Bibliophile from Casey Harris on Vimeo.
One of the major challenges I have come across in this filming is Interviews. Or, more specifically, how to film interviews.
Interviews are traditionally shot with a head and shoulders, but, taking inspiration from the 2009 film “A Day in the Life”, I was interested in playing around with the ideas of alternative representation. I am still going to include a few shots of “traditional” interviewing, but I will intersperse these with more modern style angles. See below for examples of my traditional interview shots.
I have been trying ideas of alternative representation of the body; hands are very expressive, as are eyes, and I am trying to focus on these to give the audience another visual aspect of the conversation. Below are a few examples of such shots, called Extreme Close Ups. I find it really interesting to watch a persons’ face really closely, because you are able to see a lot of minute details which would otherwise be missed.
Finally, I have been taking what’s sometimes called “establishing shots” or “stock footage” to use as cut away shots for interviews which are voice only. Many of my interview participants have requested they only be interviewed on a microphone, with no picture, because they are self-conscious. These interviews I hope to juxtapose over a number of shots of books, a selection of which are shown below.
Most of all, I really want my film to be evocative. Books are a physically evocative thing, and they hold great sentimental value to a lot of people; with this film, I hope to emulate the feel of a book, or remind people of books. To do this, I will layer audio of interviews with shots of books.
Today I filmed two more Visual interviews, and one more auditory-only interview. I also managed to get a couple of seconds of establishing shots with the help of my good friend A. I really do feel the struggle of filming while on crutches, especially with moving shots and shots which would be great at a standing angle.
One thing I have found challenging is the lighting of shots. As can be seen above, even the same day, and in the same place, around the same time, the lighting from one room to another can vary hugely. I don’t know whether I will change these in post-production, so that they are all vaguely similar, or whether to leave them as they are. I don’t want my film to be chaotic and with an unfinished look; I’m really striving for an aesthetic appeal which is found in most professional documentaries.
Today was the first day of filming, and I feel it went well! There were some struggles, of course, but overall I am pleased with the progress I’ve made.
I have filmed three full interviews, with a 50 minute long group discussion audio track recorded also, as well as several hundred establishing shots of books, people reading, and interview head-shots.
Above are a selection of my rushes (in stills). I am aiming for a very stylized, aesthetic look, with silhouettes (above) cross-shot narration, and establishing shots to build atmosphere.
The main problem I encountered was finding good light sources, especially with my current disability. It was very trying to stand or support a camera with a leg in cast, but luckily my participants were more than helpful and accommodating.
I hope to do more filming next week, with the aim to complete filming before the 7th of March, when I may have to go into hospital for a month for surgery.
My inspiration for this project comes from a number of sources. Firstly, visiting Trinity Library as a child, where the Book of Kells is housed.
Trinity Library, with it’s thousands of books, struck me as a magical place; awe-inspiring and overwhelming, with seemingly every book in existence. As an avid reader even as a child, I wanted nothing more than to browse the books and sit reading quietly forever.
An interesting comparison that immediately leaps to mind is the episode of children’s TV program “Avatar: The Legend of Aang”, titled “The Library”. In this episode, the protagonists visit a library created by an Owl spirit, which has been almost buried in the desert to protect it from harm. During this episode the Owl spirit becomes enraged and submerges the library completely; even though the protagonists make it out, they are forced to leave an Anthropologist character who declares “He could stay here forever”.
Further inspiration came from a recent trip to “Harry Potter at Universal Studios” in London. My sister, who is 26, and myself, at 22, had such a love of these series of books that we chose to visit the studios where the movie adaptations were created. This got me thinking about the relationships people have with books; books can inspire obsession, and joy, and love, and a thousand other emotions. People truly want to immerse themselves within worlds created in works of fiction.
Another port of inspiration came from the 2014 Anthropological Film “Localised”, which I saw at the University of Kent film festival. This film largely influenced my choice of visual aesthetic to work towards within my film, as even two years later I remember the impact the film made on me with it’s beautiful looks. I also really liked the themes and tones explored within it, including the interviews of people within the industry, as they are obviously best posed to discuss the topic at hand.
Lastly, inspiration came from the books which form my personal library. During my life, I have collected books (secondhand) and been given books. I now have a collection which numbers in the hundreds, and they are my prized possessions. Many of the stories within are more like old friends to me, and I often reread books from my childhood or more recently just to enjoy the story, even if I know the ending. I also love finding film adaptations that have been made of books I love; Howl’s Moving Castle (above) is one of those. Dianne Wynne Jones created such magical worlds within her books, and it brought me honest joy to see them brought to life in film.
Working Title – Bibliophile
Director/Camera/Sound/Editor – Casey Harris
- Working Hypothesis and Interpretation
I believe that books, libraries, and bookshops are an essential part of my life, and the life of many others.
My film will show this by exploring the personal relationship between people and books.
My film’s main conflict is between Libraries and Bookstores.
My film’s POV will be an interviewer and observer.
I expect my film’s structure to be determined by the interviews of participants.
The subject and POV suggest a style that is reflexive and documentary-like.
Ultimately I want the audience to feel moved, curious, and reflexive, and to understand the part Books play on many people’s lives.
- Topic and Exposition
The subject of my film is “Books”. They are ubiquitous in most modern areas, and have often been attribute greatness such as “the birthplace of civilization” and “the make of a civilized man”.
I have a deep and personal fascination with books. Having worked as a librarian for two years, and in a library for a further three, coupled with a lifelong personal love of books fueled by my family, I am keen to explore something that holds great personal value for me.
- Action Sequences
Although not technically “Action”, the film will feature certain expository sections that are acted or use participants. These will be driven by the actions of participants, and therefore cannot be scripted, but will probably employ the use of books and reading.
- Main Characters
Book sellers, librarians, students, family members, colleagues, academics. Hopefully there are a range of responses regarding books, and there will be a number of interesting interviews in which to lead the film narrative.
There will be intercutting of narratives, as well as a voiceover, to create parallel stories.
The moods of the film will be uplifting, jubuliant, introspective, reflexive, curious, intrigue, joy, and love.
The film will be narrated post-production, in the style of professional documentary work, but will also focus on the artistic creation of a book (symbolic of the film creating an interest or telling a story to the audience) which will be undertaken by me.
The ending of the film will revolve around the ending of books; maybe the final shot will be a closed book?
Response to Rabiger
This Documentary Proposal activity has brought many interesting ideas to my mind; themes that I could run through the film, such as creation, or discovery; as well as thematic elements that I will include, such as the creation of a book from start to finish.
Every book, the saying goes, should have a start, middle, and end; I would like my film to mirror this, beginning with the book being opened, and begun, and talking about the introduction to books; the middle, the main part of the film with the introductions; the end, talking about leaving books, finishing books, and the lasting effects of books.
After suffering a severe ankle injury, I have been forced to admit I would be hard-pressed to complete my initial project. I simply can’t physically complete tasks, and it wouldn’t be fair to rely on others to go out of their way to help me.
As such, I have decided to change my project into something smaller, simpler, and hopefully easily doable: Books. Working title “Librophile”
As an anthropologist, I am really keen to research topics which interest me personally; having no personal interest in a subject matter, I think, would be detrimental to my film. Having worked in two libraries, and having had a deep love of books since childhood, I decided that I would like to focus on books and libraries as the topic of my film instead.
Like so many other lovers of books, I have always been fascinated in old books most of all; my grandfather collected rare and unusual books, a few of which got passed to me upon his death, and both my mother and father have always had large collections of books in the house for the family to share.
Books, I believe, have a wonderful quality to bring people together. The stories within them, or the facts they portray, have the ability to make us think about things we may have never considered, or see things in a new light. Books are often attributed to the “rise of civilization”, and it is true that in so-called classical anthropology the societies that had the written word were often considered the most “civilized”.
There are many places locally I can film, which I will be doing further research into ASAP. I work in the Templeman library on campus, which gives me great access to the other staff there; in town, there are two or three independent booksellers that may be keen to be involved also. I would like to include my families personal collection, too, because that is where my love of books began.
A problem I may encounter is linked to my injury. As it is, I am very much incapacitated, and will have to make certain allowances for my film in order to complete it; coupled with the significant likelihood I will need surgery in the near future, which would leave me bedridden, I really have to work hard to complete my filming as soon as possible. I will complete my risk assessment and ethics forms, but really should start filming this week.
I am lucky enough to have been part of a film club in secondary school, both in lower years and at A Level during Media Studies. The Cineclub national film school had a number of festivals which my group and I entered in the late 2000’s, one of which we won, and many of which we were nominated for.
After enjoying these immensely, I went on to take Media Studies at AS and A Level.
At the very start of the program, we were taught how to use cameras and were sent out (in groups of two) to make a short two minute film to try and get as many interesting and unusual shots as possible. Below is this film. (I was co-director, and protagonist actor, my friend was camerawoman, and co-director)
After this, we went on to create a short “horror film opening” which we devised, storyboarded, directed, filmed, and edited ourselves. Below is this film. Please bear in mind we were three 17 year old’s at the time, it is far from professional standard.
After this project at AS Level, we moved on to A2. For A2, we were in groups of three, and asked to produce a music video to a track of our choice. We chose “Technodanceaphobic” by “The Enemy”.
Before we began filming, we were tasked with storyboarding our planned film. Below is our storyboard (set to the chosen track) which we drew, filmed, and edited ourselves.
For this project, both I and my two peers played all roles; camerawomen/men, director, editor, sound editor, visual and stage direction, actors, set dressers, performance, and lighting. It was a great experience, and one which I think really solidified my interest in media production. Below is our final piece, for which we all earned A grades at A Level.
For these projects, we were assessed not only on our final piece, but on our work on a blog dedicated to these projects. Below are the links to these blogs.
After these forays into film, I began to pursue film-making as a personal hobby. I now make films in my spare time, some of which I upload to Youtube. I hope to do much more film work in the future, especially with documentary work; until then, I continue to make short films for hobbies, including my film series about “Kawaii Japanese Culture” (example below)
I have many plans for future projects (both hobby and possibly professional pieces) which I may continue with on this blog. I also have had, in the past, a blog describing some of my forays into hobby art and craft. My Arts and Crafts blog, Hidokuta
Ona, Lolita Fashion Expert, spoke of “extravagance and escapism” when discussing Lolita fashion. In the 1990’s, she says, being feminine meant being sexual, and to be sexual was to be bad.
Lolita, a fashion which began in Harajuku, Tokyo, allows people (not always women!) to maintain their femininity without being sexual or objectified. “It makes people happy,” she says. “A lot of girls say that they wear it because it boosts their confidence… you can be feminine without being (dis)empowered, I’d rather showcase the clothes than show my body.”
Lolita wearers, however, hate being told that they are wearing a costume. “To them, it’s not a costume.” says interviewer Fusion, “It’s an expression of who they are.” This introduces an idea to my research of a perceived fakeness or inherent insincerity with the word “costume”.
“I actually feel like I belong someplace.” Says Jordan, a Lolita boy. This also began me thinking about ideas of clothing, fashion, costume, and identity as far as being accepted in a community. Without the community presence, would the Lolita fashion be as prevalent as it is? Is extravagant fashion reliant upon an outlet in a safe environment?
American Fashionista Sonya Esman travels to Harajuku to meet Japanese fashion Icon Rin Rin Doll, who personifies Lolita fashion and describes her fascination with high fashion.