Film: Human Nature

Human Nature was a commission through a department of the NHS that deals with mental health in Devon. It was very low budget, covering one days filming and two days editing (plus expenses).

Our interpretation of the brief was to trace a line from the south coast to the north coast in a single day, approaching random strangers we encountered on the way and asking them an approximation of the following question:

“What is your philosophy on life?”

 

We paused halfway and filmed the sky until the sun broke through. We had planned that much. Why? Well, because that was what the day suggested to us, and because there is beauty in the sky, and it is symbolic of thought, and the sun breaking through the clouds works as a metaphor, and so do the silver linings on the clouds, and the camera left on auto going in and out of focus. It wasn’t planned that way. We shot it like that because it felt like the right thing to do. Pretensions to cleverness can abound in the wake of such moments of inspiration. It can be all too easy to take credit for something, that in truth was suggested by the world, by the subconscious responding to it; the intersection of elements, time and space conspiring.

It was a good day. If nothing else it reminded us of how generous people can be, how open and how genuine. How we have all overcome something to get to where we are. What value there is to be found in reflection and what beauty in the stories of lives.

 

Yours in reminiscence,

Mr X

 

                        all material © 2014

Ideoforming – Part One: Fresh Gravity

For those amongst you who are disposed towards simple explanations Ideoforming is the act of making something from an idea. An Ideoform is something that has been made in such a way.

This Manifesto was written prior to the advent of Mobile Phones possessing the technical capacity to capture decent videographic images and audible sound so might appear a bit out of date. At the time though it was so cutting edge practically everyone I knew ignored it. So it can be. All ideas have their time. It was designed to be a bit of fun and, like the best boundaries, it was self imposed and designed to provoke creative approaches to solving problems around making films on a low budget. It is provided here for academic purposes and in the in the vain hope that the application of obscure methodologies of filmmaking will help make the world a better place to which to live.

Spontaneous Regards,

Mr X

 * * *

An Alpinist Manifesto for Film.

‘Short is the little time which remains to thee of life. Live as on a mountain.’  Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

In 1954 the Austrian mountaineer Herman Bhul struck out for the summit of Nanga Parbat on his own. He carried no bottled oxygen, no tent, no sleeping bag and very little food. Returning to camp some 41 hours later, having soloed the summit, he was the first person to make an ‘Alpine style’ ascent of a Himalayan peak. Prior to this the strategy for climbing in the Himalaya was to lay siege a mountain, to edge ones way up a mountain, ferrying supplies up to ever higher camps until the summit could be reached.

Similarities can be draw to the act of filmmaking. At the time of writing The Fresh Gravity Film Manifesto Digital filmmaking was still in it’s infancy. It was just possible to edit the footage one had just shot on a laptop. No editing suit or movie studio was needed to lay siege to a story in quite the way it had for so many years before. And yes, there are plenty of examples of filmmakers working on the fly over the years but to focus to strongly on them would just spoil the conceit. So let us say, at least until the end of this page, that with the advent of digital technology, Alpinist filmmaking was born.

Tongue in cheek as it is, the manifesto is designed to stretch the skills and capability of the filmmaker, to force one to think ahead, to sharpen the focus and to attempt to maintain a strenuous pace from beginning to end.

The idea of making a film in 48 hours or less is not an uncommon condition for filmmaking competitions these days, and I imagine that severe time restraints are employed in film schools to a greater or lesser effect in pushing students to wards the boundaries of their own creative capabilities. However, The Fresh Gravity Film Manifesto goes a step or two further. Whether it will ever lead to the creation of a masterpiece remains to be seen. I suspect that we might have to wait some time. 

____________________________________________________________

THE FRESH GRAVITY FILM MANIFESTO

An Alpinist Manifesto for Film

____________________________________________________________

We live in a culture where, through hard work and persistence it is possible for almost anyone to attain the fundamental hardware to make movies.

The Alpinist film maker must aspire to become the holy trinity: Writer, Producer and Director.

As within the sphere of alpinism there are stylistic considerations to be made as some forms being said to be purer than others. Of the rules that follow only the first three are essential for a film to be called Alpinist. The further down the list one progresses the purer the end result might be said to be.

  1. You and your team must be able to carry all their equipment with them on their backs and will not return home until all filming is complete.
  2. Neither you or your team will receive support of any sort from outside the team.
  3. The production team must not exceed three people.
  4. Always aim to solo a film. The only time you should work in a team is when alternative shots are needed. Therefore every member of your production team will be found carrying a camera or sound recording equipment.
  5. You, your team and your equipment will have the capacity to film for as long as needs be.
  6. When faced with a decision on shooting you must always attempt to take the shot as directly as possible.
  7. Neither you or your team will re-shoot footage.
  8. No Tripod may be used.
  9. Do not change your environment to achieve a desired shot. Accept your conditions and adapt.
  10. Shoot in sequence.
  11. Edit your film before you return home.
  12. Do not sleep.

Respect personal freedom and privacy at all times.

Measure your achievements against yourself.

Test the limit of your being.

 * * *

All Material © Clive Austin 2014