Spectacle, Memory, Power – TEOTA, STS, And Others

The course recently sent an e-mail explaining some of the summer work that we have to do – visiting art galleries and TV studios and looking into more depth about our inspirations.

I have several projects lined up for the upcoming year – first of all, I want to reshoot The Job Interview, the short film I made last year. We went from writing the script to giving the final cut in just four weeks, and it certainly provoked one of the biggest laughs on the module. Learning from the mistakes I made last time, I have no doubt in my mind that this film could become something truly wonderful.

I have looked into doing a martial arts film, looking to experiment with choreography. However, as short films tend to be devoid of meaningful tension – especially as the majority of the run time will be a fight sequence – it’s difficult to really grasp the project in any great detail. Also I aim to create the ‘Woman On A Bench’ film, and put my own theory of reductionist film production to the test (and after seeing this film, I know it can be achieved.)

Big ones that I’d be an idiot to attempt (but will mention here for good measure) are ‘Hyde Again’ and ‘Trials’. Hyde Again is a modern telling of Jekyll and Hyde, told from a teenager’s perspective (one of many angst-ish stories written in my teens). It’s like Twilight, but with SPD rather than vampirism. Trails was an equally lengthy story about four young adults who vanish in the Peak District, and the five close friends and relatives who go looking for them one year later when the police have given up the search. Both went through extensive re-writes of the story, and are practically ready to be turned into scripts for films. The lengths of both would be around forty minutes however, and the costs would match. I must dedicate everything this year to one project if I take on either of these.

Lost in the fog – Trails was always penned to be a film of sorts. It’s like Picnic At Hanging Rock – the mystery surrounding the students is never explained. Of course, when the new ones start to disappear as well, psychologically the horror is simply in the unknown. Funny that Hyde Again also dealt with similar themes, but is a much less mature story to tell. I have to consider the audience demographic who will see these works at the end of the year.

Things start to get a bit more tricksy from here – Shooting The Sunrise is a short documentary based upon my own mission to capture the sunrise on film on top of Mount Teide in Tenerife, after the initial attempt went wrong due to blizzard conditions. Interviews with myself, plus archive footage taken during the ascents themselves, should make for interesting viewing provided my ‘charming personality’ can carry it through. Of course, the culmination will be the stop-motion video itself, of one of the greatest natural spectacles I’ve ever caught on film.

Shooting The Sunrise would be a nice piece to do, as it differs from films I have made before. It would add variety to my showreel, and also perhaps give people an insight into the things I do in my ‘spare time’.

A documentary investigating UK Uncut has also been in the pipeline for a while now, but I’ve asked many people about how successful they think it would be, and reception has been, at best, mixed to negative. People seem sure that UK Uncut are leading vandals in a pointless revolt against the government. More protests are set to happen, which means more footage can be caught, but this film would be a dangerous one to produce on any level – not just for equipment, and not just for me and my crew, but possibly the reputation of a whole university (if we get the controversy right). If I was to make this project, there’s no doubt it would hold a certain power to it – after making the protest march documentary last year (which was met with largely positive reviews), I know that this video would be a very interesting addition to my showreel.

The daddy of them all however is a fifteen minute film I plan to make called The Eyes Of The Angel (commonly abbreviated nowadays as TEOTA). Originally designed to be a short three minute art-house film about two angels in a mansion playing hide and seek, this idea got merged with a separate story I penned in my teens called Peter Has An Angel. I was going to use the story of the latter narrative, but considering it was a teenage, angst-ridden version of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, I felt the subject matter was too depressing for a successful film.

TEOTA is my preferred film at the moment, as it will test my skills and everything I’ve learned in my academic career. It will not be easy, but nor will it be impossible should one thing go wrong. I’ve scouted out potential local actresses and even costume designers to get an idea of the scope of this project. My main concern at present is with the lighting and the musical score.

I re-wrote a story over the summer, and the basis is now that a convict during a prison break runs into a forest to hide, and in a strange twist of events, finds an angel tied to a tree. Surrounded and trapped, the pair have a little while to talk, as the exposition, and truth behind what is actually going on, becomes more apparent. This was intended to be filmed at night for atmosphere, but that incurs a plethora of technical problems (we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it). But in relation to this post, it is visually inspired by one of my favourite bands Nightwish, who have show that unique and original visuals can make even music last in the memory for a long time to come.

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