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Š 2011 Gorilla Film Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher. Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked the necessary arrangements will be made at the first opportunity. All opinions expressed within this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily of the publisher.

EDITORIAL

Greetings humans, sadly the editor is unable to introduce this very special issue of Gorilla Film Magazine, as he is still missing under mysterious circumstances. Rumour has it that he was last sighted on a scientific expedition in Antarctica, having just discovered what appeared to be the remains of fourteen ancient life forms. Once again it falls to me to welcome you into the comfortable arms of Gorilla, the greatest independent filmmaking guidebook in print, which is currently online. Print is not dead, despite what Egon Spengler might think, indeed sitting down and appreciating the papery goodness of an aesthetically pleasing magazine is a stark contrast to the bland movie news websites that pepper the Internet. And yet here we are, online, predominantly because print is expensive and we need to eat. Despite this set-back, we’ve done our best to give you the full Gorilla Film Magazine experience, and yes, issue 3 is the best yet! There’s been no cutting of corners, you can be sure of that, you’ve got a cracking read ahead of you. We’ve got interviews with awesome guerrilla filmmaker David Fedele, Life, Above All director Oliver Schmitz and Kino London founder Jamie Kennerley. There are reviews of a bunch of films you may not have heard of, articles on British Science Fiction, Producing, Dramatic Licensing and a film festival for people with learning disabilities. There’s a load of practical filmmaking tips, from Pictures and Audio to Storyboarding and film composing. There’s also another addition to the Rise of the Movie Monster and a new Top Five list for Halloween. All this and more awaits you, and I’m a little jealous you get to read it for the first time. I’ve personally read the magazine thousands of times and it’s still enjoyable (although not really, of course). After you’ve finished this splendid magazine, you’ll probably be at a loss, waiting for issue 4. Well fear not! Gorilla Film Magazine now has a shiny new website, complete with all new reviews, articles, and interviews with filmmakers. It’s updated regularly, and is supplemented by a blog, as well as all the usual social networking sites. We also have a film archive, where you can watch some really great short films, and a shop that sells filming equipment and Gorilla merchandise. We hope you still have some semblance of an attention span to last an entire issue, although we are aware of how quickly the Internet can dissipate your concentration. Even so, do try to make an effort. Incidentally, any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors are entirely intentional and should hereby be regarded as jokes. Yours sincerely, Deputy

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october 2011 contents FEATURED STORY

06 | Interview with David Fedele 10 | Independent Film Reviews 12 | Ghosted 13 | Way of the Morris

INDEPENDENT FILM WORLD

PRACTICAL FILM MAKING

22 | Destination Shoots on the Cheap 24 | Film Producers and Becoming One 28 | Professional Filmmakers 32 | Film Composer 42 | Pictures + Audio = Film

EDUCATION

14 | Independent Film Reviews 18 | Retrospective: The Armando Iannuchi Shows 20 | Hearing Voices 56 | Film Festival: Kino London

34 | How To: Storyboard 52 | Workflow Management

ESSAYS

ARTS & MUSIC

HUMOUR

COMMUNITY

26 | License to Re-write History 46 | Rise of the Movie Monster III 54 | Analysing: British SciFi

38 | Top 5 Morally Bankrupt Films for Halloween

58 | Art: Juan Gonzรกlez Uribe 60 | Games: Amnesia 61 | Literature: Intern Nation

62 | Gorilla Online Shop 64 | Buy a Back Issue 65 | Team Recommends

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Interview

DavidF IN

2006 I seemed to have my life all sorted and planned out in front of me. I had been to University to study property and construction, and was working as a project manager and property developer. I had the job, the house and the girlfriend, but for some reason I just kind of imploded and had to get away from it all. So I bought a ticket to Papua New Guinea, a country that had fascinated me since I was a kid, but I knew very little about. I planned to travel solo around the country for 3 months. A few days before I left, I went and bought myself a little consumer camcorder. I had for years been fascinated with documentary filmmaking, and the idea of travelling solo for 3 months in an exotic land and filming the journey sounded like a very romantic idea to me. I thought I would just film what was happening around me, and my experiences, and then also keep a bit of a video diary. But I really didn’t think too much about it. For the first week when I arrived, I didn’t even take the camcorder out of the box. I was in the capital of PNG, Port Moresby, which is known as a very dangerous city, and I thought

06 FEATURE STORIES

the idea of walking around the streets with a video camera wasn’t really that clever. But after about a week I started filming. So really the idea to make a film was very much secondary – I was in Papua New Guinea to travel and explore.

I loved the idea of filming, but after a while I was thinking to myself “what is the point? I am just wasting my time, this will never be a film, and nobody will ever watch this”, but because I had already captured the past weeks or months, I couldn’t allow myself to just stop filming. Travelling solo, I found the camcorder an extremely great travelling companion. It was a great way to engage with local people with them I may normally not have had the opportunity to. I travelled into many areas that were quite remote and undeveloped, and generally the people were fascinated with the camera. But I quickly found the greatest benefit was the ability to turn the flip screen around, so that people could see themselves. The reactions were incredible, and I soon realised that a lot of these people may never have actually seen their reflection before. This was an amazing way for me to interact with people and very quickly feel comfortable in very foreign environments.

Fedele Talking to the video camera also very much became my way to combat loneliness, and an attempt to make sense of some of the extremely foreign and interesting experiences that I was having. It also gave me a sense of purpose. I returned to Australia with about 16 hours of footage on tapes that pretty much sat on a shelf for the next couple of years doing nothing. I always had it in the back of my head to somehow try to edit the footage into some sort of film, but I had no idea how.

About 2 or 3 years later I found myself living in London, and had brought the tapes along with me. I met a very talented filmmaker called Rebecca Kenyon, who is now a very good friend of mine, told her about these tapes that I had, and she was very interested in having a look at the footage. Over the next year, we slowly worked the footage into some sort of storyline, editing it into an 88 minute film called PNG Style. I entered PNG Style into a few festivals, and it was awarded “Best Documentary” at Portobello Film Festival 2010. So I call PNG Style a bit of a “film by accident”. I really had no idea what I was doing, but a big part of me thinks that that is actually the charm of the film. I didn’t know any of the rules, so I unknowingly broke every one of

them. I truly believe that creativity can sometimes be taught out of you. But for whatever reason, I found the act of filming quite simple and natural.

So in October 2010 after winning the award at the Portobello Film Festival, I decided to do a 15-day intensive documentary filmmaking course at the DFG (Documentary Filmmakers Group) in Dalston, London. I can’t speak highly enough of this course – it was an amazingly practical way to be introduced to many of the skills required for documentary filmmaking. It had a hands-on approach that I like, and as part of that we got to direct and edit our own short film. That inspired me to buy a Mac and editing software, as well as a little Sony A1 camera. So I had all the gear to make a film, but needed a topic. I went back to Australia at the end of 2010, and while I was there, I read an article written by an Australian that had spent 43 years in Papua New Guinea and had just returned to Australia. He was writing with sadness and anger about the logging occurring in PNG, and the destruction that this was causing to the environment and the local indigenous communities and cultures. This is an excerpt from his letter: 07

Logs are being shipped out in tens of thousands. Acres of forest are being pillaged and plundered. Local authorities are becoming very rich and in some cases, even millionaires because of the bribes. The grass- roots people (the landowners) get virtually nothing. I could not see any improvement in the lifestyle of the village people since logging started about 40 years ago. If anything, it has gone backwards as education and health is virtually nonexistent in the rural areas. This inspired me to call up the author of the article, introduce myself as a documentary filmmaker, and try to find out more about the specific issues. I soon realised that this was something that I am extremely interested in and passionate about, and I immediately knew that I wanted to go to PNG to make a film giving the local indigenous communities a voice, an opportunity to tell what is actually happening to them. This has particular relevance to me as an Australian, as PNG is right on Australia’s doorstep, and most of the timber that is illegally harvested from PNG ends up in Australia, but we have no idea what is actually going on. Papua New Guinea is unlike any other country in the world. It has over 900 indigenous languages and cultures, and much of the country until recently has remained relatively untouched and undiscovered by the western world. But this is rapidly changing, cultures and traditions are being lost in only a matter of generations. So I bought myself a one-way ticket to Papua New Guinea, and a month later I was in Vanimo, Sandaun Province, which is where my film Bikpela Bagarap is set. My intention was to give local indigenous communities an opportunity to tell and document their stories, while also attempting to embrace and celebrate their traditional cultures and values. So unlike PNG Style, Bikpela Bagarap definitely has a very strong agenda, and I have absolutely no problem with that. I am extremely proud of this project, particularly as I have made the film as a one-man filmmaker – producing, directing, funding, shooting and editing the film myself. This has

08 FEATURE STORIES

also allowed me to tell the exact story that I wanted to tell. The concept of raising awareness for issues is very important to me, but I am mostly drawn to telling the stories of people that are generally ignored by society - but more often than not actually have a more important story to tell. I am generally not interested in what a popstar or celebrity thinks about the world, but am extremely interested in the views and perspectives of those that society considers to be on the fringe or ‘outcasts’. This is absolutely integral to my interest in documentary filmmaking, and in life. My plan is to now attempt to get my film out to as wide an audience as possible. It is currently screening at festivals in London, Slovenia and the Philippines, and in October is screening at a film festival in New Caledonia (a remote pacific island), where I will be attending the festival and screening my film to remote communities and islands on mobile cinemas. This is an incredible opportunity for me to hopefully raise awareness to other indigenous communities about issues to do with logging that they will need to face in the near future. I have also just edited a shorter version of Bikpela Bagarap, called Big Damage, which is more of a journalistic report, and have signed with a distributor to attempt to get this version to a broadcast audience. My goal is also to get this film screened on Papua New Guinea television, as I believe that real change can only come from within, but for change to occur, awareness and consciousness must be raised. If I were able to get this screened on every TV in PNG, I would feel that I have in some way contributed to the possibility of change. If my project is screened purely for entertainment purposes in the ‘white, western world’ and just makes people momentarily think, then do nothing, and nothing actually changes, I would say that I have failed as a humanitarian and a filmmaker. This has been an exhausting project for me, but has definitely changed me as a person, increasing my interest in both filmmaking, and the idea of using film to raise awareness in issues, and give people an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

Find out more: http://david-fedele.com | http://bikpelabagarap.com | http://pngstyledocumentary.com

FILM REVIEWS MY BLOODY VALENTINE

David Knight

Made by The Shyster Shadows Duration 8 minutes Year

It’s easy to analyse and categorise romantic love, citing numerous chemicals from Norepinephrine to Dopamine, and boiling it all down to an instinctual desire for monogamous animals to procreate. However, as soon as you fall in love yourself, all that psychobabble washes away and love become elemental, it’s the same general idea when you’re caught in a thunder storm, part of your brain tells you that it’s just the rapid upward movement of warm air that cools and forms dense clouds, accompanied by an atmospheric discharge, but your heart tells you that Thor is angry, and only groveling can save you. Love is ridiculous, and absurd, and irrational, and it’s rare that film manages to capture the silliness of it. My Bloody Valentine is a short film by The Shysters and The Shyster Shadows, a group of young people with learning disabilities and a mutual love of performing arts. The lack of mainstream training for people with learning disabilities wasn’t enough to prevent them from banding together and creating something wonderful, and My Bloody Valentine is just one example of their highly visual and lighthearted approach to film and media.

2005

The film is a simple tale of blossoming love, a one-sided attraction between a man and a woman, with limited dialogue and an emphasis on visuals. The unnamed protagonist of My Bloody Valentine spends his time desperately trying to woo the woman of his dreams, through a variety of clichéd gestures, from flowers on the doorstep to a cupid style bow and arrow. But despite his well meaning intentions, each attempt fails miserably, usually leading to 10 FILM REVIEWS

the suffering of a completely random and uninvolved individual. The film is hilarious, and despite some potentially dark themes, stays innocent and charming throughout. My Bloody Valentine is a great example of an all-or-nothing fun-filled short film, and proves that there really is no excuse for young filmmakers to not just get out there and make films. The Shyster Shadows don’t have the opportunities a lot of young people take for granted, because there aren’t many film schools that are prepared to accommodate people with learning disabilities, and yet despite this, and despite the lack of attention disabled filmmakers actually receive, they’ve gone out and made a film that is actually a lot more enjoyable than a lot of short films I’ve seen before. Part of this is due to the lack of pretension, and the unique way the filmmakers perceive their world, and part of it is that they just happen to have loads of talent. While it is justified that The Shyster Shadows act as an example to young filmmakers who need a kick up the arse, the important thing to remember is that My Bloody Valentine is just a great film, in and of itself, regardless of who made it. The film is hugely enjoyable and incredibly funny, sure it has technical problems, a few moments that don’t quite work and an ending that is a little long, but really, who cares? These are easily overcome, and become part of the joy and the innocence of the film. My Bloody Valentine is a great example of what makes the medium of short film so enjoyable. Watch it online at http://vimeo.com/818515 http://oskabright.co.uk

NOTHING SPECIAL

Nothing Special, an official Selection for the Cannes Film Festival 2005, follows young Billy’s advancement from reluctant suburban effigy to his preferred life as an unassuming office drone.

George Taylor

Director / Writer Helena Brooks Producer Helena Brooks Duration 9:53 Year 2005

His mother worships young Billy as Jesus reincarnate, parading him up and down the neighbourhood atop her car, as she advertises his greatness aloud from the driver’s seat. On an Easter morning, years later, Billy (who narrates the story and hardly speaks onscreen) can’t take it anymore and leaves. Adult Billy (Kip Chapmanmoving like a cartoon insect) moves away from his spiritually overbearing, prophetpraising mother, Heather (Alison Routledge- that long, curly, red hair adding to the maniacal fire behind her eyes) and heads to a different city under the name Clive Smith. He gets a job in an anonymous mundane office and tries to live as plainly as he can, wishing to remain as nothing special. This involves a drab look, having five words to speak per day if interacting with others (six words on Fridays assuming people will ask what he’s doing at the weekend) and shopping for no frills produce desperately avoiding colourful packaging or worse; anything ‘on special’. His intention: to live as plainly as he can. However, Billy falls for a lady at work (Emily O’Brien-Brown, deceiving total harmony by wearing red) and his distinct, settled life starts to unravel.

Helena Brooks, who co-wrote the script with actress and old high school friend Jaquie Brown, directs with flair and colour, and the film maintains a well-paced rhythm throughout. All the actors charmingly play in tune to this, especially Reg Johnson as Billy’s unctuous office boss Bryan and Geraldine Brophy as a stony faced, fly swatting, chip shop owner, definitely unimpressed by Heather’s out of place preaching. Some story elements cause you to question various points, but these are smothered comfortably under the short-film blanket so that you simply enjoy what is on screen. Nothing Special is set in the present, but like many off kilter films these days it significantly avoids anything modern. It has a pre-70’s hue and bland yellow cars, the grey office spaces and a song from 1970‘s New Zealand band Blerta contribute to this aesthetic. A Wes Anderson residue comes from Justyn Pilbrow’s music, and there is an echo of Tim Burton’s early work; that of manic energy. Carefully avoiding insult and successfully keeping the flavour of New Zealand homespun comedy, Nothing Special is a sweet and rounded piece. Watch it online at http://helenabrooks.com/nothing_special

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GHOSTED David Knight

Ghosted tells the story of a longterm prisoner close to his release day, seeking redemption and inner peace, who takes a new boy under his wing, and becomes a kind of father figure to him. If this sounds familiar, it's also the plot of every prison drama ever made. John Lynch plays Jack, a weary and meditative convict who is haunted by a family tragedy, all he has to do is keep his head down and he'll be released,

but nevertheless that is exactly what happens, Ghosted certainly doesn't break new grounds in the plot department. However the film is saved from being a lacklustre affair by the powerful performances of all involved. The cast is great, and the slowness of the film gives the characters room to breathe. If anything Ghosted felt like a piece of theatre, with believable dialogue and understandable motivations and relationships. The love triangle (for want of a better analogy) between Jack, Paul and Baron is well played, tense and engaging, and while the plot isn’t particularly original it is, for the most part, believable. On the downside the ending seems to have missed the point, or perhaps just missed an opportunity to make a good point, focusing too much on the final coincidence and less on what it means for Jack’s soul. By the end Jack is a different character, we see a side of him we are unfamiliar with, sadly the film loses its edge when it ignores this and attempts to wrap everything up neatly in the ‘aftermath’.

Director / Writer Craig Viveiros Cast John Lynch Martin Compston Craig Parkinson Amanda Abbington David Schofield

and nothing at all bad will happen. However, things are complicated when the new kid Ghosted is riddled with clichés, but Paul (Martin Compston) attracts the atten- the characters are interesting, and the actors tion of the obligatory prison psychopath, performances hold the whole thing together. Baron. It’s just a shame the aftermath ending undermines the theme and the message of the film, Baron is a great character, wonder- and almost suggests that extreme violence fully played by Craig Parkinson, he's a softly can be justified, which is at odds with the spoken, believable creep who desperately films overall philosophy. Ghosted could have craves authority. When Baron takes an inter- been something greater had it been brave, est in the misguided and gullible Paul, Jack instead it’s a safe, wholesome gritty British sticks his neck out to save the boy. prison drama. Now, because this is a ‘gritty British prison drama’ you might assume that things will spiral out of control, good intentions will go wrong, there’ll be an abundance of murder and shower room rape, and the whole thing will be wrapped up with a contemplative meditation on the human soul. You should never assume, of course, it's cynical,

12 FEATURE FILM REVIEWS

WAY OF THE MORRIS Tom Dalling

Director Rob Curry Tim Plester Writer Tim Plester

Ok, so it’s a feature length documentary about morris dancing. I for one will stand up now and say that it is a triumph for the independent UK documentary scene that this film exists.

Features Billy Bragg MyAnna Buring Chris Leslie Year 2011

For many Britons, traditional English dancing is something that will never enter their sphere of consciousness, for others it is a source of mild embarrassment – conjuring up images of bearded men prancing about waving handkerchiefs, socks with sandals and leather tankards. For a small few, like the Adderbury Village Morris Men, it’s a passion and for a vast majority of people they couldn’t give two shits about it either way. You could however argue that the average Britons knows as much about Morris dancers as they do about, say, the Inuits portrayed in Robert J. Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922) or the homeless crack addicts that live in New York’s abandoned subway stations, as documented in Dark Days (2000). Indeed some of the film’s glossy montages, depicting Morris dancers in their native habitat of the English countryside, have an almost Walking With Dinosaurs sort of feel… In all seriousness however, the film is a very genuine depiction of English country life, and it's nice that it’s dealing with a subject not half way across the world, but in our own back yard.

knowledge learned. This definitely isn’t a definitive guide to Morris dancing, (and better for it), but rather the story of the director’s own relationship with Morris dancing, his father and grandfather having danced in the Adderbury village team. We are taken on Plester’s journey of re-discovery, about a subject so familiar to him, but that he had not been able to appreciate so much as a young boy. A surprising tale, dredging up the horrors of the First World War, where all but one of the Adderbury team lost their lives, nearly ending the tradition, until an unexpected revival in the 1970's. It’s a very honest film, with a real sense of heart. It can be a risk for a director to involve themselves so heavily in a film's narrative, but Plester pulls it off on the whole. Surprisingly, I found myself touched by the film’s rather modest conclusion, even though you see it coming a mile away. The team pulled out about every single camera effect in the book throughout the 60 minutes, in an attempt to keep the subject visually stimulating, and they just about get away with it. I won’t say I was on the edge of my seat throughout, but then it’s not really that sort of film. Do not be put off by the subject; Way of the Morris is a fantastic insight into a much-overlooked part of British culture.

This said, the pleasures to be had from Way of the Morris, is not really in

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UPPERCUT Theo Walsingham

Uppercut is a short documentary film by Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari that gives us a brief glimpse of a real life fight club based in Silicon Valley. However, this club has no perfectly chiselled Brad Pitts or endearingly dishevelled Ed Nortons; instead this is a fight club with a twist, a self proclaimed 'geek fight club'. This group of everyday men, based in one of the information technology capitals of the world, regularly abandon their keyboards and coding to meet in dingy garages and attempt to beat the living hell out of each other.

Made by Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari Duration 8 minutes Year 2011

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An interesting phenomenon to be sure, and one that is excellently explored through some intelligent filmmaking. The violent cutting of the shots produces a jarring sense of fragmentation, but one that fully complements the brutal subject matter. However, this is soon contrasted by a scene in which one of the members, after briefly shadowboxing with his infant daughter, talks candidly about how this club allows him to form deeper bonds with people than any poker game or movie night, and freely admits that he does it “for the hugs afterwards”. Another member talks of how the experience allows him to remove himself from his comfort zone, and build the confidence that no corporate team building exercise ever could.

ers constantly draw to our attention the fact that these men spend most of their day on computers, living in a realm of bits and bytes. The club is red-blooded, unsophisticated and violent, but it is what reminds them that they all have an inner caveman whose only use for a keyboard is to smash it over someone’s head. This dichotomy is well reflected in the score, which mixes the aggressive thump of fist on flesh with electronic beeps and the clacking of computer keys. However, this film may be a little too clever for its own good. A great documentary provides an informative and enlightening look at a world that the audience may not know, and its greatest strength is the truth and reality of the subject it portrays. Therefore the documentary filmmaker must be careful about using flashy cinematic techniques that may detract from the core action. For me, certain additions have been made to this film – for example stylised audio sounds of connecting blows that make the fight sequences seem like a video game – that simply do not work.

Nevertheless Uppercut is still an intriguing and educational look at a fight club where it’s computer keys rather than teeth swept up at the end, from some promising filmmakers who certainly have a lot to offer. I urge you to get online and give For the members then it seems as Uppercut a watch while you can. though the club is both a cathartic tool that grants an instant release from the gradual build-up of everyday frustrations and also a way to experience something that is Watch this film at somehow more real than their usual lives. I http://californiaisaplace.com/ think it is no coincidence that the filmmakhttp://vimeo.com/19641305

UP THERE Fred Rowson

It’s telling that Up There, a 12 minute long documentary on the men who paint advertisements on the brick sides of New York buildings, is edited and directed by its cinematographer. For it is a cinematographers film, one that recognises its own beauty to the point that it preens and poses for the viewer: New York sunsets, light reflecting from windows, dirty paint pots hanging high above the city. It’s all in there, again, and again, and again. A HD Narcissus. After five minutes, though, Up There has told the viewer more or less all that it has to tell: that the art of the painted advertisement is dying. Everybody uses vinyl and computers now. These guys are keeping it alive and, man, is it cold up there. Director / DOP / Editor Malcolm Murray Concept Mother NY Production Co Mekanism Shot on Sony EX1 Duration 12 minutes

Worth documenting, yes, but once these facts have been established, Up There has nowhere to go but back to some panoramic skylines. That is, of course, a little unfair. Up There has a nigh-on infinite amount of options to take, but it chooses none of them. There are, for example, fleeting glimpses of old, faded paintings, palimpsests from the Jazz Age – ripe for exploration, surely, with a line of enquiry into New York City as a blank canvas that has been endlessly superscribed. Or how about the painters themselves? One of them shows us his gnarled fingers, and they all drawl at us in their very authentic ‘Noo Yawk’ accents: “nubaddy dus dis

no mawr”. But what ‘dis’ is, is painting by numbers on a colossal, metropolitan scale. Is there no scope for insight into these men as toddlers who have had the power to turn their colouring book from an A4 sheet into the side of a tenement? Clearly Malcom Murray, the undoubtedly talented man behind the movie, doesn’t have the desire or the foresight to go there. Up There is, perhaps, a perfect synthesis of filmmaker and subject. Our brave painters think little of what they’re painting, they simply get up there and paint. And, more often than not, it’s a giant glass of Stella. Again, and again. At one point, one of them (their names are never given, perhaps their own choice, but odd for a film that claims to be “excited to bring these painters stories down to sidewalk level”) proclaims that they’re doing it “just like Michelangelo”. Wow. What a claim. One suspects, though, that Michelangelo wasn’t simply painting for the sake of painting. These guys, however, are. It just so happens that they’re painting giant glasses of beer. With Up There, and its plinky-plonk music and portentous but ultimately vapid suggestions of the death of industry (or something), Michael Murray is shooting a documentary simply for the sake of shooting a documentary. It just so happens to be about guys painting a giant glass of beer.

Watch this film at http://vimeo.com/10562000 http://uptherefilm.com/

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LOOM David Knight

Directors Jan Bitzer Ilija Brunck Csaba Letay Technical director Fabian Pross Production Co Filmakademie BW Duration 5 minutes Year 2010

16 FILM REVIEWS

A moth hurtles into a spider's web and sticks fast, as it struggles with this unexpected predicament, the creeping legs of the spider tip toe towards its prey. What follows is an intense struggle, an every day occurrences blown up into an epic battle.

The spider is a horribly suffocating presence, throwing itself onto the moth and holding it tight, the camera zooming in so that we share the claustrophobia. Visually, the film is wonderfully inventive, not only with its editing, but also in the way it flits between realism and surrealist elements. The sound is Seriously, that's the entire five min- also spectacular, in that it perfectly creates a utes of this computer animated film; a moth mood of dread, fear, energy, and excitement. is trapped in a web, and a spider marks him for lunch. With this premise, Loom creates Loom is a good example of how a a spectacular narrative that is tense, dra- staggeringly simple premise can make a matic and at times horrifying. The camera great film. Too often filmmakers try to cram swirls around the protagonists, depicting as many ideas into their story as possible, their battle like a clash of Titans, the back- and it creates a bit of a mess. This is espelight flashing on, to illuminate them as cially true of short films, either the narrative is immense monsters, and then back to dark- needlessly convoluted, or saturated in 'meanness, where long legs dance in shadows. ing', or it falls into the Twilight Zone format of The film regularly changes speeds, the slow ending on a twist or a joke. Loom sidesteps motion is crushing, the tension intoxicating, this temptation and offers a story about a spiand then things move so quickly it's dif- der catching a moth, and it's fantastic. ficult to tell moth from spider, as they beat against each other breathlessly. It's almost Watch this film at romantic. http://www.polynoid.tv/loom/

WATCH FILMS ONLINE

A range of carefully selected short films harvested by our beady eyed gorillas are now available on our website for your viewing pleasure. HTTP://GORILLAFILMMAGAZINE.COM/ WORDPRESS/WATCHFILMS/

RETROSPECTIVE The Armando Iannucci Shows

Nina Scott

Perhaps the most accurate summation of how Armando Iannucci views the world in The Armando Iannucci Shows is ‘we’re all twats!’. He concludes this loudly on a busy city bus at the end of episode one and it remains a recurring, if not permanent, theme throughout the series. A continuation from The Day Today and a precursor for Time Trumpet, The Armando Iannucci Shows repeatedly juxtaposes the ‘normal’ with the surreal, so as to encourage a questioning of the world around us and to highlight the ridiculous, absurd and idiotic elements of modern society. Armando (Armando Iannucci playing a fictionalised version of himself) is baffled by modern existence. In each episode he embarks on confused rambles in which he expresses his musings on small but significant aspects of daily life. Seemingly straight out of his stream of consciousness come a variety of elaborate and

18 RETROSPECTIVE

imaginative sketches, which often combine the unexpected within the everyday; a dog goes on holiday to take cocaine and see the ‘famous bitch dogs of Bangkok’, Armando’s barber has a womble infestation and finds Bernard Cribbins in his wall ‘doing all the voices’, a character named ‘East End thug’ bullies a broken washing machine into working – ‘I’m gonna bring a pair of trousers that say ‘dry clean only’, and you’re gonna wash them, I don’t care what it says on the label – you’re a washing machine, now fucking wash!’. It is through such presentations of a skewed reality that Iannucci encourages the viewer to question how skewed reality actually is, and this gently satirical approach runs throughout the series. Such aspects held up to ridicule include the mundanity of working life (everyday hundreds of people wake up in ‘unendurable agony’ because they ‘design bacon packaging’ or are ‘the tour manager of Bewitched’) and the superficiality of modern culture (when a flight-simulator ride perfectly replicates the terrifying conditions of a plane crash, one passenger realises her main regret in life is that she hasn’t managed to lose half a stone, so, in her last precious moments, in a ‘rapidly depressurised, burning lump of molten metal hurtling to the ground’, starts eating lots of salad). Iannucci’s social critiques can be strange, disturbing and beautiful. One sketch depicts a self confessed ‘fat cat’ businessman who is in charge of Bedford’s water supply and insists he ‘deserves every penny’ of his £340,000 salary. After

receiving a call complaining of a ‘slight discolouration’ in the water, he leaves his solitary desk and climbs down a ladder in the centre of his office, stepping immediately into a huge water tank. What follows is a succession of serene, melancholic shots of this tiny figure, in his full business suit and shoes, gliding, turning and rolling through the endless water so he can manually unblock a drain. When he returns to his desk, soaking wet, he spreads out his fingers to reveal webbed hands. This unlikely merging of the corporate and the manual, the juxtaposition of the pristine suit and the murky waters, the idea that this business executive has morphed into a half-manhalf-amphibian creature for ultimate job efficiency, all points to the obvious conclusion; that this would never happen, but if it did, perhaps then his £340,000 salary would be sufficient. Throughout The Armando Iannucci Shows, such satirical observations on life are bound up with ongoing, existentialist debates concerning what it is to be a human being living in the contemporary world. Armando experiences daily existen-

Director

Armando Iannucci

Writers

Armando Iannucci / Andy Riley / Kevin Cecil

Shown

UK’s Channel 4

Year

2001

tial crises- he attempts to come to terms with his own mortality after his barber insists on trimming his eyebrows, and he feels an overwhelming isolation from his peers due to his inability to banter with mechanics or kick a football. During his existentialist quest he concludes ‘imagination is what separates us from animals’ – so he visits the zoo ‘at least once a day to taunt the animals with human inventions’; a pen that can write in ten different colours, a Billy Bass fish whose sole purpose is to repeatedly sing ‘don’t worry, be happy’ – until he runs out of chatty, pointless gimmicks. But it transpires that, whilst Armando has been presenting the animals with the pinnacle of human intelligence and inventiveness, the animals have been listening, and taking notes, and ‘actually finding it quite useful’. So, to further highlight the absurd and idiotic elements of modern life, to reiterate the overarching theme that ‘we’re all twats’, how do the animals put to use their newfound knowledge of ultimate human intelligence and imagination? They run golf sales.

19

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M

any Guerrilla filmmakers are scared of doing destination shoots because of the high price tag of accommodation, but after doing a two-day shoot in Paris, entitled A Day in Paris, I realised that that production was one of the cheapest that I have ever worked on. We flew using Easy Jet and took the earliest flight on our shoot day, 30 March 2011. We then took the bus to London Luton the night before, to make it in time for our flight. I was able to talk our talent into paying for their own travel to Paris, convincing them that the equipment we were using, Canon 60D, Zoom, boom and Fig rig, would produce a great film. We borrowed the equipment from friends and invited them to come along, on their own expense of course. I also sent our actress links to the director’s previous work to assure her. Yasmine Benjelloun portrayed Naomi and Jake Rowley portrayed Jean in our film. Once we arrived in Paris, we met up with the rest of our crew and started shooting. Our first location was the Notre Dame Cathedral, where we spent half a day. We followed this up with some shots in a street alley full of shops, as well as the actors walking along the river. We spent one night in Paris and stayed at a friend’s flat. We didn’t shower, we barely ate, and it was awesome. The next day, the cast and crew were up at 6am and were ready to shoot at 7am. Our other locations were the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées high street and the Arc de Triomphe. On both days, we spent money on one ticket to get to our first destination and walked to the other

22 PRACTICAL FILM MAKING

locations we were using for the day. This took a lot of time, but it helped a lot budget-wise. In all, my budget was 120 quid, 57 of which was used to purchase the plane ticket. My last domestic shoot, 2 Easels, cost 200 quid, which is 80 more than my destination shoot. The shoot was possible because everyone got involved in the same dream. As the producer, I talked to the actors and crew and sold them on the idea of the benefits of a destination shoot. After that, everyone was in it to make a great film and they weren’t scared – they were excited. And as such, it made for a pleasant shooting environment and it kept the morale up when we came across language barriers. Both films turned out great, but the Paris shoot gave our film a special look that we can possibly market more easily since it’s more exotic – especially to some of the smaller American festivals. Check out the Gorilla Film Magazine Facebook page for the “Making of” and the finished films for A Day in Paris.

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain Film Producers And How To Become One

fD

E

veryone, as the saying goes, is a film producer; and no one, as the other saying goes, quite knows what a producer does. It could be raising the money, or it could be finding the Harry Potter books before they were published. It could have been finding the director or working as the executive overseeing the project. It could be – in Jon Peters’s case – nothing more than being Barbra Streisand’s hairdresser.

The paradox is that, as nebulous as the job description is, producers are the backbone of film production and the single most important people – bar none – in the film industry. Writers write scripts, but they won’t get made without a producer to develop, budget, schedule, and package them. Directors may get as many fancy “a film by” credits to their name as they wish, but without a producer they’d have found no scripts to make their own, and no crew on set at (no) location at an (unspecified) call time, with no money to pay for all (none) of it. There is virtually no other industry in the world in which the most important job, and argu-

24 PRACTICAL FILM MAKING

ably the toughest one to reach and to hold down, is also nigh-on impossible to define. The implication is obvious: if no one knows what the job is, and very few people get to do it, how the hell do you become one? Luckily things aren’t that obscure. While producers may play vastly different parts, all producers worthy of the title do, at the core, the same thing. They oversee, put together, and deliver a film project, while preserving the director’s artistic vision. There are few producing programs in the world, but many producers still start at film school, either with directing ambitions or looking for a general film education. Many then work in development. Some take the long route of being a runner or production coordinator, then an assistant director (rising from 3rd to 2nd to 1st) and/or production manager, before putting that experience towards becoming a producer. Others take a more traditional office-based path, and end up someone’s assistant. From there, maybe, they can wrangle an associate producer credit, convince their boss to executive produce the first of their own ventures, and take flight from there. Others still

skimmed to realistic – nay, ascetic – levels. Casting sessions are held and momentum is desperately clung to. Hard work all of it, and all of it trumped by the producer’s real graft: endless, countless phone calls. To agents for their actors, and to actors to convince them of the worth of the project. To locations, to heads of department, to the people with the money. These phone calls involve many little white lies and optimistic predictions, both equally necessary to greasing the wheels and keeping things in motion, because filmmaking is a business of catch-22s (no actors without money, no money without actors, no distribution prospects without a packaged project, and a project impossible to package without distribution guaranteed – the list goes on). Ultimately, this is what a producer does: it’s their job to untangle those catch-22s, and make – things – happen.

completely bypass all of these, and set out their stalls as producers from the get-go, making short films, music videos, viral videos, wedding videos – anything – to pay the bills and build a track record. Working for yourself is a high-risk and uncertain gamble. Working for someone else can find you trapped, relying on a job you originally thought would only be temporary, and watching other, more daring peers overtake you. No matter what route they take, however, all of these people become producers at the exact same point: when they find a script or director – or both, they fall in love, and decide to make a movie. And at that point, all of these fledgling producers end up in the same situation: at home, or in office space they’re paying through the nose to rent, or staying late at their day job desk; their gambling instinct telling them this is it, this is the project I will produce. The day-to-day job, from then on, is straightforward. Hours of developing a script mixed with hours of breaking it down to budget it, followed by hours of breaking down the budget into a schedule. Budget and schedule are re-done over and over again, trimmed and

It’s one of the most / allconsuming jobs anyone could choose, and it’s a constant testament to the magic of the movies that so many do. Many times you’ve sunk your own money into the project, watching it slip through your fingers like water as the days go by. Even if you haven’t, you reach the point where every waking – and unpaid – hour is spent at the Sisyphus-like task of getting a movie off the ground. The reality is that everyone, even the director, can walk anyway anytime, but the producer can’t. The producer sinks or swims with his film. If you pull it off, and the film gets made, and enough people see it, the great thing is you might just be allowed to do it all over again. It could be a little easier the second time around (you may have more access to stars or money), or it could be much harder. You start from scratch – or worse: reputations don’t erase themselves – every time. Ultimately, this day-to-day life is perhaps best described by Bruce Paltrow, producer in his own right. “It’s a prizefight. Get off the stool, take your beating, go back to your corner, rest, and take a beating again. Believe in your own talent.” And sooner or later, you might just win a round or two. text: Walter Nichols

Illustration: Jack Lee

25

© Licensed To Re-Write History

F

eats of human achievement have been retold since, well, since there were humans. We have always found a way of retelling our stories, from cave paintings to ancient hieroglyphs. Our need to be remembered and feel significant in this vast expanse demands that we leave our mark while we’re passing through. But ever since we have retold stories the human need to further better ourselves and be remembered as the best we possibly can be, has lead to the desire to exaggerate and fabricate actual events. Let’s take Jesus of Nazareth, not sure if you’ve heard of this guy but apparently he did quite a lot of good, so much good that 12 of his groupies rewrote and exaggerated his stories to the point where he became a God and published them in a book called the Bible, which I’m yet to read but have heard is excellent.

text: Jade Fitton

26 ESSAYS

Dramatic license is more often than not about the story teller rather than the story itself, the pressure to entertain and be entertaining while re-telling the story leads to what is defined as “the distortion of fact. The improvement of a piece of art.” But it begs the question, is it really necessary? Does it need improving? Granted the story of “I went to the shops this morning and bought some tea bags” may require a bit of dramatic license to engage your friends, but this is not a story of great human achievement and is essentially very dull. In this instance I can understand the need for a bit of hyperbole, but why feel the need when we’re already talking about something incredible, something worth re-telling?

Take Lawrence of Arabia. A truly brilliant film about a truly remarkable man. Lawrence of Arabia is based on the life of T.E Lawrence during his service to the English army in the First World War. Lawrence was fluent in 8 languages, had worked as an archaeologist excavating ancient Mesopotamian sites for the British Museum, and thanks to his travels during University, already knew the ins and outs of the Ottoman Empire and its German built and funded railway systems by the time he volunteered his services to the British army at the age of 26. Not bad huh? But it gets better. Lawrence was enlisted to pioneer an internal insurgence and Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire in the hope of weakening the German ally. Lawrence single handedly advised the Arab irregular troops on the plans of their attack, gaining their trust and respect. From the bottom to the top, and became the advisor of Emir Faisal (son of the Sharif of Mecca.) He masterminded the capture of Acababa and subsequently the capture of Damascus and ensured that Damascus was under Faisel’s government. So, why was a lone white Englishman who headed out in to the desert to infiltrate and persuade guerrilla factions of the Arab army to help destroy an empire and take over vital towns not quite good enough? The film has various elements of fiction running through it but one of the most notable is the crossing of the Nefud Desert. The Nefud Desert as told in the film is considered impassable, even by Bedouins, and in the film this is how Lawrence really gains the respect of the Arabs. He does what none of them have been able (or stupid enough) to do. This is an incredibly important part of the film as he becomes an almost Jesus-esque character, which yes, is great, who doesn’t love Jesus, but would we not be entertained by his story without this super-human feat? Well, for arguments sake I would agree that this cherry on the fictional character cake of Lawrence is of great assistance to the film. He is super human, this God-like man struggling with incredibly human issues. Lawrence struggles with the violent acts the war forces him to commit, he in the same breath relishes and loathes the acts of killing other men, the nihilism involved in the act of killing is then contrasted by guilt afterwards. He struggles with his own identity as a man. Employed by the British government but feeling more affinity with the Arabs, he struggles with the knowledge that England will eventually, to put it lightly, fuck them over. The film received criticism from Lawrence’s family for not being a faithful account of this period of Lawrence’s life but one of Lawrence’s biographers argued “the object was not to produce a faithful

docu-drama, but a hit picture”, in which respect they definitely succeeded. Though I do think it rather odd to essentially take a mans identity and say, “this is great, but I’m just going to improve on it.” Like it could never have been a “hit” without these fabrications or “improvements.” The Pursuit Of Happyness, uses dramatic licence for the same effect, but instead of additions it is by omittance. Based on the life of Chris Gardner it is the age-old tale of triumph over misery, which is always a winner. Chris Gardner had an unsuccessful stint selling medical equipment, leaving his wife working double shifts at a laundry company, unable to pay rent and his son in a shitty day care centre. The story tells how Gardner loses his house, his wife and all his money but after a year of homelessness with his son lands a job as a stockbroker, sets up his own company and makes his first million by the time he is 34. Gardner is by no means perfect in the film, but he was a little more naughty than they made out. Though Gardner was an executive producer on the film, Will Smith’s portrayal of Gardner was something of a selective memory, to make it more appealing to the larger audience. Gardner in his more truthful autobiography admits that he wasn’t quite the father he was made out to be in the film, neglecting his son for 9 months and having no idea of his whereabouts, selling drugs and taking coke, PCP and Marijuana. These things I would have thought are quite important, they may not be admirable, but they are important parts of his story; they don’t change its outcome. Surely the further you’ve fallen, the further you have to climb to succeed makes it all the more incredible. The thing with dramatic license is, I can’t help but feel that we as an audience are being underestimated. It feels like we are allowing other peoples need to entertain distort already incredible achievements. To get someone’s life as a script and in red, cross out and annotate their history. We are all human, we have all done wrong, we know what life is like, we have all had moments of triumph be they small or large, but none of us are super human. Do we need to be patronised by omittance and addition to enjoy the tales of truly remarkable human beings? Are the stories of these people not exceptional enough without fabrication? I thought the whole point was that these amazing things had happened; these people had done something worthy of remembrance. They are worthy of remembrance because they are a rarity, they are already exceptional. So, as Robert Lowell aptly put it “why not say what happened?” Satisfy your need for fantasy with Studio Ghibli.

27

Professional Filmmakers

P RA CT I CAL FIL MMA K IN G

Oliver Schmitz

28 PROFESSIONAL FILMMAKERS

What made you want to make the film Life, Above All? Well, it's based on a book by Allen Stratton called Chanda's Secrets, the producer brought me the book, we liked each other and wanted to do something together and he found this book and met the writer in Canada, and I read it and I was incredibly moved by this story of this young girl, who against all adversity has such a positive life energy which she manages not only to stand up to a community caught up in its own prejudice, but to turn things around, and the relationship between mother and daughter in the story I found incredibly complex and moving, so that's why I thought, yeah, I really want to do this. Why did you change the name from Chanda's Secrets to Life, Above All? This is a long, long story. When it was clear that we were going to be in the selection for Cannes, and we had to put a name out there, we had discussions already and I was never completely happy with the name, because its not Chanda's secrets, it's the secrets of the neighbourhood around her. So we were looking for a different title and the French distributors who were some of the first involved as international partners for Cannes and everything, said, well it sounds like a 19th century story set in a French boudoir, so we all felt that we weren't completely happy with the title, for the film anyway. So that's how the title Life, Above All sort of came about. Did you enjoy making the film? Absolutely. It was one of the best experiences of my life I think, it was such a unique experience working with kids who had never acted before, in a community that had never had a film made before, so there was this weird dynamic between reality and acting. The mix of actors and non-actors and just the chemistry between these kids and the story, it was absolutely amazing.

who had only ever been in a school choir before, that's it. Keaobaka; the girl who plays Esther, really wanted to be an actress and Khomotso who plays Chanda, she wanted to become a doctor, and had never given acting a moments thought in her life before. Where did you find the actors, what is the process? Well I worked with a fantastic casting agent, who went to cast 200 kids in the area, once I decided I wanted to make the film there, then she showed me the best of these, and I cast them, re-cast them, looked at them with some of the adult actors, and Khomotso who played Chanda. Eventually when I cast her with her screen mother, they were amazing together, they played the scene where the mother combs her hair in the film, and she just loved Lerato (Lillian), so there was just this thing that happened where I thought ok if there are enough moments like this then it's going to work. What inspired you to be a director? I wasn't sure if I wanted to be an artist or a filmmaker when I was at school, I grew up in Cape Town and just as I was finishing school there was the first international film festival in Cape Town, and we lived in a society with a very tough censorship, you would watch movies and suddenly the whole thing would be chopped up and you didn't know why you were suddenly somewhere else and what had happened and you had to try and figure out what could have happened in the story, so then there were all these movies with special permission on at the festival, with no censorship, it was at the end of the 70s and it was all the kind of people like Werner Herzog, Fassbinder, Nicolas Roeg, all these kind of films, and a British director Linsay Anderson, made a film called If, about an uprising in a public school and this was really revolutionary. I enjoyed these films when I was young, it just blew me away that you could do this and tell stories like this. What was the budget for Life, Above All?

How did you find directing the younger actors? Well it was fantastic, it was a leap of faith, they had never done it. I had never worked with kids in this way before, kids 30 PROFESSIONAL FILMMAKERS

The budget was‌ oh it was the budget of a kind of average, modest German television movie, I'm not sure about ₏1.4 million, something like that? So we

kind of made it go very far actually, because the film looks and feels like it has quality. We got good deals all round, I had a fantastic DOP, and post-production deals giving us access to make a lot of things possible, and I think it's great to be able to take a story like this to a certain aesthetic level. Do you have any tips for young filmmakers? Just follow your dreams. I never went to film school, I started working in the film industry and found my way and wrote a script which I had never done before, I directed my first movie at 26/27 having never directed a film before, it's all possible if you have an idea and a dream. I think it has become in some ways more possible, because technology has become freer, and if you have a good idea, somebody else will get enthusiastic and find a producer and someone will share your vision, so you have to follow it and take the punches along the way, but it's all doable. What's next for you? I do a lot of television in Germany, I have two things now but I'm doing another

movie in South Africa beginning of next year. It's based on a book called Shepherds and Butchers, about death row, which existed until the end of apartheid, about a boy, who at the age of 17 was sent to work there, totally unprepared to be a part of the killing process. He had to look after prisoners, take them up to the gallows, take the bodies off the ropes, and after doing this 164 times, he had a break down and killed a whole lot of people and ended up on trial for murder himself. But it's about trauma, I suppose it's the same as the young men that get sent out to war and get told to shoot, and what that does to a person. interview by: Alexxsia Elizabeth

31

A Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Career as a

porting and enhancing the film's narrative. Personally, the musical distraction of a film's score has been an integral part of my film watching experience. On a sub-conscious level the film's score is the integral part of any feature, subtly guiding the audience what to feel and when to feel it. To that end the effectiveness of any score is in part responsible for a film's overall success.

Ever sat in the cinema completely engrossed in a film, the characters, the dialogue, the plot? Your attention is suddenly diverted by a beautiful piece of music playing in the background; the film score, either that or a well placed musical choice from the films musical supervisor. As the credits roll at the end of the film, and everyone clears out the cinema, the composers name will appear, most probably to a nearly empty room.

So how, you may ask, does one become a film composer? What the hell does a film composer actually do? Hopefully these are all questions that will be answered below, all from a composer who is gradually breaking into the industry herself.

There are no real trade secrets to being successful, at the beginning everyone’s in the same boat trying to find every opportunity they can (you only have to look at the student filmmakers forums to see that for yourself). You have to play the hands you were dealt, For the most part, film score itself is con- good at talking to people? Go to as many sidered the ultimate ‘invisible art form’. screenings, and networking sessions as Its role is essentially to go unnoticed, sup- possible, talk to everyone (you never know

32 STARTING A CAREER AS A FILM COMPOSER

F I L M C O M P O S E R

F I L M C O M P O S E R

the case, and it is the advent of these individual factors, that has brought an appreciation of a films score (and the composers that create them) into the mainstream. Every composer has their own methods, favoured equipment, and general way of doing things; the invention of sequencers, virtual instruments, and Digital Audio Workstation (DAW's) has made the whole concept of ‘music-making’ far more accessible. You will need to invest in a ‘DAW’ to compose with e.g. ‘Logic Pro’ (for Mac), or ‘Cubase’; nearly all have the capacity for playing movies alongside ‘real time’ composition. If you have never scored any films before, try stripping away existing audio from movie clips and ‘rescore’ them with your own compositions.

who or what someone could know!) Classically trained (and by that I mean you've had a strong formal musical education i.e. instrumental grades, knowledge of theory, and orchestration)? Try and get a job orchestrating for more established composers, or assist them in their day-to-day carryings on. Good at all of these things? Well you’ve got And taking into account all of the above, you no excuses really not to do well! can have all the ‘top-end’ musical equipment money can buy, a stellar education at One of the most powerful tools is the Internet. one of the top music conservatoires, and a This is certainly true to say of my own per- strong online presence, but if you don’t have sonal experiences within the industry itself. the determination to achieve you’re basiAs soon as I made the decision to pursue this cally stuffed. As with any arts based industry career I signed up for all the most popular there’s a lot of ‘not what you know, but who forms of social networking ie. Twitter, Face- you know’, whilst this seems like a cliché it book, Myspace (gave up on that one quickly) really is true; you also have to be really lucky. and Soundcloud. I also quickly learnt the This isn’t to put you off, far from it; you’ve just need for my own website; unable to spend got to be prepared for a lot of graft! But the thousands on hiring a web designer (and pay off, when you’re composing and find that being too much of a control freak myself) I perfect theme, or attending the screening decided to design my own. I could then link and hearing that theme play out to the audiall my profiles off my own personal site, this ence; there really are few greater feelings! has proved invaluable. Twitter is great for chatting with fellow composers, and seek- text: Charlotte Partt ing out film production companies. A lot of the more established composers are also on Twitter, and Facebook. I have found them to be (so far) the most genuinely friendly, helpful bunch of individuals. Websites such as IMDb, and Wikipedia have made it a lot easier to find out who scored what film, as much as the likes of itunes, and Amazon have made it easier to purchase said scores. In most cases a film's score is marketed as part of any film's merchandise. This wasn't always

33

HOW TO STORYBOARD

L

ast issue we attempted to cover the basics of writing a script, but unfortunately we were so drunk and miserable, it barely made any sense. But as you may have surmised, script writing is easy, you just need to follow the format; keep the action simple and understand how your characters communicate with one another in your story. Once you have your script, it's time to start planning how you're going to shoot it; this is where the storyboard comes in. Storyboards are really useful; they're essentially a cheap way to build a visual edit of your film, and great for communicating your idea to your cast and crew. Most importantly it's a chance for you to take something from inside your head and solidify it on paper. As a consequence of the storyboards fundamentality, it's a process that is often

You don't need to be a talented artist, indeed the quality of your drawings will in no way effect the quality of the cinematography. You just have to communicate your ideas in a simple and understandable way. If you're a little worried you won't be able to get your story across, annotations are perfectly acceptable. As usual the following examples are by no means the definitive way to do things, but they've always worked for us.

XCU

CU

MS

LS

XLS

34 HOW TO: STORYBOARD

regarded as superfluous. Obviously you can shoot a film without a storyboard, but you're not doing yourself any favours. If you want to save time and money, and avoid stress, storyboarding will give you the safety net to avoid splattering on the bone-crunching failure metaphor.

XLS

XCU: Extreme Close Up CU: Close Up MS: Mid Shot LS: Long Shot XLS: Extreme Long Shot

CAMERA 2 Don't feel like you need to include the camera set-ups until after you've finished the storyboard.

FLOORPLAN

Cameras D: David T: Tom H: Hostage P: Police G: Gangster

The floorplan helps you to understand spatial relationships between characters, things and your camera, making it easier to visualise on a 2D frame. We find that it's useful to make the floorplan alongside the storyboard; because you might write a whole scene only to realise you've made ten different camera set-ups for a half-day shoot. Having your floorplan there will make it easier to communicate to the rest of the production what your storyboard means, and will help you cut down on unnecessary set-ups. While the floorplan can be really useful for thinking up your shots, hold onto the blueprint because you will be needing it later on in the pre-production for much more practical reasons, such as lighting plans and shooting schedules. 35

HOW TO STORYBOARD

# The faces (1)

Cross hairs can be used to show wh

Ã

direction the character is lookin

T

his is an example of one page of a storyboard, eight frames really isn't that much (it's not even eight separate shots) but hopefully you get the idea. Don't worry about the quality of the images, it's not a comic strip it's the blueprint of your film. If you're really bothered about making your storyboard look nice, get someone else to re-draw it once you've finished it. MS: Twin shot on Balcony

# Camera set-up (1 and 3)

¸

To see how your storyboard relates to your floorplan, note how frames 1 and 3 are from the same camera set-up (camera 1).

×

SHOT LIST 1

MS: They look down

Tom and David talking. Tom Line: 'Writing a script is actually'… David throws his cigarette off the balcony.

2

In the street below the cigarette hits the gang member. He accidentally shoots the hostage.

3

Tom and David look down into the street.

4

The police open fire.

5

The gang open fire in retaliation.

6

David looks concerned. (The camera begins to pull out)

7

David takes a sip of tea. (Still pulling out)

8

The streets are on fire. (Still pulling out)

# Shot list

XLS: Gang returns fire

Pull out

(Cont.)

A shot list is a detailed way of describing what happens in every frame, it's good not to have too much writing on the

°

storyboards themselves, so the shot list gives you something to refer to, and you can be as detailed as you like.

¹¹°

# Frames (6,7 and 8) Don't limit yourself

You could even write your shot list before you begin drawing

important to show key

your frames. This is a good way to get ideas for a scene out

than it is to save spa

quickly if you’re slow at drawing.

8 are all one shot.

36 HOW TO: STORYBOARD

STORYBOARD

# Lines and arrows (2) Lines or arrows can show movement within a frame. You can

hich

ng.

Ã

also use arrows to show the camera tracking, or zooms with the progression over multiple frames.

Æ Æ

# Action and direction (1 and 2) Remember to think about you lines of action and the direction that objects or people are moving in the frame. The cigarette flies off screen bottom right and enters the next shot top left. This shows Tom and David to be situated above and to the left of the hostage in the scene, even though we never see them all in the same shot at once. This is a very simple example however things can get com-

LS: Hostage is shot

plicated very quickly without you realising, by cutting to radically new angles or sides of the scene you risk confusing your audience to the point where they do not understand or are not immersed fully in the story.

# Type of shot (4)

Æ

Always label what type of shot it is, it keeps things simple.

CU: Police open fire # The numbers

¹

Number your frames with first 1, then 2, 3 comes next, and so on and so forth (no pun intended). But seriously don't forget to number your pages, at later stages of the production you will most likely be chopping your storyboard up, and without numbers you will be royally fucked.

CU:

Pull out

Pull out

(Cont.)

to one frame per shot, it's more

If you are making narrative fiction we really can't stress enough how fantabulous storyboarding is. Filmmaking is more often than not a collaborative venture and without some tangible blue print that the whole team can look at, you’re all going to be imagining a different film in your head. Yes it can be tedious trying to sketch out the tired imagination of your fragile little mind. However, imaginations are not known for their practical qualities whereas storyboards are.

y actions (such as sipping tea)

ace. Notice that frames 6, 7 and

David Knight / Tom Dalling / Jack Lee

37

he world is a pretty scary place, far worse than anything a comfortable cinema can present us with, and considerably more disturbed than the imagination of any horror filmmaker. To deal with the inexplicable horrors of being alive, the human mind must have developed some kind of defence mechanism, a little buzz that makes fear kind of fun. Humans have always loved horror, monsters hide in bedtime stories, and we inhabit their skins on Halloween. But ever since the birth of ‘video nasties’, mean-spirited busy bodies have tried to put a stop to them, claiming that watching grotesque imagery will frazzle the minds of the helpless viewers. The idea behind this absurd notion is that seeing evil will make you evil, and a night with George A. Romero, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg would be enough to turn your children into psychopaths. But given the choice, would you rather your child watched a violent and dark film that finds dumb consumerism abhorrent, such as Romero's satirical zombie movies, or would it be better if they were exposed to bright and colourful films that celebrate dumb consumerism, such as any number of chick flicks today? Which is the more insipid evil, the gore and the goo, or the brain-changing subtext? Here's a top five list of morally bankrupt films, that really do have the power to influence young minds, and make monsters of us all.

38 TOP FIVE MORALLY BANKRUPT FILMS FOR HALLOWEEN

Text: David Knight

Illustration: Jack Lee

T H E B R E A K FA S T C L U B The Breakfast Club was a mid eighties classic about five high school stereotypes who meet in detention and bond. It’s also the primary reason dickheads like me insist on playing Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me) at every, single house party you’ve ever been to. The Breakfast Club is a film that broke apart the social norms and said it’s OK to be different! Except, it totally didn’t. Apart from the fact that the character of Claire is sexually harassed, bulled and finally broken into a submissive love interest by Bender, the whole moral of people’s individual identity being special is shattered in one key moment at the end of the film. Allison is a mopy, emotional goth girl who attends detention because she has nothing better to do, her wildcard persona attracts Andrew (the jock) who evidently sees something unique about her oddball appearance. This individual look that Allison has is quashed by the end of the film, when Clair gives her a complete make-over and turns her into another generic doe eyed pretty girl. Allison is the one character who is forced to give up her individuality, and she also just happens to be a girl. What kind of message is this sending out? Boys can be whatever they want, and so can girls, providing they adhere to a socially acceptable form of attraction?

BE AU T Y A ND THE BE A ST

E AT P R AY L OV E

Nothing really epitomises true love like Beauty and the Beast, a story of a pretty young girl who is imprisoned in a haunted castle by an abusive prince. The beauty (Belle) suffers from Stockholm syndrome, and begins to fall in love with her monstrous captor, despite his aggression; she believes she sees the 'good within him'. The film itself, taken at face value, is one of the greatest children's animations of all time, but dig a little deeper and the subtext is chilling. Under the guise of telling children not to judge a book by its cover, the film is actually advocating sexism, and defending domestic abuse. Belle is expected to be beautiful and obedient, her sparkling eyes full of love and patience for her partner and his beastly behaviour. The Beast can be horrible to Belle as much as he wants, because she believes she can see the beauty within him, this is incredibly common with people who are in abusive relationships; they are so deluded by their partners supposed inner beauty that they can’t see they’re being psychologically dominated. An abusive partner rarely has to rely on fear to control the relationship; they just need to be loved. Beauty and the Beast seems to tell children; even if your partner is a monster, stay with them anyway, because deep down they could be a prince.

No other film parodies false spiritualism quite like Eat Pray Love, but at times the satire is a little too clever for it's own good. Someone who wasn't in on the joke from the start might mistake the meaningless message of the film as genuine, which is not only careless on the filmmaker’s part, but also potentially damaging for any young, palpable minds in the audience. Eat Pray Love follows the adventures of Elizabeth Gilbert, a self involved, whiny writer who runs away from her oh-so-hard life to focus on enlightenment. She does this by choosing the path to spirituality that allows her to indulge in her sense of self and looks for new ways to feed her ego. She breezes through one stereotypical environment to the next, learning the surface details of every culture she inhabits. The world of Eat Pray Love is shallow and riddled with clichés, and the film spends about two hours promoting selfish individualism as the key to enlightenment. Aside from anything else, the film has one defining message that is above all important; if you're having an identity crisis, all you have to do is travel the world, exploring exotic countries and eating delicious, expensive food, having sex with beautiful people and using all that money you have to buy your way to spiritual ecstasy. That really is all you have to do to be happy, so what's stopping you?

40 TOP FIVE MORALLY BANKRUPT FILMS FOR HALLOWEEN

CRASH

SEX AND THE CITY 2

So lets talk about racism. It should be acknowledged that there’s a direct connection between our imperialist past and the way that people from other cultures are treated today. Empires across the world have helped fuel countless civil wars in third world countries simply by sticking their noses in and taking advantage of people for profit. The way to stamp out racism is for rich white Westerners, who still get privileges, to admit that there is still a problem, but the moral message of the award winning Crash is simply; everybody in the entire world is a racist. This rather basic misunderstanding of the issue of race, particularly in America, isn’t helping anyone, and furthermore allows privileged White Americans who live in a society best suited for them, to shift the blame. The only character that comes close to the truth is Anthony, who is depicted as a hypocrite. Furthermore Matt Dillon’s character is portrayed as one of the most sympathetic, as he transcends from being a racist cop who sexually assaults a black woman to saving said black woman from a car accident, while she merely screams like a child and is portrayed as pathetic. In fact pretty much all of the white characters are forgiven for their bigotry, while everyone else is depicted as hypocritical. And the only white guy who seems to stand up for the injustice of it all then turns around and- due to a hilarious misunderstanding- shoots dead a perfectly innocent black man. It would seem Crash is more concerned with being ironic than actually tackling the issue of race.

I look forward to sharing the wonderful medium of film with my hypothetical child. By the time she's twelve I would already have introduced her to such classics as The Thing, The Fly and The Evil Dead, but I would think twice before allowing her to see something as warped and immoral as Sex and the City 2. Aside from the stereotyping of homosexuality, the racism, sexism and general stupidity of it all, the film depicts a world that has descended into a poisonous, superficial void and then actually teaches people to embrace it. Sex and the City 2 follows the lives of four rich, egotistical, consumerist witches who spend a good deal of time complaining about their pampered, self indulgent lives. What's worse is that these women are not depicted as the fairy tale villains they so clearly embody, but instead the audience are expected to actually sympathise and care about their story. I don't believe films have a moral obligation to teach the audience anything, but I do think that the power cinema has shouldn't be taken lightly. I also think it is possible for a film to be objectively bad, and Sex and the City 2 is certainly that. But the real problem here is that the movie is intentionally sending a morally bankrupt message to its audience; it promotes materialism as a means to define a woman's equality and individuality. According to the shallow world of Sex and the City, women must buy their identity, and can only express themselves by decorating their bodies with jewellery, expensive clothes and other meaningless stuff. Perhaps Sex and the City is not to blame, perhaps it is simply a reflection of the world we live in. But if this is what our society has come to, a mass lobotomy where the most worthless things are given the most value, and self indulgent, egomaniacal, emptyheaded depthless gargoyles are our new Gods, then fuck it. I don't want to live in that world, so bring on a wave of zombies, or time travelling robots, a mutant spider or a thing from another world, because we're crying out for a fucking purge.

Join us again next time for another funfilled lighthearted Top Five film list!

41

PICTU + RES AUDIO =FILM >>>>>>> 42 PICTURES + AUDIO = FILM

The DSLR film revolution continues to boom. It doesn’t take long on a walk around London before you bump in to another mini film crew utilising the newfound technologies available to them, namely the Canon 5D MK II among others. These combo photo and film cameras have managed to convince photographers that they are now producers, able to do everything from script writing to post-production. This is all well and good in an age where speed is essential and budgets are low, but it is very easy for those of us educated in one field to not fully appreciate the technical attributes of others.

<

WHICH PART OF THE EQUATION ARE YOU MISSING?

43

<

ZOOM Time lag

X/Y

My biggest grievance is that born and bred photographers often fail to recognise that sound is a very similar beast to photography; as photography works in the limitations of the visual light spectrum, sound operates within the audible frequency range. We shouldn't regard one as more important than the other. I have heard it said many times that “a good audio track makes or breaks a film”. This is usually the sentiment of filmmakers or soundmen, not photographers starting to branch out to film, but I can’t stress it enough. Technology moves at a phenomenal rate now, and it would be counter productive to review every bit of kit that comes out just for the sake of it. However, now and then something comes along (like the 5D MK II) that not only offers people what they need, but also opens up a whole new learning experience. The Zoom H4n is categorised as a field audio recorder but is capable of much, much more, in fact, way too much for the purpose of this article. It’s got built-in XY axes microphones, adjustable from 90 degrees to 120. It’s capable of the basic effects used by most sound engineers during mixing, such as limiters, compressors and lo-cut filters. It can be used as an audio digital transformer interface (ADT) with your computer, meaning you could used it as a pre-amp direct into

44 PICTURES + AUDIO = FILM

L

R

your sound editing software. It has a tuner and a metronome built in with all sorts of guitar effects like reverb distortions, phaser and flangers, a multi track recording mode and two XLR / jack inputs with phantom power. But let’s get back to the point. If you’re a photographer most of that means nothing and your idea of recording an audio track consists of pressing the big red button on the front and just accepting that that’s it. Fortunately this approach with the H4n can actually produce stunningly good results. Lets go back to school for a minute and look at a couple of the fundamental basics of sound. Don’t worry, you will still only need to press the big red button at the end of this and get away with it. But just think what you could produce if you looked at your sound with as much criticism as you would give a final edit for an exhibition. One big problem with recording a good stereo image is the necessity to record with two tracks, so two microphones are needed. You can equate it to the difference between a telescope and a pair of binoculars. Through the telescope you only have the one point of reference to the position of let’s say, a tree in a field, and therefore are not able to judge its position any more than the fact that you know roughly how big a tree is. Through the binoculars your eyes are able to look at the tree from two perspectives. This is called

M H4n triangulation and it is what gives us the ability to judge distance. The exact same principle applies to our ears. There is another thing we have to add to the equation when recording sound. It’s called phase. You can be in phase (good) or out of phase (not good).

In phase means that the audio waveform of your two stereo tracks goes up and down at the same time. In an out of phase recording the waveforms are offset, so as one goes down the other goes up. This effectively causes the two waveforms to cancel each other out slightly and you end up with a kind of flat, dampening down of the track.

Ok, so you are about to shoot an interview with your stereo recorder in the same position as the camera, the interviewee stands centre frame there for the sound has exactly the same distance to travel to your two microphones. But let’s say that there are other interesting things happening in the shot. For example a man is busking to the left-hand side of the shot. Because of his position the sound wave reaches (on recorder where the microphone placement is side-by-side) the left hand microphone first and then the right hand microphone. This slight delay between the two microphones is called the lag time, and it is because of this that we get out of phase recordings. In the case of the Zoom H4n the microphones are arranged in what is referred to as an XY axes, this means that the two microphones are placed one on top of the other at 90° to each other. Because of this arrangement the sound wave reaches both microphones at the same time. This eradicates the lag time and produces a stereo image that is in phase. The XY axis set up is by no means unique to the H4n. It is a standard practice throughout the recording industry, and is as near to the front pages on how to record sound as correct exposure is to photography. I regard the H4n in the same way as my first SLR, a new and exciting tool in which to learn and progress to a higher standard.

In a time where multimedia is the buzzword, we as independents cannot afford to be ignorant of such basic technologies and practices. It is the understanding and application of these principles that will allow us to shine out in this incredibly competitive industry. Text: Andy Ash

45

Chapter

II

Part

I

IT IS not wholly unfair to argue that early horror films, by today’s standards, are so tame that they evoke no fear whatsoever, and established ‘classics’ such as Nosferatu (1922) could even be regarded as rather dull and unintentionally humorous. Horror, it seems, belongs with its original and intended audience, perhaps more so than any other genre. It is bound to the general psyche of that society in which it was made. Once it becomes dated, and subsequently unbelievable, the fear evaporates (at least until it transcends into something so out of synch with our modern world that it becomes foreign to us, and ‘uncanny’). And what is a horror film without scares? It is redundant, a toothless monster. And yet, although we can no longer view Nosferatu as the blood chilling terror that it was intended to be, we can use it as a time machine to better understand the evolution of the horror genre, and how monsters have changed over the course of cinema history. Words: David Knight

46 ESSAYS

( RISE OF THE MOVIE MONSTER

We know that ‘horror’ was part of the basis for the invention of mythology, as creatures of the night, the Undead, the ghosts and the ghouls, were invented to explain the greatest and most prominent mystery of death. And from the discovery of storytelling, humanity went on to create deities, Gods and monsters that could take responsibility for the environments yet to be filled by science. It is a testimony to the power of mythology that humanity still clings to these imagined explanations, especially regarding death and the supposed afterlife. As society evolved, the stories became more complex, the Greeks (as one example) invented huge theatrical stories involving a vast array of complex characters. Indeed, it is argued that all character types and stories that exist today are descendents of these mythological hierarchies (prompting the argument that no character that exists is actually original). However, far from the God governing the lives of the Greeks, they were but a reflection of what was happening in the world at that time. Most stories of war and peace in the heavens of Olympus can be linked to actual events that took place between factions within Greece. Similarly, I intend to argue that the horror film is a reflection of society, not because society is evil, but because horror must be au courant of people’s fears and anxiety’s, in order to generate the appropriate scares. Just as fairytales can be read as warnings, and religion as instructions, horror films must tap into people’s nightmares, and the most successful are cognisant of the fears that manifest themselves within society.

Nosferatu “Wait, young man. You cannot escape destiny by running away!” The horror film is a genre that must adapt to survive, it must evolve as we do and keep in touch with the changes in our culture and civilization, the collective changes of human beings. However, society is controlled by a hierarchy; people in power such as politicians and businesses’ monitor and manipulate the masses, it is their belief that individuals are unwieldy and must be kept in line. “Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” – Benays, Edward. 1928 The authorities believe that, as a collective, people should be shaped into what is perceived to be a better, more manageable and altogether happier society. In order to do this, people are often told what to feel and, subsequently, they are told what frightens them. This is much like the various tricks played on 1950’s audiences, where actors were paid to scream during viewings of horror films. The thinking was that people in crowds are more susceptible to manipula-

48 ESSAYS 10

tion, and indeed it worked. The audience could be trained, albeit in a playful manner, to react to these films with more emphasis. This is what happens on a more global scale, people are collectively being trained to have appropriate and manageable feelings, a particular focus being moral values. I will go into this further when I discuss Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956) but first let us turn to the early 20s with F.W Murnav’s horror classic, Nosferatu.

At the time that it was made, Nosferatu was considered to be terrifying and believable; in the sense that the audience responded to the horror of it. It also possessed a trait that has become rare in modern times – it has a very clear moral backbone. Nosferatu is a film about class, hierarchy and, above all, family. The film’s hero, Thomas Hutter, is an unlikable and childish man of middle-class status, seemingly happy and without want, living with his wife Ellen. When he is given the opportunity to further his career by visiting a new client, the mysterious (and ultimately evil) Count Orlok of Transylvania, Hutter sets off with little regard for his wife’s happiness. Herein lies the moral, that family life is above all else the most important obligation and Hutter is a fool for abandoning it so readily. Apart from this, it is also clear that Hutter has no respect for those of a lower class to himself, as is shown when he encounters the peasants who live

49

in the shadow of Orlok’s castle. Though they try to warn him of the dangers, Hutter is despicably ignorant and lofty, showing no inclination to heed their wise words. In contrast, when he meets Orlok himself, Hutter is polite and respectful, recognising the Count’s higher status. In the end it is Ellen who is the true hero of the film, as she sacrifices everything for the man she loves, who only realises the error of his ways too late – when he has lost everything that was truly important. This too, is a primary example of how dated a film such as Nosferatu has become, where Orlok is only recognised as being evil because Ellen is so pure, and only through her noble sacrifice is he defeated. This concept would be considered laughable by today’s standards, and monsters often ridicule the idea of purity and nobility as a powerful force against darkness. This can arguably be attributed to our societies ‘loss of innocence’, following the crushing disappointment at the failure of the revolutionary ‘counterculture’ in the 60s, which I will discuss in another issue.

50 ESSAYS 10

It is clear that Thomas Hutter has been punished for his intolerable behaviour at the start of the film, and punishment does seem apt and appropriate, and he has certainly learnt his lesson. In many ways he is as much a pupil as a victim, and the moral lesson is as much for our benefit as his. In modern horror films it is very rare to find any moral message in the punishment of the characters. People are violently killed for no particular reason and their deaths are of no particular significance (unless it is to be humorous or ironic, which can often be the case). Nosferatu is a moral guideline, and it is very clear about what is right and wrong. There is no ambiguity as to whether Hutter abandoning his family responsibilities is wrong, the audience are not left to make up their own minds, they are being told. 
 Nosferatu was based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, changing names of characters and places because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel (unfortunately these slight changes were in vain, and the film was ordered to be destroyed,

thankfully copies survived). However, the films predominant changes come from it’s shying away from the novels underlining emphasis on promiscuous sexuality. Dracula shows us the fine line between sexual desire and violence, it is a concept that has been explored in mythology, way before the word ‘Vampire’ had come into existence. Indeed, the act of drinking blood has long been something associated with Demons, and even Lilith, the first wife of Adam in the Garden of Eden. According to Jewish texts, Lilith was created from the Earth, just as Adam was, and she refused to be dominated by him, regarding herself as man’s equal. Her rejection of Adam led her to leave the Garden, and to be replaced by the more submissive Eve who, after all, was made from one of Adam’s ribs, and would therefore always be a part of him. Lilith became a Demon, and her sexuality made her all the more powerful. God destroyed many of her Demon offspring, and in retaliation she slaughtered human babies. This myth perhaps helped to explain the large amount of infant mortality in the times that it was written. Lilith was a seductress, and blood drinker, and perhaps one of the earliest ‘Vampires’ in mythology.

This understanding of a common ground between lust and evil is the basis for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, however this issue is totally sidestepped by Nosferatu. In a very real way, the story was censored for the big screen, perhaps in order to quash any allure to the dark fantasy of Vampirism. Did the filmmakers believe that audiences would be confused, seduced and even corrupted by the true Vampires? Sexuality is a powerful weapon, and it was important the audience would understand the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and so it helped that evil was portrayed as ugly, deformed and physically repulsive. After all, if evil were attractive, seductive and sexual, who could resist it?

{ Next Issue } Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a mass identity crisis, politics, and the Monster within.

51

e d u c a t i o n

There can be no doubt that digital file-based filmmaking has revolutionised filmmaking, especially on the post-production side of things. Two areas of filmmaking that have been affected by this digital revolution are the speed and cost at which a film can be produced. The speed that a film can be turned around from shooting to screening has been dramatically reduced, and as computer processing powers increase, it will likely be further reduced in the future. For example, a simple effect such as flipping a shot can now be performed in mere seconds, whereas in the past, the editor would have to contact the film lab to get a rush print of the flipped shot, which would not make it to the cutting room until the next day. The financial investment required to produce a digital film can also be far less than for a celluloid based project. For example, a film shot on 16mm 20 years ago would have to budget for the price of the film stock, the cost of developing and printing a rush print, the hiring of cutting rooms, hiring a neg cutter to conform the film, and the cost of printing the final married print. All these costs can now, with careful and skilful planning, be avoided by a low budget production shooting digi52 WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT

tally. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more the finished file does not degrade with every viewing and can be copied multiple times at no extra cost. The sector of filmmaking that has most strongly felt the effects of this digital revolution is micro-to-no budget filmmaking. It has released filmmakers from the tight constriction of their budget and allowed them to artistically express themselves to their full potential. However there are disadvantages to the superseding of digital over film. The main issues with digital stems from the very advances I mentioned above, because digital filmmaking requires less investment (both capital and time) it encourages complacency, which will be the kiss of death to any project. Film was both an expensive and labour intensive medium, so organisation was paramount. The sheer accessibility of digital material encourages filmmakers to rush over this planning stage and to not organise the post-production workflow sufficiently. Skimming at these stages saves no money and little time. While neglecting these processes will dramatically increase the risk of errors occurring, which could end up costing a lot of time and money to fix.

Steps you can take to adapt celluloid sensibilities to a digital-based project, without greatly inflating the budget or the workload, are: + 1

Know Your Workflow

I can’t state this strongly enough. Post-production does not start once the shooting has stopped, it doesn’t start when the shooting begins; the editing process starts with your choice of formats to shoot on, resolution and frame rate of the project - as all of these decisions will affect the editing process. You need to understand advantages and disadvantages of your chosen workflow so that you understand what problems you may run into later on. + 2

Test, Test and Test Some More

It is always better to discover any workflow issues after a day’s shooting rather than at the end of the shoot. Plan one day of shooting, a week to a fortnight before the main shoot. If everything is working well, you already have a day of your film in the can or if there are any issues, you have found them out before you shot too much footage, with plenty of time left before the shoot to iron out the problems. + 3

Keep Your Edit Project Tidy

One look at an artist's bedroom is enough to deduce that many creatives (myself included) seem to thrive off chaos. However, this attitude can prove detrimental to your film in the editing process. The organisation of your edit project has to be logical and easy to understand. This is so that whoever opens up the project can easily and quickly find what they are looking for. This is extremely important for projects going to a dub or grade. + 4

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask The Professionals

If your film is going to be graded at a post-house try to involve them early on in the project. Talk to them before you shoot if you can, they will have experience of dealing with similar workflows and will be able to offer advice on how to improve yours. If you have the available budget, think about hiring a post-production consultant to help design your workflow.

text: Gaz Evans Workflow Technician diROOM

53

W W

ith an eye on the past, Duncan Jones is shaping the future of independent Sci Fi.

Whether it’s Stanley Kubrick’s infamous 30-ton centrifuge that made up the rotating interior of the Discovery in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Ridley Scott’s dystopian cityscapes in Blade Runner, science fiction has a tendency to demand the very most from the technology of its time, not to mention from the cheque books of its funders. The financial costs of presenting future societies, alternate realities or outer space are considerable, and with the genre’s leanings towards experimental aesthetics and technological prowess, it does not open itself particularly well to low-budget filmmaking.

MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE

and the destruction of civilisation. But despite the genre’s recent emphasis on high budgets and visual effects, a group of up-and-coming British filmmakers are proving that cinematic journeys into the Science fiction is, for the most part, scientific unknown do not have big business cinema. The genre has to be financial black holes. Led by long been a closed market, availnewcomer Duncan Jones (Moon, able only to those few directors Source Code) and flanked by who are permitted to command Gareth Edwards (Monsters), these enormous budgets: the likes of relatively inexperienced directors James Cameron, Roland Emmhave worked in the shadows of Holerich or Steven Spielberg. What’s lywood and released lower budget more, it is commonplace to see films that shun the spectacle the balance between cutting edge of CGI and the clumsy narrative visual effects and narrative ingenu- frameworks populated by Sci Fi’s ity go askew. Recent blockbustbig name directors. ers – the likes of 2012, Avatar and Battle: Los Angeles – effectively Jones is the forerunner with two act as showcases in visual technol- pictures to his name and a career ogy: they are CGI spectacles that that is accelerating at an alarming abandon the literary aspirations of rate. His 2009 debut, Moon, was an early Sci Fi and replace them with a independent, modestly budgeted morbid interest in the Apocalypse marvel for those genre fans that 54 ANALYSING

were weary of science fiction’s gravitation towards visual trickery and excessive post-production. Moon aimed to bring science fiction back to reality: it may have concerned spacemen and corporate cloning, but underneath its fantastical premise Jones was dusting off science fiction’s old literary themes of identity, alienation and ennui; the kind explored in the celebrated novels of Sci Fi novelists JG Ballard and Philip K. Dick. It’s this emphasis on humanity over technological spectacle that makes Jones’ approach so refreshing. Moon revitalises these themes in a throwback to the classic Sci Fi of the 1960s and 1970s while also adopting the pristine aesthetics and sense of restraint that defines the likes of Silent Running, The Quiet Earth or Tarkovsky’s Solaris. The latter is a particularly strong

point of reference for Moon, which echoes Tarkovsky’s use of a claustrophobic space station, where isolation and dislocation positions the lead character ready for introspection. Both films also work with ideas of grief, as both Moon’s Sam Bell and Solaris’ Kris Kelvin are haunted by memories of their wives that materialise in apparitions and hallucinations, the difference being that Sam Bell’s grief does not necessarily concern the death of his wife, but rather the loss of his simulated identity and the imagined relationships that went with it. Source Code, his second and most recent feature, performs a similar trick in its prominent exposition of character. Despite its technothriller premise – one that sees Jake Gyllenhaal’s Colter Stevens

continually travelling back in time to prevent a terrorist attack on a train – the film is a character drama rather than an exercise in visual wizardry. It’s exciting, certainly, but it’s also a film with heart. Colter Stevens is not an action hero despite him being a one-man anti-terrorism squad; he is, rather, an ordinary military man who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances. We discover his past in parallel with the character and it humanises a taut and deliciously clever second venture for the director. It should be a joy for genre fans who, until recently, have had to satisfy themselves with retrospectives and nostalgia for the days when Sci Fi was an associate of intelligent and provocative filmmaking. Although both Duncan Jones and Gareth Edwards are looking towards the other side of

the Atlantic for pastures of greater financial magnitude – Gareth Edwards is linked with Legendary Pictures’ reboot of the Godzilla franchise – we should not fear their move to the States. The greatest examples of science fiction have always required the financial allowance and stability that America can offer, but what both directors have done early in their careers is to prove that science fiction is not restricted to the upper echelons of American directors. There is an open space for independent Sci Fi and as the pair move onto bigger things, perhaps other burgeoning directors will fill it. And perhaps Christopher Nolan will find himself in better company up on the high tiers of Sci Fi filmmaking. Text: Phil Guy Artwork: Juan González Uribe

55

KINO LONDON

text: Tom Dalling

An un-programmed, open mic short film night with no preselection. How the hell does that work, you might ask? Quite simply and effectively to tell the truthâ&#x20AC;Ś Running around once a month in East London, Kino London screens short films of up to five minutes in length, by anybody willing to show. Supply only your name, title and duration of the film to book a slot. The evening is a refreshingly open and unpretentious event. Films are plucked at random to be screened and after a brief intro, the shortfilms are left to speak for themselves, away from unnecessary hyperbole and drawn out Q&A sessions. This leaves people to make their own connections and discussions after the films are shown. There is a clear agenda at the night to encourage filmmakers to get off their arses and keep on creating. Each month the audience places their film ideas in a bucket, and by the good old fashioned method of shouting, the crowd selects their favourite idea. Then Kino teams up any willing filmmakers to run the idea into an original short, promising to screen it at next months gathering. Jamie Kennerley is the host and founder of Kino London, hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what he had to say for himself on the subject.

photo: theladiestoilet.com

KINO LONDON

The Open Mic Film Night

Why open-mic? Good question, but to be honest, I'd never considered running any other kind of film event! This was how I got into the screening scene, by starting an open-mic film night in Manchester (Filmonik - which is still going) and when I moved to London I wanted to do the same thing. Clearly, if you decide to put on a film night, invite open submissions, then just cherry-pick the ones you want, then you have a guaranteed quality, but I've always thought that that's a pretty easy, if not lazy, thing to do. We always have a very mixed bag - some excellent quality, some of lesser quality - but then we also have a total variety of genres on each night. Doc, experimental, drama, animation, music video - all these get a look in (by pure chance) more or less at each event. You couldn't programme that variety if you tried to. You'd be too worried about things 'not going together'! Why do you like short films? Short films are the bread and butter of the film community. They're a training and a testing ground, but they're also a valuable art form of their own. If more feature directors had made more shorts, or went back to making shorts in between features, then they'd probably be making better features. Shorts production has to be protected and nurtured in this country, like it is on the continent, but it's typical of the way film is funded in this country that there's less and less money available for the things that matter. By the time the Film Council - or whatever replaces it - realise this, shorts funding will have been left to the multinationals. Filmmakers will have to be making cleverly disguised commercials if they need anything approaching a real budget for their short.

To screen screen@Kinolondon.com www.Kinolondon.com/challenge Partnerships / Enquiries info@kinolondon.com Website www.kinolondon.com twitter.com/KinoLondon

56 FILM FESTIVAL

What sort of people come to Kino? Do you think that people outside the filmmaking community are interested in short film screenings? We have all sorts. I'd say about half are involved in filmmaking in some way - either they've been involved with shorts that are screening, or have come to meet other filmmakers, or crew-up, or want to see what other people are making. But we also attract plenty of people who are not filmmakers at all, nor are they interested in that side of things. They just enjoy the feel and the vibe of the night. This is one thing that we've learned with Kino - that if the night is fun enough, then people will come from all walks of life. After he appeared at Kino last year Shooting People's Ben Blaine said about us “if you have a short you want to show, there's no friendlier place to do it.” We were quite chuffed about that. Do you have to work hard at promoting Kino screenings? Yes. It's a constant list of people to email, mailing lists to get on, Facebook pages to post on… and alongside that we have to maintain the contact with our own community. So, that involves keeping the website updated with what we think are interesting posts (Film of the Week, things to do, random shorts or thoughts) sending out newsletters etc. Yes, it's a lot of work, but we have to do it. We all have to work for recognition for whatever we're trying to establish, and it isn't a case of "if you build it they will come". They won't come if they don't know about it and if it doesn't keep appearing in there sphere of interest. What is the future for Kino London? We're doing pretty well at achieving recognition for the open platform that we offer, but we want this to continue to grow. We also want the nature of the night to develop, so it becomes more of a magazine event, with more on offer to both filmmakers and punters who attend. Things like discounted kit hire, magazine subscriptions, cinema tickets - everything that's useful to filmmakers, we want that to become part of Kino. More on that to follow in the coming months! Finally, we've been pretty good at actually facilitating new filmmaking - running events in which new shorts are made and screened within the Kino environment - this is something which we've actually built into the night now. Each month we issue a filmmaking challenge to filmmakers in the audience – a short they have to make in the following 30 days between screenings and then bring back to us at the next event. This is working really well, and has resulted in some great films. It's also giving our filmmakers the chance to work with new people, try out new ideas and techniques and as always, a ready-made audience for their film.

Ø A R T

Juan González Uribe – One Man Exhibition

58 ARTS & MUSIC

> ar t A R T S

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Show my paintings to the world, this the main reason of being an artist, otherwise I would be deadâ&#x20AC;Ś If the galleries do not give painters this opportunity it is necessary to do everything possible to stay alive.â&#x20AC;?

& M U S I C

59

>>> A R T S & M U S I C

Juan arrived in London early this year, having been told that it would be a great place for him to come as an artist. Born in Columbia, Juan has been painting since he was a child, and professionally since he came to Europe in 2001. On first arrival Juan took his portfolio around countless galleries, but time and time again he was refused. Unperturbed Juan took exhibiting into his own hands, turning two canvases into a sandwich board, which he then took to Trafalgar Square where he held a one-man show. A short documentary of the event can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/3w67n3y

gatekeepers of exhibition. The more we can undermine this exclusivity and take back the world of exhibition, as artists, creating more open and free platforms of exhibition the better it will be for the medium. “London, like other big cities, is hard enough to make you think twice about being an artist… I’m still struggling, knocking on doors and doing whatever I have to, to keep myself alive”. In more recent months Juan’s persistence has paid off and he is running a couple of exhibitions in bars, “nothing big, but it’s a beginning, a new start”. Despite this, I still hope to see you all next week, outside the National Gallery holding exhibitions of your own. Text > Tom Dalling email: juangonzalezuribe@hotmail.com facebook: http://tinyurl.com/43osunr

There is nothing particularly significant about Juan’s very modest, first London exhibition. However it brings you back to basics; art is there to be seen. In all mediums there are the

www.picasaweb.google.com/juangonzalezuribe/Obra Previous page (from left to right): Inspired on Havana Club. Mixed on canvas. 89 × 116 cm Untitled. Mixed on canvas. 89 × 116 cm

> c omp u t e r g am e s Amnesia: The Dark Descent

I played this game after reading how scary it was meant to be. I was pessimistic, having played many a proposed ‘scary’ game, most of which fell flat while others only offered the occasional shock or ‘jump’ as monsters leap from the shadows. Fear doesn’t last very long in front of the barrel of a gun. This game isn’t about surviving a zombie outbreak, or fighting aliens, Amnesia is classically scary, spooky 60 ARTS & MUSIC

and mysterious. It doesn’t rely on lots of monsters jumping out on you, but rather building a feeling of panic and worry as you play on through the dark corridors. The monsters are Frankenstein-like victims of torture; disfigured and angry. The important thing is that Amnesia manages to be genuinely terrifying. With no form of attack I had to hide in the shadows and hope that the monsters didn’t see me quivering like a scared child. There were times where I would spin around wildly at every rumble or noise. I became panicked like the character, Daniel, the psychological fear put me on edge and where as in other games dying isn’t a big thing, you just accept it and move on. In Amnesia there was distinct terror that the monster would catch up with me. An aspect of the gameplay that adds to the atmosphere greatly is Daniel's sanity; if he becomes too scared he collapses and yelps like a scared animal, alerting the monsters to your presence. Text > Kyle Drury

> l i terat u r e Intern Nation: How To Earn Nothing And Learn Little In The Brave New Economy – Ross Perlin

House, don’t forget Disneyland and of course Jay-Z. The list goes on… (being Jay-Z is a job, right?) But when you realise that Disney Land employs around 7,000 interns flipping burgers, things begin to get a bit furry around the edges. Is that a job or an internship? You get more rights if it’s a job and we all know how ruddy annoying worker's rights can be.

Here we have a topical little number for all you hopefuls thinking about taking an internship, feeling that perhaps the reason your career in the world of the media industry isn’t quite taking off is because you haven’t yet got that ‘on the job experience’ or ‘paid your dues’ or ‘taken it up the-’ Well you know the score. So what is an internship then? A seemingly simple concept, a large element of Intern Nation looks at defining this word, because when you begin to consider making a definition, you begin to see that largely, there isn’t one.

Are these placements really a way for us to better ourselves and further our careers? Or are they just simply a cheap, or mostly free source of labour for business worldwide? What, as the book suggests, would happen if every intern in the world went on strike for one day? We might only then realise how much our economy now depends / abuses / thrives on this free labour. Intern Nation is not so much a historical exploration into the world of internships, indeed it hardly dwells on how we have got here, instead it paints a picture of the current climate of interning. The book asks plenty more questions than it gives answers. However, it is a fantastic collection of case studies and quotes from interns throughout the world of work, with pleasant undertones of sarcasm throughout. A great read for anybody at that stage in their life where they are flobbing around, trying to find that thing they will do to make their money for the rest of their existence. Why can't we get paid to learn how to do our jobs, like in the good old days… Something to do with ‘the man’ probably. Text > Tom Dalling

Internships were traditionally to do with gaining on the job experience, specifically in the medical profession. But when you begin to consider the plethora of internships on offer these days in the film industry, fashion (all arts jobs really), business, in fact almost any office job, oh and the White 61

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Issue 2 April 2011

GORILLA TEAM RECOMMENDS LUCASARTS SOUNDTRACKS You can download the music of the entire Monkey Island series on LucasArts Soundtracks. The awesome tunes of Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango are also available. Madre de Dios! Es el Pollo Diablo! Mancomb Seepgood THE MIND IN THE CAVE – DAVID LEWIS-WILLIAMS Blow the fuck out of your Homo sapien brain, with this exploration into the origins of art and human conciseness. It's that good, for weeks after you will find yourself half drunk at parties, trying to regurgitate your new found knowledge of the Upper-Palaeolithic era, failing miserably to do any justice whatsoever to the magnificence of this book. Tom Dalling JUST MY TYPE – SIMON GARFIELD Choose type. Choose a size. Choose a colour. Choose a serif. Choose a weight. Choose caps. Choose a German Blackletter. Choose Comic Sans. Choose Swiss. Choose the mindnumbing Helvetica. Choose a style. Choose 7pt Baskerville with 14pt leading. Choose a 62pt Compacta and smash it onto a Shoreditch gig poster. Choose London Olympics 2012 logo typeface, whatever it calls. This book introduces you to types in an entertaining way, with humorous stories behind the most commonly seen typefaces in our age. It's not something you get taught in Graphic Design class (nowadays). Jack Lee

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Gorilla Film Magazine Issue 3