EIGHTEEN – Reflection on the Film

This is my final post regarding my final major project. As mentioned in my last post, I will essentially analyse the film against what I wanted to make.

The first goal of the film was to contain Documented footage of the different landscapes of England during the different seasons. I feel that I have mostly achieved this goal. The majority of the film does contain footage filmed in England. It shows various different types of plants, trees and wildlife during the seasons of Autumn, Winter and Spring. Other footage was filmed during the later parts of Spring on days that would be considered as stereotypically  Summer.  However, some of the footage was not filmed in England and one sequence (A beach sequence) was stock footage. The footage not filmed in the UK was still filmed by myself whilst in Europe. Although I personally feel that it goes against the documenting ethos of filming within the UK,  on reflection I feel to audiences will not know due to the lack of narration. I also feel that, due to the fantasy element and the effects used this will have little to no effect on anyone that should watch this film.

The next goal I wanted to achieve was to include a fantasy element that would create and drive the narrative of the film forward. This was an idea introduced in the second draft of the script, with the introduction of a character that would interact with avatars of the seasons. These avatars were to be masks designed to represent the seasons. The idea was further developed to involve a series of miniature sets that would see the character traverse via chroma keying techniques. Initial edits were created with the sets in a partially built state and animations that showed what the character would do when interacting with the season and set. Perhaps the largest regret I have when it comes to this film is not being able to complete this phase. This was due to unforeseen health conditions that prevented their completion.  I regret not being able to finish them as I feel it cemented the film as being experimental and it made the film more relatable to a wider audience. The final film was representative of the second and third draft with the addition of one or two elements of completed set (seen in the winter sequence).

One of the original ideas was to solely use two lenses that were from the 1970’s that belonged to my father.  The idea was that the documented footage would represent the places that my father introduced me too and that we still go to now on occasion. The lenses were a representation that I am essentially viewing these place through my fathers eyes. As a the film maker, the film still represents this. To the audience, this link is not apparent. Overall I have mixed feelings on this aspect of the film. Personally it makes the film more special to me but by the same token, I feel that some of the shots could have been much more sharp and therefore more visually appealing if I had used a more modern lens such as a 50mm Prime.

Possibly one of my favourite elements of the film was the music. I wanted the songs to be made up of sounds that reflected the elements of the seasons. This was done perfectly in my opinion by the very talented Stuart Ankers. He managed to create four very unique tracks that evoked the feelings I wanted to suggest in the film.  Some parts of the tracks also provided some inspiration for additions to the film. One of which was the linking between the sounds of fireworks for the Autumn track and a synced flashing effect to represent off-screen fireworks. This allowed me to include one of the popular events of bonfire night to the film by linking flashing effects to those sounds. This created a dramatic sequence of footage which I was very happy with.

Finally, in regards to stop motion. I failed to incorporate this in any meaningful way. Again this came down to problems with my health. I did manage to salvage some test stop motion footage and include during the section of spring, but this was a minor part and did little to create visual interest.

In conclusion, I do feel the film had many successful elements. I’m sure many people would see the film as something unremarkable. I understand that, but it was never meant to appeal to a mass audience. It was made on the principle of the act of seeing. Not seeing mass spectacle or exotic imagery, but seeing the simplistic beauty that surrounds every person that lives in England. In many ways it’s a social statement. We live in an age where much of the world has been explored and can be viewed through online outlets. It’s therefore, in my own opinion, easy to  forget about the simple marvels that surround us. I wanted to make a film that shows the places on your doorstep are just as mysterious and magical as the highest peaks and deepest rainforests of distant lands.

My overall feelings are that despite the above mentioned plus points. It will also be the film that was never fully completed. I hope that one day I will get the chance to come back to this film and add the missing parts. I doubt it will be a film that I openly advertise because it serves as a reminder of a very hard, very trying time in my life.

This concludes my blog for this project.

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