Category Archives: Blogs

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Well hello there, its been quite some time. Where have I been? You didn’t ask as you don’t know who I am ūüėČ To be perfectly honest, I know no one will read this but nonetheless I’m here with the urge to write and at a new crossroad in life.

I’ve been out of university (not officially with my bachelors right now, I get the ceremony thing next year) since May. In the six months or so leading up to May I worked on a short film I wrote and directed (for the first time). Here I am today, out of pocket about $1000, no contact with my university friends, no job and its safe to say… I’m not in the happiest of places. I’m lost and I feel terrible.

From day one of my short film, titled… Happily Evelyn After, I fought and hustled. In the beginning creating the story was fun as I didn’t put pressure on myself. Then it suddenly become a story I was writing for other people by the end I had no connection to the script. Production of the film… that was an absolute nightmare. I can’t say I didn’t have fun at times, because I truly did, however, the project itself really tested my relationship with other creators (fellow peers) and myself. I will spare you with all the details and self loathing from during that time and the post production (which is where I realised I could never truly become a director) #yourewelcome ūüėČ

Fast forward to the posting of the film on youtube and the cast screening. My gosh… the actor with the smallest role and biggest ego (excelling the combined egos of all the men in a group of lads who have been out drinking) had the most to say. Text messages after text messages I received.. full of anger. Disgust. All because a group of young, optimistic, inexperienced filmmakers had created a film not up to his standard (“you told me my performance was good” “no sir, you didn’t let me speak and said I should be thankful to have you on set…. Which I was and still am… kinda.”)¬† His words cut incredibly deep; feeling attacked and ambushed, I swallowed my pride and apologised- fighting only to save my crews reputation. That was that. Not a peep from his again.

Unfortunately, I wish I could say I’m past that entire experience… turning over a new leaf and working in an awesome production company making cool stuff.. HECK YEAH!

No, nope. I’m still here, unemployed in the creative industry. With his words still echoing in the back of my mind, weighing me down, I’ve begun to question everything.

Who Am I? What Am I Good At? Can I do Any Good? What Will I Do Now? Is Film For Me? Do I Have Anything Good To Offer?

I know I’m just wallowing about in my own self pity and I need to make moves, but with the aftermath of the short film and 30 unanswered or rejected job applications under my belt; things aren’t looking too good my friend.

Flip-side is I have realised that right now, I stand at the bottom of Mt. Everest; debris is falling around me and its about -10 degrees celsius. I can either stay right here, in this circle I’ve drawn with my foot (get all comfy, hold a flare above my head and wait) or I can climb this mountain, carrying my fat ass to the top and enjoy the beautiful view of the summit.

Life’s never easy, you have to hit rock bottom and fight your way back up onto your feet to enjoy the highs in life…. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore but hey, I’m saying something, talking is always good.

-Pri.

 

 

 

P.S Feature Image taken and edit by yours truly : )

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IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA || ACTING MASTERCLASS

Little Hey Little Ho,

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As someone who has a small internal crisis whenever too many eyes are on me, I’ve known for a long time that acting just isn’t for me. Knowing this, I’ve never put myself in an actors shoes and I’ve never tried to understand the amount of pressure actors are placed under. Sure, I’ve done drama and dance in high school but there was never pressure on me to excel and give my best performance, being just above average was enough for me. Sure, I’ve done debates and public speaking but I was just reading off of a piece of paper and no one listened to me anyway. I’m pretty sure this one time, I had to address my primary school about disposing rubbish into bins and no one had realised I had finished my riveting speech talking until the teachers started clapping as I was halfway down the stairs. Maybe I exaggerated a little but you get my point. Actors, on films sets at least, have the pressure of an entire crew of people waiting for you to deliver your line so that they can move on. They have a director draining them of there performance, fellow actors who’s enthusiasm or lack of, they have to feed off. They have this random person they have to connect with and portray believably all while being in the heat of 1000 suns, from all the studio lights. As glamorous as an actors life may look…a lot of time, passion and love goes into their work and it’s that time, passion and love¬†that sets the good actors apart from the great (in my humble opinion).

So why am I suddenly so sympathetic towards actors? Well it’s because I had the very daunting pleasure of being apart of Simon Wood’s acting master class.¬†Simon is the¬†co-founder of Zen Zen Zo along side Lynne Bradley, which is¬†a Brisbane-based physical theatre company at the forefront of contemporary performance and training in Australia. Simon took as through a crash course on method acting which I just associate with Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale. What I was surprised to learn was that there is a big emphasis on know yourself inside out and being at one with yourself and just how mentally draining acting, especially method acting, can be. We completed a number of exercises but the most challenging for me was when Simon had got us all¬†in a very clear headspace by meditating. I know in that moment, I was feeling content and focusing on only external noises and not filling my mind with thoughts. Out of the blue, he¬†challenged us to feel 3 clear and conflicting¬†emotions for example, he asked us to think about our happiest moments in life, then to forget our happy emotions and think about the angriest we’ve ever been and so on. It was tough because within 5 minutes I was feeling overwhelmed with all these emotions. It made me really admire actors and how they can go through all these emotions in a day too then come off set “normal” or at least composed and happy.

I honestly feel as though I have gained new insight into the mind of actors and how each talent is different to another. You may be able to connect with an actor and they’ll understand what you want as a director and deliver the performance you desire, while on the other hand, some actors will need a lot of workshopping and time to bond with their characters. At the beginning of the class, in pairs we acted out a scene and after all the exercises and knowledge we had acquired, everyones performance had improved immensely.

This masterclass could not have been at a better time, we are all heading into graduation films now and the knowledge we have received from Simon will help immensely… well for me at least. I understand now that telling an actor to “just to that bigger” or “can you be happier,” just isn’t enough. Using very descriptive and practical words can mean the world of difference. I’ve learnt that sitting down with your actors during script reads and going through each line of dialogue and associating a descriptive word could be very helpful for your actors to understand their characters. It’s also important to not get too attached to your characters as a director and too allow your actors to interpret the characters in their own manner and then head into workshopping. The most valuable thing i’ve learnt is to respect my actors and to be thankful that they are helping create my vision.

So if there was one piece of advice I could give to anyone right now… it would be that if you’re wanting to become a GREAT director; acting classes are a must and can truly be beneficial for you and your talent. Build a relationship and earn respect.

With that… I’ll see you in my next blog.

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Diary Of A Clueless Camera Woman || Part 1

Little Hey, Little Ho.

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Welcome to this short blog series I’m creating in order¬†to document my experience as an¬†assistant camera operator. Now…I want to make this clear. At this moment I know close to nothing about the technicalities of cameras and lights – so I will try my best to reference throughout my blogs, to not only help myself but to also validate the information I’m giving you. Please feel free to correct me and also to leave your advice, I would truly appreciate it. ¬†Sounds good? Great.

I  hope these blogs are not only entertaining but helpful someone, maybe like you, who wants to venture, not only into the technical department of filmmaking but into the film industry in general.

Now that we’ve got the awkward introduction out of the way lets get into it.

¬†Like I’ve said in a previous blog, this trimester (tri-5) of uni, I’ve been put into a small production group with in my studio class. We’ve completed the experimental film project in which I was DOP – now before you get too confused, I didn’t go into the project assuming the role, it kind of just happened which, I KNOW, isn’t very good set protocol. In saying that,¬†we decided as a group, that this experimental project was small enough to utilise as a bonding session for our next two projects. So we could get a sense of each others work flow’s and areas of expertise; up until this point we hadn’t worked with each other. This mentality proved to be great because I gained so much confidence with our strong team. Now this¬†brings us to present day.

Here I stand sit, a film student who has had experience as a producer, 1st AD and writer but has not a clue as how to how the bloody ISO,APERTURE and SHUTTER SPEED work together. Here I sit, as a 1st Assistant Camera operator for the next two major projects within or production group.

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Whenever I have filmed my small class assignments in the past, I’ve honestly just winged it and gone with my eye and… usually I’ve run into problems in post such as, under exposed shots, or over exposed and grainy shots etc. I’ve always had this mentality that, “hey, I’m just a producer – aint nobody got time for that.” I’ve never thought to educate myself, well until now. To be honest, I’ve kind of scared myself into researching lenses and gadgets – I’ve gone out on a limb to assume the role of an assistant. camera person and with just a few weeks shy of our ¬†major. paid. client. production. Boy, am I nervous. Luckily, I have been blessed to be working along side Levi Cranston the DOP for project 2 and Director of the major client prod. All I can say is that Levi is a film junkie, he lives and breathes for film, it honestly leaves me baffled as to how much knowledge he has about film from working with actors to setting up a shot, he knows a lot for someone who hasn’t been in the industry for too long.

I guess the plan of action is to head into project 2 with a clear mind, I’ve been assured that I will get the “hang of it;” whatever that means, and that essentially, the best way to learn, is to get in there and just do it. So… that is what I’ll do. I know that I’m pushing myself out of me comfort zone but it will benefit me in the long run and help me to become a knowledgable and proactive filmmaker that I aspire to be. I’ve always prided myself on active learning and to experience things, now is the time to do it.

Before I go, I should brief you on project 2; that would be nice hey seeing as though that will be the focus¬†of part 2 of this¬†blog series. So the brief we have been given for this project is to; evoke an emotion/emotional connection between an object and the audience. I feel like this will creatively test our group and I’m excited to see what we conjure.

For now I shall leave you with a quote and I’ll see you in the next blog.

“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears. ”¬†

-Dan Stevens

qypaahz

PS. Sorry for the long blog title.

References
Dan Stevens Quotes at BrainyQuote. (2016). BrainyQuote. Retrieved 12 July 2016, from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dan_stevens.html

HUMAN EJECTION || EXPERIMENTAL FILM

Little Hey, Little Ho. How are you today? I’m dropping this blog post today – I think ¬†I like Sundays, well for blogging at least.

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So…. The trimester is off and boy has it gone off, everything is moving full steam ahead and I’m excited but I’m also beginning once again to chew my nails. So within the past two weeks of Studio 3 we have been;

  • Placed into small groups consisting of fellow filmmakers; Chauntae, Fedya, Hayden R., Levi and Dan.
  • Establishing a student “production company” – luckily no ABN’s have had to be created, however, we have had to create an online presence- which we will say is “coming soon”.
  • Finally within our production group, Chauntae, Fedya, Hayden and myself were given the task of creating an experimental film within 6 hours.

Yep. SIX HOURS. When we had our first brainstorming session 2 days prior to the task we were almost baffled, we had never really dabbled in the art form – so we were as much alien to the experimental genre as it may be to you. Honestly, the most difficult part of the assignment wasn’t having only SIX HOURS to film and edit might I add, but actually thinking of what we would explore. We honestly sat there talking for a while about ideas and I was drawing a blank, but it was the words of a fellow team member that sparked an idea for me. On the subject of eyes and its connection to the brain , I started to think about well- we’re humans who have the capacity to think for ourselves, formulate ideas and opinions for ourselves – but the media and our other sense can influence us and manipulate our train of thought and ultimately cloud our vision. So we created this little experiment where we someone would ask the subject on camera a question, but the overload there senses with juxtaposed images and sounds. Capturing the true reaction of the subject and the change of mannerisms and how the conflicting sounds and images caused them to become hesitant when talking about happiness, uncomfortable talking about family, emotionally guilted into talking about dark times.

After this process I have gained a new appreciation for experimental filmmakers who are able to take seemingly mundane ‘things’ and shed a new light upon it. Thinking of ideas is difficult and takes time, often people just reimagine mainstream ideas that have been explored 100 times before, the art and charm of experimental film tries to stray away from the mainstream and cliche. I love that! I also now understand that not everything about experimental film has to be visually abstract, full of random, pretty overlaid images ¬†and slightly pretentious, the latter can be debate. I gained this understanding after watching,¬†Bring Me The Head Of Tim Horton (2015), ¬†co directed by Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson. There is so much creativity and uniqueness behind an experimental film… if you take the time to enjoy it. It is actually a shame that this genre of film is becoming more and more underground.

I would like to actually utilise these learnings in creating my own style. Unlike my fellow filmmakers, I am struggling to find a style or aesthetic if you will. I find that I really stick to what I know and I don’t allow myself creative freedom.¬†I believed, in my naive mind, that trying new styles, exploring difficult subjects, utilising abstract techniques etc. would¬†come at a cost. To bluntly put it; the film might turn out shit- why? All because I wanted to be a bit a little different & indie. ¬†I guess with what I’ve learnt, I realise now that, I am on a journey, I am merely a seed in a rainforest that is the film industry (wow how poetic). The best time to experiment and try things is now. I don’t have the stress of complying too a client or straying away from a budget. I need to embrace my creativity and release the inner child within. I think in future I would love to create more experimental films or even create short-short films exploring new realms of the worlds character.

So firstly, I created the idea of juxtaposing the media shown to the subject in order for us to observe the physical mannerism/character change of the subject, as I explained prior. I also made the artistic choice behind the lighting, I was heavily inspired by Adele’s latest music video, Send My Love (To Your New Lover).’¬†I like the idea of a stark black background and a close up of the person face – giving the illusion that the viewer was in the same space and mind as the subject in frame. I also didn’t want the subject to be evenly lit, to add a bit of dimension and character to the frame but also a sense of mystery (as if the subject was hiding something); thus the prominence of shadows. I did, however, ensure that the eyes were clearly visible. ¬†

Whilst I was pleasantly surprised with the final product, I will be the first to admit there was a lot we could change if we were able to tackle the project once again. What we could have improved on was, the fact that we used ourselves as subjects. With the time allowed, Fedya made the executive decision to use yourselves due to time constraints. In future, we would seek out subjects, which might have allowed for greater/true expressions, as unfortunately we had all seen the juxtaposed media prior to filming. What also could have been changed was the duration of the final edit, I feel we still could have cut a lot out and shortened the edit from around 7 minutes to about 2-3 minutes. A shorter edit may have proven to be more effective in terms of also creating heightened confusion for the audience members.

All in all I really appreciated the project and feel as though I have put another foot in the right direction in terms of bettering myself as a filmmaker and gaining  confidence in my decisions. Hope you enjoyed this little blog Рyou can find me here again next week.

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 2.42.28 pm“This is why I stay behind the camera” – #Pri2016

Reflections || The End Is Near

So after a long 13 weeks the end is near, once again. With 2 weeks of filming and around 3 weeks of editing, a beautiful short documentary was created; Seeing Without Eyes. I was apart of a small 4 person crew including the awesome sound guy we had been blessed with. Last week was the panel screening and at this point we have received; industry, facilitator and peer reviews.

Continue reading Reflections || The End Is Near

Modality || ‘The Creators’

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Whether you watch documentaries out of genuine topical interest or just out of pure curiosity, there is without a doubt, an endless array of documentaries out there to watch; often buried underneath junk on the internet. Documentary¬†filmmakers are able to instinctively, creatively and in most cases, factually document anything from people, places, animals, hobbies, the list could go on. Some doco makers, like Michael Moore, believe documentaries¬†are or at least should be “films,” [I have shared my opinion on this quote in an earlier blog post.] Although there is a clear distinction between fictitious films and factual documentaries, just like narrative films, documentary has its own, now more conventional, structures available to doco¬†makers to utilise.¬†Here is where I’ll introduce to you the term – ‘Modality’.

The online version of the Oxford dictionary explains the term succinctly;

“A particular mode in which something exists or is experienced or expressed.”

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that this term in relation to documentaries is a little confusing. So let’s for the sake of you and I, narrow it down to two differing ideas of modality; the first being¬†Bill Nichols‚Äô categorisation of documentary into 6 distinct modes, the other being Michael Renov‚Äôs concept of rhetorical modality.¬†As a practical application, I’ll later corroborate these two ideas to a short documentary found on YouTube called,“The Creators.”¬†

Continue reading Modality || ‘The Creators’