3 weeks to go!

Reflective Journal

MA Communication Design
Masters Project
18 July 2017

My action plan for further research for contextualising my studies

  • To research further on theories

Shiner, L., (1969) A Phenomenological Approach to Historical Knowledge. History and Theory [Internet], 1969 8 (2) 1969, 260–274. Available from: <www.jstor.org/stable/2504325> [Accessed 29 May 2017].

Tamura, E. H., (2011) Narrative History and Theory. History of Education Quarterly [Internet], 2011 51 (2) 150–157. Available from: <www.jstor.org/stable/41303866> [Accessed 29 May 2017].

I would like to research debates on why history is important, why choose film as a designer, why is it the most appropriate medium? and the ethical responsibilities of translating history. I would also like to continue researching feminist theories looking at Mcrobbie, Walter and Oakley.

I was unable to access the two books above and replaced them with Narrative and History by Alun Munslow. It is an interesting insight into what decisions historians make to turn historical records into a narrative. I will continue reading the book.

Oakley, A. (2005) The Ann Oakley reader : gender, women, and social science. Bristol: Policy.

Munslow, A. (no date) Narrative and History. [ILL] Palgrave.

Oakley, A. (1974) Housewife. London: Penguin.

  • To read two articles – one on commissioning new art in museums and galleries in the Museum Association magazine and an article in Art Monthly regarding film and history.
  • To read The Yellow Wallpaper and listen to Hilary Mantel Reith Lectures R4Gilman, C.P. (2009) The yellow wallpaper and selected writings. London: Virago.

    The Yellow Wallpaper
    is about a woman that is recovering from a nervous depression and is prohibited from doing anything including writing. She lacks stimulation and starts to imagine women in the yellow wallpaper and believes that she is one of them. This was an interesting short story into the insight of the perceptions of Edwardian women as dependent and infantile where the man takes control. The author addresses Edwardian women’s issues such as ‘the lack of a life outside the home and the oppressive forces of the patriarchal society'(Wikipedia). In chapter three I refer literally to the story by including the yellow colour in the wallpaper and also entrapping the woman in the pattern.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Yellow_WallpaperWhat is historical fiction?, 2016 [radio]. BBC Radio 4. 12 June. time unknown. Are historical novels misleading?, 2017 [radio]. BBC Radio 4. 13 June. time unknown.
My action plan for completing the film and publicity
  • Further technical skills for animating text by watching Lynda.com videos
  • To finish scenes in Chapter 3 and 1
  • To edit the whole film
  • To record and edit sound
  • To complete posters, postcards, business cards and tickets
  • To research further on audience and communication to audience via emails.
 Work in  Progress

Last week I completed Chapter 4 titled You Know Nothing About Politics. In this section the protagonist discovers a world for men only.

It is based on a board game and I have mentioned the reasons why in the previous post. In the chapter there are Jack in the Boxes who state the views of Edwardian politicians. I wanted to combine this with current views and I added quotes on the back wall from politicians across the world including Donald Trump. I wanted to include contemporary viewpoints of women by politicians so that the audience can reflect on behaviours and attitudes today. Are these Edwardian perceptions of women still embedded in our society today? I noted the process in sketchbook 2.

I have also been working on Chapter 3 Habeas Corpus. The wife is part of the home as it was the Edwardian women’s domain. She is entrapped in the decorative parts of the home such as the doors and walls. I continued with this chapter working on developing a pattern for the door. I used photographs of Florence and also created a design inspired by Art Nouveau and placed the her head in the design. I then created multiples of the design to make an ornate door. I created multiples of the door and altering the perspective so that the door would look like it’s opening. I placed these in After Effects one after the other so that the door opened to reveal Florence carrying the tea.

With the tea scene I wanted to place the teacup on a table. I tried out different designs of tablecloths which can be seen in sketchbook 1 but they didn’t look right with the rest of the look of the film. The tablecloth was going to have heads appearing in patterns but I felt that the message of the woman being entrapped in the interior decor had already been conveyed in other scenes in the chapter. Instead I placed a head in the teacup and added a smile which is a metaphor for forcing a smile on her wife. She is unhappy but she needs to smile in front of her husband. I also learnt the technical skills of animating a brush stroke in After Effects. I also wanted the tea to move when placed on the table and took a photo of tea to use for it. I also recorded the sound of the cup being placed on a table and also the sound of carrying the teacup for the previous scene.

The teacup scene replaced some deleted scenes that didn’t seem to sit well with the chapter. They were live action shots that repeated the same message. I also had a lot of technical problems with photo shot in my green screen room at home. The room was small and there was too much lighting. I took numerous shoots and experimented with aperture and focus. There was one shot where Florence holds a paper copy of Esther. After repeated shoots I realised that the lights were washing out the figure. I was able to adjust levels in After Effects and use my skills from Photoshop to do this.

Preview in Duke Street – communicating to my peers

I wanted to show my film to a handful of people to see if they understood the storyline and whether the pace was right.  One didn’t understand Florence and whether she was a suffragette.  Others thought the pace was fast in a few areas including the counters and the Boys have Fun collage. On reflection I wanted to move the Votes for Women sash to highlight that Florence was a suffragette and also add flags and banners in the other hot air balloons. I thought that I would make changes once I had feedback from Suzie.

Open Access Tutorial

I showed my work to Suzie Hanna and she was very complimentary. I wanted to ask her about submitting to Norwich Film Festival. She felt it was not a film but a motion graphic and it maybe unsuitable for the festival. However I decided to enter as I had nothing to lose apart from £20! She said the only thing that needed changing for the MA show was emphasising Florence as a suffragette.  She mentioned that in the picture scene a label could be included under the portrait of Florence. She also said that filmmakers continually edit their film and for future submissions I may want to make the film shorter in some areas to give a faster pace and have contrast between fast and slow. I could also alter the ending by getting the modern girl to move out of the box and maybe have wings so she flies to freedom. I did wonder about having the girl in the box as it is a sign of entrapment and contradicts the message. This was a valid point. I know that on reflection I created 5 chapters separately and that I hadn’t taken into consideration the flow of the story from one chapter to another. I know in hindsight that I should have made the film under one composition in After Effects. I require a faster external hard drive to fully benefit from After Effects and will also feel more confident technically putting the chapters into one project. It was also noted that the inclusion of the music box was archetypal and that I should look at the music in Quay Brothers’ films. I mentioned that my brother composed the music for the opening and closing credits and that I would like to collaborate with him in the future.

I also wanted to understand how to market myself and it was noted that I am a digital artist working with moving image and that the genre is collage animation or stop motion.

Suzie pointed out filmmakers that may interest me including Olivier Harrison, Katy Davies, Helen Piercy (Helen Animate) and Stephen Ong from Make it Move productions and also to look at Igor by the Quay Brothers.

Communicating to potential partners

The session was good for boosting my confidence as a filmmaker/collage animator and so contacted more people to introduce my work and invite them to the degree show. I contacted local production companies with an excerpt of the film such as JMS, Make it Move and Digifish and production companies that work with museums and heritage including Chocolate Video Productions and Fgreat studio. I also contacted people from Norfolk Museums and Norwich Cathedral. The Head of Schools and Learning at Norwich Cathedral was a previous contact and will be coming to the degree show. I also had a reply from Chocolate Video Productions who are unable to attend but asked for a CV if I am considering working in London. I plan to email them the final film and mention that although they are are not taking on freelancers they may want to consider me in the future if they require a different approach to history. It is also good that I have a contact name for the company.

Suzie also mentioned working collaboratively with the RSA animations however I could find anything on their website. I did see that they are starting the RSA Student Awards in August so I will keep an eye out for the briefs. I would like to make a film during the autumn and submit in January/February 2018. I also plan to continue working 2 days a week and spend 3 days working in the Ideas Factory as a freelancer and pursuing some projects such as RSA and local opportunities mentioned in previous posts. This will be good for building up my portfolio of moving images, and working to clients’ and my own briefs.

Norwich Film Festival submission

Following my review of examples I have completed the Director’s Statement for the Norwich Film Festival submission and will also use some of the points in my report. The statement is as follows:-

Director’s Statement
Hysterical Females

The original concept of the film was to narrate the story of women’s suffrage and mark the 100th anniversary in 2018. The majority of us know about the history of suffragettes: the force-feeding, the protests, the breaking of windows, so I wanted to look at it from a different angle, focusing on the core of the problem which was the men’s behaviour towards women. This led me to look at the discrimination against Edwardian women in general, starting from girlhood. Why were young girls’ encouraged to suppress their ambitions? Why was marriage the only vocation for women? Why was self-sacrifice in women deemed a biological duty? Why didn’t politicians take women seriously? I wanted to communicate some of these obstacles in my film.

It can be difficult and tedious to translate historical information creatively whilst keeping the facts accurate. I didn’t want to approach women’s history in a literal way, so instead I decided to create a surreal world but show historical behaviours, attitudes and beliefs. In Hysterical Females the protagonist is subjected to discrimination through the eyes of a politician, a husband and dowager. In order to review current discrimination against women I combined relevant contemporary and Edwardian political quotes. Are these Edwardian perceptions of women still embedded in our society today?

I love working with collage and chose to use this method for my first film using disjointed sounds with the combined techniques of stop motion, live action and animation aimed to create a powerful emotive piece. In order to communicate with a broad audience I introduced playful and theatrical characters to narrate and represent the story. A playful element can engage attention more effectively than bare facts.

I have enjoyed making my first film and hope to inspire the audience to find out more about women’s history.

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