4/30/2015

metaphoric intestines set







idea was for the hookworms to emerge from the crystals (feces) and exit the room (intestines)
with the camera just panning round from entrance to exit

Animatic // Storyboard // Background noise





Ok, i know how you can't talk your work down, but i need to state a few facts, i over complicated my idea from the start and couldn't make it work but instead of realising it wasn't working i was stubborn and continued to mess around with the "hookworm game" idea.
As a result the animatic and general story of it was difficult to get right, i was too ambitious trying to make a lift cycle into a first person shooter game and excepting it to still communicate the educational side of things.


4/26/2015

Film Review - The Blair Witch Project.

Fig. One
Release date - 1999
Director - Eduardo SánchezDaniel Myrick.
Genere - Found footage, mystery, horror.

On October 21st, 1994, A group of journalists hiked to Maryland's Black Hills forest to shoot a documentary film based around and local legend, The Blair Witch. Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams, they were never heard from again. One year later, their footage was found.

Or so the audience is left to believe, this film presents a very raw look at what happens to some college students messing in the world of voodoo and witchcraft, presented in a documentary style the film opens with a title card explaining in 1994 a group of students went to Maryland's Black Hills forest to do a film on the Blair Witch, interviewing the locals seeing the sights and exploring creepy places where people had said to have seen horrific sights. As the title card lets on "these kids were never seen again" and the film we are about to see is from the recovered equipment, found in the woods a year later. The whole film is a document of their adventure leading to their final moments. "Its effectiveness as horror was almost entirely dependent on the illusion that its three characters were real student filmmakers who actually went missing five years earlier, after recording this footage." (M.D, 2014)

The Blair Witch incident as we learn from the local town people, is an old legend about a group of witches who tortured and killed several children many years ago. Everyone in town knows the story but when the group try to interview them they become sketchy and don't give many details. Far away from civilisation hiking through the woods, what was a well organised trip turns into a nightmare, when out of frustration they lose their map, forcing them to spend extra days out in to wilderness alone and not knowing how to get back. Night after night the students start to hear horrific sounds outside their tents in the middle of the night, they start finding strange artefacts from what seems to be the Blair Witch (Fig.2) . Scared senseless they try to find their way out day after day but with no luck they unravel. Each night they are confronted with shrieking and sounds so haunting that they are convinced someone is following them, and they quickly begin to fear for their lives. 

Fig.2
What the students find out in the forest 

With a documentary style film it's hardly uncommon for this of work fiction to begin by announcing its apparent realism (fig.3). Even in films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre starts off with a title claiming that its story is a true account. The difference is that The Blair Witch Project was made around the illusion of authenticity, and a great deal of effort went into keeping it that way. It looked real enough, the film was shot and edited as if it genuinely was the work of students just bumbling around in the forest and while it was not the first fiction feature to adopt the form of a documentary, it was among the most prominent to do so convincingly. Ben Rawson-Jones wrote about the authentic way this film was captured "The movie is a great example of 'method filmmaking', where those emotions we witness feel very real because they are. That emotional authenticity was partly achieved by Myrick and Sánchez only giving the actors a very broad framework of the narrative - and often failing to warn them of impending scares they had planned for the night ahead." (B.R, 2014)


Fig.3
Opening title card.

But one thing about The Blair Witch Project is that people genuinely thought it was real, the look and feel of a documentary style was executed so well. Steve Rose in his review would agree "That’s why The Blair Witch Project worked so well for me. There were no special effects or lighting tricks to retreat behind. It set up a convincing everyday reality and furtively sneaked the horror in. The “found-footage” gimmick was a conviction-reinforcing novelty back in 1999" (S.T, 2014) If you watched the film knowing nothing about it and being slightly ignorant about the now out dated style you would have concluded that is was real. The only problem with that would be you couldn't convince people to see a movie and not let them know anything about it, also there are certain things expected after new films are released, the stars have to appear on daytime shows and directors have to go for interviews for magazines. As the transparency of the film unfolded thanks to the wide web, checking out the backstory was easier than ever, the makers of films could no longer sustain the illusion of the film. The producers did at one point plant fake news reports online confirming the disappearances, posting authentic-seeming videos on the film's official website, it encouraged debates on forums and message boards.

Illustration List - 

Figure One - The Blair Witch Project by smalltownhero on DeviantArt (2014) 
From: The Blair Witch Project. Directed By: Eduardo SánchezDaniel Myrick. [Film Poster]
United States: Haxan Films. At: smalltownhero.deviantart.com

Figure Two - Camping (Mis)Adventures, A Weekly Menu Plan and A Few Giveaway ... (1999)
From: The Blair Witch Project. Directed By: Eduardo SánchezDaniel Myrick. [Film Still]
United States: Haxan Films. At: www.adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com

Figure Three - 15 Years Later, How The Blair Witch Project Tricked the World ... (1999) From: The Blair Witch Project. Directed By: Eduardo SánchezDaniel Myrick. [Film Still]
United States: Haxan Films. At: www.details.com

Bibliography - 

D'Angelo, Mike. (2014) '15 years beyond the hype and hatred of The Blair Witch Project' From: The Blair Witch Project. In: https://thedissolve.com.  28.10.14 (online)
At: https://thedissolve.com/features/movie-of-the-week/800-the-blair-witch-project-15-years-beyond-the-hype-a/ (Accessed 27.04.15)

Rawson-Jones, Ben. (2014) 'The Blair Witch Project 15 years on: The horror movie that changed everything' From: The Blair Witch Project. In: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk. 22.10.14 (online)
At: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/feature/a605024/the-blair-witch-project-15-years-on-the-horror-movie-that-changed-everything.html#~pb19l8HSMo4R2g
(Accessed on 27.04.15)

Rose, Steev. (2014) 'Blair Witch Project: the film that frightened me most' From: The Blair Witch Project. In: http://www.theguardian.com 23.10.14 (online) At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2014/oct/23/blair-witch-project-film-frightened-me-most-steve-rose. (Accessed on 27.04.15)





Film Review - Duel

Fig.1

Release date - 1971
Director - Steven Spielberg
Genre - Road movie, Thriller, Mystery

David Mann is taking a business trip through New Mexico, something as simple as this should be uneventful and pretty boring and so it would have been if it wasn't for the creepy truck and its driver harassing him the whole way, letting David over take only to over take David and deny him the chance to do so again, slowing down to an unreasonable speed to purposely anger David. As time goes on the passive aggressive road rage starts to move towards a much more aggressive affair and David finds it harder to contain himself.

Throughout the film the dialogue is very limited, apart from David Mann's inner monologue that only awkwardly expresses Mann's anxiety and conversations which take place in a diner Duel was verging on being a silent film, so much was shown though actions instead of dialogue. 

Fig. 2
David Mann in the road side diner.

Seeing as we never see the truck driver, David man is the main character of this film but arguable the vehicles are the main attraction of Duel, whenever the chase is interrupted by small off road scenes like the truck stop where we get glimpses of the truck driver and one particularly odd sequence at a gas station run by a woman who keeps pet snakes and other creatures the film loses its edge and suspense dies down and becomes somewhat clumsy, but without these scenes the film would be too intense, filled with just suspenseful road rage. 


Fig.3
David Mann in his everyday car vs. the truck, both look like they represent the drivers personalities.


Usually fear of the unknown is what scares people most, this really applies in Duel, there is a great amount of mystery as to the trucker's identity and appearance, leaving both his appearance and motivations completely to the viewers imagination.

Spielberg played on this fact, knowing that fear of the unknown is usually what scares people most he decided the truck driver would not even be heard making the the trucker more eerie and unsettling. "This creates a mythos, right away, that the man behind the wheel is a complete mystery." (Leon, 2014)

It has been said in many reviews of the film that the fact the trucker is a mystery is a main key to the movie being a success "The key to "Duel" is that we never see the truck driver, just like we never saw the shark from "JAWS" in its entirety." (N.A, 2004)
For a film made for television that was shot in less than two weeks on a very small budget and the climax of the film was shot in one take the film is a fantastic exercise in suspense, as agreed in many other reviews "But on its own, Duel delivers a raw experience of mounting suspense" (Black, 2013)





Bibliography - 

Black, Ace (2013) 'Movie Review: Duel (1971)' From: Duel
In:http://www.theaceblackblog.com 02.08.13 (Online)
At: http://www.theaceblackblog.com/2013/08/movie-review-duel-1971.html
(Accessed the 09.04.14)

Leon, Victor (2014) 'Vic's Review - "Duel" (1971)' From: Duel.
In: http://vicsmovieden.com 09.01.14 (Online)
At: http://vicsmovieden.com/2014/01/09/vics-review-duel-1971/
(Accessed on 09.04.14)

N.A (2004)  'You won't believe it's Spielberg' From: Duel
In: http://www.imdb.com 18.02.04 (Online)
At: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067023/reviews
(Accessed the 09.04.15)


Illustration list - 

Figure One - Affiches on Pinterest | 692 Pins on vintage travel posters (2015) From: Duel
Directed By: Steven Spielburg [Film Poster] United States: Universal Pictures
At: www.pinterest.com

Figure Two - Steven Spielberg Director's Collection Blu-ray Review (1971) From: Duel
Directed By: Steven Spielburg [Film Still] United States: Universal Pictures
At: bluray.highdefdigest.com

Figure Three - Visionneuse de Dennis Weaver (1971) From: Duel
Directed By: Steven Spielburg [Film Still] United States: Universal Pictures
At: toutlecine.challenges.fr 

Film Review - Jaws

Fig. 1
Release Date - 1975
Director - Steven Spielburg 
Genre - Suspense, Thriller, Mystery.

Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, published in 1975, telling the story of a great white shark that preys upon a small resort town and the voyage of three men trying to kill it.
In detail it depicts a 25- foot shark terrorising a beach town called Amity island, starting when a woman is killed while skinny dipping in the sea one night (Fig.2) . The tragedy makes police chief Martin Brody take action and soon he commits himself to catching and killing the man-eater. The story grew out of Benchley's interest in shark attacks.

(Fig. 2)
Our first unsuspecting victim of the film, and image which is terrifying and makes us fear what's below.

The film has brilliant ways of drawing us in and we find ourselves in its horrifying reality, because of the realistic story, a shark attacking humans, we can't help but imagine ourselves confined to one of those inflatable boats, our legs dangling in the water as the unseen monster approaches the surface.  The fact the shark is always unseen until it's too late adds to the viewers suspense and tension, it’s chilling stuff that haunts us. 

Something no one can argue with is the most recognisable element of the film, one of the most suspenseful pieces of music by John Williams, going on to win him an Academy Award. The main theme becoming a unofficial soundtrack for impending terror. "Dun dun…dun dun……dun dun." When you hear the music increasing in speed, you know something horrific is about to happen to some poor unsuspecting person. A truly haunting piece of cinematic expression, now widely used to again suggest impending horror. Almar Haflidason talks about the memorable music "John Williams' memorable score is used sparingly but its tone of impending terror is more responsible for the power of the film than the sightings of the beast itself." (A.H. 2001)

After all this time the film continues to thrill and frighten the viewers. It's become such a timeless classic. It had a vast impact on the way movies are made, marketed and merchandised and spawned a fascination with sharks. And undeniably the film generated a fear of swimming that continues to this day, the fear of what's below the water, the unseen and in the back of our minds that looming soundtrack putting people on edge long after they have seen the film.

Surprisingly Spielberg wasn't first choice to direct the film, originally John Sturges was meant to direct but was unavailable, then it was Dick Richard but he was supposedly fired because he kept calling the shark a whale during production. Spielberg was finally approached and signed on to the project because because it was similar to his popular tv movie Duel which featured a killer truck driver. "Some say, however, that Jaws is essentially Duel 2. Certainly there are similarities" (M.D. 2013) Spielberg was constantly rewriting the script and wanted the film to feel like it was happening to real people so he never wanted any big stars hired for any role. In the words of actor Richard Dreyfuss "We started the film without a script, without a cast and without a shark." (N.S, 2005) 

Spielberg's casting helps us relate to the characters, making the acts of violence more terrifying and making us actually care which is key in any horror movie, if the audience didn't care about the characters being killed off the film would be a flop.


Illustration List - 

Figure One - Jaws Minimalist Film Poster $27.99 | Minimalist Film Prints ... (2014) From: Jaws Directed By: Steven Spielberg. [Film Poster] United States: Universal Pictures At:www.pinterest.com

Figure Two - Jaws Blu-ray Review | High Def Digest (1997) From: Jaws Directed By: Steven Spielberg. [Film Still] United States: Universal Pictures At:bluray.highdefdigest.com

Bibliography -

Dinning, Mark. (2013) 'Has swimming in the sea ever been the same since?' From: Jaws In: http://www.empireonline.com 09.02.13 (online) At:http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132751 (accessed 27.04.15)

Haflidason, Almar. (2001) 'Jaws (1975)'  From: Jaws In:http://www.bbc.co.uk
09.04.01 (online) At:http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/07/14/jaws_review.shtml
(Accessed 27.04.15)

Smith, Neil. (2005) 'Shark tale that changed hollywood' From:Jaws In:http://news.bbc.co.uk
03.06.05 (online) At: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4600557.stm
(Accessed 27.04.15)


Film Review - Jurassic Park

Fig.1
Release Date - 1993
Director - Steven Spielburg
Genre - Fantasy, Thriller, Adventure Film

The film is based around a theme park on a island, owned by a billionaire who has cracked the genetic code for cloning dinosaurs using DNA. The DNA has been obtained through blood found in prehistoric mosquitoes preserved in amber. In the film it's explained through a short animation during a sort of ride. From all this he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on the island behind electric fences, creating the ultimate theme park featuring real life dinosaurs. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park for their approval, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.

Throughout Spielberg has a great sense for timing and building up suspense, instead of obvious gore, this includes the scene of the kids trapped in a jeep watching a cup of water shake, letting you know something huge is coming, now a classic moment of cinema. A. Dowd mention this key scene and how its accomplished "the rippling water in the glass, accomplished through nothing more than a plucked, concealed guitar string. If Spielberg learned anything from Jaws—and his malfunctioning robot shark—it’s that not showing the monster can make the scenes where you do show it all the more effective." (AA.D, 2013) Other moments like when the raptors are prowling in the kitchen where the unfortunate kids are hiding provide more tense moments with the kids shuffling around on the floor trying to be as quiet as possible, it all builds up tension putting viewers on edge. But this is all part of the excitement, but leaves the real violence to the imagination, when ever it comes to dino feeding time Spielberg avoids obvious gore and shows the animals left in dinosaur pens untouched to suddenly disappear, making you wondering what happened and letting the audiences imagination do the rest. Also in the opening moments of Jurassic Park, where a caged raptor, still unseen, manages to attack one of its handlers. The sequence is bloodless, but it’s still brutal, As the man screams for help and people try to help and fight to hold him back, the beast in the cage is too strong, the shots of hands being pulled apart are scarier than any graphic bloodshed.

It's been said Spielberg bought the rights to Michael Crichton's novel before it was even published, the books were very successful in their own right and so was the 1993 film adaptation which went on to two sequels, but the third film was not based on a novel like the previous films.

During filming special effects were a primary focus of Spielberg’s, In a review by Roger Ebert, it's clear this is picked up "It's clear, seeing this long-awaited project, that Spielberg devoted most of his effort to creating the dinosaurs." (R.E, 1993)  regardless, he wasn't always happy with the test shots of the dinosaurs, saying they weren't photorealistic enough, he had popular makeup artist Stan Winston and his team create animatronics of the dinosaurs (to build and operate the live-action dino robots) certain dinosaurs including the T-rex were fully built, others were just the upper half or lower half. Michael Lantieri was also called in to aid the more special effects area, he would be supervising the interactive elements on set e.g. The final classic scene when the CGI T.rex throws a raptor into a T.rex skeleton, Lantieri was responsible for making sure the skeleton reacted in a realistic way to CGI elements that hadn't even been included yet (Fig.2) . Two more names are worth mentioning in this great team, Phil Tippett used a technique known as "Go-Motion", a slightly updated version of stop-motion, still using miniatures like stop-motion animation to add motion blur to make each frame smoother and more lifelike, last and not least, Dennis Muren, leading the effects team at ILM combining all the effects and elements in post- productions. Muren and his ILM team showed Spielberg an early CGI dinosaur test of a group of dinosaurs running through a field. Spielberg was finally happy and in awe of the smooth movement and realism of the effects. "Jurassic Park has broken the accepted rules of special effects photography by expanding upon traditional methods of character animation." (D. M, 2009)

Fig.2


Spielberg and his team changed the way film makers would use CGI forever, unknowing at the time spielberg was always wary that they wouldn't hold up under intense scrutiny even though it later went  on to win a best visual effects oscar in 1994. 



Illustration list - 

Figure One - Jurassic Park Movie Poster Andy Helms Geek Art Fan Art | Return To ... (2014)
From: Jurassic Park Directed by: Steven Spielberg [Film Poster] United States: Universal Pictures 
At: returntofleet.com

Figure Two - Steven Spielberg | The Best Picture Project (1993) From: Jurassic Park
Directed by: Steven Spielburg [Film Still] United States: Universal Pictures 
At: thebestpictureproject.wordpress.com
 

Bibliography - 

Dowd, A.A. (2013) '20 years later, Jurassic Park still feels like the quintessential special-effects movie' From: Jurassic Park In: http://www.avclub.com 07.11.13 (online)
At: http://www.avclub.com/article/20-years-later-ijurassic-parki-still-feels-like-th-105236
(Accessed on 26.04.15) 

Ebert, Roger. (1993) 'Jurassic Park' From: Jurassic Park. In: http://www.rogerebert.com. 11.05.93
(online) At:http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/jurassic-park-1993 (Accessed on 26.04.15) 

Morgan, David. (2009) 'Creating The Monstrous Effects For JURASSIC PARK' From: Jurassic Park.
In: http://www.wideanglecloseup.com N/A (online) At:http://www.wideanglecloseup.com/jurassicpark.html (Accessed on 26.04.15)