- Class activities
We started with a review of the films you made last week.
Ollie presented his work and methodology on the film Network / Intersect.
The film has two subjects of inspiration:
- Adrien Chen’s New York Times article The Agency, about the Russian Internet Research Agency which exists to seed fake news
- The story In a Network of Lines that Intersect in Italo Calvino’s book If on a winter’s night a traveler, about a businessman who sees the whole world as a giant optical device for creating images.
It is also set in Seoul (the film was commissioned by the Seoul Museum of Art).
The film used the following rules in every step of its creation, from script-writing to filming, acting to editing:
========================= Network / Intersect rules ========================= 1. The form of the film must reflect its content 2. Techniques of the Russian Internet Research Agency must be used where possible 3. The film must be set in Seoul 4. All filming must take place in Paris
The rules created a looping, mirrored, dual-screen film whose format reflects the viewpoints of the characters in each story; which used the Internet Research Agency techiques; and which was set in Seoul but filmed in Paris.
The combination of two subjects and a setting creates a new work. We will be using this technique over the coming weeks.
If you had access to an infinitely large encyclopaedia, what would you look up? Write down as many subjects that you’re interested in as possible. Try to choose things that you really would like to know about, or already know a lot about, and be as specific as possible.
- Types of knots
- Deep sea squid
- Conspiracy theories
- The book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
- Ways of visualising time
- Predictive machines
- Respiratory systems of birds
- etc etc
If you’re stuck, list some of your favourite films or books. Or try Wikipedia’s random article link a few times and see what comes up.
⏰️ Time: 2 minutes
Now choose one of the subjects you have listed. Which one jumps out at you? Which one do you know the most about?
Write as much as you can about that subject. If you had to introduce someone who knew nothing about that subject to it, what would you tell them? If the subject were a character, what would they look like, and how would they act?
⏰️ Time: 5-10 minutes
Choose a partner. You have 5 minutes to tell them as much as you can about your subject. They have 5 minutes to tell you as much as they can about their subject.
⏰️ Time: 10 minutes (5 minutes per person)
With your partner, decide on a set of rules you would create to make sure any film embodied the ethos of your subject.
- If your subject was gravity, you might choose to make your camera always move downward. Or you could instruct your camera-operator to keep falling over. Or every object in your film might have to move from the top of the screen to the bottom.
- If your subject was dogs, you might choose to introduce each new character by sniffing them, or the entire motivation of your film might be food, or you might make the camera ‘wag’ at exciting moments.
- If your subject was Japanese spider crabs, you might choose to have to hold your camera on the end of a long stick, or to make all of your characters have an outwardly hard exterior but be soft on the inside.
The more you can apply your rules to artistic practice the better. Your rules can impose physical constraints on film-makers or actors, or structural constraints on the film, or force the film to use a certain medium, or anything else you desire.
Think about the rules for your subjects independently. Write your rules down as clearly as you can!
⏰️ Time: 10 minutes (5 minutes per subject)
Tell the class your rules and subjects in 1 minute or less. The class will feed back any other ideas for rules about your subjects they can think of.
After your presentation, decide on 2-4 rules per film and write them down as clearly as you can on a sheet of paper.
On a fresh sheet of paper, write down:
- Your subject
- Who’s in your group
- Your rules (written as clearly as you can)
Pass one of your rule sheets to another group, and keep the other.
⏰️ Time: 20-25 minutes
Over the next week, you must work with your partner to make two films of equal length based on the two sets of rules you have (one set of rules you created, one set of rules another group created).
Your films must also follow the following rules:
- Your films must be the same length
- Your films must have cuts in the same places
- Your films must embody the essence of their subjects – the audience should be able to feel the subject
- Your films must have a story arc (beginning/middle/end)
Don’t forget to keep uploading your daily videos!