Mulling it over Talk about your ideas with friends, family and your OCA peers. • What is the possible visual outcome? Remember that your aim is to make photographs, so your ideas need to be visual or you need to find a way to visualize them.
Since I was torn between two ideas, I had posted about this to seek the opinion of fellow students, which gave me a lot of clarity. This exercise of understanding what the others had to say really helped me to channelize my energies toward doing just ONE thing and making it strong. The comments and suggestions can be seen here:
I have decided to make the film after all. The initial confusion is now over and I know for sure that this will be my final project for the reasons below:
- It will help me decide if I have the basic skills to pursue a degree course in Moving Images.
- I had asked my tutor for his suggestion if I should pursue Moving Images at a degree level. It was his suggestion to do a film for my final project so he can assess where I stand. This should help him decide if I am cut out for it at all.
- With the growing human-animal conflict, most people have zero tolerance for animals, especially in my country. I want this film to go out as a strong message of awareness amongst these people. Mostly, people just complain, they just want to point out problems without offering or being a part of the problem. It will be my endeavor to be a part of the solution, in every little way I can. And spreading this far and wide on the social media will be my target.
- I found some great footage and I am very excited to be working on it.
Research • Investigate photographers who have done work in a similar genre or with the same sort of subject. Or just investigate photographers and artists you want to learn from. • Research the subject itself. For example, if it’s a photo project about an elderly couple, you could do some research on the changes age makes to people’s lives. You may want to investigate the visual milieu of the elderly, the sorts of things they like to have around them, or the things they need to use because of frailty. Be observant; identify character traits and physical gestures – and the responses of young people to set up a contrast. All of this should give you some ideas for photographs, e.g. an old lady in her high-backed chair surrounded by memorabilia from her life and photos of her grandchildren; an old man carefully getting into a car; an old lady in a mobility scooter in a crowd of teenagers. You may or may not be able to realize your ideas, but it gets the imagination running to think of them.
My first attempt at the short film had a great response from my family and friends who thought it was absolutely brilliant, but you know how biased loved ones can be. After my Still Life assignment fiasco, I didn’t want to take any chances and wanted to give it the best I could. I sent the movie to Richard Keys, a fellow student at the OCA, who was kind enough to take the time out and gave a very honest and great feedback. I also ran it by a couple of award-winning filmmakers who are friends but I knew I would get an honest answer from them. Since it was my first attempt to do anything like it, it was important to get a critical feedback on it. I am glad I did because they pointed out a lot of flaws and shortcomings in the film and provided great feedback and suggestions. So now I am back to square one and I am going to reattempt the entire movie again.
I would have provided a link to the movie made but I don’t want to give it away yet, and it will most probably kill the excitement of watching it for the first time and I want that first time to be when I submit the final assignment. I promise to provide both films for your critical evaluation along with the comments as I received from my critiques at that time.
Post this feedback section, I took a Masterclass with Werner Herzog, who is a brilliant self-taught filmmaker. I read a lot about filmmaking and referred to books and watched movies as was suggested in this masterclass. I also looked at wildlife films by one of the greatest filmmakers of India, who has won several awards and his movies are prominently showcased on BBC and Nat geo all the time, Nalla Muthu. This also made me rethink of how I will attempt to make this film in a better way. I also managed to see some parts of a wildlife documentary film, (confidentially of course) which is in the making, by L.A. based award-winning filmmaker, Warren Pereira.
This exercise helped me get the clarity I was seeking and I hope with all these added learning and knowledge, am able to do a better edit the second time around. I have the idea in my head – I just hope to now translate it effectively.