December 8, 2008

lauren project 3

Media Mill Video

lauren project 3

For my final project I followed my proposal pretty closely. I continued working with the humor theme from my other two projects and recreated a scene from Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush. The scene from The Gold Rush is about three hungry men in a cabin seeking shelter. However, when the owner of the cabin finds the two other men loitering in his cabin a comedic fight ensues. I chose this scene because I felt it had a lot of slapstick elements and it also plays off of my second project where there's comedy in a possible tragedy; Chaplin could have been shot. I also chose this scene because when I first saw it in the movie it straight out made me laugh - hopefully with the version I made others will see the humor in it as well.

When deciding to make this particular scene I was really concentrating on story and sound. I feel that with any project I make that story is the most important aspect in turning out a good product. With movies - if they have excellent special effects that's great, but it's still a bad movie because the storyline falls flat. So with this scene I really wanted it to be a mini story with a beginning, middle, and end so that it would make sense out of the context of the film which is something I had to work around in my last project. I also wanted to work on sound and improve on it from my last projects. So that also factored into my choice of a Chaplin film because sound becomes very important with a silent movie in directing the audience's mood toward characters and the situation. I took the original soundtrack from the scene and rearranged it, cutting and adding, so it would fit well with my shots as my recreation is not exactly the same as the original.

When shooting the scene, since I'm an awful actor, I instead paid more attention to the setting and other details in order to create a more believable experience. I used a 3-season porch for it to look more like a cabin and also because it allowed us to actually enter and exit the scene and not just walk off frame. Other details that I focused on in order to create a Chaplinesque experience was to make it in black and white and to add the old film effects. With the effects it was hard to tell how much was too much before it looked really fake or distracted away from the story. If I had more time I would have liked to play around with it more and also I would have liked to speed up the film and add at the beginning a projector sound and some flickering black and white so it would seem like this was actually film and had to be run on a projector.

Overall, this was a really fun project to make for me and for future projects this has really helped me see where I need to improve and spend more time on.

November 20, 2008

Lauren Visiting Artist Response

This past Thursday I went to listen to the visiting artist Allison Smith. Smith focuses her art surrounding the American Civil War and really gets her inspiration from that time period. She mainly makes her art related to the Civil War because of her background and how she grew up. In her household, she describes her parents as fulfilling the traditional and stereotypical roles with her mother being more domestic creating crafts such as candy making whereas her father worked more with tools in the garage and even worked for the government creating spy weapons. Growing up in this environment Smith also became creative and worked with crafts herself. Her work with the Civil War also stems from the fact that she grew up in Virginia and her family took her to many Civil War sites and reenactments. Smith also mentioned that she makes this kind of art because she had Civil War guilt as some of her ancestors were involved in instigating the war itself. With this in mind Smith’s working methods involve studying a history as well as using her personal history. Smith also likes to work with space and she enjoys when one can interact within the space. When making her art she uses a wide range of mediums including textile, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, basket weaving, weaving, metal work, wheat weaving, and many others. Though she mainly works with textiles and crafts, she also specified that she has the desire to learn many other different types of media including knitting.

Smith’s work involves looking at a history and she incorporates her own history and experience as well. She attempts to explore the past, her own past, but also is able to incorporate the public as well. Smith does this by creating spaces that the public can interact with and participate with whether they simply walk through the space or interact with the art itself. One of her pieces was a muster where each artist created a costume and a tent in response to her question “what are you fighting for?. With this specific piece Smith was able to take a personal question and an historical past and share it with a wider audience enabling the wider art world to personalize the question and her piece.

One comment that Smith made during her presentation that stuck with me was that she says she starts with her art thinking about her personal life and experience but then when she presents it, it grows into a group dynamic and enables others to personalize it and take it beyond what Smith had begun with. For me this really resonated because I think that for many artists their work is so personal and the viewer has a hard time relating to the work and making it their own. However, with Smith’s work the audience is able to interact and even participate in interpreting the work in their own way like with the muster in New York.

Overall, I really enjoyed her presentation. I didn't know what to expect just from the brief description on the blog. I didn't know how she worked with the Civil War period but she certainly made it very interesting for me. Another interesting aspect of her presentation was how she made connections with so many artists and craftspeople around the world who were able to teach her dying crafts. Smith is certainly the "jack of all trades and the master of none".

November 17, 2008

Lauren Project 3 Proposal

For my last project I'm still developing the idea but I thought I would bring the themes of my projects full circle and reenact a scene from a Charlie Chaplin film. I'm not sure which film or scene I would like to reenact but I am going to approach it by trying to be as true to the film as possible by doing it shot by shot. I also want it to have the same feel as the original film so it will all be in black and white, have inter-titles, and a soundtrack. One aspect that is going to be difficult is that the film relies very heavily on acting and I am not sure who will be acting in the film - if I will myself or some of my friends. I'm still figuring that part out. In this project I also wanted to focus and develop my skills with using sound. I figured by using a silent film I would really have to work with sound in order to bring out the acting and story.

For a timeline I am planning on shooting this coming weekend and possibly during that week. I am also planning on having my rough draft review for December 1st. Hopefully by planning to have more days for shooting I will be able to have more footage and be able to play around with it more. I am still developing my ideas and what I want to do but I plan that by this weekend I will have a storyboard of the scene I will shoot.

November 3, 2008

Lauren Project 2

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Lauren Project 2

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October 6, 2008

Lauren: Project 2 Proposal

The movie I chose for my re-enactment is Life is Beautiful. I was actually battling between Life is Beautiful and the Lion King but I felt that Life is Beautiful resonated with me more as some of my family members were lost in the Holocaust as well. But the scene that I chose from this movie is one of the final scenes where the Nazis are losing the war and trying to destroy evidence by sending away all of the prisoners in the camps. While this is happening the main character, Guido, hides his son in a small mailbox (I think that's what it is...) while he tries to find his wife Dora in another part of the camp. He tells his son not to come out until everything is quiet and no one is around. After this, as he tries to find his wife, Guido is caught by one of the Nazi soldiers and is taken off to be shot. But as he walks off he passes by the mailbox with his son in it and does a funny march for his boy. Then Guido is taken around a corner and you hear a gunshot and then the soldier walks out alone. I find this scene so sad because of what these characters endured throughout the entire movie and then at the very end when they are about to be liberated Guido dies. I also love it because throughout the entire film Guido uses humor to help keep his son and himself alive and even until the very end Guido still uses humor with his funny march.

To re-enact this scene I think that I want to do it shot by shot and storyboard it out keeping as true to the movie as possible. The only thing is that the scene is quite long and involved and I want it mainly to show the father and son so I may consider limiting the re-enactment to part of the scene. As for the setting I will have it be pretty simple to the original because the film is set in the 40's it'll be hard for me to replicate exactly. I'm planning though on having the set be relatively dark with low lighting. I also will be shooting it outdoors with a lot of buildings around. For the mailbox that the boy hides in I may also replace it with a closet that he hides in. As for the costumes they will be dark and look shabbier. For the Nazi soldier I think wearing boots, the Nazi insignia, and a squirt gun would cover it. I haven't enlisted anyone to play the parts yet but I think that I would play the part of the boy. Sound will also be important especially with the sound of the gunshot but also I'm going to try and use sound to help develop the mood. This movie was really moving for me and I think that it will be challenging to try and recreate it without it being cheesy but I'm really looking forward to it.

October 1, 2008

Lauren Project 1

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September 14, 2008

Lauren: Project 1 Proposal

For my stop-motion animation project I am going to have more of a narrative storyline. With the narrative the story will have a beginning, middle, and end. I am going to tell the story of a dog who is hungry and his other dog friends refuse to share their own hard earned food with him. Therefore he must find his own and inevitably passes by a sandwich shop. Of course in the shop dogs are not allowed in and so the dog must try to sneak into the shop in order to get a sandwich. The middle part of the story is the many ways the dog attempts to get into the shop without the manager spotting him and throwing him out. I really love Chaplin and Buster Keaton films and for the middle part of narrative, in particular, I'm using those films as an influence for the attempts the dog is going to make in trying to get into the store. The dog will definitely be engaging in some physical comedy in attempt to get his sandwich. However, in the end the dog will be successful and end up getting his sandwich.

The tricks that I'm thinking of using are time-based and maybe object-based. With a time-based trick I'm planning on doing a slow-motion technique where the dog is leaping through the air at an open window. With the slow-motion the leaping will become more exaggerated and provide tension to see if the dog will make it. For the other trick I'm thinking in terms of an object-based one where the dog is so hungry that he thinks he sees someone holding food but when he lunges for it, it turns into a different object that wasn't food at all.

For the moment I am pretty intent on using drawings to convey this narrative but I may also include collage and build a set, though I'm still working on whether I will do that or not. I'm still not sure though how I will be using sound in my project. I know that it would definitely be better with some sort of music or sound effects when the dog attempts to get into the store. Because I'm basing it off of silent movies I know that a soundtrack definitely enhances the storyline - so I will have to figure out what kind of music/sound would work best. But overall with this project I wanted to make a story that people would enjoy and find some humor in.