Follow stupid rules and you get a stupid film.

Something I’d like to build into my filmmaking practice in time for the third year of my Moving Image degree is time for reflection before presenting the ‘finished’ film to tutors and fellow students (I imagine this practice will continue but I don’t know for sure). It’s now a week since I presented House Boat Train and I have come to realise this: follow stupid rules and you get a stupid film. I based my process on John Cage’s process, but the reflection has taught me something: avoiding or distancing is like doing nothing. I was avoiding making decisions in this final project after reading the feedback on the project before in which the acting was criticised. I suppose I felt the criticism was unfair (and it wasn’t mentioned in the final critique) and it wasn’t supported with evidence of what ‘good’ acting is. I chose to distance myself from the film in order to avoid that sort of criticism. To be fair, it was a very busy time and I was feeling the pressure to make a decision on what my dissertation would be about at the same time.

This reflection has shown me something interesting about following stupid rules. I don’t like my film. It doesn’t do much but it does show me that following stupid rules is pointless in editing, and also in other areas of life so in that respect it was a success.

Anyway, here’s the film:


Elements of my Place film


Working linearly with a script creates a feeling of resignation in me; it’s as if I feel I have to stick to the linear narrative. When I realised this I lifted those parts I consider essential to my film from the script and my journal and listed them in no particular order. Since my film is about place and memory this way of working connects with the fragmented way memories push their way into consciousness. I like, also, that I have these elements I can collage with. I get a sort of childlike pleasure from collaging: with paper I like to rip, rather than cut, and I suspect that a later part of the filmmaking process will see me tearing this piece of paper, separating the elements further, and moving them around so I can see what goes where. It strikes me that the process of filmmaking tends to be self referencing / fractal in that the film’s essence dictates the way of working as well as the aesthetics, narrative (if there is one), equipment, locations, people, etc.