Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Alternative History Vol 1 - Shock Editing and Me

So the next project, the final for this quarter, the third of the sequence, is that we have to envision some sort of alternative history of a moment in our lives. It has to be autobiographical and must be between 3 and 5 minutes.

So with that said, I've pretty much narrowed down the kernal of the idea down to the moment that I came closest to shooting somebody in Iraq--and it turned out to be a boy who couldn't be more than 8. The alternative history will be...the obvious. "What if" I had actually pulled the trigger...?

Now, I don't want it to be as emotionally obvious as that premise could be--guilt, self-medication, etc. I'm more cynical than that, and I'd be selling myself out if my next project didn't reflect my cynicism.

I've laid out a few aesthetic no-go's that will hopefully guide my hand through the rest of the ideation and into and through shooting and editing.
1. No jump cuts
2. As few shock edits as possible (ie - abusing Soviet montage)
3. No match-cut reliance
4. Nothing, nothing random (this is actually already a guideline, but I want to remind myself to control completely everything in and out of the frame)
5. If possible, no explicitly Army, Iraq, U.S. imagery

The first problem I'm encountering in my ideation is that I can't imagine this done in any ways other than through jump cuts and shock edits.
challenge #1: Find a way to either a) Construct the filmic imagery without shock editing, or b) Find a more creative/organically evolving way to use shock editing/jump cuts.

The issue with shock editing is that there is no realistic way that that style can carry a whole film, 3 minutes or 90 minutes. It would get stale and tepid very, very quick. Unless, perhaps, the imagery itself can be enough to sustain an audience's attention, even with spastic, rapid-fire editing. The other problem with a barrage of shock edits is that I'm just plain tired of it. Not a single short film I've yet made has been without shock editing.

Am I truly a product of the MTV-generation?

I supposed I just don't grasp narrative storytelling enough to construct a non-invasive scene quite yet. Am I giving in already? I'll see what my compadres have to say about it tomorrow.

Watching: Eraserhead

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