Finished Film

Shown below is a link to our finished video.

Inspired by various comedic films and television, such as Monty Python, The Office, and Brass Eye, the film aims to be an entertaining satire of traditional news programmes.

Making the film was a fantastic and enjoyable experience. It was simply great to try film out as a new artistic medium. Working in a group was also brilliant; everyone put maximum effort into their respective roles, was reliable, and there were very few disagreements. Group work doesn’t always go this way, so having such a good experience with group work this time was fantastic. We incorporated some of the elements of filmmaking we learned in the lectures, including wide shots to include both news reporters in the foreground and ‘Gegriefd’ in the background, and we believe they worked suitably well. One thing we would improve if we repeated the exercise would be our sound recording equipment – the sound quality in our film is not amazing and we could have benefitted from using a microphone instead of just the sound recording capabilities of the camera. That said, we are really pleased with how the film turned out, and we think our use of filmmaking techniques has carried out our intention well.

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Filming Part III

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1. The setting for an interview with the ‘egg-spert’ (played by myself) – one of our group has a father who happens to work at the university, and he very kindly allowed us to use his office (pictured above) as a filming location. 

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2. The filming of the dramatic finale, which came to be known as the ‘egg savagery’ scene. It was a live news report covering a hunt for Gegriefd. Holding up the signs (which say “GEGRIEFD SHOW YRSELF [sic]” and “LET’S CRACK THE MYSTERY”) are two fellow students from other film groups, who very kindly volunteered to act in our film as members of the public who had accompanied the news team on the hunt. 

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3. The egg savagery scene featured the whole group – Jessica operating the camera, Natalie as the reporter, Emily as one of the public spectators, myself as the ‘egg-spert,’ and of course Rachel as Gegfriefd. 

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4. THE egg costume which went on to inspire this whole endeavour. 

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5. One of the signs, close up. 

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6. Filming the initial news report scenes that open our video. We used the green screen room, where my knowledge of lighting from the green-screen workshop in week 6 came in handy. We had hoped to use this footage and put images of eggs and egg-related things on the green-screen in editing, however when we tried to do this the green-screen effect did not work, so we had to re-film these scenes with a plain white background instead. 

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7. 

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8. More signs

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9. 

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10. Natalia, our reporter on the scene, with an egg whisk instead of a microphone – this was part of the subtle, gimmicky, bizarre comedy genre that we were aiming for. 

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11. Discussing exactly how the egg savagery scene would happen. 

Filming Part II

1. Our storyboard

2. Props: a whiteboard supposedly created by the ‘egg-spert’ in order to try and solve the Gegreifd mystery

3. Filming: we staged a news report with Gegriefd herself dancing in the background, as if to mock the news team. 

4. Our camera, borrowed from the art department. It provided good picture quality but limited sound recording capabilities. 

5. Writing out a script for those who were acting – this was positioned behind the camera, so that when the actors read the script they still appeared to be looking at the lens. 

6. More filming

7. We staged interviews with various people about the alleged Gegriefd, including some lecturers at the university…

Filming Part I

Having decided that the cryptid would be some kind of egg/human hybrid, one of the first things we decided to do was to film Rachel in her egg costume with my mobile phone, to look like hastily captured rare video footage sightings by a passer-by. We thought this would be good to feature in a news report about the egg. We went into the forests on campus on a drizzly, grey day, I stood deliberately far away from Rachel, and I took some deliberately shaky and obscured footage so it looked rushed and spontaneous. Shown below are the pictures I took – I took around 7 short videos but unfortunately videos aren’t supported on my subscription to WordPress.

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Inspirations

FILMS FROM LECTURES:

Rodney Graham, “Vexation Island.”

Salla Tykka, “Lasso.”

Gillian Wearing, “Dancing in Peckham.”

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Adam Buick, “Earth to Earth.”

Marcus Coates, “Dawn Chorus.”

These films are all extremely different, and a variety of filmmaking techniques can be seen in them. For example, the use of soundtrack and slow motion is evident and effective in “Lasso” – the plot (if there even is one) is extremely enigmatic, and the emphasis is placed on the symbolic value of what is going on. The emotions involved are emphasised by the use of music. Playing with time is also a key element in Coates’ “Dawn Chorus” – the sped-up footage of people humming notes ends up mimicking birdsong in what seems to be a bizarre experiment in sound.

 

Film Project: Brief, Group & Discussion

For a number of reasons I was nervous but excited to get the brief for the film project. I had never worked with film in any way before, so I felt it would be a steep learning curve. Also, the upper time limit of four minutes seemed like a challenging prospect. However, I had lately been watching a lot of artistic music videos, which were a fantastic inspiration for me, so film was definitely a medium I wanted to experiment with.

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Our group immediately began brainstorming ideas. We talked about what type of films or videos we all liked, and there was a lot of variety in the group – some loved horror films, others liked documentaries, and some talked about surrealist video. One of the inspirations I had was a video I had found on the internet called “Kingdom of Colours,” (shown below) which was just a video of many different paint colours, swirling and mixing together. As you may have seen from my painting for my autumn assessment, I am really into psychedelia and am fascinated by bright colours, so this video was extremely engaging for me.

After more discussion, we realised we were all keen on doing something quite out of the ordinary, and we also realised we were all fans of comedy. We decided to go down the “weird/funny” route, and some brainstorming led to applying this plan to the earlier documentary idea. I’m a big fan of “mockumentaries” such as “The Office”; it is so excruciatingly awkward that it’s hilarious (shown below is a clip). A satirical version of an actual documentary seemed like a good route to go down, seeing as we could easily find people to get involved with it and there would be nothing too drastic or difficult to do in terms of the film-making process.

We decided to do a mock conspiracy theory documentary – we thought an enigmatic creature living in the reading university campus would provide an interesting and humorous plot. The process of choosing what the cryptid would be was very quick – since this was going to be satirical we decided the production value should be deliberately quite low, and one person in the group had a fried egg costume – providing us with a suitably weird and low-budget creature. Shown above is our mind-map we used to arrive at this decision.

Art Film

I want to talk about art films because I have only learnt about them and made my first one recently, so they are an exciting new medium of expression for me. Making an art film can involve doing things I don’t often do with most of my art, including acting, writing scripts, considering lighting, and editing.

One of the reasons I love art films is because they are deliberately not designed to appeal to the masses and not made for profit; they are a serious artistic work, and they are made for the sake of ideas and aesthetics. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they often have considerably lower budgets since they are aimed at smaller, niche markets. This may seem a constraint because lower budgets do not allow for sophisticated sets, equipment, or famous actors, however the budget is irrelevant because the emphasis is placed on the concepts and ideas behind the film. Lesser-known (or sometimes amateur) actors, basic sets, and modest special effects are deliberately used to create a different film genre where the exploration of concepts is most important.

Without the financial backing available for advertising campaigns, art films are promoted via the audience telling their friends, by discussion by art or film critics, bloggers and columnists, and by reviews. This is often perceived as a ‘purer’ form of promotion, and despite the smaller audience is often sufficient for the film to make sense financially, as production costs are relatively low.

Whereas mainstream films are created mostly to deliver escapism and entertainment, as a break from the mundane aspects of reality, art films are more engaging. Often dealing with important issues, they encourage the viewer to think a lot more – they don’t always feature traditional narratives, are highly symbolic, and require interpretation to be understood fully.

Shown below is an example of what I mean. This is a highly symbolic and enigmatic film, “My Last Film,” by filmmaker Zia Anger, that I came across because it features one of my favourite musical artists, Mac DeMarco – he plays an irresponsible van driver who can also be interpreted as God.