Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Perspectives: Lecture 3 - The Apple, Auschwitz & The Incredulous Frenchman

  • Meta-narrative: Meta-narrative (or grand narrative) is a theory or interpretation of things and situations that provides a pattern or structure for people’s beliefs and gives meaning and context and purpose to experiences and life.
  • Essentialism: It is a belief that everything has a set of certain characteristics or feature, which make them what they are, they are essential and necessary for their identity or function.
  • Utopian: A place, state or society, where everything is perfect and/or ideal.
  • Axiomatic: Is self-evident, explains itself and is unquestionable.
  • Dystopian: A place, state or society, where things are unsuitable for normal living conditions, cannot rise up to healthy or pleasant standards; unpleasant, dreadful and cannot be escaped.
  • Scepticism: Doubtful of the truth of something and the information provided; questions the certain concept or knowledge.
  • Relativism: A theory that suggest that nothing is absolute, and people are entitled to their own interpretations and views about right or wrong / moral or immoral.
  • Pluralism: A society where two or more collective groups (authorities, religion, classes, races, etc.) coexist.

Toolkit 2: Life Drawing #3





Monday, 2 October 2017

Project Collaboration: First Acting Class & Developing Ideas


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Perspectives: Lecture 2: Reflections On Transparency

  • The Enlightenment Project: The Enlightenment Project is a term or concept that has been around since the 18th century and is discussed by many philosophers. It is an attempt to find reasoning of life and define humans through science, rejecting the idea of traditions such as religion.
  • Structuralism: Structuralism is a concept which tries to understand the aspect of a human, such as experience or behaviour and attempts to try finding the core relationship between the human and object in order to create something that fits everyone's needs; a structure that is universal; 'one-size-fits-all'.
  • Ahistorical: Not related to history or historical developments and is ignorant or lacking context and accuracy.
  • Irreducible: Cannot be reduced, simplified or made more basic.
  • Objective: Not being influenced by personal feelings or opinions.
  • Universal: Relates to all collective groups or understood and applied to every collective group.
  • Definitive: Is the finalised version of something that cannot be changed or developed/improved further, it is the final solution to a certain problem or situation.
  • Postructuralism: Post-structuralism is recognises the issues of structuralism and rejecting the idea of 'one-size-fits-all'. Post-structuralism's purpose is to show individuality and throw away the idea of a certain thing can apply to everyone.
  • The unreliable narrator: Is a character, who tells or narrates the story, but it is not completely accurate or true due to the characters mental state.

Perspectives: 5 reasons why 'Inception' is Postmodern

Poster
Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010) is a  action, adventure, sci-fi movie, about Dominic Cobb  who is a  thief professionalised in stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious while the person dreams. His job costs him everything he loved, but one last job has offered him the chance to go back to his past life. He gathers a skillful team and sets out on the dangerous and almost impossible mission to not steal an idea, but to plant one into the mind of a CEO.

Reason 1: The film plays with reality in two ways. Firstly, the visuals - although looking realistic - the way they act as an environment is hyper-real. As stated in the dialog a few times, the characters are able to distort and manipulate their surrounding in the dreams. For example, when Cobb introduces Ariadne to the dream world, she questions what would happen if they would mess with the physics of the environment. We see the city in its normal state, then the end of the road starts curling up and settles on top of the  other buildings, completely upside-down. The second way the film plays with reality is making the viewer question if what they see is real or a dream. The characters jump from dream to dream, and especially towards the end, when Cobb returns home, we might have different opinions about what was a dream and what was not.

Reason 2: The film contains many references and intertextuality. We see the Penrose's staircase when Arthur explains how to build a maze to Ariadne. Also, when Ariadne explores the possibilities of building a world, there is a mirror reference from a 1941 film 'Citizen Kane', but there are many more movie references. Furthermore, Ariadne (the only female character of the team) is the one who builds the world or as sometimes said/shown in the film, she makes the maze, which is a clear reference and connection to a Greek myth of Ariadne the Mistress of the Labyrinth (both sharing their names and are creators of mazes and labyrinths).

Reason 3: The narrative is fragmented, as they keep entering different dreams. As said in the film, we just end up in the middle of a dream but can't recall how we got there and how it started. So as the characters go deeper and deeper into dreams, the scenes, action, clothes and environments change. Whenever a new dream starts, the characters are at a different scene and they are already in the middle of an action, which makes it feel like the audience just joined in at a random moment. What help the viewers  understand and follow the story-line is the dialog, where the characters explain a lot about situations.

Reason 4: The character roles and the line between 'hero' and 'villain' is unclear and undefined throughout the film. Cobb is the main protagonist, but since the movie is quite fragmented the role of being the protagonist can be hard to tell, as some other characters play just as much importance and are presented in more detail as Cobb. Furthermore, movies often present a 'hero' character and a 'villain' character, and it is very clear which one is which. In case of Inception, the line between being a hero and being a villain is unclear, since we see the film from the eyes of our protagonists which, would most often mean that they are the 'good guys' and we are facing against the 'bad guys'. But the person they target is not presented as an evil character, but just an average person. They are presented as normal people as well, however their acts could be seen as villainous, since they are committing a crime and manipulating a persons thinking and future actions, but only for personal reasons, not because they need to 'save the world'.

Reason 5: The ending of the film is a plot-hole, as we followed Cobb's journey as he and his team complete an inception, where they plant an idea into the target's mind. We see how he sometimes questions if he is dreaming or is in reality, by spinning the charm. As we get to the end of the film, Cobb returns to his children and spins the charm, but walks away not waiting to know it is a dream or not. The camera stays on the charm as it spins, but before we know if it falls or not the screen goes black and the credits start to roll. It leaves the viewer confused and lets them decide about it.

Toolkit 2: Life Drawing #2

10 -20 minute pose; Graphite 

3-5 minute poses; Permanent marker & Graphite 

10 minute poses; 3-5 minute poses; Permanent marker & Graphite 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Project Collaboration: Animation Short - Some Ideas


At the project briefing, each group had to choose an enclosed envelope containing a 'topic' that our animations had to be about. Each topic is basically a half sentence that we have to finish in order to create a humorous theme. Our topic/half sentence is 'The worst person to...' to which we had to come up with 10 different endings (first 3 already given to us from the envelope). Here are some ideas so far:

THE WORST PERSON TO...

#1: ...be trapped in a lift with.
#2: ...enlist in the army.
#3: ...give you bad news.
#4: ...collaborate with.
#5: ...sit next to on public transport.
#6: ...sit next to in a movie theatre.
#7: ...have as a roommate.
#8: ...be neighbours with.
#9: ...have as a customer
#10: ...have as a landlord.


Link to studio blog: PLANET CUCKOO PRODUCTIONS

Project Collaboration: Logo Design






Link to studio blog: PLANET CUCKOO PRODUCTIONS

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Project Collaboration: Logo Idea Sketches


Here are some logo idea sketches for 'Planet Cuckoo Production'. I have tried to keep it simple, but still interesting. At the moment I don't exactly know what colours should I use, but these are just sketches of the overall ideas.

Link to studio blog: PLANET CUCKOO PRODUCTIONS

Project Collaboration: Group Blog

Our group blog on: PLANET CUCKOO PRODUCTIONS

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Toolkit 2: Autodesk Maya - 5 Action Poses




Toolkit 2: Character Design - Week 0: Briefing, Preparing & Research

In today's class we were introduced to what our project is going to be. But before starting our research for next class, we were given an image of an animal, we had to observe it for a short while, followed by turning it face down and spending the next 1 minute with trying to draw the animals as detailed and accurate as possible.
Tortoise
1 minute sketch of tortoise (and a later sketch)
Next we played some games, that showed us that we might not be as accurate as we think we are and the importance of observing something before we try to draw them.

Later, each of us got an enclosed envelope with a number in it, telling us our topic and what we are going to be doing for the following weeks.

Summing up the topic I have got: a hungry zombie in a German secret bunker in 1945, trying to find food.

Week 1: Person/Animal - A Zombie
Week 2: Conceit/Trait - 30's German expressionism; always hungry
Week 3: World/Time - Secret Bunker, Germany 1945
Week 4: Body Language
Week 5: Facial Language
Week 6: Props & Sidekicks
Week 7: Filmic Scene - Where's did the food go...there it is!
Week 8: Animation Action - Munching on...?
Week 9: Production Bible
Week 10: One Day Challange

Toolkit 2: Character Design - Influence Maps


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Perspectives: 5 reasons why 'Kill Bill: Volume 1' is Postmodern

Postmodernism is...
"A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal."
(Quotation from: http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/gengloss/postm-body.html, Accessed on 24/09/2017))


Poster
Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) is an action and thriller movie about a bride who was a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, led by her lover, Bill. After getting pregnant, she decides to escape the group and start a new and safer life. Angering her now past lover, who with the help of the remaining members assassinate everyone at the bride's wedding rehearsal, seemingly killing her too. 4 years later she awakes from a coma, realising that her unborn baby is gone and she decides to kill the 5 people who destroyed her life.


Reason 1: The narrative is non-linear, it often skips from the past with flashbacks, then back to the present. But despise the narrative jumping from past to present, the story is still understandable, clear and easy to follow. Throughout the film, when there is a change in the time, it is usually shown by a  cut of the sceene and text saying what 'chapter' it is and gives it a title.


Reason 2: Tarantino mixed various genres in this film, such as Japanese cinema, horror, thriller and action. The violence and gore is overpowering in the film, but the director still attempts to add humour to it, often by what the characters say. Genres are commonly mixed, but what is more noticeable and unusual is the mix of styles included. The majority of the film is live-action, but when O-Ren Ishii is introduced the scene turns into animated, heavily influenced by Japanese anime.


Reason 3: There are scenes and events that are hyper-real and the audience knows that it either would not be possible or just plainly over the top. One scene that is really hyper-real, is when the bride is clearly should be overpowered by O-Ren Ishii's bodyguards and people, but she is able to defeat all of them (killing only a few of them at a time, while the others wait for their turn) and still has energy to kill the super assassin O-Ren. Often, the blood the enemies loose is too much and the deaths/injuries are violent, ridiculous or over the top.


Reason 4: The purpose of music in films is often, to enhance the intensity of a scene, this means that the music fits perfectly to the emotions and action seen on the screen. However in Kill Bill the music often is not what you would expect to play. An example is when the bride and O-Ren are finally face to face and the final battle takes place. What we would expect is an intense (possibly) Japanese style melody, fit to a sword fight, but instead we hear an upbeat Spanish style music.


Reason 5: There are numerous references in the film, in fact it is filled with them. On of Tarantino's main influences and inspiration was Lady Snowblood (1973) a Japanese film about an assassin who sets out on a mission to kill a criminal who murdered her family. Not only the story seems similar but there are some shots that were copied. Also, there are lots of western film references including, The Searchers - 1956; Death Rides a Horse - 1969 (eye close-ups and red/orange flashbacks); City Of The Living Dead - 1980 (blood tears); Game of Death - 1978 (yellow track-suit); Black Sunday - 1977 (nurse disguise). Lastly he included lots of references to his own movies, such as Pulp Fiction - 1994 or Jackie Brown - 1997.