07 May 2011

I hope I never have to explain myself again

The alternate title for this post was: "This is my blog I can write as much as I want about whatever I want"

This is my first year film! Which, after spacing myself from it for a bit allows me to view it in a less why-do-I-suck-so-much light. I think it goes to say that I don't think the animation is any good. I'm trying to glean something from the process so I could come up with a story for next year, though, and I thought I'd write my excuse for this story as a blog post. Because then it would force me to try to write clearly. I don't really expect anyone to slog through this (or even see this), but the knowledge that they can is enough.

I didn't start to think of an actual story line until I felt strongly about the concepts and themes, and a few key images. That was probably a bad idea because an image should serve a story.
Anyways, I based the concept off of two Chinese idioms I learned back in the day. I heard similar stories from other cultures but I'll just list these:
a) Bei1 gong1 she2 ying3 (a paranoid general officer person mistakes the reflection of his bow/weapon for a snake and thinks he's poisoned.) I really like the irony of mistaking one's own weapon as a threat. I was going to play with just that idea, but I guess I just had to stuff too much into the story. I'm going to try to refrain from that next year.
b) Cao3 mu4 jie1 bing1 (a groups of warriors are told to watch out for the enemy and thus every bush and tree begins to look like an enemy.)

I was suggested to remove the friend entirely. For some reason I was just really attached to the fist bump to the heart scene paralleling the later disembodied fist bump to the heart scene. It just seemed like such a potentially surreal sequence. Regardless, I'm glad I kept him because he's the reason our protagonist toughens up. During Story class we had to think of thematic questions for our shorts, and the list I came up with went from:
"Does sanity matter in an absurd situation?" to "What does society expect you to sacrifice to function?" and it culminated to something like: "If functioning in a society requires you to be insane, but being able to function in a society is the definition of 'sane', then are you still insane?" (yes, Catch-22 does it better and happens to be a favorite book of mine.)
Our hero is supposed to start out a cowardly soldier surrounded by imagined dangers. But despite his tiny lapses into paranoia, he is sane. However, by the end of the film, he is able to march bravely into certain danger -- but he is insane. His fall into insanity is indicated with the snake. The first time he encounters it, it's a shadow, and the second time, it's a reflection. It's becoming clearer to him but hasn't quite materialized into the physical world. The third time it appears is after the soldier catches his friend's fist, and it has finally taken form on his shoulder.
So the point of that is to say I sort of made the friend necessary. Everything with the friend felt rushed, though. And for some reason I made him salute at the 'camera' maybe I thought it would make for another "???" moment. I had planned to just make him glance at the forth wall...the saluting is overkill.

And that is my explanation of my short film. I know it's supposed to be indulgent or not good form to tell people what you meant by something, but I don't know...it's just my first year film and I may need to learn some things about scale.

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