Thursday, August 2, 2012

Final Reflection

I’m so glad I decided to take this class (especially during the summer) because I now have a very clear idea of the movie making process, my style, my vision, and what I want to do in the entertainment industry.
            Before this class, I knew that there were three-parts of the movie making process (preproduction, production, and post production). But making movies is easier said than done. While making my production bible, I already felt like I was in over my head. I didn’t realize there was so much to plan for a movie, because I was so used to just taking my camera anywhere and shooting. I’m glad we were required to do it, though, because there’s no telling what would’ve gone wrong at my shoot had I not been prepared.  The actual production for my scene wasn’t that difficult, but setting up for my group members was. Whenever I see a well-lit scene on TV, I realize that it took a lot of work to give that set a specific look. As for post-production, I’m more confident with Final Cut Pro than I was before. I’m actually having fun experimenting with different types of editing tricks (like the color pop I did in I Dance). I can’t wait to take upper-level TCF courses that revolve around different types of video-editing software.
            The blogs have helped me so much because I have a better idea of what style I want my films to be in. I didn’t think I had a specific style or vision; I just knew when I thought something was pretty. After gathering examples of my preferred lighting styles and photos that captured my visual style, I began to see consistency. I could always visualize what I wanted, but now I’ll be able to communicate what I want to future film crews.
            Last, I’ve had a change of thought since entering this class. I walked in thinking that I wanted to be a TV producer. Because we’ve gotten so many opportunities to direct, I realize that I’d rather do that instead. I have a wild imagination, and through directing, I’d have a chance to let my creativity flow. I also love working with actors, because I used to be one myself. And again, I’ve always liked editing, but now that I’ve been playing around with different editing tricks, I love it even more now. I could still make improvements when it coming to being a DP (I always forget to use good composition in my shots), but hopefully over time I’ll get better.
            Anyway, I have a totally different outlook on my future in TCF and my future in video production, thanks to this class.

Why I Like DSLRs

I still think I should experiment with more cameras before I officially choose a favorite, but if I had to choose one (that I've used), then I would say the Canon t2i. With any DSLR camera, I love the way the subject looks sharp against the crushed depth of field. I'm a big fan of close-up shots and small details, so a DSLR is able to achieve those types of visuals in the best way. Canon cameras give projects a more cinematic look than the JVC or Sony can. Of course the workflow for DSLRs are more time-consuming than that of JVCs and Sonys, but the beautiful shots you produce with DSLRs makes the difficult workflow worth it in the end. After seeing a others' scene assignments, I think the next DSLR I want to play around with is the 5D and 7D. I also want to mess with different types of lenses on each type of camera to see how different and similar the picture looks (like how a t2i with a good lens can supposedly look like a 7D).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Director/DP Reel & Artist Statement

Stephanie McNeal - Director/DP Reel from UA, Telecommunication and Film on Vimeo.

My Artist Statement
The industry we see today is lacking originality and is filled with sequels, adaptations, and spin-offs. Even with some original projects, the script is sometimes poorly written, a fact often overlooked because of the casting of A-list actors. I’m tired of the industry being about money and celebrities---I want it to be about original and inspiring stories again. I feel that my purpose in life is to make sure that happens. I figured since I don’t think the entertainment industry is up to par, I should make an effort to better it. Even as a child, I would watch a movie, and think about what I would’ve done differently had I been the director. As a young adult, I want to make my younger-self proud and create unique, innovative, and inspiring stories.
I want my films to inspire people my age, and younger, to think differently. I want to explore themes that people rarely talk about, or want to know more about. I also want to do this in a light-hearted, witty, and whimsical way; I love comedies, and in my opinion, life’s best moments usually result in laughter.
I want to create characters that everyone can relate to, so that viewers can see themselves going through the same kind of journeys. Either that or create characters viewers can call their heroes.
My work usually has a fun, energetic, and fast paced feel to it, so I feel that my style of film will cater to younger audiences. Maybe my work will mature as I do, but I really don’t see myself ever acting older than 20.
Lastly, I want my work and my journey as a filmmaker to show younger people that if you let your creativity flow, you can stand out in the movie industry. Hopefully, my life story will inspire someone else to take the initiative to work toward his or her life goals, too.
The works of Tina Fey (30 Rock, Mean Girls, SNL), Drew Barrymore (Whip It, Best Coast “Our Deal” music video), and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) are good examples/influences of what my vision is and of what I hope to achieve. All three women have directed/written innovative stories in a youthful and/or comedic way. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Midterm Reflections

This class has really helped me figure out where exactly I want to go in this industry, what my style is, and more.

I really appreciate the opportunity we've had in this class to experiment with different types of cameras (as opposed to TCF 201, where we only used JVC cameras). I had never had an expansive amount of time to learn and practice with DSLRs before this class (I've played with my friend's Canon a couple of times). I hope to work with those more in the future.

The blogs really opened my eyes to see what my visual style is, or even what type of lighting styles  like. For future projects, I can use some of my blog entries for visual references or just for inspiration. I also enjoy writing, so the doing the blogs were very rewarding for me.

Lectures and reading materials have also given me a better idea of the pre-production phase, especially from the directors point of view. I can't wait to see what my "production bible" looks like when I'm done. While being in this class, I've realized that I'd rather do directing instead of DP-ing, so the multiple opportunities I've been given to direct projects really helps me see what my future will look like. I think directing is my strength, since I (think I) have a creative vision, I enjoy editing and writing, and I work well with actors and understand them (because of my experience with theatre).

Editing is still a challenge for me, but I 'm more confident with it now than I was before.

After viewing my portrait assignment, I now see that I have to be careful about color in post production.   I also realize that I won't have to sorry about color correction in post production if I double check the color quality on the camera while filming.

Portrait of a Place: Veterans Memorial Park

Portrait of a Place: Veterans Memorial Park from UA, Telecommunication and Film on Vimeo.

Director: Stephanie McNeal
Director of Photography: Ashley Wise

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lighting Styles

These are what I'd call "through the window" shots. I love the way the window softens the light coming through giving the subjects a natural, fresh, and pure look.

In the following two photos, I thought the creative use of actual household lights. In the first one, there's light coming from the wall and from the reflection of the lights in the mirrors. Interior designers often use this trick to brighten a room, so it just makes sense to experiment with this type of lighting in photo and video. The lighting here (and the darkness near the bottom of the photo) has a home-y, nostalgic, and slightly mysterious type feel to it.
The lighting used here is quite obvious, but I love that a bunch of simple lightbulbs can illuminate a subject in the same way a studio light can. The light directly hitting the subject gives a harsh, dramatic look.