Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Self Critique wrightup: Projects 1 and 2

Project 1: This is my self introduction through a gesture.  I chose to film my introspective chin-rub while climbing the stairs (my though process.)  As I climb, I run into people (much like I may end up oblivious to the world around me while lost in though.)  At the top of the steps, I reach my conclusion.  It's meant to be my struggle for insight.
 Jorge did a good job with the camera work on this, very focused and controlled.  I can't help but notice the tripod bag, coat and drink in the background of the stair climbing scene.  I'm not sure how clear the message is, it feels a little too subtle (like it could be even more extreme.)  However, I like that I'm kept on one side of the screen (even while climbing the stairs) until I reach my conclusion.  The end is really fast.  I can't tell yet how well it transitions into Michele's project.
On set, I didn't use good enough people management.  I left Jorge in the sun for too long and which made me stressed to find my extras.
Overall I'm pleased with it, but it seems a little dull.  I feel like it lacks that extra punch.

Project 2:  Student crams to finish homework while her popcorn cooks (a parallel action of building tension.)
Lack of focus (camera focus) made me lose a shot or two.  The first shot particularly is muddy.  I like the harsh transitions between the quite classroom and the noisy cafe.  On that note, I don't like some of the conflicting sounds in the cafe which makes the popcorn sound hard to hear.  To fix this I should reshoot the popcorn shot or record news sounds for it.  I can see myself in the reflection of the microwave.
I think the work flows fairly well (for a story that flows with jerky cuts.)  Some of the compositions of some of the desk shots I really like.  I think the scene could be pulled out longer, but this would require more shooting.
From a managing point of view, I should have started shooting in the class instead of the cafe.  The cafe set my frantic pace to get in, shoot, and get out.
Story wise it works alright: 7-8.  It could be pushed more.  Maysa could be more frantic near the end and the popcorn should have been smoking.  It's good, just more would be a lot better.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Story: A Romance

Megan and I have worked together to make this story idea.

A lonely computer technician is looking for the perfect girlfriend, but he learns that love problems don't have a troubleshoot menu.  Sometimes a perfect girlfriend can still be missing something.  When his hope is lost it's the unlikely girl who shows him sharing differences is better than sharing similarities.

The theme is that the ideal doesn't work in romance.  What you think you want in a relationship isn't always what works best.

The hero of this story is a computer technician who is fed up with bad relationships.  He wants the perfect girl.  Following his mindset, he makes a list (a detailed one at that) of all the qualities his perfect girlfriend would have.  As his number of disappointing oddball dates goes up so does his lengthening list of must have's and must have not's.  Finally, he finds the perfect girl!  He goes on a date and she's everything he wanted... but something was wrong.  Frantically, he runs everything through his head and can't figure out why they don't succeed as a couple.  The hero gives up and falls into depression. However, one day while waiting at a streetlight he meets a girl.  There was nothing special to note.  They meet again the next day.  A little small talk, nothing more.  The next day, a little more.  The next day a little more.  They start to learn more about each other.  Each conversation (though only small remarks) the two experience new things through each other's company until they become friends.  While buying coffee, the long list of girlfriend qualities falls out of his pocket.  He forgetfully throws it away and moves on.  As the couple enjoy the coffee the streetlight changes and they cross  the road together.

It's a funny, cute romance.
3rd person limited through the hero's perspective.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Gilgamesh Outline

Act I
Scene 1:  Max Gilgamesh and Evan Kidnu are introduced through a sequence depicting their very different lifestyles.  Max comes from a rich family.  Son of the late Donnald Gilgamesh who founded the corporation Max now runs.  Max lives a wild, spoiled life running a business and always trying to outdo those around him.  Evan comes from a poor upbringing and through great drive and fast breaks has landed a big job at Max's business.  This scene follows the two through parallels leading up to a big company merger party which both characters attend.
Scene 2:  At the merger celebration party.  Max, already getting tipsy during the opening remarks, gets up in front of the speakers and makes a spectacle of himself.  Evan becomes angered by Max's behavior and ,while trying to subdue him, starts a fistfight with his boss.  After the fight (as well as the party), Max and Evan are laughing and have become friends.  Max respects Evan for standing up to him and promotes him to his personal assistant. 
Scene 3:  Max and Evan have been running the business together for a while now.  They plan to find a way to spread their influence and become a corporation that's globally recognized.   Evan meets Max's mother who is courting a very powerful shareholder of a rival corporation Forrest and Son.  The shareholder leaves his coat were Max finds a vast amount of his stock shares hidden inside.  Seeing this as a sign of good luck, Max "borrows" the stocks as part of a plan he was forming to overthrow Forest and Son.  Evan warns Max that if his own shareholders (or the press for that matter) find out about this theft his reputation could be ruined.  However, Evan can't deny this is the opportunity they needed.

Act II
Scene 1:  Max and Evan enter Forest and Son pretending to be potential investors and request to meet with the CEO.  Once they meet the CEO, Max and Evan reveal who they are and that they have control over the majority of the company's stocks (and therefore the company itself.)  They manage a hostile takeover and win the company for themselves.   Later, the two return the stock shares to the shareholder by slipping them back into his office desk.
Scene 2:  After the success, Max's ex-wife tries to rekindle their relationship in hopes of stealing his fortune.  When Max denies her she sends a cutthroat lawyer out to snoop and undermine Max company.  Chaos ensues until Evan turns the tables on the lawyer, causing him to withdraw.  However, the lawyer manageS to find out a small lead into the questionable acts Max and Evan had done to Forest and Son.
Scene 3:  The truth about their deceitful takeover of Forest and Son becomes public and Evan takes the fall for it.  Max is stricken with guilt.  Seeing Evan lose everything he had made Max worry for his own safety in the company, for the shareholders had ruined Evan and could ruin himself as well.  He decides to find the greatest businessman in the world, Gensai Hyotoko, and find a way to run a business above control from others those who might destroy it.  
Scene 1:  Max meets Gensai and asks him how he could run his business without concerns of his status or shareholders.  Gensai proposes that Max shadows him along his typical business day.  
Scene 2:  Before the day is over Max is exhausted from the stresses and intense workload that Gensai puts himself through on a regular basis.  Gensai tells him that the power Max is seeking is something that cannot be attained unless he works himself constantly without breaks or pleasures.  If Max wants to live free of worry for the future, he must live in the moment where things can last forever.  Disheartened but wiser by this awakening, Max leaves.
Scene 3:  On his way out he sees that Evan was working at Gensai's (speaking bad Japanese on a phone in a cubicle no less.)  Through Evan's difficult opposition, Max manages to convince Evan to quit the corporate game and start a new life working at a small business. 
Scene 4:   Max's business still stands (but is under new management.)  Across the street Max and Evan run a  ladder shop called "The Middle Rung."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Epic of Gilgamesh story arc

       I find the Epic of Gilgamesh to be an intriguing (not to mention ancient) story about a very dynamic character who goes looking for the secrets of life for himself only to find the secrets of life for everything else.  
         Characters:    Gilgamesh is a tyrant of a king who abuses his power and sleeps with every woman he wants (particularly newlyweds.)  He seems to be a king who justifies is actions believing that without his input the whole kingdom (possibly the whole world) would fall on its face.  It's only through the friendship of the once lowly Enkidu that Gilgamesh learns compassion and gains a greater vision of purpose in his life.  Enkidu's death makes Gilgamesh fear his own, prompting him to find the secret to immortality.  After journeying to the ends of the earth he fails to become immortal but learns that the world, nature, friendship, and even humanity itself can live on forever.  He saw that his kingdom survived without him and the world moves on without any change.
        Enkidu is a man amongst nature and friend to the animals, but when he lay with a woman he became a member of human society and lost the animals favor.  Enkidu meets Gilgamesh at a wedding.  Enkidu fights Gilgamesh in response to his attempt at sleeping with the many brides.  As a character, Enkidu seems to represent a purehearted foil to Gilgamesh with a background in the purity of nature.  His friendship to Gilgamesh turns the corrupt king into a caring soul.
This is a tale about accepting one's finitude after a futile attempt at surpassing eternity.  It's a tale with a lot of resonance (for me anyway.)

Act I:
The first act would introduce Gilgamesh and Enkidu leading to their first encounter, a fistfight spreading utter chaos in the middle of a wedding.  The two become friends and  Gilgamesh invites Enkidu on a quest to gain eternal fame by conquering a sacred cedar forest.  
Act II:
Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the beast guarding the forest.  They fight a bull threatening Gilgamesh's kingdom.  Enkidu dies leading Gilgamesh to fear that one day he too must die.  This causes Gilgamesh to search for Utnapishtim, an immortal man and the ends of the earth to teach him the secret of eternal life.
Act III:
Gilgamesh journeys and finds Utnaphishtim and learns that there is no way he can become immortal.  He returns to his kingdom and sees that even though he had not ruled his kingdom, it still stood just as fine without him.

My idea for a modern adaption of this story is if Gilgamesh was the CEO of a big business.  Enkidnu would be his new executive associate and these battles for fame in act two could be Gilgamesh taking over other rival businesses.  Gilgamesh would have the fear of losing his company and would still have the motivation to run his business forever.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2nd Assignment

For this project I want to play with simultaneity and tension.
Character walks into the Sleeze and starts to microwave a bag of popcorn.  Suddenly they remember class is about to start and they haven't started their homework yet and they dash off.  The camera eases to the microwave and stays there.  The rest of the short follows the character but cuts sharply back to the popping popcorn bag as the tension rises.  The character runs into the classroom exchanging dialogue with another student (likely establishing to the viewer of the impending homework due.)  The character scribbles away all the while the popcorn  keeps popping.  Tension and frustration builds until DING!!! the character makes a fatal fault and realizes there's no way to finish in time.

 Here's the camera breakdown for the two scenes.