John Fischer

This is John's blog ...


So, I'm not 100% sure I'm post this correctly, but here it goes. As of right now, I've been creating a 3D model in Google SketchUp for about seven hours or so. The assignment (for one of my architecture workshops) was to create one small space that lead into a bigger space. We would then load these models into the virtual reality lab, and explore them as a class. Being the big nerd I am, I naturally chose a Star Wars themed model. Having been working feverishly for many hours now, and incidentally missing the deadline for this blog post, I began to wonder why I picked such a complicated subject for a fairly easy project. It was then that I realized a link between this class and my workshop: stories and narrative. The VR class is essentially exploring how we design differently when in an immersive environment. That being said, I realized that means we're walking from place to place, experiencing our projects in a linear, sensoral fashion. In a way, we're designing differently because we're "part of the story." Fascinating...

I must say, class this week was quite interesting, in particular the screening of F is for Fake. I did some further research on this film, and read about it's critical reception at the time of it's release. When it was shown in theaters, many critics were extremely put off by it's so-called "erratic and self-indulgent" style. Admittedly, I was initially thinking along similar lines at the beginning of the film. To me, it seemed to be an almost masturbatory exercise in confusion, simply a cloaked and brooding Orson Welles trying to make himself seem more mysterious and avant garde. However, as the film progressed, and I became used to the extremely non-linear narrative device, a certain cleverness began to strike me. In being hyper-edited and (seemingly) spontaneous, the film essentially forces the viewer to pay attention, if for no other reason than to try and piece together the disparate components of the story. Interestingly enough, after the movie had been out for a couple decades, film students began to look back at it and see it as a sort of transition into the now omni-present "MTV" style of editing and filming, with quick cuts and up close cameras. This film was perhaps quite ahead of it's time.

This week was fun for me in class, as I finally got to release a bit of that pent-up creative energy. For me, using a program like Photoshop is quite fun. I've been into it since I volunteered in 2003 to help with my high school's annual art fair, Arts ala Carte. I worked at a booth where we would take people's faces, crop them out of a picture, then insert them into famous works of art. Initially I was completely swamped and overwhelmed, but right after it was done I signed up for my first digital-based art class, Design and Illustration. That's when I really got into this stuff. For me, it's a great combination of not only creativity, but a sort of problem solving, as you think "how would I go about producing this effect?" Then it becomes a matter of logically dissecting the components of an image or concept into a series of commands. Typically speaking, this is how I tend to think anyway, so this type of art really does seem to be a natural fit for me.

I must say, this last week in class was very cool for me. Admittedly, I'm finding it hard to be energetic through a three hour class after an entire morning of judo, but I'm doing my best. However, Thursday had some really awesome work, with everyone showing off their narrative slideshows. I was very impressed with the quality of the work, in particular the visual composition of the photos. I was a bit bummed out I didn't get to show mine on Thursday, but c'est la vie. I'm really looking forward to starting video, and especially to screening one of my favorite movies, Lola Rennt! I had to watch it every day in class for two months in my high school German class, and I still love it.

PRODUCTION STRESS. This movie, I'm fairly confident, will be pretty damn funny/entertaining when all is said and done, but man, we are moving at a brisk pace. I've never really been one for a formal pre-production phase thus far. I typically have a general idea of how I want a film to look , as well as a few key shots I want to pull off, then sort of use those as a scaffolding to build the rest of the footage with. That being said, I'm actually glad we're being made to plot this one out a bit more. With a script as punchy and dialogue heavy as ours, a bit of a gameplan should really speed up filming.

I'm getting fairly excited for the upcoming animation demo, as stop-motion is something I've always found fascinating. When I was growing up, we always used to watch a VHS tape of a movie called "Where Do Toys Come From?". In it, the two main characters are a pair of wind up toys that travel backwards through time to discover how they were made. There are a few really cool stop motion scenes mixed in with the regular footage. I'm gonna post a really cool example of stop motion I used to watch all the time when I was a freshman.

So I want to take this opportunity to tell y'all about my favorite comic book artist: Alex Ross. He started painting comic book covers in the early 90's, doing freelance work for both Marvel and DC. He's noted for his uniquely photorealistic style of depiction, and for painting (rather than purely drawing and inking) his work. He works primarily with a type of paint called gouache, a sort of super-vivid watercolor. He utilizes this paint to achieve super subtle blends of color, and is famous for his spectacular lighting effects. I'm gonna throw up a few links for you guys to enjoy.

Well, we're supposed to use this week's blog entry to reflect on what we've written thus far this semester. Looking back on my entries, I guess I really can't draw any salient conclusions from my previous posts. It's not as though I dislike this class (quite the opposite actually) but more that I just have never been a huge proponent of journaling in general. I can appreciate the value of recording your thoughts and, in this case, sharing them with your peers, but something about the regimented and habitual nature of a timely blog or journal has never quite clicked with me. I will say, however, that it has been rather interesting perusing everyone else's entries, and getting a different perspective on the various and sundry goings-on of the class throughout the semester.

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