Modern Romance

Final Project Link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FER6AB7Fb0k&feature=plcp

Music Silhouette by Opeth

(Open to light shining through a window, pan to see it hit a woman lying in bed.)

Male – All are told that love is supposed to make up for any deficiency that they might have.

(The Camera pans to follow the light beam to the girl’s face.)

Woman – There is always going to be a part of me that doesn’t quite live up to your standards

(Cut to close up of the woman’s face as the sun is eventually blotted out.)

Man – A couple promising to never hurt each other is like a country promising to never go to war

(Slowly Pan down to the pendent around her neck that reflects light.)

(Cut back to the woman lying in bed this time with less light and yet there is an invisible light that shines in her face in the darkness.)

Male – don’t ask me to coddle you and worry about your feelings when you have such a blatant disregard for mine.

(Cut to a shot of the city, man is sitting across the table talking.)

Female – I’m here because I want to be with you, I want to try.

(Cut to him outside of a lit diner, looking in through the window.)

Male – How is it that the woman’s version of love is to dare men to love them back?

(Cut to Woman walking alone on a dark street.  Intercut with disturbing images.  Finally cut to her walking towards camera on a dimly lit street until her face is in complete close up.)

Female – Don’t say you love someone unless there is nothing they can do to change your mind.

(Fade to Black)

Male – We all cover our fear at the possibility of what we really deserve.

(Cut to Title, fade to tag line.)

At the center of the lie is love.

Shot List

Panning shot from window with sunlight down to girl in the bed

Shot from other side of girl up at sunlight

Shot of face as light fades

Pan Down to pendent that is shining

Shining face weird light

Shot of the City, preferably in the morning

Man standing outside of lighted window

Shot of man stepping on woman’s face

Shot of nature eating itself

Shot of Decay

Shot of Diamond being modeled

Shot of woman walking away from camera

Shot of Woman Walking towards Camera

Shot of woman walking across frame

Shot of different body parts of girl as she walks by

Shot of girl taking into camera

Title Sequence

Production Company Sequence.

Redone Dialogue

Male – All are told that love is supposed to make up for any deficiency that they might have.

Woman – The white knight in shining armor doesn’t exist, because if he did, I wouldn’t have been hurt so many times.

Male – You haven’t given me a chance.

Woman – There is always going to be a part of me that doesn’t quite live up to your standards

Man – A couple promising to never hurt each other is like a country promising to never go to war.

Woman – Men and their wars.  If I could really be all that you needed there would be no need of them.

Male – don’t ask me to coddle you and worry about your feelings when you have such a blatant disregard for mine.

Female – I’m here because I want to be with you, I want to try, but what are you willing to do to show me how much you care.

Male – How is it that the woman’s version of love is to dare men to love them back?

Female – Don’t say you love someone unless there is nothing they can do to change your mind.

Male – We all cover our fear at the possibility of what we really deserve.

The link above is the pdf that isn’t supported by wordpress for my story boards.

I had a small issue with the pdf file i emailed myself of my original storyboards so I redid them here and used photobooth.  Please ignore my bad drawing.

Production Journal

This has not gone as planned at all.  I had started this by trying to do a trailer for a film I wrote about a year back that I was planning to do in the spring.  I knew that I needed to have something video on kickstarter prior to the winter and full preproduction to have an idea of what our finances were going to be looking at.  The process started by everyone who I had previously set up to be involved in the Spring not being in town or simply not being available due to prior commitments.  These things do happen, and I also knew that I didn’t need to have the actual cast present in the teaser as much as it was important to capture the tone of what I wanted the film to be about.  Looking at how many people were in some of the scenes I really only hoped to get a lead male and female and move from there, but this proved more difficult that it sounds as it is the middle of finals and everyone is busy trying to finish their own projects.  Pleading with local family and friends went to no avail as the weekend disappeared to yet another missed opportunity and the mounting pressure of a deadline approaches.  I no longer care if this good enough to get money, so long as it gets done.

I take the time for the weekend to get ahead in other classes with the hopes that someone will respond to one of my posts online by the end of the week.  By Sunday Night I have gone over my outline of what I wanted to get so many times for so many different assortments of people that I might get until I have boiled it down to bare bones two people; male and female to contrast against each other in their loneliness.  I have tried to limit the number of locations down to two, with heavy use of voice over to narrate an unseen prince over a vulnerable woman in the dark.  Not exactly my original idea.

After getting done with another project I can’t sleep Sunday night to the point that I drag my fiancé out of bed to shoot some things.  I had originally not wanted to use her because of her weight because I wanted to get into the consumerism of people as objects and how that relates to deserving them, but at this point I have given up on the idea of getting what I want with what time I have left.  She is very understanding of the weight issue as it relates to image but less forgiving of getting dragged out of bed at 3 in the morning on her day off.  She makes me buy her breakfast and I see a sparsely lit residential sidewalk for her to traverse.  I know that I want to end with a long walk into a close up for the only line to be delivered into the camera.  I make sure to take multiple takes as the lighting is not good, and even though it is looking ok on my screen, I am fearful that it won’t turn out or will be too dark and I don’t want to have to come back out here again.  I do this with several shots to include a wide shot to have her walk across the landscape in and out of shadow as well as many close up shots of various body parts in movement.  I know I am going to be inter-cutting this together along with glimpses of disturbing imagery that I still need to find.

I tell her to look melancholy, which she has no problem at this hour, and am sure to have her walk further in each shot than she needs to because I haven’t really got my timing down yet of the cut as I haven’t really broken down my music yet, so better safe than sorry.

Dec. 7

I have been busy these week with other finals and so were most of the people that I have access to, though I was able to secure an actor for this Sunday.  Friday night when I got home I started to piece together a rough cut of the film that I had shot and started to put it to music.  As Murphy’s law would dictate, after purchasing PC editing software, my PC’s hard drive goes out, so I am forced to do my cut on iMovie, which is not my first choice, but I really can’t afford the expense of purchasing new software for a very small project when I have faith/hope that my PC will be working again by the Spring.  This limits some of the techniques I was hoping to use and makes overlapping sounds more difficult than it needs to be, Apples not so subtle way of getting you to buy the upgraded version.

The footage that was shot whittles down to about 48 seconds, which really isn’t horrible, and meets the music track that I had set up for it, though if my outline is to be followed I still need about another minute and five seconds of stuff, and that doesn’t even include the production logo and title sequence which should take up at least ten seconds or so.  The software will not let me put in music tracks without video to support so I have inserted some home movies to get a rough cut of the music track so I just have to edit in the images later.  I still need to record the voice overs which I am a little nervous about because I have no idea where it will show up as a voice track on this program so I will probably do some practice voice over work for a throw away film to get the hang of it.  I also need to lift a couple of clips to intercut with the night walking sequence and thinking that I might want to play with some of the film quality elements but I am going to wait until I am done shooting everything else so that I can see how that will effect the cohesion of it all, not to mention that my options are very limited on iMovie.

Dec. 8

I have done some rewrites to the script and have had Jackie give her voice over work.  She is not the best actress and I would really like to find a more talented subject to redo this with, and am hoping the girl that I had cast for the Spring will be available sometime over the holidays as it really hasn’t taken Jackie very long to do her parts, but there is nothing technically wrong.  Also, the light outside has been very dreary the past few days.  I woke up early this morning to try and get the sunrise coming through the window but it was too overcast to get much of anything.  I have thought about ways to artificially make light come through, but I think all would prove too difficult, though it is supposed to clear up some tomorrow, so I am going to keep my fingers crossed and try to come up with an alternative in case that doesn’t work out.  Also supposed to meet Andrew tomorrow night for his male voice work and one scene though I might try to see how long I can keep him for and maybe make up some new things for him since Jackie is getting agitated quickly by my requests.

Dec. 9

As can be expected, there was absolutely no light again today, so I really couldn’t wait with my fingers crossed for tomorrow as I am quickly approaching my deadline.  It is dank and drizzly this morning, with no sunrise that counts, so I still tried to use the woman in bed which really is just filler at this point, but as I need time I’m going to keep it until I have something to replace it with.  I also though of rain and melancholy and had Jackie stand at the window looking out not really thinking of a narrative, but it does work well when I cut it with the music so I’m really just keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn’t further implode, but I am meeting Andrew tonight for voice over.  I am also toying with the structure some to having a constant contrast and juxtaposition of the male and female elements.  I showed a very early rough cut with quite a few stand in shots to Jackie and all she can comment on is how fat she looks.  I am trying my best to minimalize body shots for her, both for her self-conscious and because I am afraid of changing the dynamic so much that the story becomes unrecognizable and I’m not sure that you can have an obese girl as the object to desire.

Things with Andrew went fairly well, as he is much better at voice acting and seems to be a much better person to throw ideas off of, though our shoot was cut short thanks to some bad Jamaican food.  When I finally stopped being sick and started to edit I quickly saw that the new footage is way better than the old, and that my original template is going to be all but abandoned.  I can already see the disparity between the two that this is not a likely couple and just their juxtaposition does not sell, but there is nothing that can be done about that.  It is like getting actors that have no natural chemistry.  You know this is going to be bad, but you grit your teeth and try to force the circle through the square.

The male clips are no longer a contrast of strength to the wailing female disposition as much as yet another dose of melancholy.  The one thing the piece has going for it is the music really does carry a lot of the mood and at least there is a fair amount of movement.

Interesting story.  I had originally planned to keep the first and second half separate, with only the first half really having voice work, but through the course of editing on iMovie, which has a really long and arduous sound editing process, one of the sound bites found its way attached to the more shocking clips from the trailer and I think it fits.

Self Analysis

As I am waiting for the finalization of the project for me to load it onto youtube, I have a lot of thoughts about the work I have done, not only on this project, but on the overview of the class.  This is not my best work, not by a long shot, as it really did mostly consist of me begging for help from a lot of my busy friends, and finally settling on people.  I really can’t use this for what I wanted to, and will most likely be re shooting much of it over winter break when the cast is less busy.  I really can’t complain because that is part of the risk when you can’t afford to pay your talent; that they will have to give preference to what is paying the bills.  I think it stands as a good template for what I’m going to do.  I’m really happy with how music turned out, much like I thought that it would, though I had to re-edit the song, as it actually jumps to different parts of the same song in three places..  Not 100% happy with the levels (which is not to say I didn’t toy with them till I was almost insane), but I’m hardly a sound mixer, so for what it is I’m satisfied, because I think it plays fine.  Most of my issues are with getting some of the shots that I wanted, which thanks to weather I was unable to get, and performances, both of which I will have to go back for, but I think it gets it’s message across.  I think it startles enough.  I still am wondering if I should have cut the audio in the second half to use the insect eating scene and Andrew thought the perfect counter to the foot being the male horror would be the 50’s housewife.  Men fear the sexualization of women and women fear their domestication.  Still, if I got all that I had wanted, I wouldn’t have got a couple of the shots that I did get if I wasn’t desperately looking for something to fill time, and I really preferred the on the fly over the planned stuff I just don’t like using clips that are so obviously not my own.   I don’t think I would put it in my highlight reel, but I would definitely show it to people I work with as a reference.

Joseph Parker, VL Fall 2012

“Modern Romance”

Teaser Trailer

CONCEPT/THEME:

For my final project I would like to make a teaser trailer for a film project that I intend to begin filming in early Spring.  The film is about the disinformation that most people believe in the modern world that culminates in how we approach relationships and how our personal lives are marketed to us.  This teaser is essentially framing my story and highlighting key phrases and concepts of my story to show to potential investors.  The intended length is between a minute and a half to two minutes.

PURPOSE/INTENT:

I got the idea for the film while watching reruns of Lois and Clark, and watching the dynamic of changing Superman into a babysitter of a purely ineffective partner, because it was very politically correct to have a strong female lead in the 90’s and really wanted to explore social implications of gender identity in relationships and to connect that with marketing.

PRODUCTION PLAN:

Production is going to take place on weekends.  The script for the trailer is finished and I am looking to sit down with my DP this coming week to work out the shot lists and story boards.  My DP is hard to schedule through the week for filming, so looking to start begin filming on the trailer on November 30th and continue filming the following weekend to have time to edit.  I have already purchased the rights to the music; Swedish Prog band Opeth’s Silhouette.

INSPIRATION:

I have a lot of inspirations for this, the chief among them being a plethora of romantic comedies that are atrociously unrealistic.  I think the chief offender was probably The Notebook  which focuses on both the concept of love at first sight as well as the idea of the male role to sacrifice for the female without ever bothering to get to know her or to perpetuate any kind of conversation beyond developing a sexual relationships.  If you contrast this to Almodovar’s Talk to Her which is about the projection of what we think a relationship is based upon with nothing more than attraction.  Visually, I was most inspired by the lighting schemes from The Exorcist that seem to focus on being isolated and encompassed by darkness, and I wanted to show dating and opening yourself up to people that you don’t know, or even trusting those that you think that you do, always has limitations and anxiety that ultimately ends with being alone and the anxiety of dealing with ourselves.  I wanted to do a romantic comedy that was not necessarily positive.  Another huge influence is Cracked.com and its many video blogs that are generally nothing but talking heads but always are able to keep my attention.

EXPECTED OUTCOME:

I am not expecting to get everything from my film across in this teaser, and it is hard to differentiate between the teaser and the project itself, as I feel the need to reference what the film is going to be trying to do to show examples of how the teaser is going to both portray what the film is trying to do, as well as not reveal all of its secrets.  I expect for the teaser, much like the film to be directed in an under forty audience of both men and women.  The trailer will start with an introduction to the general ideas of the film through dialogue by the male protagonist cut to a brooding piano piece and the darker outside images of a young woman walking alone.  Then the teaser will introduce the characters and their views on the world through a montage of some of the funnier lines and gags from the film followed by comments by both the girl and the boy of longing to be loved and being vulnerable.  The lasting affect is repercussions of allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

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Class of Darkness

Production Journal

This has not gone as planned at all.  I had started this by trying to do a trailer for a film I wrote about a year back that I was planning to do in the spring.  I knew that I needed to have something video on kickstarter prior to the winter and full preproduction to have an idea of what our finances were going to be looking at.  The process started by everyone who I had previously set up to be involved in the Spring not being in town or simply not being available due to prior commitments.  These things do happen, and I also knew that I didn’t need to have the actual cast present in the teaser as much as it was important to capture the tone of what I wanted the film to be about.  Looking at how many people were in some of the scenes I really only hoped to get a lead male and female and move from there, but this proved more difficult that it sounds as it is the middle of finals and everyone is busy trying to finish their own projects.  Pleading with local family and friends went to no avail as the weekend disappeared to yet another missed opportunity and the mounting pressure of a deadline approaches.  I no longer care if this good enough to get money, so long as it gets done.

I take the time for the weekend to get ahead in other classes with the hopes that someone will respond to one of my posts online by the end of the week.  By Sunday Night I have gone over my outline of what I wanted to get so many times for so many different assortments of people that I might get until I have boiled it down to bare bones two people; male and female to contrast against each other in their loneliness.  I have tried to limit the number of locations down to two, with heavy use of voice over to narrate an unseen prince over a vulnerable woman in the dark.  Not exactly my original idea.

After getting done with another project I can’t sleep Sunday night to the point that I drag my fiancé out of bed to shoot some things.  I had originally not wanted to use her because of her weight because I wanted to get into the consumerism of people as objects and how that relates to deserving them, but at this point I have given up on the idea of getting what I want with what time I have left.  She is very understanding of the weight issue as it relates to image but less forgiving of getting dragged out of bed at 3 in the morning on her day off.  She makes me buy her breakfast and I see a sparsely lit residential sidewalk for her to traverse.  I know that I want to end with a long walk into a close up for the only line to be delivered into the camera.  I make sure to take multiple takes as the lighting is not good, and even though it is looking ok on my screen, I am fearful that it won’t turn out or will be too dark and I don’t want to have to come back out here again.  I do this with several shots to include a wide shot to have her walk across the landscape in and out of shadow as well as many close up shots of various body parts in movement.  I know I am going to be inter-cutting this together along with glimpses of disturbing imagery that I still need to find.

I tell her to look melancholy, which she has no problem at this hour, and am sure to have her walk further in each shot than she needs to because I haven’t really got my timing down yet of the cut as I haven’t really broken down my music yet, so better safe than sorry.

Dec. 7

I have been busy these week with other finals and so were most of the people that I have access to, though I was able to secure an actor for this Sunday.  Friday night when I got home I started to piece together a rough cut of the film that I had shot and started to put it to music.  As Murphy’s law would dictate, after purchasing PC editing software, my PC’s hard drive goes out, so I am forced to do my cut on iMovie, which is not my first choice, but I really can’t afford the expense of purchasing new software for a very small project when I have faith/hope that my PC will be working again by the Spring.  This limits some of the techniques I was hoping to use and makes overlapping sounds more difficult than it needs to be, Apples not so subtle way of getting you to buy the upgraded version.

The footage that was shot whittles down to about 48 seconds, which really isn’t horrible, and meets the music track that I had set up for it, though if my outline is to be followed I still need about another minute and five seconds of stuff, and that doesn’t even include the production logo and title sequence which should take up at least ten seconds or so.  The software will not let me put in music tracks without video to support so I have inserted some home movies to get a rough cut of the music track so I just have to edit in the images later.  I still need to record the voice overs which I am a little nervous about because I have no idea where it will show up as a voice track on this program so I will probably do some practice voice over work for a throw away film to get the hang of it.  I also need to lift a couple of clips to intercut with the night walking sequence and thinking that I might want to play with some of the film quality elements but I am going to wait until I am done shooting everything else so that I can see how that will effect the cohesion of it all, not to mention that my options are very limited on iMovie.

Dec. 8

I have done some rewrites to the script and have had Jackie give her voice over work.  She is not the best actress and I would really like to find a more talented subject to redo this with, and am hoping the girl that I had cast for the Spring will be available sometime over the holidays as it really hasn’t taken Jackie very long to do her parts, but there is nothing technically wrong.  Also, the light outside has been very dreary the past few days.  I woke up early this morning to try and get the sunrise coming through the window but it was too overcast to get much of anything.  I have thought about ways to artificially make light come through, but I think all would prove too difficult, though it is supposed to clear up some tomorrow, so I am going to keep my fingers crossed and try to come up with an alternative in case that doesn’t work out.  Also supposed to meet Andrew tomorrow night for his male voice work and one scene though I might try to see how long I can keep him for and maybe make up some new things for him since Jackie is getting agitated quickly by my requests.

Dec. 9

As can be expected, there was absolutely no light again today, so I really couldn’t wait with my fingers crossed for tomorrow as I am quickly approaching my deadline.  It is dank and drizzly this morning, with no sunrise that counts, so I still tried to use the woman in bed which really is just filler at this point, but as I need time I’m going to keep it until I have something to replace it with.  I also though of rain and melancholy and had Jackie stand at the window looking out not really thinking of a narrative, but it does work well when I cut it with the music so I’m really just keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn’t further implode, but I am meeting Andrew tonight for voice over.  I am also toying with the structure some to having a constant contrast and juxtaposition of the male and female elements.  I showed a very early rough cut with quite a few stand in shots to Jackie and all she can comment on is how fat she looks.  I am trying my best to minimalize body shots for her, both for her self-conscious and because I am afraid of changing the dynamic so much that the story becomes unrecognizable and I’m not sure that you can have an obese girl as the object to desire.

Things with Andrew went fairly well, as he is much better at voice acting and seems to be a much better person to throw ideas off of, though our shoot was cut short thanks to some bad Jamaican food.  When I finally stopped being sick and started to edit I quickly saw that the new footage is way better than the old, and that my original template is going to be all but abandoned.  I can already see the disparity between the two that this is not a likely couple and just their juxtaposition does not sell, but there is nothing that can be done about that.  It is like getting actors that have no natural chemistry.  You know this is going to be bad, but you grit your teeth and try to force the circle through the square.

The male clips are no longer a contrast of strength to the wailing female disposition as much as yet another dose of melancholy.  The one thing the piece has going for it is the music really does carry a lot of the mood and at least there is a fair amount of movement.

Interesting story.  I had originally planned to keep the first and second half separate, with only the first half really having voice work, but through the course of editing on iMovie, which has a really long and arduous sound editing process, one of the sound bites found its way attached to the more shocking clips from the trailer and I think it fits.

Self Analysis

As I am waiting for the finalization of the project for me to load it onto youtube, I have a lot of thoughts about the work I have done, not only on this project, but on the overview of the class.  This is not my best work, not by a long shot, as it really did mostly consist of me begging for help from a lot of my busy friends, and finally settling on people.  I really can’t use this for what I wanted to, and will most likely be re shooting much of it over winter break when the cast is less busy.  I really can’t complain because that is part of the risk when you can’t afford to pay your talent; that they will have to give preference to what is paying the bills.  I think it stands as a good template for what I’m going to do.  I’m really happy with how music turned out, much like I thought that it would, though I had to re-edit the song, as it actually jumps to different parts of the same song in three places..  Not 100% happy with the levels (which is not to say I didn’t toy with them till I was almost insane), but I’m hardly a sound mixer, so for what it is I’m satisfied, because I think it plays fine.  Most of my issues are with getting some of the shots that I wanted, which thanks to weather I was unable to get, and performances, both of which I will have to go back for, but I think it gets it’s message across.  I think it startles enough.  I still am wondering if I should have cut the audio in the second half to use the insect eating scene and Andrew thought the perfect counter to the foot being the male horror would be the 50’s housewife.  Men fear the sexualization of women and women fear their domestication.  Still, if I got all that I had wanted, I wouldn’t have got a couple of the shots that I did get if I wasn’t desperately looking for something to fill time, and I really preferred the on the fly over the planned stuff I just don’t like using clips that are so obviously not my own.   I don’t think I would put it in my highlight reel, but I would definitely show it to people I work with as a reference.

With that being said, I can’t help but feel that this class was an abortion of my efforts and the own classes potential.  I was excited to finally get to a class that had something to do with my major.  Something that would actually push me artistically, and what I got was a bunch of hippie nonsense.  The entire class was pretty much controlled by our connection with Iziwane, and furthermore, all we really spent our class time talking about was the environment and leftist politics.  I get that there are a great many people who subscribe to those beliefs, and I get this is college.  If I were in a political science class, I would be opening myself up to such onslaughts of opinions, but to bet preached at instead of actually get vital instruction in what I consider feedback while I hear from friends in sister classes referring to how much fun it was to make genre pieces or how to further storyline.  This wasn’t in the course curriculum, neither was this class marked as different, and as a requirement that had filled up prior to the start of class, making it impossible to switch without waiting a semester, delaying my graduation.  I know that I am not the only person who felt this way as literally every group I was placed in was full of objecting parties that were merely trying to get a decent grade, evident on the plethora that showed such an interest in the environment, or at least as she defines it.  There was no question as to what the “right” answers were in what this organization was looking for, the only problem the organization was wrong.

My intolerance at the far left can be summarized in their inability to do anything.  It is the smug acceptance of all things that lack function as a means to stand out and be different.  The ability to find individuality through mass marketed cultural norms.  I pointed out earlier that the garbage people were misquoting popular misunderstandings of history, and in the same vein this class is all about a call to educate people to do things that won’t matter so they can feel better about themselves. The real solution is for lots of people to die.  That is pretty much off the table so all the subsequent discussion is basically complaining.

157523_slide

I could go more into my politics but I’m by no means a hypocrite, but I can say that I lost sleep over the roulette of the plethora of emails in the most archaic information dispersion system I have ever seen anywhere, where half are really important relevant information,  half are to really cool hippie stuff I would never go to that feel like someone is stalking my mailbox with spam from a clingy ex.  From in that some of the emails are to override blackboard, some are to give extra, some are reminders, some should be ignored, yet try to find the email you need in the landfill of what used to be an organized mailbox.  The inefficiency and pettiness are really what get to me.  Euphemisms like unique and special encircle me, when I know I am the only vocal protest, because at the heart of this, I wanted to get something out of this course.  Lastly I would like to enter my last email I received today.  I receive two emails full of people who I am supposed to comment on, followed by a third nullifying the “previous” email.  The “below” are the valid addresses which is left blank.  I question what the intent of this was to the reply,

“YOUR Final Project is due at 5PM with all corresponding links and documents to be posted on your blog and emailed to me in one email, as previously instructed.

From 5:30PM-8PM, as I’ve stated several times in class (and the previous instructions), is your regularly scheduled Final. During this time you are expected to review your peer’s work. Here are your assigned Final Project’s to review:”

I don’t think I have to spell out ” as previously instructed” or “I’ve stated several times in class” when getting contradictory information and simply asking for a correction.  Note the actual people I’m supposed to critique are not listed in her response.  It is no wonder that there was no class critique given for this class.

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Why Group Projects Are Never a Good Idea

I wrote a really long comment here that didn’t save.  I’m hoping it comes back.

 

Open to group of college age kids walking down the street when a hybrid car drives by.

Kid 1 – Have you seen the new hybrids?  They are so nifty.

Kid 2 – I hope that you are saying nifty ironically.

Kid 1 – Yaa.  I’m totally getting one.  They are so good for the environment

Narrator – Listen up, you really want to try and help the environment by purchasing a car, how about you purchased used ones instead of what you think is trendy.

Kid 2 – But they get such good gas mileage.

Narrator – And what is it that you consider to be good gas mileage?  If you take into consideration how much energy it took to actually make a hybrid motor, you might not really be doing much good for the environment.

Kid 1- what do you mean?

Narrator- Think about all the fuel that needed to be expended to make a new car, to heat the steal and make all the new parts.  For your new car to actually be good for the environment you have to consider the life of the car.  The difference in miles to the gallon or fuel disparity between the two car takes years to equal the difference in energy cost to produce the cars as hybrid engines are incredibly bad for the environment, and that is before you consider nickel and lithium production risks to the environment.

Kid 2- But don’t hybrid cars produce less emissions? Cars can run for a long time so it would be worth it in the end, right?

Narrator- No. If you were to buy a new hybrid compared to a fuel efficient non hybrid car, it would take an average of twenty-five years before the fuel disparity caught up to the production disparity, and that is assuming that your car even lasts that long.  The average life span of a car is a little over 13 years, meaning that unless you take exceptional car of your car, you more than likely will not be making a positive impact on the environment.  Now consider that even if you keep your car, that you might have to replace the engine, creating an even further gap in resources squandered for you to look cool in front of your friends.

Kid 1- well gee mister I never thought about it like that.

Narrator- That’s because your pants are too tight. No one wants to see every crack and cranny of your undercarriage.

Kid 2- So what do you recommend for people who want to have a positive impact on the environment?

Narrator- There are lots of things. Like walking, or riding a bike, or taking public transportation. But if you have to be lazy or live in the Midwest, it’s better to buy a used car with good gas mileage. More than likely if you need to replace parts, it’s relatively cheap and environmentally friendly since many places reuse parts from non-working cars. Also, you can make certain adjustments to your car to keep it at top efficiency: checking and replacing the filter regularly, make sure you schedule an annual check up for your car to make sure it is running properly, and replace the oil when you are supposed to.

Kid 1- I didn’t know there were so many things I could do as a person to help the environment. I thought all I needed to do was buy a car and that was it.

Kid 2- I guess there is a lot more to being environmentally conscious than we thought.

Narrator- Yes kids. And don’t forget to recycle.

 

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The Adventures of Bebs in Food Land

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The Adventures of one Woman, her DREAM Man and frozen condiments.

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Consumer of Sorrow II

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Waste Land

This is really hard for me to write in that the film is both successful at coming across as it means to and completely worthless to my artistic sensibilities.  The film follows the exploits of Vik Muniz, who makes art from things that he finds in garbage dump which he then photographs and sells so further his humanitarian exploits.  The image of what consumerism crates as a byproduct is a striking image.  Ideally, through cutting to with the various accolades and recognitions that Muniz has gotten from various world figures with an obvious point to make you the audience question why it is that they have never heard of him before.  The problem with the film is that most of the questions that that the film poses are all too easily answered.  In this case that he is this important person.

The next “important” section that defies education is creating the merry band of misfits and making them sympathetic.  We start this process by creating the story of how Muniz was shot in order to begin his journey with the funds he received.  We meet his friends that pretty much live out of the dumpster who believe in Muniz’s cause.  This to me is where the logic breaks down, as one of the first attempts to legitimate their actions is to have them quote Machiavelli and somehow tie the idea of the oppressive role of government.  The problem is that as is the popular case, most people who quote the staunch Republican (referring to the idea of centralized government not the current political party) and his writings, you know everything that he wrote outside of The Prince, were trying to separate religious rule of the masses.  The reason for the brevity for said work is because it was written with a broken arm after being beaten by the then current regime.  The largest fault of a film trying to dispel consumer culture is that even the protagonists fall victim to mass produced knowledge and understanding of ideas and can never reach perspective of what they are doing because they never seem to grasp the context of what they are saying.

There is absolutely nothing definitive of art and how it reaches and affects people, but in terms of informing people about the environment,  nothing substantive that is ever reached in the film, and it seems content at a very simple formula of stating a problem and then trying to show people that are somehow standing up to it followed by the inevitable fail.  The world is still in chaos and the trash problem is still an issue.  I guess the extreme nature of what he is doing compounded with an almost martyr message of the person that died trying to make a difference, when the lifestyle that he glamorizing is not really sustainable.  I don’t imagine that many people went to the local landfill to live off of what people threw away, so hopefully they maybe started to recycle more rather than add to that mess, but I have to wonder if they more moderate approach of showing someone that lived a more reasonable life that maybe grew their own food in a garden and didn’t buy more things than they needed.

At the summation of my rant, I am struggling to find why I find this film so vile and misinformed.  All I hear about as I watched it was one long complaint, and yet I feel the guilt and compelling to further explain and amend my arguments.  I understand very well the predicaments of Brazil, as I was in a very long term relationship with a Brazilian doctor and realize that opportunities are scarce and that there is a need to be unique and to stand out by being extreme, so I do not fault Muniz for his intentions, but in terms of his message as it is portrayed in the film, I find systemic problems that become perpetuated.  In the thread of this person making it as an outsider, we miss that there are so many struggling artists, good intentioned and otherwise around the world that this obviously can’t be the solution for the world to be like him. If philanthropy is really his goal, wouldn’t he have been better off, at least statistically, working and donating money to those endeavors.  We can’t all drop out of society to play with garbage, so taking a step back from an interesting lifestyle, I just feel that the message is convoluted and off base.  It almost proclaims that the only way to fix the systems is to be outside of it so that we can see ourselves as faultless.  The problem is not only the alienation of people in the society that are not going to defect but that the directionless approach to helping others that misses the simple ideology of help yourself first so that you are stable to help others and instead demonizes the system through propagandized ideologies that leaves his followers educated not by their own understanding and research but by an almost cult like understanding of facts and issues.

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Consumer of Sorrow

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