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matthew dickinson Profile
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Re: The Irrational Passion (or why we exist)


quote:

P.S.: Are we the only ones on this messageboard?



I asked the same question in an earlier post. Besides the Pearse's, I guess we must be, but there are surely some who are lurking. Feel free to speak up...

Matthew
10/4/2003, 1:22 am Link to this post  
 
Chris Kelvin Profile
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Filmtalk


I only made some shortfilms untill now and some are really bademoticon. Now I’m preparing my third screenplay for a feature film and so far I’m really happy about it. Writing and filming is not spirituality, but a passion. For me it’s a way to understand the spiritual better. I don’t even now if an objective neutral eye of a camera can capture this completely or even fully understand it. I see the camera and soundrecorder as tools to caputure things. For me a story is only an excuse in order to explore. I film very simple things, but once you connect them with other simple things you get something bigger, something that is a surprise to discover. The camera has seen the world in a different way: it has captured what lies behind the surface of the world. So the whole film is built that way and is really a synthese of the things you’ve captured. In doing this I try to be so neutral, objective and intuitive as possible.

Chris Kelvin
10/4/2003, 10:07 am Link to this post Send Email to Chris Kelvin   Send PM to Chris Kelvin
 
matthew dickinson Profile
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Re: Filmtalk


I suspect humans saw the world very differently before the camera was invented. I told my parents at the dinner table this evening that photographs are illusions and they disagreed with me and said they photograph reality. I said they only photograph a mechanical approximation of reality or the way we see things, and that all this visual media has possibly caused us to see reality more like that which is seen through a camera. Then my mom asked which reality tv shows were coming on tonight.

Matthew
10/7/2003, 3:04 am Link to this post  
 
Chris Kelvin Profile
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Re: Filmtalk


That’s the whole problem with film and visual media today: they manipulate: in essence it’s all propaganda to get their intention or message across.
The way it is edited, the rythm, the speed of the camera moving, the way it is filmed, depth of field, slow motion, use of color, decor, acting, music, which lens they use, the commentary voice,..... and much more. All these are tools to manipulate us. So the “reality” that is presented to us through these media has nothing to do with reality. It’s a malformed reality so it can be more easely consumed and it fits better in our way of thinking. You wouldn’t believe the tricks they teach us in filmschool. It really raises moral questions.
So in order to film reality we have to throw all the tricks overboard. We have to go back to the essence of it all. We have to “look” at things in their pure form. What film can capture in its essence is the closest we can get in capturing life. But again this reality or life that is shown is often given another value by the one who looks at, for they are conditioned by all kinds of experience.
I certainly agree with you that people see the world in a different way since the invention of the camera, for people use this tool in the wrong way. We use it in service and as an extend of our own intellectual way of thinking and again forget what a camera can do if it wasn’t manipulated by mankind.

Chris Kelvin.
10/7/2003, 12:26 pm Link to this post Send Email to Chris Kelvin   Send PM to Chris Kelvin
 
matthew dickinson Profile
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Re: Filmtalk


Yes, the phoniness of Hollywood movies has usually turned me off if I feel I'm being deceived or told a story that isn't true to life. Image manipulation precedes the camera, of course, since painting had only recently strived towards absolute realism (and with the gaining prominence of the camera, painters turned to more intuitive and expressive styles which offered something photography could not do... yet). In the past 30 or more years, and especially with digitial techniques, photography is returning to the painting movements of the late 1800s and early 20th century.

I meant to suggest though that the camera is always going to deceive to some degree. It can only capture reality so closely. Film deceives even more because of the non-human kind of movements cameras and editing allow. In the end, an artist should be searching for poetic or spiritual truth, and whether his film represents a documentary quality is besides the point (as I'm sure you agree). True cinema verite is an impossibility, that is for sure.

I'm interested in hearing more about film school, especially the deceptive techniques they encouraged. Earlier this year I considered going to on, but they are so expensive (around $35,000 a year or more) that with that kind of money I could make a pretty good first feature. Do you feel you learned much, beyond the technical?

Matthew
10/8/2003, 12:42 am Link to this post  
 
Chris Kelvin Profile
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Filmschool


Filmschool for me was a big waste of time and money. And most teachers had such a big ego it was sometimes hilarious. Instead of being a source of information and inspiration they just forced you to do things in a certain way (the way they do it for the past hundred years). I think these teachers had to much respect for what they achieved and for filmhistory. This was a huge blockade, because they weren’t open for new things.
The only thing filmschool is good for is meeting other people so you can talk about film, art, philosophy,...
The truth is you already have to know how to make a film and know everything about it before you enter a filmschool. The job of the teachers is not teaching you, but giving you information about what books you must read, what films you must see,.... and eventually they just judge you on what you have achieved. So you have to learn it all by yourself: writing, searching actors, locations, directing, camerawork, editing,... They just give you orders like: “In two weeks I expect you to have made a shortfilm about this subject and this duration”. Then they just judge it.
You can teach yourself filmmaking by reading the right books about film, screenwriting, art, philosophy and seeing films. A library and filmmuseum is a good way to start. And about practically making films you just buy a editingprogram for your computer and shoot films with your camera at home: learning by doing it. This is the best education.

In the end a diploma isn’t a guarantee to become a filmmaker.

About deceptive techniques: an example: I had to edit a realitysoap for television and there was an interview with a policeofficer and they encouraged me to edit his answer to a question in a certain way so the meaning of what he said was something else. We even paste answers on completely different questions. Some things the policeofficer did in front of the camera were staged: things that he would never do in reality, but were more the way how the director would like to see it. Also the policeofficer was driving with his van and the camera was in the back: the teacher found the scene rather silent and noticed the presence of a radio in the van. So we recorded a song from the radio and put it over the scene; so it was like the policeofficer was hip and listend to this cool music on the radio while he was driving. This was shown on television as a realitysoap!!!

This is one thing I experienced. So be aware of the things you see on tv because nothing is really real!! Even the news.

For fiction this is different, because it is fiction. But again you can manipulate people so they have expectations, feelings. In mainstream films it’s all about a game they play with the audience. You can force your intentions upon the audience (like a commercial), so there’s no place anymore for the viewer. This is done by light, color, music, cameramovement, the stream of information,....and many more.
Some good examples about manipulation are the films “F for FAKE” by Orson Welles and “Funny Games” by Michael Haneke. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

I hate the vision of a cinematographer who wants to light the scene like a painting he has seen. The beauty (and special effects) of the image is a distraction because the value of the image in itself isn’t really good. Only when the image is completely naked rises its true meaning to the surface.

Chris Kelvin.
10/8/2003, 10:21 am Link to this post Send Email to Chris Kelvin   Send PM to Chris Kelvin
 
matthew dickinson Profile
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Re: Filmschool


Interesting, thank you...

Matthew
10/9/2003, 12:42 am Link to this post  
 


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