Friday, October 22, 2010

The Sentinel

The single-eyed creatures come in a variety of sizes.  One of them is five feet tall, standing at attention like a sentinel and looking down on me.  The taboret sits to the creature's right, holding the tools and materials used to piece together its body.

I'm sure the creature can see its flesh on the glass palette and that it watches me mixing and applying its skin.  Does it approve of my choices?  What would it do to me if I didn't meet its expectations?

As I work I often think of the story of Frankenstein's monster and I wonder what will happen when the last glob of paint is applied.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Eyes Have It

Creatures consisting of a single eye in a squat body are lurking in my studio.  They are on my drafting table . . . 

. . . and they are on my walls.  I don't think they can see me.  Not yet.  They are searching for something and I'm not sure if I want them to find what they seek.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keep It Simple

Still from Chronogravitivity

At least as early as middle school, somewhen in the early 1990s, I began thinking about make science fiction movies.  I would make a viewfinder with my hands, holding the thumb and forefinger at a right angle to each other, creating an '"L" shape with each hand, and putting both hands together to form a rectangular frame through which to view a scene.  Running with one shoulder to a wall and looking through my fingers I could imagine I was filming a sequence showing a starship speeding past a planet.  

In 1997, when I was in tenth grade, my dad gave me an 8mm camcorder as a gift and I collaborated with friends to make short films.  Actually, there is definitely more tape occupied by "home videos" of my garage band, puppies, summers at the neighbor's pool, and random hijinks than finished films.  But my buddies and I focused our efforts enough to create a handful of movies, mostly comical, dealing with concepts such as the unintended consequences of wishes fulfilled,  temporal causality loops, the paradoxes inherent in time travel,  and scenarios like "What would happen if Klingons were displeased with Human news reporting?"

In 2005-ish, my wife gave me a miniDV camera as a Christmas gift.  Ah, digital at last!  Now I could edit my footage on a computer and, using an old version of Photoshop, I could finally rotoscope.  Naturally, the first movie I made with my new DV camera was of me cutting a cinnamon roll in half with a lightsaber.  At the time, I was teaching at a private school and some of some of my students who saw my movie asked me to join them in making a Star Wars spin-off entitled Attack of the Apprentices.  Using my camera, Photoshop 5, and Windows Movie Maker, we spent three months making a five-minute film about, well, the use of lightsabers at school.  My favorite part was incorporating such a large portion of the student body into the "plot".  

I have never had any formal training in making video so this semester I am taking a video class.  I just completed my second project entitled Chronogravitivity and it was critiqued on Wednesday, October the 13th.  In addition to developing skills and learning about the history and grammar of film, this class is teaching me how to refine my creative process.  The first video I made was a flop.  The feedback was that the video was confusing because there were too many elements and that those elements did not seem to fit together.  That made sense to me because in the process of making the film I could feel my mind in confusion about how to cram in the variety approaches I wanted to use.  So in the process of making the second video, whenever I had a new idea that I thought about adding, I forced myself to set it aside, planning to use it later in another project.   This restraint paid off when I showed the result in critique.  People said that the elements were well integrated.  I want to take this experience of self-editing and apply it to all of my creative areas.