I've just walked out of my week 2 Film-TV1 tute with similar feelings to which I had last week, but heightened. I know this doesn't explain much, because I haven't yet written about the way I felt last week, but let me attempt to justify this. It was an extraordinarily hectic first week of the semester, with not only me starting to volunteer in many new ways but also getting my electricity cut off (the joys of living out of home!), so I promise to be better organised from this point forward. Since I've got some time to burn between now and when I have to be at the Channel 31 studios (for my very first live TV crewing experience!) I thought I'd just get some of my thoughts and ideas down, as a sort of reflection, or something I can look back on later.
As a homework task for this week, we had to write a 'story idea' for a short film and add it to the bank of other story ideas on the Film-TV1 blog. It took me a while to come up with a decent idea, but I managed to come up with the following on Saturday night:
Sarah, a 17 year old VCE student, learns she is pregnant in the girl’s toilets at school, after skipping class to do a pregnancy test that she is too scared to do at home. Confused and emotional, she notices weeping coming from the cubicle next to her, and tries to provide a few words of comfort. Her internal turmoil peaks when she realises her companion is her favourite teacher, who has just miscarried the baby she’s been desperately longing for. Tension builds as Sarah struggles to find the courage to confide back in her, and wonders if she’ll have the strength to tell anyone else or to take a step in any direction.
I liked this, but upon getting some sort of parody of 'a good night's sleep' and then awakening, I felt that perhaps the idea was too bleak, too depressing, even though I felt it could be executed in a beautiful and powerful way. I then came up with a sort of light-hearted short film comedy idea, as follows:
An average sort of young working man and an alluring blonde bombshell cross paths at a train station, and exchange eye contact and smiles before heading off in their separate directions. A message in the MX leads the man to believe the blonde is asking him for a meet up in a coffee shop, but when he goes there are many other guys that could be described in the same way all thinking the message applies to them, and the woman of his dreams is nowhere to be seen. The final twist comes as he is about to leave, where an evidently camp blonde man enters and heads straight for the guy he has actually written to, causing all the other men to head out as fast as possible in embarrassment.
I thought either idea had potential. I could see how either would work in a 5 minute timeframe, but I liked the first idea more. I just was unsure whether we were working in groups this week or the next, and I didn't want my group to just have to think about or brainstorm something so intense if they hated it.
When I came to the tute, Michael read my story ideas (as well as those of the rest of the class). When he finished the first one, he was a bit taken aback and mentioned how heavy it was, but laughed when he got to the second one and said he liked that a lot better.
When it came to discussing everyone's ideas with the class, however, Paul seemed to like my first one (and I talked a little bit about it, possibly sounding like a pretentious git which is always what I'm so afraid of, but more about that later). When he read the second one though, he asked if I was proud of it, and it was hard to read whether he was being genuine or sarcastic. So, at the same time, I felt really good about my first idea, and a bit confused and lost too, as if the second one somehow undermined the validity of the first. As he said later on, anyway, none of the ideas we had come up with were in any way 'new', as they were all stories that had been recycled a hundred million times. I was just hit with this sense of displacement - and I think that's the perfect word for it - which actually felt good.
So (back to the beginning sentence of this blog), this is how Film-TV 1 makes me feel at the moment. One one hand, a complete and utter idiot, who is wrong about so many things and extremely vocal about it, who is inexperienced, lost, arms flailing, talking gibberish - and on the other hand, someone who has something worthy to contribute, who is ready to learn, who can have ideas that can be collaborated on and who can help others and a useful member of the class. And this feeling is not a bad one. It's sort of like floating, falling, having the world move from underneath me for the better, not for the worse.
I know this course will turn me into a better filmmaker, a better media practitioner, will sharpen my ideas and push me, and that's why I like Paul's criticism. He could say, "This is shit," and you would learn from it, because he'd be being truthful as opposed to vindictive.
According to him, this course isn't to teach us how to make great movies, but to equip us with skills. It's kind of reassuring, knowing that you're expected to 'fail' and get things wrong and stuff up and maybe not hit the mark but learn shitloads while doing so.
I'm excited for it.