Showing posts with label Film School Lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Film School Lessons. Show all posts

Jan 30, 2013

More Film School Slides

It's been a decade now since my first ever film school production class in the winter semester of 2003.  We did a lot with slides that year and used them as an introduction to visual storytelling.  Several years ago I actually shared a bunch of these images as a glimpse into what I'd come up with.  See that here.

I pulled out these slides again as a bit of a reminder of some of my early photo work, and stumbled onto a few shots I didn't remember.  There was one of Ward, who I did a lot of touring around Regina with during this project, and various shots of Regina landmarks that I hadn't remembered shooting.  It's not really that my style of photography has changed that dramatically over the years, but looking back at things like this is a nice reminder of how much you've improved and matured.  It's just a nice flashback really.  

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.

Dec 12, 2012

My Film That Never Was

Looking through old film school notes I came across this proposal I wrote dated February 7, 2007.  It was from my producing class where we had to come up with the idea for a film to pitch.  Not surprisingly, especially because I was working on Elliot at the time, I came up with the idea for a mockumentary centred around a film festival.  The idea clearly still needed some polishing, but there are a few gems in the premise that I'm still entertained by.  Have a look at what I submitted.   

Working Title:  Film Fest

Genre:  Comedy / Mockumentary

Length:  90 minute feature

Poster Line:  Now Accepting Submissions.      

Meets:  Best in Show meets Entourage


Film Fest is a feature length mockumentary about a man named Charlie taking control of an elaborate and outlandish film festival, created by his dead Hollywood producing dad, just one year after its disastrous debut.  With the festival in shambles and a town full of irritated locals, Charlie picks up where his dad left off (with a documentary crew in tow) and works with an assembled team of mismatched experts to revamp Silver Springs, BC from the ruins of a failed fest, to a celebrity saturated,  respected and acclaimed celluloid circus.  For the sake of his father's legacy and his own ambition to make the festival work, Charlie must confront the death of his father head on as he uncovers the affects the festival has had on the town and the previous attendees.  Film Fest is an offbeat character piece about the best and worst aspects of pop culture and the entertainment industry, while paying homage to the people and drama, in the one place where everything comes to fruition; the film festival.

The Silver Springs Film Festival opened with much excitement, but failed due to the excessive and unbelievable upgrades made by Warner Garber, the founder.  Fast forward one year.

Warner Garber, while talking about his new festival upgrades for the 2nd Silver Springs Fest, dies during an interview with a documentary film crew.  In his eighties, he was losing his mind, but to everyone else it seemed that he embodied the grand imagination of a true eccentric.  Charlie, Warner’s son, knew how passionate his dad was about the fest.  With no real direction of his own, he adopts his dad‘s position as head organizer of the festival, along with the team of assembled industry experts, the documentary crew and the shambles of the failed festival from a year earlier.

Charlie and his team quickly move out to Silver Springs, BC and set up camp.  Initially the town’s reception is cold based on the previous treatment by the festival organizers, but monetary persuasion and mingling gets things underway.  Charlie frequently confides in the camera in response to his indecision, especially when conflict with his team arises.  Meanwhile, the festival undergoes massive correction, altering Warner Garbers original, but hilariously absurd, vision.  Zeppelins, wild animals, underwater theatres and such, are modified to preserve some of the insanity while adding much needed practicality.  Various comedic meetings and character clashes bring us to this point.

The following spring the festival is really coming together.  The small town of Silver Springs, BC, which is nestled along the Rockies, is undergoing upgrades (with the help of some of Warner Garbers old rich friends, and the absurd blackmail the team has acquired about them).  Charlie is still at the helm and we see clips from news spots, commercials, celebrity endorsements, and the towns people reacting to the revamped fest.  There is initial doubt about the festivals reach, and comparative draw to other major venues, but soon the submissions, both big and small, start coming in and it seems the festival has real potential.  The unique festival concept, which teeters on the edge of being a pop culture amusement park, garners outside attention.   

For the last half of the film, the festival is officially in swing.  Charlie has done a remarkable job, but he underestimates the industry heavyweights and celebs as the town, almost instantly, becomes overrun by them.  This is where the mockumentary reaches its comedic climax as the numerous groups and their attached films premiere.  We are witness to celebrity reactions, critics feedback, over the top art flicks, studio head clashes, Warner Garbers old friends returning to take some claim of the success, the townsfolk rising up, Charlie coming to terms with his fathers death and the modification of his dream, and a mishmash of regurgitated pop culture references by anyone and everyone in the small town.  The event takes a back seat here, and it’s all about the people at this point. 

The various filmmakers and celebrities that appear for the festival have delicate supporting roles.  Their characters really give shape to the festival, but none of them are around for too long to be of major consequence.  Charlie remains central, with reference to Warners contribution and the team which has made the festival possible.  In the conclusion, we see the chaos melt off of Silver Springs and Charlie personally (and perhaps seriously for the first time) revisit the death of his dad.  Charlie sits in a room with a view of the town behind him and is surrounded by the countless papers and sketches his father made.  In a spontaneous moment he rushes to the roof of the building and throws the papers off, which end up flying across the town.  We then see his team commenting that he’s lost his mind just like his father, and close on a group of townspeople sneering at Charlie as copies of the original festival idea shower the town.  Charlie is left feeling satisfied with his decision, while reflecting on the fact that were it not for his father’s over the top vision, he wouldn’t be where he is.

Charlie Garber - A 35yr old struggling actor.  He’s ambitious, grounded; your typical nice guy.  Still he tends to find himself in the middle of other people’s mistakes.  Despite his rocky past, he shines and finds direction in pulling his father’s film festival together.

Warner Garber - He’s flaky and off his rocker, but as an elaborate dreamer and a former Hollywood producer heavyweight he has the makings of a true eccentric.  Sadly, he dies pretty quick, but lives on in old footage and his festival plans that are shown throughout the film.

Nancy Monroe - She’s a designer and conceptualist in her late twenties.  Charlie calls on her to help establish a theme for the festival, and her bubbly personality and high energy are infectious.  Nancy is also aware of the power she has over Charlie and the sexual tension between them.

Kenneth Heinsman - He’s a staunch 60yr old money man, and although he’s great at running numbers, his elitist homosexual attitude creates conflict.  He always dreamed of being a celebrity stylist, but has no skill in this area.  Still it hasn’t kept him from trying, and throwing in bad fashion advice wherever he can.

Emma Chang - A 40yr old publicist, Emma is intense, but wickedly efficient.  She has an incredible talent for getting people to open up and therefore, has a valuable repertoire of industry secrets.  Many of which are used to ‘encourage’ Warner Garber’s old rich friends to share some money.

Sam Murphy - A local of Silver Springs, he assists in acclimatizing the town to the fest.  He doesn’t really understand the industry jargon, and so is easily relatable to outsiders.  He puts his reputation on the line to insist that the fest is good news for the town.

Blake Allen - He’s Charlie’s assistant, and despite his good nature, he is often overwhelmed by the things Charlie neglects.  He is also on the frontline with Sam in dealing with the demands of the townspeople. 

Norton Gash -  He’s a virtually unknown director, but his film Abundance becomes a breakout success at the festival.  Gash is a nervous and jittery man, and the public attention causes him grief despite all the praise.  He turns to Charlie for solace.

Vivian Terracini -  She’s the rising star from Abundance and embodies the worst aspects of modern celebrity.

Adrian Ulrich - He’s the rising star from Abundance and embodies the best aspects of modern celebrity. 

Ed Fink - He was an old friend of Warner Garber’s, and owns his own production studio.  As a businessman, he’s come to the fest looking to acquire distribution rights and give some unknowns their big breaks.  

Intended Audience:  

Film Fest should have wide comedic appeal between men and women aged 14 to whatever.  The target is those who are educated or interested in pop culture and the entertainment industry.  

Tone & Style:

The tone of the film is light and snappy.  Things move relatively quickly between characters and events.  Everything is shot like a documentary, but there are contrasting moments.  For instance, when the festival starts and things are hectic, the documentary style can capture the manic pace well and put the audience right in the event.  At the same time, in serious moments or screenings, or conversations, the look can be focused and clean (fly on the wall even).  Overall, the look is to be vibrant, colourful, and polished.  It should complement the diversity and the energy that a festival represents and the over-the-top world of film and the characters within it.

Website & Promotion:

Possible ideas for the website include sticking with the whole mockumentary theme and promoting the film as though the festival is really taking place.  There will be bios of the numerous characters, additional clips from the documentary in production, and examples of Warner Garber’s original and over-the-top vision for the festival.  The site could also take the Corner Gas approach, and provide interactive access to the fake festival town of Silver Springs, BC.  Site involvement could even go as far as holding an online short film festival, where users could upload and share their work.  The entries would be treated as submissions to the Silver Springs Fest and viewers could vote on their favourites.  I think Film Fest lends itself to a wide amount of interactivity with its viewers, and the website would certainly reflect this.    

Jul 26, 2012

Misconceptions About Film School

Post-secondary education is a mixed bag of potential, stress, and promises.  Film school can be even messier when you consider that part of what it's selling is a connection to pop culture and the fantasy behind film and television production.  For anyone considering or who is already in a film program, here are some common misconceptions about film school that I'd like to dispel.   

1.  Film School Makes Filmmakers. FALSE.

Whether you're taking a technical or creative program, a film degree can't make the same promises as a degree in education or engineering can.  Film school is intended to help you understand the technical aspects of film production in cooperation with the creative elements that help fuel ideas, but ultimately, the onus is on you to develop yourself as an artist.  It's not that film school won't help foster your career, but it's real job is to nurture a talent that's already there within you, not create it from scratch.

2.  Your Grades Don't Matter. FALSE.

Frankly, your grades aren't as important as the work you create in film school, but you're fooling yourself if you think that you don't have to bother with marks.  Employers might not care as much, but your reputation with film profs can sink if you don't make an effort and that's just another way of cheating yourself out of improving.

3.  Film School is Easy.  FALSE.

It's easy to overlook the challenges of actually creating a film project, but the moment your tasked with writing, casting, shooting, editing, and screening a project on someone else's deadline you'll quickly realize that there's no coasting.

4.  Film School is a Ticket to the Top.  FALSE.

Many believe that a film school education will entitle them to working as a director, producer, editor, or screenplay writer as soon as they graduate.  This is rarely the case. Taking into account where you go to school, the kind of film program you take part in, and your personal connections, for the average person your education is simply a means of entering the industry, not starting out in your dream position. 

5. A Film Degree is Necessary.  FALSE.

Connections and experience matter more than a degree in film.  Speaking personally, employers have had far more interest in the festivals I've taken part in and the clients that I've worked for than where I went to school.

6.  Film School is the Most Practical Option.  FALSE.

Film School is simply an option, but the variables on whether it's the right choice for you come down to your location, financial situation, connections, and what you want to do. There are as many reasons not to go to film school as there are to go.  Great filmmakers are born from great experiences, and the real challenge is finding and creating your own.  

7.  Film School Provides Real World Experience.  FALSE.

It's unfortunate, but most film schools and programs are internal operations that serve to produce  degrees not real world experience.  There are exceptions, and some programs are more versatile than others, but the real focus is on developing a skill set, knowledge, and basic technical know-how about the medium of film.  This canned environment, while valuable, is often not entirely applicable to the work you're more likely to be doing when you graduate.

8.  (After Reading All of These) Film School Isn't Worth It.  FALSE.

As I've said many times, there are numerous reasons why film school isn't the right choice for everyone.  However, film school put me in touch with a handful of like-minded people that helped me grow creatively, helped me fine tune my interest in editing, helped me build a portfolio of work, and provided challenges that made me more fearless about how I approach media and clients.  Film school can be a springboard, but you have to be willing to jump.  

Jun 19, 2012

Life After Film School

Last week I received this message:

Hello, I am a 2nd year film student at the University of Regina. I actually came across your blog by accident, and I'm sure glad that I did! Not only do you propose lots of good insight and ideas into filmmaking and it's various ups and downs, but you do it from a place that I can relate to. I've been having a lot of the same doubts about film school that you've described here, and it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's felt this way. And it's also great to see someone get out of this program (degree or not) and actually GET a job, which is something that has me quite worried these days. If you have any spare time on your hands, would you mind telling me a little bit about why you decided to drop out of the program, and how you made your way into the industry on your own? I'm very interested to hear the journey of someone who's been in the same boat. You have a great blog, and I'm very eager to hear from you.

As I've done in the past, I received permission from this student to respond publicly to their message. As always, I want to thank everyone who sends me questions and feedback. It not only makes this website feel worthwhile, but it also gives me an excuse to explore what I've learnt as well.

I've written at length about film school in the past, and even recently. This blog was a result of me trying to understand the direction I was heading, to facilitate a transition out of university, and to give me a bit of clout when it came to actually pointing to things that I'd done creatively. As a film student, nothing stressed me out more than the fear of not finding meaningful work when I was done.

For the record, I did enjoy a lot of my time in university and I do think there's a lot of value in a film school education. The practicality of it requires you to fill in some of the blanks however.

To answer your question about why I dropped out, I had overstayed my welcome to the point that it wasn't a choice anymore. I completed all of my core production classes through to 4th year, but had spent six years at the U of R doing so. By the time I left I only had a semester of electives, one language class, and one film theory class keeping me from my degree. I was broke though, and after completing the courses I'd come to university for, I became apathetic about school and spent months simply spinning my wheels. I was forced to realize at that point that the only thing I valued about film school anymore was being able to say that I went.

Thankfully, there was a bright side that came from all of this. My frustration with classes actually motivated me to make more personal projects and finally explore my passion for editing on my own terms. I submitted my work to film festivals, I took part in video contests, and started this website. In the beginning it was just self indulgence (and frankly a lot of it still is), but I can see now how these projects laid the groundwork for the opportunities that followed.

I moved home to Medicine Hat in 2008 with my tail between my legs. I had acquired some nice festival credits and had a little bit of money left from a Sasktel video competition that I'd taken part in, but the best thing I had going for me was that I was hungry for anything that seemed even mildly related to video or photography.

It was on a fluke after hearing about Stream Media that things changed. I soon realized that they'd sponsored the local student film festival that I had been a part of, and actually won a few awards from, a couple years before. I then discovered that I had a loose contact through Julie, one of the owners, who I'd spoken with briefly one of the years that I'd had something in the film festival. With nothing to lose, I wrote her an email explaining exactly what I'd been up to.

This shot in the dark changed everything for me. I was called in to talk, I gave them a reel of some of my shorts, and Julie's insistence got me a job. I was hardly financially independent at that point, but the opportunity I'd been given was amazing. The experience I got with Stream Media became building blocks. Suddenly I was shooting for various corporate projects, editing promos, and most importantly, working with a small team that could show me the ropes.

The film festival had become my foot in the door, and because I'd taken chances with my work as a student, it made an impression when I came knocking several years later. That experience still impacts me now when I think about the value of sharing your work. You never know who could be watching or where the next opportunity might come from.

As the economy cooled towards the end of 2008, I began working contract with Stream and found work in early 2009 with a retail website that had an interest in using video. I started as a copywriter with the potential of moving into video with them. My excitement and their willingness to grow lead to them taking a chance with me. I ended up building their in house media department, and began shooting enough photography and video to the point that I had created a new job for myself as their Web Media Editor.

To date I'm still balancing both jobs, and feel like I've been given an incredible opportunity to build my reputation on what I genuinely enjoy doing. The truth is that there is little to be gained in a creative profession without taking risks. Some of the smartest things I've done (looking back) is latched myself to people who appreciated what I was doing. I've also made a point of not just talking about how I love photography and video, but showing people that I do. Words are cheap, but it's difficult to ignore proof.

Once out of film school you're going to have to make sacrifices to move forward. This means making less money for a job that pays in experience, or putting in extra hours just to prove that you can do something new, or taking someones whim and being the person to interpret a logical first step for making it happen. Neither of my jobs existed when I went looking for them, which just goes to show that sometimes your fear can be an amazing motivator. 

Use your uncertainty to explore just what it is you want to do or where you want to be, and start taking as many steps in that direction as you possibly can. Redefine your film school expectations and realize that degree or not, you're still at square one when you get out there. You can take comfort in the fact that what I initially viewed as a failure in terms of leaving university when I did, actually timed me perfectly with the companies who were ready to take chances at that time too. There are a ton of hidden opportunities, and sometimes it really is as simple as getting in touch with the places you'd like to work with whether they're hiring or not.

I'm 28 now, but I've hardly got it all figured out for myself. I know it's important to stay hungry. Make things that inspire you and use them to inspire others. You'll start to pick up crumbs that will lead to bigger opportunities just based on the number of new people you're reaching. And one other thing, people like people who can tell a good story. You'd be amazed how far that can get you. 

So, to sum up a few of my own thoughts here are a few things to consider.  Share your work in as many ways as you can think of.  Like I said, you never know who could be watching.  Work hard to make meaningful connections with other people who are interested in some of the same career ambitions as you, they can become meaningful allies later on.  Take creative risks on a regular basis to challenge yourself, to grow, and to discover new things.  And don't forget, enjoy yourself.  The stress and fear are healthy, but don't forget how much fun the work can be and how defining the journey becomes.  If you really want to make the most of life after film school, stay hungry.  

Jun 14, 2012

Drowning in Student Debt

I was recently contacted by a member of the design team at Online Schools about sharing a new infographic they had created about student debt.  I can certainly relate to the frustration of trying to keep your head above water, as I did have a loan for several years of film school and ended up back at my parent's place afterwards trying to pay it down.  I consider myself fortunate in this situation, as it would have been much worse if I wouldn't have had my folks there while I was trying to get started.  I did write about some of this while I was going through it in 2009.

I've since made a lot of progress in paying off one of my loans completely, getting out of the basement, and gaining traction with my career.  It took a lot of work just to get to this point though, and while I'm fortunate that I'm able to work in positions focused on video and photography like I went to school for, money and growth opportunities are still very real concerns.  The numbers stated in this infographic are surprising, but the reality unfortunately is not.    

Student Loan Debt

Jun 5, 2012

Film School and the Real World

After recently saving my film school notes from a leaking pipe I couldn't help but muse over what I'd written and how so much had changed since I was a student.  At the same time, I realized that I wasn't entirely oblivious throughout university and actually made some smart decisions.  For any of my aspiring filmmaker/student readers, here are a few things I'm now certain of.

1.  The time to pursue your creativity is now.

I mean this regardless of your age, but especially if you're a student.  When you're in school it's easy to coast on the promise of your potential and believe that just being in a creative program is enough to get you where you want to go.  The reality is that it's the films you make to amuse yourself and the experimenting you do when you're younger that actually make those dream projects possible down the road.  University and film school aren't about giant leaps forward, they're training grounds to help you make steps.  
In my experience it was this blog, film festivals, competitive video contests, and the random content that I continued to create throughout university that helped me build a meager reputation.  That translated into connections though, and those translated into jobs.  Find ways of targeting your energy into the field that you really want to get involved in.  Trust me, persistence speaks volumes.

2.  Criticism never stops.

I have never worked on a project that didn't involve taking others viewpoints into account.  There is no golden rule here, but knowing when to stand your ground is best when it comes from experience and not from ego.  The creative process can be a balancing act at times, and criticism should always be constructive and used as a way to present alternatives to achieve a particular vision.  Whether or not you act on criticism is your call, but being able to discuss what works, what doesn't, and why, goes a long way in creative meetings.

Student life in Regina.

3.  Your experiences are worth more than your grades.

In my post-uni job interviews and in creative meetings with clients, my experiences have always carried far more weight than what marks I got or where I went to school.  Keep in mind that people like good stories.  They also like people who can back up their passions with real life applications.  It goes back to my first point.

4. It's easy to be a one-trick pony.

If you always do one thing really well it's easy to fall into a rut where that's all anyone will ever want or ask from you.  Instead, develop consistency in your work, but continually take risks to show that you're approach is varied.  Or don't.  Some people like routine - I am not one of them.

5. If you don't hold yourself accountable you'll never do the work you want.

Once you're out of film school there are no assignments, no teachers, and no classmates to encourage (or force) you to create another short film or participate in a new project.  If you weren't motivated to create before, welcome to the real world where it's more challenging to find the time (or excuse) to make something.

You might wonder what the point is, but depending on what you're doing, new projects (especially when shared online) become links to new people and contacts.  I've been contacted for work and festivals as a result of this site, and that's the thing - you never know who might stumble along.  No one will hand you your dream job if you're not willing to play a role in earning or creating it for yourself.  

In the dorms in 2007.

Mar 1, 2012

Bolex Camera Diagrams

All of the film I shot in film school was done on a Bolex camera.  It's essentially the old work horse of all film school cameras as pretty much up every introduction to shooting uses this versatile 16mm piece of equipment.  After recently purchasing a vintage 16mm projector to watch some of my old shorts, I was reminded of the Bolex diagrams we had to learn.  The camera had to be threaded in complete darkness as to not expose the film, so knowing your way around what wraps where was kind of a big deal.  In any case, I found those original Bolex diagrams in my notes and thought it would be cool to share them.  Someday in the not too distant future I'd like to buy myself a used Bolex and give shooting on film another go.

Feb 21, 2012

Custom Filters and Video Filter Software

About a week ago I received this message:

Hi Luke,

I have been reading your blog daily as a result of my hobby of photography and video.  I am just a little older than you at 50 years old.  I have been off and on doing photography for a few years... My real question is how do you get that "old time" look to your videos.  When I watch them, I always seem to drift away and think I am watching films or home movies from the 50's or 60's.  I don't know how to explain the look I am seeing.  It is almost like a sepia or 8 mm look without the film scratches, etc.  Do you do post production filtering of some sorts?  I guess a better description would be, the videos remind me of early 50's documentary films with the dude with the tenor voice narrating...."Here we are at the Grand Canyon, Timmy can't seem to get enough of climbing rocks.  Even the donkeys join in"  I am sure you know what I am trying to say.  I use a Canon HF G10 HD camera for videos and love it.  My first video camera was a DVD mini disk, by Sony.  I still use it sometimes.  Anyways, enough of my ramblings.  Thanks for the videos and interesting read from your Blog.  Keep them coming. 


Don N.
St. Charles, Missouri

First things first, thanks for writing me the message, Don!  I always appreciate the feedback, and like I said when I first responded to you, your question seemed like a great topic for me to blog about and answer.

I've always been big on post-production filters and customizing them to create different looks.  As you noticed, vintage looks from the 50's on through the 80's have been a point of interest for me.  I actually wrote a post around a year ago (almost to the day as a matter of fact) about creating vintage filters that highlights some of my past experiments.  It's a good place to start if you want to get an idea of what some of these looks I'm talking about are.

I do all of my filters through either a combination of overlays created in Adobe Photoshop, or more recently, through the Magic Bullet Looks Builder as part of the Pinnacle and Avid Software that I edit with.  There are a wide array of presets to play with, and I've often used them as a jumping off point to create custom filters that best suit the look I'm after.

Another tool I use to build and customize filters is the proDAD VitaScene software (also available through upgraded packages with Pinnacle and Avid Studio).  What I love about this program is that it comes in handy for tinting your footage and it also gives you a lot of useful tools for text - like flares or glowing overlays for instance.

Creating filters that look fresh and professional is tough to achieve with presets though, so I almost never use them as is. Instead, I use the presets as templates to build upon. These programs make it easy to layer various filters, to adjust the aspects of each individual filter, and to manipulate your base footage all within small steps of one another.  It's really not a complicated process to play around with, but achieving the right balance for certain looks does take some fine tuning.

If you look at the edit I did for Backyard Bubbles, where I took some of my home video footage and gave it a vintage upgrade, you can see some of what I'm talking about. With this clip I applied very soft crushed edges to create more darkness in the corners, I upped the saturation, played down the contrast, and added a soft blur to take away some of the digital sharpness.  I remember there was a lot of tweaking to get the lighting correct, because it was easy to wash out or black out large portions of the footage.  And, just in case you're thinking I was using some fancy camera, this was shot on a $100 Flip Cam.

In short, pretty much every tool I use to edit video (both personally and professionally) is very affordable and easy to find.  The difference comes from experimenting and playing with what the options really are, and not just what they're presented as.  Digital video has made having a professional edit suite much simpler, and often professional looking results are possible with a less than professional budget.

I hope this helps - and presents some new challenges too!

Feb 9, 2012

Experimental Film Course Syllabus

For a long time I've had it in my head that I'd share some of the notes that I've held onto since film school.  Given that all of these assignments have now been uploaded, I figured the syllabus from Film 486: Experimental Film Production, was as good a place to start as any.  Check out the list of projects we were assigned in the fall semester of 2006, and then check out my links below to see what I did for each one.  

Video Collage

For this one I took it upon myself to bring new meaning to time travel.  Check out The Other Time Machine.

Formal Film Project

Shot on 16mm and presented at the Sask Film Pool, for this assignment I created X.

Media Diary

My goal with this assignment was to create a photographic quilt of my past using cropped images and textures from my childhood.  What I made was, from 84.

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.