Experimental Film Blog
Experimental film was a great experience and gave me a chance to dabble into a world I have not yet had the chance to experience. This project was the most fun for me, I loved having to think outside of the box, however conceptually it was the most challenging.
It is interesting to note that in my time studying film, we have been taught that filmmaking has do’s and don’ts, and rules of thumb, that are a baseline for what makes GOOD films. But what has always been interesting to me is that film is considered an art form. And coming from a background of both art and theatre it was apparent to me that film had a far stricter basis of what was considered good, as opposed to the free and open nature of art and theatre.
Experimental was difficult and exciting as it forced me to look beyond was I was used to and therefore felt as though I know longer had the crutch of a typical structure. I felt as though I often had myself judging and second guessing my ideas as I wasn’t sure if they were genuine or a product of TRYING to make something that goes against the idea I had of conventional filmmaking.
Having said this, this is the part of experimental filmmaking I’ve come to appreciate the most.
As stated in the introduction, the hardest thing about this project was conceptualizing and creating the idea behind the short. Executing it was rather easy, but coming up with the idea proved difficult. Especially given the time constraints as we had 5 days to conceptualize an idea and on the final day, we had 6 hours to film and edit it. This pressure was not only stressful but exciting as well.
After researching and looking up lots of experimental films, I was left in a state of confusion. I felt as though my background in art and theatre, was fighting against everything I had learned about film. It felt as though I had to purposefully go against all the rules that had been set, however I didn’t want to box myself into the idea that I HAD to, it felt as though I was restricting the art and just making it the same.
Our team spent a considerable amount of time discussing and throwing around ideas. As new concepts and themes emerged, we worked together to pull apart the problems with the ideas and tried to reinterpret and mold them into new ideas, which led to some interesting concepts, mostly ones we had the foresight to see they would be un-achievable which the restrictions in time we were given.
As a filmmaker that feels as though there strengths are in creating stories and exploring narrative, Experimental film has always been something I’ve been interested in trying. As well as this, I felt that at least on a subconscious level, stylistically experimental themes and tones have always jumped out to me as engaging and encouraged a deeper level of thinking.
In terms of our creative process, when we filmed the project, Bella stood in as actor and Sarah and I worked on getting the shots needed and Josh edited the film afterwards. Despite the fact that it took so long to conceptualize, I had a clear idea of the kinds of shots I wanted as we began the process. We used the dolly to roll out on uncomfortably long intro and conclusion shots. This not only established the scene as a master shot, but the drawn out length of the shot was used to break usual conventions of how long shots are normally held for, especially the conventional use of the 3 second shot length in most mainstream films.
Though the pressure of the time constraints can be an advantage in regards to spontaneous moments of gold, I feel as though it is obvious that one way we could have made the overall end result of our project being better, would be more time in pre-production to properly plan out many things such as props needed, shots that could be used, storyboards, actors, rehearsals, locations. In terms of preparation time is invaluable.
I also feel that more extensive research could have been done, to gain a broader retrospective of the kinds of experimental choices we could have made in the film.
Despite trying to break away from normal film conventions, and avoiding going too far and trying too hard, I feel that we may have accidentally fallen into another predictable pattern and made something to be expected. Which may not necessarily be bad, but in terms of what we set out to achieve it may have been a bit tacky.