Murmurations

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Collaboration ideas

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1. Get a bunch of people together, create a shared purpose and carry out actions to fulfil the purpose. Film the whole process.

I like the idea of doing something for no purpose other than it’s fun or silly. A worry is that people won’t turn up or that I will want to enforce my idea of the shared purpose – my film!

2. Take a scene from a well-known film and re-make it, making all non-diegetic sound visual and, therefore, diegetic.

This idea is based on the reading I’ve been doing about sound in cinema; I like the idea of making an orchestra visible in a scene where it isn’t part of the story; it appeals to the absurdist in me.

3. Produce the film that Chris Emerson and I have been collaborating on together since August.

I emailed Chris to see whether he would be up for completing our film by the deadline, for this collaboration film, of 21 November. Since he didn’t reply by the time I had my next idea (see below) I abandoned this. I also think it would be better to work slowly on this film, rather than rushing the process in favour of the collaboration deadline.

4. Contact Same Sky, a local community arts organisation, to see whether I can make a short film exploring the organisation and the people within it.

As I sat down to lunch, I reached for the Same Sky brochure I picked up at Jubilee Library, Brighton, a few weeks ago. I like the ethos of “create to celebrate” and then I noticed a photograph of myself on page 5, taken at Gay Pride in 2007 or 2008; I hadn’t made the connection that Same Sky were involved in making the costumes for the float I was part of. I remembered the excitement and camaraderie I experienced during that day and decided that I’d like to know more about Same Sky.

I emailed John at Same Sky:

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He responded quickly and we will, hopefully, speak tomorrow.

Alice’s adventures at Black Rock

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Alice revisits Black Rock, a place she used to explore with her Uncle in her childhood. Whilst there, she is triggered into remembering a specific instance of sexual abuse. The film weaves in Brighton’s connection to Lewis Carroll, a suspected paedophile, writer of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

This is a re-edited version of the film I completed in January 2013.

Alice remembers

Alice remembers is the last shot of the first day’s filming of It Burns And Turns To Ash. I felt frustrated at myself while watching the rushes. During some of the shots I fiddled with the focus and zoomed in and out and ruined the shots by doing this. This particular shot was supposed to be blurry and then Alice’s face comes into focus.

It was good that I had set up a detailed shot list because I felt confident about what I was doing before the shoot. However, when I arrived at the location it wasn’t exactly how I remembered it. This required me to rethink some of the shots. For future film shoots I will go on location and take photos of the sort of shots I would like so that I can refer to them in planning. I’m still not certain about some of the camera settings and need to understand the way it works better. I’d like to take some time over the Christmas break to research this technical aspect of filmmaking.

Place: It Burns And Turns To Ash

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Maya Deren’s film, Divine Horsemen, made me think of the free parties I used to go to at the temple room cut into the undercliff opposite Volks Railway Station at Blackrock, Brighton. Unfortunately, the temple room is fenced off and seems to be undergoing renovation but I did find an alcove (see photo above) that might do instead for my next film.

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Filmed: with Ruth at The Level

My friend, Ruth, came with me to the Level to film the tree. I asked if she would mind being in the film. She agreed. We filmed from the tree’s perspective first. I filmed her walking towards the tree and, hearing the tree cough and choke, stop in surprise then approach the tree. It was interesting filming in this way. We did several takes. Had to wait for people to pass. People wanted to talk to us and find out what we were doing. I was making coughing, choking and crying noises as Ruth walked towards me and she thought some people thought I was grieving for Caisie. We had excellent weather for filming. Took a sheet of cardboard to kneel on by the tree. Watched the rushes at St Peter’s House Library then filmed again. What I would have done differently is kept filming instead of cutting the action at various points and more retakes. Overall I was more pleased with the footage than I was with previous footage. I think this is because I was very connected to my idea and knew what I wanted.

Editing tree footage

Spent the morning in the editing suite at Circus Street. I used visual cues to edit the footage I took of the birch tree at the Level. I tried to establish the film by showing the shot of a discarded plastic container on the ground behind the tree followed by shots I took of the entrance to the park where Heras fencing bars the way. The park is closed to the public for refurbishment. Other shots slowly bring us to the tree and the decorations hung on it. Boards stating “SAVE CAISIE’S TREE” and “WHY FIX WHAT’S NOT BROKEN?” stand in front of the tree. I followed a pattern of what worked visually for me – shots I liked.

Caisie’s Tree

Went to see On The Road at Duke of York’s cinema. On the way I crossed the Rose Walk at The Level and was asked to sign a petition to save “Caisie’s tree”. Caisie was killed, aged seventeen, in Jamaica last year whilst on holiday. Her friends are using a silver birch tree at the Level as a memorial. It has ribbons and other decorations hanging from its branches and stacked around and on the trunk of the tree. The council have closed the park to refurbish it. Their plan is to cut down the roses and birch trees on the Rose Walk and replace them. I signed the petition.

The story¬† of the tree kept coming back to my mind. The tree’s identity has been changed by the friends of the dead girl. It is suffocated with decorations.