Tuesday, December 6, 2011


In the second part of our film module we are creating two two-minute films inspired by poetry.

We were put into groups depending on our preferred role. I decided I would prefer to focus on the storyboarding and concept design.

The first poem we were given is a story of oppression and expectations within society, and of love that is forbidden and frowned by their respective religions and cultures. After some initial brainstorming we decided to focus solely on the love story, and less on the cultural element. However there was some decisions to be made on how conceptual we wanted the film to be; Do we want it to be abstract, or have a more evident narrative? Do we want the visuals to be impressionistic and set in a studio, or do we want to be filming in a specific area?

We watched a few short films that depict love in one way or another:

Thought of You from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.

This is a minimalistic but very moving animation that was the project of artist and animator Ryan Woodward, who wished to combine his interests in animation, effects and contemporary dance.

On his website, Ryan states: "Rather than creating a narrative animated piece that communicates a well defined story, this piece allows for each individual who views it to experience something unique and personal that touches their own sensibilities."

He hoped that his film would inspire many different individual responses and interpretations, and, judging by the 1000+ comments on the Vimeo link, I think that's been achieved. Some feel that it represents how we tend to idealise people in the first stages of the relationship (as shown around 1:00), and how we sometimes forget that they are, in fact, just normal, mundane people (as shown around 2:40, when the woman is drawn with plain pencil lines). Personally I find it very sad to see that the transformation between the bright, angelic creature to "plain" causes him to doubt and leave. 

I think the fact that people relate their own experiences to the film is the reason why it is so touching. For my film project, I would have liked to have done something ambiguous like this, so that others would respond to it with their own experiences. However our group reached the final decision to do a narrative approach so that it relates more to the poem.

one step forward (award winning 48 hour film project) from ben crowell on Vimeo.

Again, a touching film (I'm a bit of a romantic at heart). However this one is particularly unusual as it is all shown in reverse. We are curious and slightly confused at first as to why a soaked, bedraggled-looking guy looks, at the same time, like the happiest man on Earth. We watch him take part in various activities, still unsure as to who he is or what he's doing. The music cuts to a minimal piano when, towards the end, he shares a tender moment and proposes to his girlfriend, and we discover why he's so cheerful.

This idea of "starting at the end and moving towards the beginning" is interesting to me as it leaves room for the viewer to guess and wonder at what's happening, and keeps their attention until the end.

Although our poem is a bit more brooding, I played with the idea of beginning with the girl looking dejected as she and her lover have left each other. This would progress to show them in conflict over the fact they aren't allowed to be together, which would then go on to show them in love in various happy memories. The ending, whilst happy, would still have a saddening effect on the audience as they know the couple didn't, in fact, end up together.

I drew up some rough storyboard ideas for this.

However, following feedback from others, I think it wasn't entirely clear that the story was in reverse, so the message of the film wasn't understandable without my explanation, so we decided to compromise and combine some of my ideas with a more narrative approach.

Be Near Me from John X. Carey on Vimeo.

And the last one. There is a clear story here of the woman losing her partner in a plane accident. The film expresses lucidly how memories of lost loved ones keep them alive within us. The main feature that struck me in this film was the cinematography and use of short, brief cuts to contrast between happy memories and the current day. In the memories, the colours are more warm and saturated. Towards the end, they become much darker and washed out to reflect her grief.

We've decided for the focus of ours to be on the memories that the couple have shared, so I'm going to take inspiration from this for how to organise them and contrast them with the reality of the situation - that they can't be together.

My next steps are to create the final storyboards, moodboards and eventually an animatic.

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