Reflection on Media 160

This class has taught me so much about film. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to create the Portrait of Sam. It was a great experience in filmmaking. This project also introduced me to a new person, Sam, who I am grateful to meet. She is very knowledgeable and has taught me many things. She showed me how to pan with final cut and other techniques in final cut. I really did not think I would be able to create something worth watching. However, the story was great and therefore helped create a successful piece for me. I was also able to play around with Photoshop once again and I really enjoyed that too.

I have definitely walked away from this class with a different perspective on film. The Portrait Project is the main project that has really impacted me. It has inspired me to work on more film and final cut related projects. Before this class, I had no interest in filmmaking. Now, leaving this class, I have some knowledge on editing and it has motivated me on working in another project. Watching the different documentaries in class has made me decide to create a Portrait of my family. John Canemaker’s The Moon and the Son is also something that inspired me to do a Portrait on my family. However, I’m not sure when I will be able to actually do it, but this is definitely a goal of mine. Having done some editing, I now notice the different shots and cuts shown in movies. Sometimes that would be something in my mind. This class has brought out the mini filmmaker in me. The filmmaker that I did not know was in me. Now I hope I will get other opportunities to create films.

I appreciate the work of my classmates as well. The screenings of their portraits have also inspired me, to work with different things in my future projects. Seeing my classmates works allow me to see that I should also incorporate my personality in the projects that I produce. It will bring individuality into my pieces. The lab sessions were very friendly and welcome. Everybody was kind to one another and gave me more confidence in showing my work.

John Canemaker Screening

John Canemaker’s animations were really interesting. For the first screening, Confessions of a Stardreamer was very artistic. I liked how Canemaker transforms the character into different objects. It was almost like a dream. However this piece kind of made me dizzy, good thing it was 9 minutes. The voiceover was also very diva-like and that really illustrated the actress. The second screening, The Moon and the Son was a very touching story. I liked the drawings and animations in this film. The animations defined John Canemaker as a person. It shows his personality and perspective in society. Some parts of the story were comical and I think the animation also helped with that respect.

When asked how Canemaker approached his filmmaking, he said “it just came out of the blue.” He explains that he had always wanted to do a film about his father. He had even interviewed his father, before his death, in hopes of creating a film about him. One day he had gotten a grant from Rockefeller and just decided to write a storyboard and WHAM, he had started on this project, just like that. Canemaker chooses to have real life images alongside his animations because he felt that would help with the realism in the piece. Animation always comes as unreal to people, therefore the real images help people understand that this is a true story. He decided to incorporate animation in his work because he said it was a “gut feeling,” and so he just went with it. Canemaker quotes “When you think you’ve gone far enough, go further.” He says that is one of the inspirations that helped him create most of his pieces. Some animations I remember from the film is that Canemaker had a family photo and then it turned into a animation and then he turned his dad into a rocket ship. The rocket ship represents Canemaker’s father always getting angry and it was always unexpected. Another image he had was his father being a thunderbolt and the kids were squares. The thunderbolt scares the squares and the square had a slug-like thing that protects the kids. The slug is their mother. These images personified the thoughts and emotions. They help captivate emotion and give a deeper image. These animations are visual metaphors.

Production Notes

Having finished the Portrait Project, I have been given a chance to see what things are like behind the scenes with the making of a film. When I first started the project recording and interviewing Sam, we had to spend some time thinking of good places to go, for optimal sound. We ended up going to the music department’s practice rooms on the 4th floor. We were lucky that every time we went to the practice rooms, there was one room that was open. Doing this project made me realize that Hunter had a lot of secret rooms. I learned about the film making process. I never knew how much work can be committed to a three-minute project. I now know the importance in separating the sound and the image. It makes the final presentation a LOT better, in terms of sound quality. I also learned how to seamlessly tell a story. There can also be a lot of sudden changes within a story too. For example, when I first interviewed Sam about the Haitian Drumming Club, their advisor, Frisner was still alive and then two weeks later I find out he passed away and had to interview Sam again on the aftermath. I also learned that even though I had so many ideas and got a lot of footages I was only able to use some footage. This made me appreciate filmmakers more, because they take so much time to catch a bunch of footage, but sometimes they really can’t use ALL of the footage and it just really sucks. After seeing the finished product of the “film” I realized that I did not have too much footage on Sam. That is something I would have changed. Sam is the interviewee and should be more visible. Another thing I would change is that I would have liked to get higher quality pictures of the different Haitian drums. Aside from that there isn’t much I’d like to change, because I followed my “storyboard” (I’m not great with drawing so I ended up making a story board with words instead). I’m happy that I was able to connect the different images with the voiceover. At first I was weary on whether or not I could find images to match the words, but I’m happy I was able to successfully follow my storyboard and find a bunch of footage.

The Soundwalk

Canal Street in New York no. 4725
The streets of Canal Street, Chinatown has many unique sounds that help create the essence of New York City. The cultural mix of Chinese immigrants and tourist rave the neighborhood. The texture of the sound is polyphonic because Canal Street or any street in New York is filled with different sounds. Sounds like cars swishing by, the languages from all the different cultures (English, Chinese, Spanish, French, Creole, and hundreds more), the whistles of the crossing guards, the subway trains going by, ambulances and police sirens going on, the rings from the bikes. Occasionally I would hear the shop owners whispering “hangbag hangbag,” they wanted to make sales on counterfeit luxury handbags. In the background there were people bargaining for prices. One can also hear the vendors preparing food in the food carts. The sizzling of the grills is a great contribution to the city’s symphony. One of the jewelry stores had a thing where when a customer steps into the store it would make the “doo-doom” sound. Cars, ambulances, and people are the city's instruments. Without the sound of different languages and fire trucks going off New York City would not be the city that never sleeps. Through this assignment, the question "What sounds do you hear in different times of the day?" came up. When I pondered on this question I realized that the city really “never sleeps”, because at night the cars, sirens, and people are still there creating the same kind of symphony. The dark made the symphony even more beautiful because of the city lights.