I was a little nervous about tonight’s crit group, however I found it rather helpful. I have a few directions to take the work in, even taking it back to Melton Mowbray where it originated.
- The tests weren’t that violent, even tame, find more with blood, guts and gore etc and emphasise those elements, removing the guns and the shots to focuses purely on the result of violence
- Take a violent scene, construct a set of that scene and project scene in that, adding context extra depth to the scene.
- Work with Melton to put together a performance piece, linking the film High Plains Drifter (1973) and the historical event. I really want to around the town with a pant brush – I would be more than likely arrested for it though.
The third test video was liked the best as made more use of the street set-up, I still feel it separates the antagonist and victim, I would have to mix them up for that to work. Even using two projectors to achieve it. Also arranging the models to face each other traditionally. I was encouraged to really get into cowboy character, which is becoming more tempting, maybe even playing Clint, his role in Drifter could be a fun role, and very dark.
- We discussed the position of the genre and the potential of making a piece that looks at its current position, how it reflects contemporary times – maybe even a feminist Western, which a few do exist, such as Meeks Cuttoff (2010), The Homesman (2014) and Unforgiven (1992) looking more at the female presence which has been very much underplayed in the genre. I have enjoyed the female focused western.
I’m really open to see where things go, the saloon I have started may now be scrapped, unless I can adapt it to a scene, the first one that comes to mind is the ending of Unforgiven, which would allow me to see how this idea first works out. I am also considering approaching galleries in Melton to look at possibilities there. The end piece should be shown there, it feels right that it returns to it’s roots, seeing the connection of a phrase and a film brought together. Editing footage to focus on the result of violence, to see the death, the blood etc is going to be exciting to see too. Just a shame I have to wait to the weekend to start anything.
I treated last night like a crit group session, something I don’t have many of these days, a few year really which is all I need as I have become more reflective in my work, taking my time. Also my output is not as prolific as 2014 was. I saw The Shag – Film Screening as a chance to share my work and to get some feedback on my work from other creatives who are not as familiar as those in the studio.
The first piece Tom Cruise Lost For Words (2015) was met with laughter, as he was literally lost for words, reduced to just gestures really. An actor and icon of modern film reduced someone to be laughed. I hadn’t thought of the resulting gestures that make a fool of him. Felt it was a film of two halves, one funny, then becoming more serious as the clip is the edited together interview with a journalist in Magnolia (1999).
As with the first piece it was the first time I had seen Just One More Game (2013) projected. The response was more profound if anything. It was encouraging that the power of the act of removing dialogue. The audience was quite moved by it. An idea emerged from the discussion about the gestures and the noises/sounds made by the actors, to have the audio separate from the visual. An abstraction of the act which becomes something else which I have yet to listen to the soundtrack. I have done it with Do You Understand? (2015) which retains the dialogue. This is something to return to in more detail for a future piece. I would hopefully be using fresh material for that piece.
The next piece Dancing in the West (2013) was met with positive responses all around. They found it to be a fun. However I was more concerned with the more recent footage which is for my latest work. I was worried that it would play in the wrong ratio, having seen a DVD preview earlier. I didn’t have to worry. By pure coincidence it was played at the same time as some music in another room, piano I believe and faintly too. A few thought it was the soundtrack, which in fact added to the atmosphere of the piece. I was worried it was going to be repetitive, which wasn’t mentioned. So I think I am on the right track. So should I add audio or not, should I add a soundtrack against silent action. This could be a silent film in colour.
My last thought on the piece was on the way back to my Sisters, on the overall length of the piece which lead me to consider releasing the film in parts due to the length. I want to ensure the audience attention is not lost. Having it in parts serialised, in tone with dime novels and short stories that inspired the classic films of the genre. I would only release when the whole piece is of equal quality too to ensure nothing is lost along the way.
Lastly it was considered that I am critiquing Hollywood rather than film as a medium which is was a fair comment as I have not yet touched on any other countries really. I maybe updating my Artists Statement soon to reflect that.