Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Yr2 Week 6 (Wed 20 Nov - Producing and Directing/Film and Innovation)

For the morning seminar on Producing and Directing, we followed on from yesterday and talked about performance styles, and how they have changed over the years as film has changed: we began by looking a an excerpt from Hammer's Horror of Dracula, when Lucy is staked. The class felt that the performance of her boyfriend (played by a young Michael Gough) felt more suited for the stage, taking on a stilted, almost mechanical aspect as he waited for his next line to deliver, and melodramatically moving his body around in a needlessly exagerrated manner.

Moving on in film history, we then looked at a scene from The Exorcist, specifically, one of the first major scenes detailing Regan's possession. We noted how there was a greater immediacy and more reactionary approach to the performances, which for the most part, meshed well with Friedkin's more grounded, realistic shooting aesthetic. I say most part, since the mother screamed in a somewhat more theatrical, overdone manner compared to the mere shock of the others.

Then, we looked a French offering from a while back, Bruno's Dumont's Haddovitch, which dealt with a former nun interacting with a group of Arab men in a Parisian cafe. While it lacked the stylisation of the other two, mostly being done in one long, continuous mid shot, we noted that the actors often made little gestures/fidgets with their fingers and hand, looked off camera slightly and other little moments of minor movement, which is probably the most realistic out of the performances viewed thus far, since in real life, we often fidget or make little gestures and movements when we speak and interact with, as opposed to standing still like Dracula from earlier.

We also took brief glimpses at the found footage grandaddy, The Blair Witch Project (where most of the performance had to be carried by the face and delivery, since it was at night time and the camera was zoomed in very close) and notorious 90s schmaltz-fest Jerry Maguire, where we noted a definite 'falseness' to the perforamnces of Zellweger and Cruise, lacking those little gestures mentioned aforehand and really tailoring themselves more to the needs of the script and situation (what David calls 'Indicating') than realism.

After, in Film and Innovation, we took a look at Non-linearity and how that can be applied to storytelling, and we did this, in our respective groups, making up spider diagrams/brainstorms to outline all the elements, possibilities and choices that such a method affords us: First, we took a crack at the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, and how that could be made interactive and play with plot progression. Our idea - make it a sprawling RPG, giving you the option of multiple paths by which to reach Grandma's house, and whether or not, or how soon, you come into contact with the Wolf, and this in turn, could affect the familiar ending.

Then, we looke dat how a memoir/biography could be done in this way. Our idea this time - choice bsed, so that depending on where you went in the house, a different type of accident would befall you (based one ach of our own true experiences), ranging from sending a cat to its death, to get trousers yanked off by a bike or falling through an icy pond etc.)

Once done there, we then really got down to discussing ways in which, when put into practice, how might we present a non-linear narrative, and get players engaged:
  •  Playing with dynamics of choice and order, as mentioned before.
  • How instructions are implemented to progress (diegetic or non-diegetic, depending on how immersed you want the player to be).
  • What are the parameters/means of navigation if you make such a sprawling and varied tale?
  • The use of easter eggs (little secrets) to entice exploration and possible repeat visits/playthroughs.
And with that. we capped off the day. Frankly, today was pretty straightforward, and I can't really evaluate much since I'm already familiar with differing performance styles thanks to my background as a film critic, and non-l;linearity is a concept I'm already familiar with, and the session served more as an amusing refresher than illuminating new concepts.

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