Thursday, February 26, 2009

Soundtrack for Amelia Earhart

I want to talk about the soundtrack for this short film right here. We knew that this is going to be an abstract film, and we animate most of the part.  

Following the storyboard: 

The first three scenes of circles and bubbles transform into different shapes and penetrate the water surface in to the air. In this first test, Christina suggested the same level of accordion music. This perfectly created an headroom for the audience to connect with the animation concept which we want a very strong mood of Amelia's air crash in the beginning.

We also choose elements of recording from the reality : Mechanic operations sound, noises, Wind sound that was highly grained by filter. By adding into our music, we heard the layers and depth more, and got more excited about the final sound layout. 

We all agreed with Non-literal soundtrack, so, I did a lot of chopping the lyrical music into pieces and mess up the order, then put together agian. This experience gave me a new thinking about this whole project. However, the chosen one was holding very limited portion or had very specific tone and effect. But after all,  we reorder the Time and Space, decided the way they should be seem. The soundtrack became a very strong ,individual portrait after all. And that's what we were so happy for, an unique, individual short film about this unusual women and her final flight.



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The character portrait of Amelia Earhart

This would be our first group project, to depict or to reconstruct a dreamlike, more abstract character trait of this incredible women Amelia Earhart.  We discussed about the style and form of this project at first, and we all agreed with the more abstract images and lyrical sounds over, so this portrait would be very non-literal short film
First, we took elements seem which feminine to us: water, clouds, bubbles, transformed shapes and fog.And the color Blue. 

We also researched on the historical records of her last flight, and personality trait, we sort of knew about the importance and order of her career should be the first thing in our project. Then, we built our story board around the environment she had ever been and flew through, the last journey she had been through, and then, the death.


And then we had Christina's water footages, Rita's illustration to shape those element into patterns, and then I brought in the sounds and music to cooperate the transition in our visual presentation. The tough parts were actually the state of her mind. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

automatic writing | Shirely Clarke : Dance in the sun

The day I saw Shirely Clark : dance in the sun was about 3 months ago. The first impression about her experimental film would be a little bit surprised that it seems to me she is more into to cooperate with sound. The focus and tracking of the main character(the dancer) was transferred in different scenes like desert, or beach and the studio with pianist playing. It reminded me the study in choreography of camera by Maya Deren. But Maya’s composition and transit of scene to scene were more precise and carefully. 

I realized, in the age of only black and white film, people are very good in using the contrast and tone in recording the texture or feeling of any object they shoot. It’s also very astonished that when those objects were arranged and used their shape to become something has potential meaning, the black and white texture just did the work so well. Sort of finding the material and realistic on the surface, but underneath, there are movements and rhythm that brought the audience to romantic state.

The keen piano broke my brain in the very beginning, and it actually became a very important part in this film too. Sort of give you a complete edge of this dancer’s movement and his mood to dance. Everything happened so fast, I felt I was pull into this film and my eyes had to fallow. The man saw a shell in the beginning and started to imagine he is running on the sand. So far the film gave us pretty much clues about what the man was thinking, and with the help of “the man picked up the shell on piano” and “his gesture of watching toward in the distance (to the sun, or desert, we don’t know) “. I can sense the environment by jumping back and forth between two scenes very easily.

I saw one shot that the light came from the left side so on the right side wall we can see a complete shadow, he danced with this shadow on the stage for a while. I thought it’s a very interesting shot, and this is one of the very few shots that both the camera seems like audience watching from down stage. So I assumed that it meant to be a couples dance scene. At the next scene, dancer showed up again in the desert, but his figure came black like a silhouette, and his pants were in white. In the background, skyline cut this dancer’s figure horizontally just on his waist. This is very beautiful arranged, maybe the most impressive scene I found in this film. Maybe for Shirely Clarke, who was a dancer, this coherence dancing in different spaces can be understood easily since she was always a dancer.

Story Map

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

week3 | Narrative and Life, Closure

I am surprised to find that :

The satisfaction of having the closure or the reasonable explanation in narrative actually comes from human's nature.
I like the article makes different examples of painter's narratives.

In different styles, and different ages, we saw they make the none-linear story in only one picture. It like a micro-story. And viewers were fascinated in the imagination they filled up automatically. More examples like Francis Bacon's work, even make me wonder the certain mysterious feeling can produce through the absent and incoherent space(time also) in the narrative. I am glad this article helped up a lot.

This is the animation I found yesterday about a Country doctor.
I called it my type of mysterious story telling.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First reading answers

1. Which story events are directly presented to use in the plot and which do we infer? Is there any non-diegetic material given in the plot?

The death of Kane & The investigation for rosebud. Charles Kane dropped his snowglobe, muttered the word "rosebud" and then passed away at the very beginning of the film. Thompson (reporter) was greatly interested in his life and the mystery meaning of “rosebud”. This meaning of this word prompted Thompson to collect every piece of information about Kane's life. This was achieved through the interviewing of Kane's friends, lovers and workers. Therefore, the action made the audience believe that the movie is about a journey of investigating Kane's life.

I think the non-diegetic materials are: the lost pieces of Kane's life, something the narrators wouldn't know. For example: the meaning of "rosebud"which was visually revealed on the sled.Is it related to his mother, childhood, love he was looking for, or just a normal life before he was adopted? Other elements of the narrative that we infer include the geographic setting of the film. We see Kane and his family at the beginning of the film in a fairly secluded, rural town. Eventually, Kane moves to the big city and his life is accordingly urban. Finally, he moves to Xanadu - another removed location that is depicted as a dreamlike fantasy world. It would be possible to argue that the geographic progression of the film mirrors Kane's personal temperment. The visual clues that are given to the viewer in the setting allow us to understand the kind of life that he is living in various periods of time. For example the very first thing that the viewer reads when the movie begins is a "No Trespassing" sign that is located on the entrance to Xanadu. This visual clue tells the viewer that we are entering the private world of Charles Kane.

2. What is the earliest story event of which we learn? How does it relate through a series of cause and effects to later events?

The very first thing that we learn is that Charles Kane died. This set up the story so that the viewer was in a position where they already knew the outcome of Charles Kane's life, allowing all of the other events to then appear in flash back form. Notably:

The time Kane lived with his mother (and later was adopted). Mrs.Kane hoped that her son could become a rich and powerful man with a better life, so she sent him to live with Thatcher after gold was discovered in the family mine. This plot indicated that the future of Charles Kane would be very successful. But at the end, Kane did become rich and famous but died lonely.

Running a newspaper company :Kane’s first business was giving influence to the public through media: the newspapers. By using a very subjective way to edit the newspaper, Charles Kane showed his characteristic for the first time in the movie: A man doesn't follow rules. This character trait becomes evident throughout various interactions that he has with other characters who the viewer encounters throughout the film.

Leland talked about Kane's 2 failed marriage: Regardless of opinions from his wife, Kane showed his stubbornness and eagerness, not only in his business world but also in his personal life. He had affair with a singer named Susan, which lead to his failure in the political campaign. But eventually, he divorced Susan, and his failure with his love life which was already told to the viewer by the newsreel and the fact that he died lonely.

Affair with Susan leads to the scandal and causes the failure of his political ambition: Kane once again tried to get a higher position and reputation by joining into a political campaign. After the failure of campaign, Kane tried different ways (he built an opera house for Susan and planned an opera ) to take his power back and reclaim public attention via controling the news report with his position.

3. What is the temporal relationship of story events? Has temporal order, frequency, or duration been manipulated in the plot to affect our understanding of events?

The movie begins with Kane’s death and the newsreel that briefly summarized his career and personal life. In search of the reason why Kane had ended up being rich but lonely, and the meaning of his mysterious last word, “rosebud,” the reporter starts to investigate. As he goes through the diary of Kane’s guardian and interviews with Kane’s friend, wife, and butler, the audience learns about Kane’s life of different periods from the flashbacks. After the reporter gives up searching for “rosebud,” the answer is revealed in the very end.

The beginning of the movie leaves the audience with questions and feeling curious, but the following newsreel immediately gives us ideas about who Kane was and the broad facts of his life.As the reading pointed out, the newsreel outlines the sequence of the film in terms of what elements of Kane's life we will learn about. Then the flashbacks make us learn more about Kane’s life from different perspectives. This order is not only interesting but also very powerful.

4. Does the closing reflect a clear-cut pattern of development that relates to the beginning? Do all narrative lines achieve closure, or are some left open?

The unexpected answer to “rosebud” is finally revealed at the end, which makes us think about what Kane’s life would be if his mom did not send him off to the guardians when he was a child, and would he still be alone in the end of his life. We only learn about his childhood from the guardian’s diary, in which there is a huge gap between Kane as a child and an adult. It makes us want to know more about what his relationship was with his mother, and how he became used to the wealthy life and developed his characteristics. It leaves us with more questions.

In terms of the setting, we start and end the film in the same geographic location, giving the viewer some degree of closure. However, because the final reveal of the sled was so abrupt and matter of fact, we are left questioning and wondering what we really saw throughout the film. Finally the movie closes again with the "no trespassing" sign, alluding to the fact that Kane ultimately was a private person and the full meaning of his last words will never be known to the viewer.

5. How does the narration present story information to us? Is it restricted to one or a few characters’ knowledge, or does it range freely among the characters in different spaces? Does it give us considerable depth of story information by exploring the characters’ mental states?

The narration of the story is done via all of the supporting characters in the movie as well as the news reel obituary reporting. Essentially the viewer is asked to investigate the story and the character of Charles Kane via the gaze of those who he interacted with as well as the public. Additionally, and somewhat subliminally, is the exploration of "Citizen" Kane through his own crafting of his public persona via the media, the newspapers and the public statements that he makes consistently throughout the movie. The reading explained that the omniscient narration that appeared prominently at the conclusion of the film focused the viewer and allowed the patterned sequence of the film to be revealed in a seamless manner. Because the movie was initiated with the death scene, the viewer already knows the outcome of his life story which is traced throughout the film, so you feel that you are educated and knowledgeable about all of the information presented in the film, that is the facts. However, despite the actions and the factual information of the narrative that is revealed repeated times, each character adds their own twist on the true nature of this enigmatic figure. As one of the newspaper men said at the beginning of the film (paraphrased) 'it is not enough to say what a man did, you need to know who he was', and that is what this form of narration provided for the viewer. Each character introduced a little more insight into the true nature of the real Charles Kane. The character's mental states showed the viewer how despite himself, Charles Kane was someone who deeply affected many people's lives. In fact, it is somewhat ironic how throughout the entire film, we are seeking information about Kane's mental state and trying to decipher the deep meaning of "Rosebud", however, the means of doing this is by probing the mental states of the supporting characters of his life.