time when I was contacted for an update for the CITIZENshift blog series 'Where Are They Now?'. My answer was, and is, simple enough: still in film school.

Here is the blog entry from CITIZENshift.