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friday favourites :: 14.10.11

it's one of those weeks where picking friday favourites is actually really easy for me, for two reasons:

1. i didn't really do very much

2. the one major thing i did do makes me feel pretty awesome.

and, in fact, my favourite things about this week are all related. for those of you who didn't see my shamelessly self-promoting post on facebook earlier, this week i made a short film, all by myself. here it is [there are some details that might be difficult to see, so i recommend expanding to full screen. i'll be here when you get back.]:



this isn't something i'd really thought about trying in any serious way, but having seen what others, in this case dom, could do, i did want to try. i fully expected this experiment to end in me snarling and growling in frustration [which i literally do at times], because, as i've learned from working on a feature film, making a movie is incredibly hard even when you have other people working with you.

now, to be fair, since i wasn't working with a script, or lighting, or actors in any generally used sense of the word, it was a little easier to go at my own pace. the small problem, of course, was that i basically know nothing at all about film-making. when we were making conversion, people would try to involve me in discussions of camera placement, number of shots, length of shots, etc., until they realised that i was nodding mostly because my brain had become full and was making my head feel heavy.

but i figured, it's not like i was volunteering to build a bridge or anything. no one was going to die as a result of my short film. [although, in retrospect, that little blast of controlled bleeding might, in fact, create the danger of a heart attack.] so i took my shot. and it was really enjoyable for me. and here's why.

strolling :: a friend of mine used to refer to my "famous walks", because i was kind of like one of those robotic animals that you just wind up and let go until their batteries run down. i get walking and i just keep going. this has, of course, resulted in my batteries running down in some kind of strange places over the years, but i've always managed to find my way back home. i've also learned that it's a good idea to turn around and start walking back in the direction i came at some point.

there is something about the process of going for a stroll that i just really enjoy and that often seems to invigorate my sense of creativity. [swimming sometimes has this effect, but i don't get the opportunity that often and it really sucks when your batteries run out on an epic swim.] i've come up with the kernels of a lot of my story ideas while out strolling. alternately, i just ruminate on something that's on my mind as i walk and, ultimately, it often morphs into a story on its own.

so monday afternoon, i went for a walk, because the weather was unseasonably warm and not that long into my foray, i had an idea for making a short film. the original idea was a little different, but i worked out that it was complicated and likely to get me arrested, both of which were deterrents.

nonetheless, rather than start planning everything out, i figured i might as well seize the day, meaning seize the monday, since i was outside in an area where i could get some possibly relevant shots.

for me, nothing beats a good stroll for getting those creative juices flowing.

SEE WHAT ELSE WAS INVOLVED, PLUS THIS WEEK'S KITTEH!




oh creative juices, i missed you
creative juices:: regular readers of this blog may have noticed that i've written a lot in the past months about writer's block. i've had this before, but this particular case has really seemed pernicious, not because i can't get things done- which is usually my problem- but because i wasn't even coming up with things to work on. i've completed a couple of short stories in the last year [one of which was based on something i started years ago] and possibly a poem, as well as working on "a definable moment in time", but it's not been what i'd call rich in creative work.

this week, i suddenly feel like a weight has been lifted. it's not just that i got working again, but that i had a real storm of ideas in a way that hadn't happened in a long time. i was excited. i stayed up late and did very little else for days. when i was finished, i felt a sort of blissful euphoria that i'd worried i'd never feel again. i'd had an idea, i'd followed up on it and i'd completed it. that's a rush.

artistic expression for dummies :: i mentioned last week that i was bummed at the passing of apple ceo steve jobs. when i was talking to my mother last week, she felt much the same way, saying that he was one of the only people she could think of in her lifetime who had truly changed the world. she has a point; many people have had a tremendous influence on a country, an entire part of the world, or have affected the course of history, but it's difficult to think of a person who has had such a profound effect on the ways in which people all over the globe go about their everyday lives. jobs realised early on that the way to get a mass audience to integrate technology into their routines was not merely to have that technology do cool or helpful things [although that's an important part of it], but to have that technology be simple and intuitive to work with. and this week, i got an object lesson in what that meant to have those things married.

my phone taking a pic of film i shot on my phone
as i mentioned earlier, i don't know about film. even if i can picture images in my head that are cinematic in nature, i don't know how to make them real and despite dom's efforts to tutor me, i still can't remember which is the wide angle and which is the long lens, or what the difference between their shots looks like. i do know what super 8 camera footage looks like, because every film-maker has used it for "antique" or "found footage" sequences. that's seriously the only bit of knowledge i took into making this film.

in fact, every frame of "a sense of longing [oblivious]" was shot on my iphone. i could have taken my actual camera, which would still have been pretty diy, but i used my phone because i carry it with me all the time anyway, so it was reassuring to know that i'd be ready to grab a shot wherever, because there are several apps that allow me to filter how the image looks as i shoot, which the camera doesn't offer and, most importantly, because it's inconspicuous. if you watched the whole video, you'll see that there's no way i could have gotten a lot of the shots if i'd actually been carrying a digital camera.

the newly launched iphone 4s can actually shoot film higher in quality than conversion- higher than a lot of feature films. think about that. it's a phone.

but my lesson didn't stop there, because i put the picture together in imovie. how familiar was i with that software? when i opened it up on tuesday to load in the stuff i'd shot already, it immediately started in on the tutorial you get when you first open an apple program. i've had my computer for over a year. i movie sits in my dock, accessible in a click. i'd never once opened it, even out of curiosity. and yet, well, it's not going to win any awards, but i think that the end product at least successfully disguises the fact that it was made by someone utterly clueless about her own actions.

imovie, like a lot of apple products, is made for non-experts. so the program kind of assumes you don't know what you're doing and makes it really easy for you to figure it out. the biggest issues i had were because i assumed that things were more difficult than they actually are. in the end, putting together the film was a lot of pointing and clicking, dragging and dropping, always with visual cues that make it feel like you're manipulating a real object, rather than digital data. so instead of growling and snarling, i came out with a sense of accomplishment. in a day and a half i managed to go from opening a piece of software for the first time to completing a project i could never have done without it. that's almost as big a rush as the creative leap.

and to cap things off this week, i'll be dj'ing tonight at womansland, at rococo, 6512 parc in montreal. this will be a dance-ier set than what i've been doing at the caustic lounge, so come prepared to shake your booty. or at least wiggle in time. and tomorrow night, i'll be guest hosting stereophobic on ckut, which will, in contrast, be slightly weirder and more esoteric than the caustic lounge is wont to be. in between, i'm going to try to hoof it down to occupy montreal as well, since i am, of course, the 99%. hope to see some of you around this weekend and, as always, thanks for reading.

i'd also like to thank the kids, for being very understanding that mom wasn't quite as attentive as normal this week. as you can see, they do all right taking care of themselves. 


and yeah, that photo was taken with my iphone too. 
have a great week and thanks for reading!

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