Sunday, 2 November 2014

Yr3 Week 2 (Fri 17 Oct - MDA3400 Ideas Generation workshop)

Today's double session was devoted towards prepping ourselves for our big pitch in week 5, where we present our dissertation project (be it a short film or two, a script or even a critical essay, which rather humorously, no one opted for). Of course, some where still not entirely sure of what they wanted to do, so Helen decided to have a little ideas generation Workshop set up to get the old skull engine firing away again. Most of them are fairly straightforward exercises which I'll list off here:

  • 2p Game: a fun little entree, the aim of the game is to knock the 2 pence off of a person's hand with just your hand and nothing else. What this demonstrated was not only aptitude and dexterity, but also inner flair and showmanship as the numbers go down, and suddenly you begin to clown around as you avoid the other person and become an entertaining watch. Easy to see how this relates to pitching.
  • Q'n'A sheet: straightforward list of questions on how we behave/define ourselves with the creative process. Not much to comment on save for I am a very committed, almost maverick individual, when it comes to projects and I care very deeply about the wellbeing of those around me when I collaborate.
  • Helen brought up the notion of 'Belben's Team analysis', which says there are always certain people in any given team: the Plant (ideas man), the Shaper (the energy), the Monitor Evaluator (very deliberate and accurate), the Implementer (the hard worker), the Co-Ordinator (the boss), the Resources Investigator (the negotiator), the Specialist (the master of their craft) and the Finisher (the maverick who sees something through to the bitter end).
  • Getting into groups of four, we each broke down our ideas for our dissertation into the following categories (form, subject, one sentence summary and keywords) and then shared them. Mine was a feature script (1), dealing with parents who have a terminally ill child (2), who we see fight their harsh reality, and then what they would do for a cure (3), and finally, there is choice, consequence, dehumanisation, hope and acceptance (4).
  • We recapped some of the idea generation techniques we had discussed for the past two years. These covered scenarios like 'No Idea' (engage in passive research, reflect on your past works and what do you feel you need to improve on/practice), the 'Just an Idea' (more active research, brainstorming, immersion in the subject, getting input from others and collaboration) and 'Committed' (the triple Rs - research, represent and refine, S.C.A.M.P.E.R. - substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to other use, eliminate and rearrange, experimentation/tests/protype, outlines).
  • Next, in pairs, we had a face to face chat about our projects and what our aims were with them. I talked to Ruben, who wished to be a producer on three projects, and has a very no-nonsense approach to his work.
  • We then had a class brainstorm for one of the script, discussing how all the possible routes you could go with it, keywords, imagery, tone, influences and the general outline of the story and what it could be/do. After, we split up into pairs once more, to do a smaller version for our our projects.
Phew, that was a lot! Anyway, for the afternoon session, we focused more on the pitch itself. The actual details are on moodle, but this was basically a little pep talk, quickly breaking down the presentation (to be hosted on our blogs), and what some of the issues would be moving forward with our ideas (identify key issues/problems, what is the core, what is the goal and what is the strategy etc.) So, after all this, I can safely say that this won't be an easy one, mainly because of how much there is riding on this project (not just my last piece for Uni, but also a means of presenting myself to the industry). I was fully aware of this beforehand, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit all of this had yet produced some anxieties over the quality of my presentation and how much I need to go over to ensure the tutors and class are satisfied. This is made further complicated by how serious and dour my subject is, so naturally there is going to be a fair bit of blood, sweat and tears involved.

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