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May 7, 2008

Stephen Project 3

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April 23, 2008

Stephen Grothem-Visiting Artist

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April 21, 2008

Stephen Project 2 Video

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April 9, 2008

Stephen Final Project

The idea for my final project is actually a part of a larger idea I had for a film called the Lonely Bowler's Club.

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April 2, 2008

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.

March 3, 2008

Stephen Project 2 Proposal

The type of films that hit me that hardest are those that although they may be wacky or zany, also have a deep understanding of the heart, and are able to make the audience feel. The scene I would like to reshoot is a scene from the Charlie Chaplin film "The Gold Rush." The scene in question shows Charlie preparing for a New Year's eve dinner for some of the new friends he has met, including his love interest, Georgia. He sets the table for her and her friends and sits down and waits for them to arrive. The scene then shifts to them all having a great time and Chaplin becoming very moved with all his success, at that moment the scene shifts back to Chaplin alone, asleep at the table while the friends who were supposed to come are out celebrating at the town hall. The way Chaplin mixes between comedy and tragedy is wonderful and it allows us to feel the pain even more. I don't think I want to do a shot for shot remake rather than sort of reinterpret the scene for myself, updating it, and changing a few things here and there. I do, however, wish for the spirit of the original, as well as a few very iconic images to remain. I don't think it is plausible for me to have my main character exactly as Chaplin was in the film simply because it is nearly impossible to emulate him and make it work properly. Therefore my main character will be someone similar but at the same time quite different To do this I plan on using no dialogue, since the original is silent, there will be intertitles however. My real goal is to capture the delicate balance between the comedy and the tragedy because it makes everything in the scene so much more effective. I think the challenge will come in making the audience feel attached to a character is such a short amount of time. I may cut down on a few things such as the number of people at the dinner party due to sheer logistics as well as the location of the town hall party. I think I may also shoot a small scene from earlier in the film that sets up the party in case just the party isn't quite clear enough to the viewer. I am looking forward to be able play with emotions because there is nothing better than a film that hits you on a deep emotional level.

February 25, 2008

Stephen Project 1

Reality TV

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February 3, 2008

Stephen: Project 1 Proposal

Recently, I have become interested in how "reality TV" has become so popular in our culture and what "reality TV" would be like if it were actual reality.

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