Trailers (for sale or rent)

making posters is an even more specialist skill!
A friend suggested I really should be using instagram - for videos - which means 15 second cuts: as if 1 minute wasn't enough of a challenge...
I started by trying to make a 15 second narrative (which in a couple of cases was actually possible as they had started out extremely short and with a fairly non-narrative kind of narrative) but for most of the ideas, the challenge was finding the good bits (visual) weren't necessarily the good bits of narrative. It emphasised the inseparable nature of the visuals and the narrative - which is good - but also helped with thinking about how shots or ideas could be re-ordered without unravelling the story. Some film festivals ask for trailers, and I always think...that's mad, a trailer for a 2 minute movie...but actually that is a more helpful way of looking at 15 seconds extracted from a short short. It's not about condensing the whole story... or extracting the "best" 15 seconds of visuals (because that may not tell a story, may not have pace... oh wait, how can they be the best visuals if they dont have pace? Then they are only 2 dimensional). So a better comparison/ starting point might be to look at the images I chose to extract for the screenshot web pages - a series of images which tell parts of the story but don't reveal the ending, and which are chosen for their variety as well as the strength of the images themselves, and the way they carry the narrative sense. But trying to put them together as a series of sequences rather than stills...aaaargh! Starting to really appreciate why storyboarding is a specialist skill and so is producing trailers.
UPDATE: a very useful training session from Tom Armitage, via Northern Film and Media, about creative ways to use the web to promote/ contextualise/ raise interest in/ support and reinforce your film work... I think I might actually be heading in the right direction...



The complete collapse of the Wacom graphics tablet. Which I use every day. Aargh. Comically, it didn't just stop working but started issuing random commands to the computer, putting keyframes in wherever it fancied, turning layers on and off in a series of variations of its own devising - sometimes the opposite of what I had keyed in, but sometimes a more interesting set of visuals. Trying to tell me something? At this point of course one reflects on the over-reliance on technology (I couldn't look up the phone number of the computer repair shop, because it refused to input any text to the google search box. Of course I had recycled my Yellow pages (bah! Old technology! Dead trees!) so I had to drive there just to ask if they still did repairs...) but also on the abrupt stupidity of the mouse as a drawing tool.
 I had a friend who taught life drawing and made the students draw with pointed, wooden 18" sticks...but even he and his faithful students would have been frustrated by drawing with a cigarette packet on a piece of string. But, whilst I wait for a replacement tablet to arrive, this is what I attempt to do. Unfortunately, as I am in the middle of a film, the change in style will not be helpful...but perhaps it is a reminder to explore the extent to which we can make experimental gestural marks with the computer. The new tablet promises  more responsiveness, a lighter quicker touch...which frankly sounds more like an advert for a condom, but I'm hoping it will translate to a greater autographic sensibility. Disappointingly, some of the graphics tablets on offer have interchangeable textured mats (to mimic different papers). Sorry, but if you want the effect of drawing on Fink-Nottle's cold pressed watercolour paper with a wax crayon...then why not, you know, draw on Fink-Nottle's cold pressed... I'm still hoping there are interesting marks which are the computer's own and not a pale imitation (or even a really convincing imitation) of some other process. Computers can, and do, do so much... can we not also let them be computers?


Taking your ideas for a walk

...well no, nothing to do with fractals, tiny round islands or things not being what they seem. In fact the next film idea turns out to be about treadmills, repetition, and mechanical wind-up toys. Kafka and Tim Burton hang out in The Magic Roundabout. I suppose, if I had a brief...a client, a commission... I could start from there and it would be fractals all the way but if it's up to me then I can go any direction that moves me. The trick is not to dither endlessly or keep on the track if it has evidently become a dead-end. And here, perhaps the representation of rigidity, pre-determination and escape attempts owes something to a re-examining of my own routines. A need for structure. versus the joy of freefall. Well, watch this space to see whether the inner teenager or the inner parent will win.
But there is something so great about the wonky scale of tin toys - the massive heads, the tiny legs, the gigantic winding keys that makes even a kafka-esque nightmare landscape jolly. Even without the lurid, and slightly wobbly-edged colours.
I'm attempting a short movie that has NO pre-planning - taking a line for several walks (25 each second, but in slow motion spread over days). Free-range...No storyboard. No efficiencies or  "if I'd realised I wanted to wiggle those fingers I'd have drawn the hands on another layer". So time is wasted. But - I hear you ask - is time spent making art and learning how to do both the process and the end product better, ever wasted? I think not.