Open Mindedness & Experimental Filmmaking

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It’s been a week of classes at Columbia College Chicago, and I’ve finally hit all the classes. Now, I have a better idea of how I plan to approach the semester.  I have decided to jump into all my classes with an open mind.

I’ve already told you about all the research and work I’ve been putting into Documentary I. The other classes I’m focused on are Production III and Short Forms. Both of these courses have a greater focus on experimental films. I find it interesting that some of my peers are a bit skeptical of why we would want to study experimental works. My response is, “Why wouldn’t we?” This is where real creativity happens.

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Let me go back to the basics. We are taught filmic language like “shot-reverse-shot,” “over the shoulder,” and “180 degree line.” Don’t get me wrong. This is all very important and the foundation of what we’re here to learn. But now is the time to break free and be your own film movement. Do you hear what I’m writing? Be a movement! Discover something.

One of my favorite contemporary films is “Blindness,” an adaptation of a book by the same name. It’s about what happens when a mysterious pandemic causes people to go blind. It’s a pretty heavy story, but that’s not why I like it. I think it’s courageously shot. What do I mean by “courageously?”

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When the cinematographer spoke about his process, he said he believes in shooting “quantity not quality.” That’s no typo. QUANTITY NOT QUALITY. My draw dropped. What did that mean? Here’s an example. This guy stuck cameras anywhere and everywhere. He put them in buckets, dangled them from the ceiling, and hid them under beds. He used crazy shots, obscure angles, and it all worked. That goes against everything I was taught. Well until now that is.

In Production III, we are breaking all those rules. We’re shooting on emotion. We’re also shooting almost every week. It’s intense. So check in with me later, and I hope to have a sample of one of my experimental films very soon.