Learning by doing – over and over and over

When it came time to pick groups for a three-week film project, I immediately asked Sara if she’d be interested in working together since I’ve wanted to do a project with her for a while. She quickly tapped Nobu and Fillipo to join us, so we ended up with a group of four, which turned out to be rather fortuitous. We agreed to meet on the following Thursday to kick around ideas and do some storyboarding.

When Thursday rolled around we got to talking. As is often the case with good collaboration, it’s not easy to reconstruct the discussion in terms of who suggested what when. I know we got to talking about recontextualization. At first it was with an idea toward filming the same scene twice in different contexts in a way that would make the actions, while identical, very different in meaning. We played with this idea for a bit, discussing layout and order. Would we do things sequentially, or would we rather split the screen and run the two scenes in parallel.

The talk of parallel viewing got us thinking, and somehow we started talking about doing something a bit different. Instead of playing with context for narrative purposes, we’d try something more technically experimental. What we settled on was filming each of us going through the same simple scene, and then intercutting those takes to create a sort of collage. Then, at a unifying moment, we would slide the screen into quadrants and have all four of us doing the same thing at the same time in parallel.

We refined this idea a bit, but decided that it was, indeed, what we wanted to do. This resulted in some very interesting story-boarding as we tried to figure out the best way to represent quad-screen layouts.

The story boarding process went pretty well for us. We ran through the scene we wanted to record and named each shot. Then, with our list of named shots in front of us, we started doing the story boards. This helped quite a bit by providing context for where we were gong as we set up any given shot.

With the story boards done, we realized that our project was pretty ambitious in that we wanted to flim in four separate locations. If we were going to make that happen, then we definitely needed to get started early. Thus we agreed to meet on Monday, the day before we officially got our filming assignment, and get one of our locations taken care of. Which we did.

I feel that, in many ways, this particular projct is going to be an exceptionally good learning experience. By filming four separate times, we each have the opportunity to do the various tasks involved. That gives us a wider range of experience than we might have had otherwise.

Additionally, four separate locations means four entirely different instances of filming. Considerng how many mistakes we made at our first location, mistakes we want to correct, four different attempts should mean we have more chances to learn and iterate our skills.

Overall I’m pretty excited to see what happens when we meet again on Thursday.

Thomas

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