So normally I don’t post much other than art, but today in class I got myself into an argument that left me frustrated, angry, and sad.
Before I switched from M.F.A. to M.A. I was planning on writing a thesis paper and producing a film that focused on minorities in media. This is an issue that I am growing more aware of every night I sit down to watch my favorite TV programs, or go to the theater to watch a new film. And quite honestly it’s something that doesn’t necessarily effect me. I’m a straight, white, American male. Admittedly I have it pretty easy. But that doesn’t mean that I should simply overlook the blatant bias. American media is overwhelmingly full of men like me. I think that it is up to every generation to build upon the last and fix the things that are truly problematic. Is it so much to ask to see an African American actor that is not a hip hop artist or gang banger? Or an Asian women who isn’t a prostitute/foreign exchange student/love interest…or hell how about some Asian men on television? And I don’t mean shown in the background. I’m talking a developed lead character that reflects the diversity of this country. You see in class today there was a disturbing example of how this thinking of white male default has been indoctrinated through media and culture to be the only characters that deserve our attention.
The film my class will be working on is about an old male magician that lives alone and performs small magic shows that no one really cares about or pays attention to anymore. I brought up that this plot line is extremely close to L’Illusionniste. I suggested that one way to avoid such a close comparison is to make the lead a female. Keep the EXACT same storyline but switch the gender. I was told that by doing so, sympathy would be lost with our character. WHAT?! Really! So the exact same story line, nothing changed except the gender and BAM, the emotional pathos of this story is no longer valid, the character now cannot connect with the audience. The weirdest part of this whole conflict was that the person I argued with, who proposed this story in the first place, was a woman. She felt that a female lead would not connect with the audience. Her further explanation was that a single old man living by himself was alone and deserves our sympathy, while a single old woman living by herself was, and I quote, a “crazy cat lady”.
This is only the tip of the iceberg and I don’t want to rant longer than I already have. But for those of you who follow me and work in entertainment, think about the characters you create, think about how they represent the REAL world, and think about how they may lend themselves to gender and racial bias. I’m not saying you shouldn’t design white male characters, I’m just saying look at your body of work, and see if you have subconsciously done so in a disproportionate amount. Then, make an effort to change and create media that is more multifaceted.
So this week I FINALLY got off my ass and completed something more than a shitty sketch! The inspiration was “Smoking Conference” and all I could think about was those sad, sad rooms people cram into at the airport. I decided to go with a retro look since it was the golden age of travel. That and I was just watching Iron Giant. Oh I also wanted it look like a screen captured from a film. Enjoy 😀
Another film blog post! I have set up a separate blog for my short Jellie so I’m not overwhelming this one with relevant posts. You can check it out/follow HERE, read the synopsis, check out the completed storyboard and soon the 3rd and complete animatic. Stay tuned for updates as I show the film and get feedback from people, develop the aesthetic, and begin pencil tests.
Hello followers. I wanted to let everyone know that I am returning to school Tuesday and will be working on a total of 2 films this quarter. FML!
The first film is my own called Jellie and you’ve maybe check out my posts here. The second film is for my 2D/3D Collaborative Project class. So far it is myself and my two friends Jenna and Davonne. The concept was brought forward by Jenna and I thought it sounded cool so I jumped on board to develop the kernal of an idea into a, hopefully, bad ass little short.
Please jump on over to The Keepers of the Trees and follow our progress over the next 10 weeks as we try to finish our film!
So I am calling the rendering 80ish% finished. I stepped away for a while to work on Jellie but I picked it back up today and got it to a place I am happy with. I want to rework some of the UV’s around the eye socket so the texture is less noticeably stretched and then I will maybe add some reflected light from the water surface on the sand. Not sure about that one since this is more of a stylistic rendering but I think it will also be a great way for me to experiment with this for Jellie since the tank/room will need lots of effect lighting. Oh! I also need to add some graphics to his loot and then maybe some sand dollars on the floor.
So here’s the process of creating the 80ish% piece
Whew! It’s been a busy week. I’ve completed all but 2 or so shots in the animatic. It’s been fun designing the backgrounds and adding some new cuts/reworking old ones from the original thumbnail storyboards. All in all I feels it’s coming together quite well. I will return to school on January 7th so I would like to have the entire short completed in animatic form to show my professors and get some feedback during the first few weeks of the quarter. I am also in a collaborative class and I do have to opportunity to pitch the concept as the short the class would work on for the coming 10 weeks. I am however reluctant to share this project. Over the past few weeks I have built upon the original concept making this film quite personal with some metaphors that may or may not be so subtle.
So I have a new working title for my short film. I am calling it “Jellie”. Updates too. I have a sound designer that will be working on the short. Check out his blog over at Sound of the Hunt. And lastly some animatic work. I have about 80% of the scenes finished with the main character added. I am working on more backgrounds now then I will add in the flying fish and some subway riders/pedestrians.
Lastly, the biggest update. Due to MARTA photo policies being ridiculous, the aquarium always being packed and the fact that there are some shots of things that simple don’t exist and/or would be impossible for me to shoot I will be painting all the backgrounds digitally. Sucks but hey I think it’ll be better and closer to the film I see in my head. That being said I now have good photo reference hahaha.