I'm honestly really exhausted and I've been typing most of the day, plus I had to proofread & edit Mr. Wang's homework because his English isn't very good. He is supposed to graduate next semester in the Spring.
It's supposed to be a film review that contains a thesis argument. although this is not in the paper requirements that was handed out. the paper with the assignment was rather long, and several pages of all kinds of rules. There was a list of films we could choose. honestly, I wanted to do "End of Evangelion" which is SO RIPE with genius especially regarding film making as an artform... but, we had to stick to the list.
I was gonna probably do "My Name Is Oona" because it's simple and easy and makes use of modern art and audio using black and white film. But, since "Apocalypse Now" was on the list, and he'd shown a clip of the sacrifice scene in which Kurts is slain I was curious about it since I'd never watched this film before. it just wasn't a popular film when I studied film in Philadelphia. My instructors in Philadelphia were more interested in films like: "The Exorcist", "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Fight Club" and analyzing some of my favorite contemporary films of the time like "Fight Club", and Sam Neil films. Yes, we did Citizen Kane in Philly, and YES is WAS ON THE LIST, but I felt that was just so normal and standard. Why isn't "All Quiet On The Western Front" on the list?
But, alas, Exorcist wasn't on the list! Neither was 2001!
So, I made the mistake of deciding to watch Apocalypse Now via some very friendly film fanatics from the lovely Czech Republic whom streamed it to me on their own dime, or whatever coins they use as metaphors... Not only was the film INCREDIBLY LOOOOOOONG it was rather horrifying, disturbing and incredibly UNCOMFORTABLE!
Half way through I didn't want to even finish it, and I vented about it somewhat on FB. However, some of my friends (the male friends, since this film is grossly popular with a male audience) actually urged me to finish it, and also asked me which version I was watching? There's different versions?
So, I went back to finish watching the film, and began to subjectively view the film as art... I still wasn't sure about doing my report on this film, and tried to get an HQ or HD version, and I the only version I could acquire with enough time required to complete the strict task was the Redux version which is apparent what I was originally watching streamed from the Czech republic. "Redux" also has discrepancies about it's pronunciation since some people think it's pronounced "ree-doo" like a re-do. being that I was already strapped for time, plus a final project film to start shooting footage for, AND a frigging' Holiday dinner to do, AND MY WORKSTUDY, plus my kid keeps almost bleeding to death FOR REAL, and tons of friggin' doctors & Hospital appointments, I HATE pressure and rushing! So, after consulting my teacher about it, and him seeming to like the idea of Apocalypse Now I decided since I'd already put in SO MUCH TIME, effort, and already did quite a bit of research on it already, to just go with it.
I don't know how I couldn't actually condensed the entire film into 3-5 pages, so after consulting my instructor, he told me to concentrate on just a few scenes like 2-3. I was going to an analysis comparison of the ending and the beginning sequences, plus an analysis of the Col. Kilgore full sequence. But, despite all my lengthy not taking which I spent days on, watching, re-watching, pausing, examining, I had to drop the entire Kilgore part. this is sad since it has the best camera tricks, technology, and techniques of the entire film right there, plus it's fraught allegories, symbolism, irony, motifs, pantone color palette schemes, and especially the heavy use of stacked lens filters. I just LOVE cameras!
So, I just focused on these themes including the usage of audio and layering superimposed images, as well as analyzing WHY some parts effectively & deliberately break The Director's Line.
Having said that, I can"t believe I just typed all the stuff out... but, I could go on & on about Apocalypse Now and I've only watched it front to back about 6 times.
But, I digress...
The Video Graphics For My Film Thus Far:
Where do i even begin? Well, i HAVE been working on the experimental animation bits since October. That's the Butterfly work I did. Much of that will be in the film.
One this I'm struggling with is TRYING desperately to find SOMEBODY, ANYBODY whom can get ANY 3D tutorial for the NEW current Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 edition that actually works, and scripting that works, because even my instructor has no background in animation as I do.
What am I talking about?
I want to make THIS but NOT with Adobe Illustrator, with Adobe Photoshop files. I can't get "The Slider" to work right, and I also can't get the wings to animate on the axis.
I can't find any NEW or CURRENT tutorials/demos step by step for this in the NEW version of Adobe After Effects. Not one, and nobody I personally know whom might have knowledge in this program won't help me. 3 people blew me off. And, whenever I tried to ask the instructors of these videos what to do, over a month has passed and I never got a single reply. Many videos, and other demos online ASSUME you already KNOW the program, and the basics... but, I don't.
I've tried repeatedly to trouble-shoot this, but I just haven't figured it out yet. Everyone swears its SO EASY yet, no one has any clue how to make it work, nor understand why it doesn't work in the new version. Also, the OLD scripting codes don't work.
There's one part of my film that I REALLY need to have 3D butteflies of artwork by my daughter which I reworked and formatted,and also by Mr. Wang.
There are actually SO MANY things i would just LOVE to create using After Effects, but I'm just running out of time, and the other animated ideas I had have to be scrapped.
Here a whole chunk of stuff I'd just LOVE incorporate with my work, but I just don't have the guidance to learn it, and I've already run out of so much time, since I can ONLY work on this stuff AT SCHOOL which take a long time to commute to, and I don't own the program myself.
Playlist of stuff love love from After Effects:
After I shot a lot of footage during Thanks giving week and weekend, I realized I probably will need some graphics. Since I already have YEARS WORTH of stuff I created I began to go through my CD-ROM & DVD-ROM archives in stacks and it's sad what I actually lots or can't find.
I won't be using my animated logo since It's not really at a level of my actual vision, and doesn;t have the level of quality I would prefer. I'm so picky, about everything, especially my own stuff.
I know a lot of people will NOT be happy about this, but I WILL NOT BE USING THIS:
No groaning or whining! Nope! It's just not up to my actual vision for it despite the months of work I put into it! I like the original penciltest version of it, but i also feel it could just be way better, and also I couldn't do what i wanted with it. Also, all my instructors at the time whom loved it when i made it, actually nit-picked the hell out of it to force me to fail while passing other people with nowhere near the level of skills I had. So, Maybe i have a chip on my shoulders over it...
I was so nervous and sweating bullets when I screened my old 2001 demo reel which included this in it, and it old digital + VHS analog stuff. i guess I'm so accustomed to being slandered, bullied, teased, or mocked for so much of my work in New England despite being popular in Philadelphia, plus the fact that I was a "philosophy major" in a class with "video production" people and other artists, whereas I'm also an animator... being an artist was something people in the academic settings sneered at me over, or viewed me as crazy for doing it or being it... like being an artist was a mental illness... yet, since i was an artist, whenever i met other artists whom found out I wasn't majoring in art, they also had a kind of sneer towards me as well -like: gross! or, how boring! or, why would u do a thing like that?! Or an overall lack of respect for me... yet, when I screened my demo reel on the first day, and I felt I might have a heart attack, because it was so old, and dated, and I wanted to cry, I was surprised at just how much praise I got for it. People had so many questions, and I got a large applause, and many accolades for it.
But, sorry, I just won't be using this.
I will however, be using my own customized graphics.
The reason I came up with this idea was a string of things, and they're all kind of flowing together. "Flow" is kind of a major theme with me lately, especially in regards to Taoism concepts, and NO not the religious nonsense, I mean the concepts by Laozi (Lao Tsu).
Here's The graphics that I worked on for hours on Sunday:
It's not that much more ostentatious than anything by Tristar Pictures, or Columbia Pictures. It's just a still frame/graphic, and many studios have done it. Not that i wouldn't LOVE to do an animated logo, I WOULD, but that takes time which I don't have.
I often kept fighting myself, or fighting my inner self since there's this pressure to stifle a lot of my wilder or robust artistic visions. Many of my concept works at AIPH often had to be "simplified" or "toned down" which I was not always happy about, but if you're learning something you want to go with the standards... however, much of those ideas are way out of style now. I also do NOT see eye to eye artistically with my spouse as an artist, whom I often disagree intensely with. I find many of his tastes and preferences in art to be BLAND, BORING, FLAT, LAZY, or CHEAP. But, artistic tastes are VERY individual.
I also can veer into being a bit of an iconoclast, somewhat... yet, i was fearcely afraid of doing that at UMASS. Strangely, in the art department i found whenever I would do those things, even in the slightest, or the more robustly something kind of slipped out into my work, the more it was better received. I guess artists like THE WEIRD.
The actual assignment for the film is an intentionally vague word play on "document" and strongly implies modern art, or avant garde approaches to things. However, it was entirely open to interpretation. I found that my instructor, and much of the faculty (since I've attended a number of visiting artist lectures with them) have a strong fondness for modern art. Not that I don't like those things, I do... But, I can start to see and feel a theme here.
I wanted to go with a more surrealist or surrealism vibe to my film.
My instructor had encouraged me many times to switch my major to art, and not to totally drop out of school, which I almost did. it's not that i didn't love philosophy, i really love it, but I felt my desire for art growing stronger than ever, and it was killing me. I also has so many medical issues, and I just can't explain to anyone just how difficult it was on my commuting. Philosophy in the acedemic setting is on a regimented time slot, and altho' I was doing very well, with high grades, my perfectionism was just RUINING ME, and I could NOT handle the pressure, because I can't read very fast, and I need more time. Doing philosophy on my own time had zero pressure and I was free to explore it on my own time, and utilize it within my actual living life,whereas academic philosophy was about writing papers, and being exact, and being on time, and since I was older than everyone else i felt so much pressure within myself to be a better example to all of those young people.
If I had lived nearby the school with a short commute it wouldn't have been an issue. But, with expenses, motherhood, and so much wasted downtime, and tons of guilt, shame, and pressure, I was in so much pain not just from my injuries, which was an onslaught of 1 after the other, but my mental state was just a hell. By early October I had these terrible thought about myself, my life, and I was wracked with anxiety and insomnia, plus the intense depression. My nerves were so bad that I would shake before I went to school, and when I got there I would start to cry every day because I had so much pain inside of me. I almost totally dropped out. I even considered going to some kind of institution for therapy because I wanted to die, and I felt so hopeless.
But, as I was going through the process of dropping out, we decided to keep the video class, I also still wish I'd kept my English class because I really liked it.
Now that I've changed my major to Art, I got all of the Spring Semester classes as video, and luckily all taught by the same instructor I have now. He also created a brand new class which will involved stop motion animation which is totally brand new, and it looks like we'll also be doing some 3D printing. I also made sure to get a digital media class. I'm assuming it's the newer Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and my instructor said this teacher is a good one.
It's strange because I'm actually not following any rules right now.... like, I'm supposed to take English and a Seminar... but, I'm totally getting away with doing what I actually want to do... I do feel very bad about not doing the academics, because I actually enjoy those. But, doing, learning, and improving what I actually want to makes me feel much happier.
Also, film and video is a NEW thing at UMASS that just started recently. It's also expanding. They also have Cinema Studies as a Minor.
Even tho' I've switched from Philosophy to Art as my major, philosophy is STILL a HUGE part of my life, often every day just as before I started at UMASS. So, it's only natural that it will be inside of my artwork.
While I'm at my Workstudy in the Library in Quincy I listen to podcasts which are almost always philosophical, or strait up philosophy lectures. I also listen to inspirational stuff.
A big theme that really started to pick up once again in my life was "Tao" (The Way) regarding the concept of "Flow". It's been something I'm often contemplating. (Taoism concepts) These often have parallels in Ancient Greek philosophers and Pre-Socrattics like Heraclitus of Ephesus whom spoke about how one cannot step into the same river twice since it was always moving and flowing, where as Parmenides felt everything was part of the same steady flow. In China there were 2 different main Masters/teachers which were Laozi (Lao Tsu) whom created the principles of Taoism (Yin Yang) as forced of nature that flow and cycle, and emphasized concepts in nature much like the Greeks like "the river", flow, and water or wind/air, and the other allegedly his student Kong Fusi (Confucius) whom developed a different system. They are quite different since Laozi & Toaism emphasize "embracing the un-carved block" and "cultivating the way" (symbolic reference to farming or gardening) whereas Kong Fusi (Confucius) founded of Confucianism emphasizes more on rules, refinement (a refined piece of jade is elegance, and a human being must be thus, scrubbed, carved, whittled away, roughness made smooth ), loosing ones wildness, manners, but also an emphasis on one's status or place in society almost but not quite like the Hindu Cast System. Although I find I often dislike most of the bulk of the content from Confucianism there are a number of key aspects, which Zen Buddhists also seem to love, are his concepts of compassion, kindness, benevolence, but also enduring and overcoming hardships, abuses, and very bad things in life, often in the hopes of some sort of transitional or transformational aspect of the self.
It was during my time at my workstudy job I stumbled across a philosophy by Shannon Lee, daughter of the late Bruce lee whom often made a HUGE emphasis in his life and works using and reinterpreting Taoist concepts for a mid-late 20th century audience or his own students. He's most known for his "water" quotes which are basically paraphrased from Laozi (Laotsu) but in his own words. Lee was very much an artist and incredible creative person. So, in my down-times often on my commutes I was researching Bruce Lee information since there's so much more out there now due to Shannon Lee. And, I must say that as beautiful as she is It's uncanny and almost haunting at the strikingly STRONG resemblance to her older brother, the late Brandon Lee that I almost expected her to say "can't rain all the time" [from the film "The Crow" 1994] Yes, rain/water/flow pun intended!
Much of these podcasts which are partly lectures, and partly inspirational, and partly almost like a talk show filled with so much personal stuff.
Bruce Lee often liked to use symbolisms in his work. In Enter The Dragon there are many parable-like parts, and the mirror scene at the end is full of symbolism. In Game of Death which is apparently an incomplete unfinished film he also uses heavily themes like levels, archetypes, philosophy applied to psychology in character development, pragmatism, and it's also very iconoclastic. It refuted the rigidity of rules or conformity. it also weaves in and out of some aspects of Confucianism with a heavy emphasis more on Taoism's FLOW or water ideology and flexibility as well as using nature as a symbolic philosophy. At the same time he uses a fusion of East and West, New and Old, and instead of wearing a martial arts uniform he wears a modern yellow tracksuit which is the furthest thing from the ancient styles since he was very much into fitness, athletic self care, and practical mobility. He also heavily incorporates dance and individual artistic self expression.
Much of these things really had my mind going, so since I had already come up with the butterfly graphics as a way of participating in #Inktober & #Drawtober as a artistic practice, I also intended to use it for my experimental animations for my final/film. Also, these butterflies have the Chinese characters in them and I wanted to stick with a word pun themes plus "flow".
This sort of morphed, or should I say meta-morphed (butterfly pun) into expanding to other things, ideas, etc... that being Etymology. So, even tho' I had many times seen it demonstrated as a small demonstration how Chinese words are written, which began as pictographs, I felt I could take this and make a story out of it which was a layers of puns either written or spoken, yet also be somewhat abstract.
Here's my basic notes: KLICK
So, I shot an entire scene with doing Chinese calligraphy. I realize my calligraphy is terrible, and I'm out of practice, so I will include several subtitles, because it can't be understood in English without it unless u are bilingual PLUS can read Chinese. (Not everyone that speaks Chinese can read Chinese.) It also includes a similar Buddhist concept called Dharma which is semi similar to Taoism's concept of "The Way" which I believe was created by Siddhartha Gautama (often referred to by many titles as the first Buddha, The Tathagotta, and many other titles but was just a normal human being and not actually a god) to refute the Hindu Cast System of Karma. It's sometimes compared to Chinese "Daoli" modern Taoist ideas and popular in Zen circles.
I've re-shot multiple takes, until I realized the camera angle was bad. The final uncut/unedited version is this one:
And, since I was already going with the flow on this stuff, word puns, etymology, surrealism, art, Taoism, etc. I figured I follow through with it in my own name, and thus that led to the graphics.
Here, this is how it flows into each other:
Here's a quick shot of my Chinese name on a Chinese name stamp/seal or whatever word u want to call it.
Much of the words in my Chinese name 任思麒 are ALSO in the video footage calligraphy story. It's layers of puns within puns.
Since I already have mys own artwork already, I edited and reformatted the graphics...
So, I figured, Since that's my name, I'd put the graphics pair may name with the image in the graphics, which by the way are also depicting the Qilin WITH FLOWING HAIR on a cloud, with auspicious mists (air/water flow).
There, you see? That's how I did that, that's WHY I did that. It all "FLOWS" together.
I've been avoiding show this stuff to Mr. Wang whom has his rigid concept of whatever he thinks is Chinese this or that, which completely is at odds with so much of the official literature I've have put in years worth of researching, learning, contemplating... and remember "The Tao that can be named IS NOT THE WAY" which means just by saying his rigid ideas and affirming at as so (even tho' he also never puts the time into learning it) he is therefore WRONG, and it is NOT the way. he also seems rather xenophobic or ethnocentric over it, since I'm not a person of ethnic Sino heritage.
This reminds me of things that zen practitioners often comment about how when people try to build a Chinese "scholar's garden" either in the West, or new ones in Asia, they never do anything new, and don't actually follow the principles thereby not ACTUALLY creating a true scholar's garden but a making a COPY of something that already exists.
Remember "the Tao (The Way) that can be named is not the Tao (The Way)".
This all sort of dove-tails into the modernized words of Bruce Lee.
See? It all makes sense.
I wouldn't say it was clever, or genius.... but, I would say it's FUNNY or humorous. To me it is. But, i don't mean it in a mocking way at all.
Other examples of this etymology styles of art are not actually new and I recall throughout China all kinds of wall, paintings, memorials, and placards with rows of words with the same sounding name, but each character was a different and a different meaning. There is a Chinese classical novel "A Dream of Red mansions" which often makes use of the etymology throughout the story, not just as poetry but various scenes, and cultural ideas. The great poet Li Bai (744 AD–762 AD) often made use of this punning artistic style, and many of the written out versions of his poems contain related characters which have similarly constructed characters, or they rhyme, or have different meanings or feeling when receipted out loud versus the way they are written down. I don;t know how to actually explain this in English, and I'm not actually an expert in it at all.
So, it's not my full brand new idea, it's based on things which already exist.
I have so much more to say on the other bits of content yet to be put into my film. I've records video footage, and audio recordings. But, I've already written a lot, and i'm tired.