Project 5 – How to learn

Rather than looking at an aspect of film production, in this project you will focus your attention on how you can develop your own understanding and skills. 

Look back at a piece of work you have produced so far including any notes and blog entires that went with it.

For each piece produce a short list defining:

  • What you set out to achieve?
  • How you can identity what you achieved?
  • Whether you achieved it?
  • What you learned from this?

Now reflect on these important questions.

  • Is it better to struggle and improve your weaker areas or should you cut your losses and focus on your strengths?
  • How can you ever really know what your strengths and weaknesses are?
  • How do you know what you need to know if you don’t know what it is yet?
  • Who can you ask or where can you find out?
  • How do you know if you have improved. When is it times to move on?

 

I decided to choose the last video I made, the Stranger. Purely because so far that was my favourite video to film and I was pleased with the result. Also I worked hard on storyboarding it and sticking exactly to the plan.

  • What you set out to achieve?

I set out to create a feeling of fear and vulnerability conveyed by the angles. I wanted to create a bit of a twist as the camera angles were reversed and the supposed bad guy was suddenly seen from above to make him seem not quite as safe as he thought he was first. Otherwise it would have been fairly predictive, guy comes to the door, lady is scared, man breaks in, attacks woman. But adding this twist kept the viewers interest engaged.

  • How you can identity what you achieved?

I used low angles to create feelings of drama and power and high angles to show how the person was vulnerable and in danger. The music increased the impact booming in at suitable moments to heighten feelings of fear. I used a panning frame to include the man and and the woman and to highlight the respective feelings between them both. The man has come for the woman and she is scared and hiding. This shows that she knows this person, the fact she’s hiding means she has been waiting for this moment. I left the reason he was there out so it was ambiguous and the viewer could try and come up with an explanation of the predicament. A subjective view lent the viewer the chance to see through Anne’s eyes and how fearful she is. An extreme close up of Anne’s eyes shows how she is not going to put up with this anymore. And the tracking shot bumps up the drama and makes the moment very tense as you wonder what will happen next.

  • Whether you achieved it?

I think I did achieve this. A fellow student commented that in the second frame it might have been more powerful to show the man walking towards the camera as opposed to walking away and diminishing in the frame. This is a great point and one I will think of when I next shoot. My actors were excellent and worked well together and (mostly) followed my instructions.

  • What you learned from this?

In the past when I’ve made videos I’ve had a plan in my mind but never storyboarded it. The storyboard was fantastic to use and worked on two levels, one it gave me chance to come up with the ideas, explore what would work, what wouldn’t, how to achieve the angles, how to convey emotion. I also ticked each frame off as I filmed so I knew exactly how long was left, what I needed next. This also was good as my actors weren’t always available together. I could shoot first with Ken, then Anne and then gathered them both together for the other shots. They also looked at the storyboards so they knew what was expected of them though I constantly gave them information before each ‘action’ and told them how they would be feeling but also allowing them to convey the emotion in their own way. Just like in script writing you are given the words and it may have an emotion written down but then you control how it’s said, the body language etc.

Now reflect on these important questions.

  • Is it better to struggle and improve your weaker areas or should you cut your losses and focus on your strengths?

I am a perfectionist and will work to the bitter end to ensure it is as good as I can make it. I deliberately set out and give myself the hardest challenges possible so I feel like I have achieved and learnt something. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out, that’s life, but I fight on, wring my mistakes out to gain information of how to do it better. I also focus on my strengths, so if I feel I am good in a certain area I will include it, for instance, I think I’m ok at tense moments or conveying different emotions so that features in my stories. Maybe my weakness is trying to create mood without music, I love music, it’s a huge part of my life and everything you watch generally always features music.

  • How can you ever really know what your strengths and weaknesses are?

I think you can always see what you can do well and what you can’t. In art I’d say I’m pleased with my line and wash watercolours, my portraits of people and drawings of animals. I definitely know my weakness are vehicles and horses. I would love to create photorealistic drawings and am constantly working towards it. For me that is my biggest goal in art but I wouldn’t call it a weakness that I can’t yet do it because I am working really hard to one day achieve it. Yet at the same time I focus on cartoons, and line drawings, landscapes and all sorts of media. So yes I think you can always know what your strengths are weakness are.

  • How do you know what you need to know if you don’t know what it is yet?

You start to do something and realise, oh actually I’m not pleased with that, I didn’t realise I didn’t know that. For instance, cooking. I started to make my Mum an afternoon tea on Mothers Day and started and was suddenly stumped, I didn’t know where much of the things were, I wasn’t prepared for how hard it was to cut a curl of cucumber like the photos on the internet. So in that respect I hadn’t yet been faced with having to do that and then realised I needed to learn fast.

  • Who can you ask or where can you find out?

You can ask friends or family, people on the internet, google, websites, books, libraries, there’s a huge source of places. Magazines are brilliant too.

  • How do you know if you have improved. When is it times to move on?

You know you have improved when you look at something and think, actually, I’m pleased with that. And then compare it to something you’ve already done and realise how far you’ve come. I compare how when I started learning guitar I was faced with bar chords, (where you need to stretch your finger across the fret and select other strings) At first it’s agony, it really hurts and you have to build it. The other day I was playing my medley which is packed with bar chords and realised how it doesn’t hurt anymore and is starting to become second nature. My problem is, I don’t move on, I make sure it’s perfect until I let it go and even then I still do it every day so I will never forget it and can only improve it.

Also you can ask friends and family of their opinions and if you’re brave enough, random strangers.

————————————————————————–

It was really interesting answering those questions, I feel I learnt quite a lot just from taking part in that.

 

And with that I turn the page to see the next part is Assignment One 😀 Can’t wait.

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