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Stephen Project 2

My project went quite a bit differently than I planned. When several of my actors were unable to participate, I was forced to choose a different scene. So now, instead of working from Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush,? I decided to work from a segment from the film “Paris Je T’aime.? This particular segment, directed by Alexander Payne tells the story of a lone American tourist in Paris. The scene I chose to film is from the very end, when the tourist realizes, that although alone, there are more important things in the world, and loneliness only lasts for so long. The scene is simultaneously sad and uplifting, sad because of the loneliness the tourist feels, but again, uplifting upon his own epiphany.
To go about filming, I decided to go on a little bit different route. Instead of filming outside in a park I decided to use the green screen. Originally, I thought about putting footage from the actual film behind me, but I decided to do something a bit different. In the film, one of the key elements is the spirit of Paris, so I decided what better way to portray that spirit than by using paintings of the city. Each painting embodies the spirit of Paris in its own right and collectively they give an interesting view of the city. By using the green screen, I was able to place myself in a Monet painting and also to interact with other paintings, mostly by Seurat. The result is somewhat awkward, but illustrates what it is like to be in a place where you are entirely by yourself. In the painting, I stick out like a sore thumb, much like the typical American tourist. I found this aspect of the film important, because the tourist never really feels like fits in totally, but in the end finds peace within the city itself. The shooting process was tough, taking roughly 5 hours to set up only about 1 minute of actual film. Lighting for the green screen is quite tricky and takes a lot of trial and error before getting it just right. The paintings were all collected from various sources and put into some sort of motion, which was important to maintain a sort of kineticism with in the film. To me static paintings, while very pretty to look at, wouldn’t have been enough to provide the film with the energy it needs. All in all, the filming process was difficult, but the end product is something while vastly different from the original scene, is linked in spirit to its inspiration.