Digital Video – Week 06

Classwork

One down and one to go. Our documentary seemed to be fairly well received, with some really helpful constructive criticism. I really appreciate being told where I’ve gone wrong, when there’s reasoning and alternative suggestions behind it. But without any time to rest, we’re on to the Narrative Project.

We’ve been handed similar restriction on time for this project: a short turnaround of six weeks and an equally brief film length – a maximum of five minutes. This is actually a far more difficult prospect for the Narrative Project however. In this time, we need to create a screenplay (or at the very least, adapt a screenplay from a text), organise actors, possibly find costumes and locate… locations.

Fortunately, we were directed to an excellent piece of software called Celtx. For anyone remotely interested in industries that require pre-production (film, 3D, AV etc), you should take a look at this software. It’s free, it’s cross-platform and it has a solid looking community behind it.

Development

Sitting on one of Sydney’s older, tin can train carriages the other day, an idea popped into my head. I was seated just inside the door to the carriage and from my vantage point, was able to look upstairs and downstairs at the other passengers.

traincarriage

A Sydney train carriage

I thought of ‘appropriating’ Hitchcock‘s Psycho and using each level of the train carriage to represent a different area of Freud‘s mind: the Superego, the Ego and the Id (from top to bottom). The trick here would be to get a dialogue between all levels. Using one actor, speaking a type of monologue, split by levels was probably not going to give us the arc needed to fill one of the project requirements. So I went on the hunt for a usable text.

In the meantime, I got in touch with RailCorp. There was no point pursuing the idea, if we weren’t going to be allowed to film on a carriage. I have to say, contrary to media opinion that all RailCorp/CityRail workers have been employed specifically because of their sub-human intelligence levels, they were quite helpful and surprisingly coherent for monkeys. However, it turns out that even for students, filming on RailCorp property is prohibitively expensive. Not only does it cost money to film (billed in 3hr units), but there are parking fees, electricity charges and whopping costs to have a RailCorp Safety/Liaison Officer present. I’m actually not begrudging RailCorp their right to charge these fees – I understand what must be involved with their responsibilities as a government company, but I did have my fingers crossed that we’d get some special treatment as students. Nevermind, on to the next idea…

One of my favorite writers is Dave Eggers and his quarterly short story publication, McSweeny’s, which is always stunning and wonderfully quirky.

mcsweenys

McSweeny's Quarterly Concern

On the McSweeny’s website, you can find regularly updated (very) short stories. I thought these would be a good place to begin my search. Three particularly interesting ones I came across were: Manifest Destiny Wagon Pool, by Jimmy Chen; Mongo: The Animal That Taught Me Things And Changed Lives, by Jennifer Kahn and Evan Ratliff; and Chip Tusken: Road-Sign Writer, by Kenny Byerly.

However, after showing them to the other members of my group, with a lacklustre response, I think I’ll have to go back on the hunt for something with a bit more that we can flesh out of the story. A couple within my group want to write the story themselves, which sets of alarm bells of time wasting and bickering to me, but we’ll see how that pans out. What’s the worst that could happen…?

Leave a Reply