First let me say, I’m not graduating. The title may imply that, but I’m coming back to Columbia College Chicago next year…yay! I’ve gotta say, fifteen weeks isn’t a very long time. As you read this blog I’ve just finished up finals at CCC for the semester, and am getting geared up for the summer. I’m thinking of doing an independent project next semester and want to use a bulk of the summer prepping the project. This had me thinking about some of the specific things I’ve learned this year that can be applied to future projects.
In the fall semester I took Documentary I. There I learned to treat my subjects with respect by being direct, upfront, and honest with them. By pushing in this manner you will find truth in the work and have a better story. You have to use this truth too, because if you can tell a story visually with the truth, you’ll be a better director.
I also took Production III and Short Forms in the Fall. Those classes emphasized experimental aspects of filmmaking. Storytelling is more than narrative structure. Watching and shooting experimental films taught me that connecting with the audience emotionally is just as important as structuring a good story. Think about this: even though some short films are thirty minutes, most are between five and eight minutes. You can’t tell a complicated narrative in five minutes, but you can twist someone’s emotions in five seconds with the right shot. Revealing these personal truths can be done visually with color choice, shapes, repetition of action and using found footage. These are the tools of a well-rounded filmmaker.
During this past semester in Screenwriting II, I learned about structure and looking at the big picture. You can’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get something right the first time. Success comes from the process. Trust yourself and your voice.
In Directing II, I worked in a controlled setting and practiced framing and composition. In Ideation and Theme the goal was to find sources of inspiration. I used my environment. Inspirations can come from a museum, a dream, or from eavesdropping on a conversation. But they all come from my world.
I now have more skills to bring to my independent project and thesis mindset. I can’t wait to go on that journey and let you know how it goes.
You can’t tell a complicated narrative in five minutes but you can twist someone’s emotions in five seconds with the right shot.