52 Weeks of Creative: Week 17

I really, really, really want to not be doing this anymore. :p  WHY?  You say.

1.  I don’t have any ideas.

2.  My life has gotten complicated.

3.  I like sleep.

And really, the ultimate reason;  IT’S JUST SO HARD.

But, we carry on.  I’m not a quitter.  Never have been.  Never will be.

This week we finished a film.  THE film.  What film is this?  Well at the end of March we entered a month-long film contest called The Fiery Wheel-O-Rama.  We were given the genre Vampire Movie, the location A Car in the Woods, and 5 plot points of which we needed to pick 3.  We used:

1. Broken fingers.

2.  A menacing phone call.

3.  A heart attack.

And then they gave us a month to make a film.  Now, this isn’t like the 48, at least, it shouldn’t be.  We’ve done that, here.  But writing, filming and editing a movie in that time frame is still really difficult.  Not bad.  There is no complaining here.  I had an excuse to make a film and have it screened in front of other filmmakers.

Bring.  It.  On.

Preproduction went well.  I wrote a version of the script, thought it was too violent, and rewrote the entire thing.  We had an advantage in this genre, actually, because I wrote a feature last year that was a vampire film.  It was meant to be a web series that when edited together made a feature.  So all the characters, the crime world of vampires, the look and feel and motivations and backstory…All that was done.  I just needed an original plot line for a new short film.

My fear throughout this whole process was that it would be too complicated or only understandable to me and the other people who’ve read the feature.  I wanted to create something that felt like it was part of a greater story and a greater world, but I didn’t want the audience to feel like they weren’t part of the experience or get confused.

You tell me if we succeeded.

The morning of the shoot was early.  But optimism ruled.  We had amazing actors, great equipment, and my crew was ready to do the whole 14 hour thing.

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Then I got a call from my lead actress.  She was sick and unable to come.  There was no way around it.  We couldn’t postpone, we didn’t have time.  I couldn’t bring in another actress that short notice.  We didn’t have time to bring someone new it, anyway.  The light’s only good for a certain amount of time…And it was getting away from us.

So I took a deep breath and stepped in.  I knew the work better than anyone.  I’m the right age and gender.  I didn’t have the look I had wanted–I’m not Italian in any way.  And my personality isn’t as suited to the original version of the character.

But things can be changed.

Directing and acting at the same time is really, really, really difficult.  It’s hard to pay attention to everything that needs attention.  Also, method acting isn’t conducive to happy set experiences.  Why?

We were making a dark film.  Bad things happen.  The same emotions that I needed for the character would come out as I was directing, even if me as a person wasn’t really supposed to be feeling them.  I needed to be sad, grief-stricken, upset, angry, determined, conflicted, in love, fearful…and let a man I had just met drag me all over the woods.  My friends watched all this with rising unease.  I don’t act in films.  I have a history of theater and stage performance, but that ended 6 years ago.

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I had an advantage though.  I knew exactly what I looked like in the view of the lens.  I knew exactly how big my facial expressions needed to be and exactly where to stand or move to stay onscreen.  I am used to cameras and lights and people all around me on set.  I am comfortable with my friends and their various jobs.

I know, this doesn’t sound like acting at all.  But on-camera acting is all about the environment.  You may be a great actor, but if you can’t act in the environment of people in your face and staying within the boundaries of the lens…You can’t act for movies.  A lot of time you’re imagining the entire scene.  There’s no actor sitting there for you to react to.  There’s no woods or gunshot or blood.  It’s the actor’s job to make the audience believe that all those things are real, and are really there.

Acting for the camera is also best when the actor feels safe.  Acting is inherently vulnerability.  You are letting other people see all your emotions, real emotions, even if those aren’t the exact ways that you as a person would normally express them.  Again, I had an advantage over other actors because hey, these were almost all of my closest friends and my boyfriend.  No matter what went down–and some of this stuff was so difficult that my friends found it hard to watch–I knew that I was safe to express everything that needed to be expressed.

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We started the day at 7:30am.  We finished at 10pm, I think.  We took over a week to edit.  We turned it in on time.  The screening happened.

Then I made a trailer.  Soon we’ll post the whole film–it’s about 9 minutes long.  But here’s the trailer:

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, ideas or creative projects of your own!

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52 Weeks of Creative: Week 15

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Saturday we had a 14 hour film shoot.  We’re in the midst of a month-long film contest, called The Fiery Wheel-O-Rama.  Basically, we pulled a specific genre, a prime location and 5 elements that needed to be included in a film that’s less than 10 minutes long.  Technically we only needed to use 3 of the elements.

Sounds easy, right?

We pulled vampire film.  Yeah.  And let me tell you, we made a vampire film.  There was blood.  There was biting.  There were…vampires.

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The next day, I found this on Pinterest:

I decided to emulate this with some of the Highlights magazines from my childhood.

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It was fun, really.  I would do this again.  It was especially therapuetic considering my crazy week and weekend.  Art is…calming.  You should try it, and let me know what it is to you.

As always, feel free to comment with thoughts, ideas or projects of your own!

52 Weeks of Creative: Week 14

My birthday happened.  Actually, it happened a long time ago, like a fair bit of years, but the anniversary of it was Saturday.

I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Had some friends say that it was the best Marvel movie ever or that it was the perfect film…I don’t think it was either, but it was still a very good movie.  What was it about?  Friendship and sacrifice, even for people who don’t consider you a friend.  There isn’t a lot of that in movies anymore, I feel like, because cinema, along with art, has turned its focus on the Self–

“What can I get out of this?”

“What’s best for me?”

“But I want to make a ton of money illegally and then be glorified for it, even if it ruins a lot of other people’s lives.”

Winter Soldier is action-packed, interesting, well-written, well acted, amazingly shot, and a lot fun, even if the rest of the audience didn’t get all the jokes I did.  But I do think that people like it especially because of Captain America himself, a superhero finally focused on others instead of himself or a specific significant other.  Unlike in many other superhero movies, Steve Rogers is willing to sacrifice his own happiness entirely to do what is right.

Without hesitation.

And even moreso than sacrifice, Captain America has the strength of character and conviction enough to be unwilling to compromise, even if the cost is high.  In the Avengers (spoiler) he saw what Shield was doing with the Hydra weapons and it repulsed him.  He knew that once you start down a road, you can’t easily turn back.  His character is very consistent throughout all of the Marvel movies so far.

My creative project had NOTHING to do with Captain America, superheroes or birthdays.  Really.  It had a lot to do with soap.

Yup.

I took this:

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And turned it into this:

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It’s been quite a few years since I carved soap…it’s very therapeutic.  Ya’ll should try it.  Really.

As always, please comment with feedback, ideas or creative projects of your own!

52 Weeks of Creative: Week 13

The Example Image From Pinterest

EDIT:  Here’s who drew it.

This is a gorgeous picture.  I want to know who drew it or where it came from, but sometimes people pin things to Pinterest…and they lead back to Tumblr…and Tumblr is a BLACK HOLE.

*this is me not downing the horrible devastation that is Tumblr*

This is the inevitable week 13.  And, inevitably, I’m posting a day late.  I’m sorry.

We all fail sometimes.

I did finish by Sunday.  I intended to post by last night.  But I worked both my jobs yesterday and by the time I got home I was focused on something else.  I wish I remembered…and I will definitely try not to forget again.  I know next week will be easier already. 🙂

I haven’t done a mixed medium picture before…that I know of.  I’ve always liked the idea of multiple kinds of drawing utensils.  I have even more than I actually ended up using, too.  Here’s my step-by-step process:

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Pencil.

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Pastels.

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Colored pencil.

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Marker.

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And pen.

Feel free to comment with feedback, ideas or your own creative projects!