Dancing over to a new home!

20 02 2009

This blog, like Frown Town Evasion, has officially moved to www.serenae.com. Be sure to update your RSS reader!

storyboarding experiment

9 11 2008

In addition to the more traditional storyboards, I thought I’d try a photographic approach for a couple of early scenes in my new film. (With the help of my lovely assistant Em, of course.)


Alley in town, angled light. GIRL enters, looking around sadly at the ground, searching.








who is tracing/drawing the outline of a shoe on the ground with a piece of chalk over and over, around and around, while staring at nothing.





GIRL enters a square, crosses it, sits down.






SHE peels a clementine, the peel spiraling in one piece.


SHE looks at a closed door nearby.



Looks down.


Stands and slowly makes her way over to the door. Knocks.


Creature flick event idea #1

20 08 2008

Sometimes, the perfect companion to a cheesy shark movie is a post-it note.

These particular ones sprang from a rousing viewing of Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. (View one of its most hilarious scenes here.) Post-its, especially when inspired by awful movies, are a beautiful thing.

The nonsensical dialogue was, of course, a collaborative effort:

Inspired by spirited discussions of the vagina dentata film theory. Also see Teeth.

So gather your friends, a bad movie, and a stack of post-its. You won’t regret it.

cinematic triangles

22 03 2008

I have a friend. Actually, I have more than one, but this particular one is special. We both started out as psychology majors, then made the switch to English. And we both have an intense passion for film. I’d never really analyzed this before, and perhaps it was the tangential late night mentality, but I suddenly wondered if this was significant.

Is there a connection between these variables? Or just coincidence?
What is it about film that draws us, specifically, in?

Film is a combination of the two, which is why we find it so appealing. Not a middle ground, but a culmination of the combined influence of—and ideas behind—both fields. Something higher. (Not more important or lofty, but on a different plane entirely. Like apples and typewriters.)

Film does three things:
1) analyzes us (human nature and interactions) …just like psychology
2) serves as a static (if that word can even be used in reference to film) text ….just like English
3) influences (manipulates) us …the missing third element in the triangle of inspiration, creation and reaction

In setting out to produce a reaction from us, the viewers, filmmakers are doing something surprisingly uncommon. Public speakers aim to produce reactions. Psychologists analyze. Writers describe. (This is—obviously—an immense simplification.) But how often do all three of these come together?

I would argue that in the filmmaking process it is necessary not only to create art, but to consider every fraction, every frame of what you’re creating. It’s analysis. It’s text. It’s manipulation.

I don’t want to discriminate. This can, of course, be applied to the arts as a whole. But I also believe that film is in an exceptional position in terms of its capabilities of combining these three elements in a way that no other art form can begin to approach. Not that film is better at it, but that film is uniquely suited to it. The potential is there. Sometimes this potential is explored, and sometimes it’s not. (Mostly not.) But when it is, oh. What you get, what you experience, is something new and nearly intangible in its ability to simultaneously inspire, challenge, and even unsettle.

What’s better than having your frame of mind disrupted by art, regardless of whether this disruption is temporary or enduring?


When dolphins go bad…

6 12 2007

I was image hunting for Gardner’s 295 class, and happened upon this priceless picture:


Giggling a little, I googled the title and found out more. Ready for the tagline? “Unwittingly He Trained a Dolphin to Kill the President of the United States.” No, I’m really not kidding. Also described as “the most amazing outdoor adventure ever filmed,” and with IMDB keyword “exploding boat,” this is one movie I don’t want to miss. Anyone seen it?

There’s always the prefects’ bathroom.

11 09 2007

My friend just showed me this and I had to share 🙂

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/e9D0veHTxh0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Rack focus.

19 07 2007

I can often be overheard declaring my passionate love for rack focus shots. (Why yes, I am a film geek.) But it wasn’t until recently that I really asked myself why. For those of you reading who may not know exactly what a rack focus shot is, I’ll explain it briefly. It’s basically a shot in which the camera focus shifts from one plane of the frame to another (i.e. foreground to background).



(images found here)

If you think about it, a rack focus actually imitates our natural perception of perspective in the world around us by blurring the thing we’re not focused on and sharpening the other. (If you’re looking through a window, you’re focusing on the hill outside rather than the curtains.

But wait…there’s more!

A rack focus is not a simple shift of focus from one thing to another. In that case, why not a cut or a pan? Rack focus is a way to keep an eye on two things at once. Sometimes the true object of focus is not what the camera is focused on, but the other part of the shot. It allows the audience to shift between several images or ideas while still considering all of them at once. While most film shots tell you where to look, rack focus merely suggests.

And that’s why I’m in love.

Portfolio online now!

8 07 2007

Just a shameless plug for my online portfolio 🙂



“It happened once, and so it will be forever.”

1 07 2007

Just finished Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) and I feel like I need to watch it several more times just to catch everything that was in it. I’m not sure what I expected, but it was certainly more philosophical than I thought it would be. Some great lines, and the most extraordinary thing about it was that these amazing lines were just kind-of slipped in there. Not dressed up at all, not even much attention drawn to it. Just there to be breathed in by the audience. I want to watch it over and over until I understand every line, every symbol, every color, every conversation, every expression. I’m sure about 90% of it went right over my head the first time.

Beautiful film, and I’m not going to be done with it for years, I suspect. If ever.

20392_0003.jpg image010.jpg



28 06 2007

“All creativity can be understood as taking in the world as a problem.”

I know we already talked this one to death, but I’m feeling the need to explore it further. We explored the nature of the statement, but not really the statement itself. We asked what was meant by “creativity”. What qualifies as creativity? What is the connotation of the word “problem” in this context? Why is it phrased as “taking in” rather than “approaching”? Is it even possible to approach these question in a way that produces answers?

I think the only way I’m going to get anywhere with this–and the only way any of us can, really–is to use whatever interpretation that is meaningful for me personally. When I create art, in whatever form it takes, am I doing it because I’m trying to address a condition that is present in my world and important to me? I think Dr. C misinterpreted (only slightly) my intent with that question. I’m not really judging myself and my art by whether or not I’m “taking in” a “problem”. Rather, I’m simply asking myself whether or not that’s what I do, as a condition of my creativity. I’m not overly concerned with conforming to this statement or feeling guilty by not doing so. Just wondering if, somehow, that statement represents a basic intent that I was never fully aware of.

I’m not sure if I can tell you whether the statement is true for me or not. I know my basic motivations for being creative, but do they somehow conform to this underlying principle? First and foremost, I create art because it makes me happy. Because it makes me think. Because I enjoy it. But what do I try to do with it? I think that every artist has the same basic motivations, though secondary motivations may vary. When you create art, you’re doing it to:

  1. Express emotion
  2. Affect others
  3. Reveal yourself

If you feel something strongly, you create. You draw, photograph, write, compose, sing, paint, think.

When you create, you want to inspire observers and show them something new, whether about the world, themselves, or others. If I create something and it makes someone look at the world in a different way–not even a significant, life-changing, “aha!”-moment way–I am satisfied. I want to show everyone something beautiful and inspire thoughts, or even just one tiny thought, that they never would have had otherwise. Even if they forget all about it the next second, it was there. And I think that’s important. Is that a form of “taking in the world as a problem”? I think so. Our OED definition of “problem” used the phrase “throw out”. I’m taking in the world as a problem, interpreting it, channeling it, and then throwing it back out for others to take in. Each resulting thought is a new interpretation of my interpretation, which is, in turn, an interpretation of the one that I’ve taken in, which probably also originated as an interpretation. Does it ever end? Can you trace back thoughts? Ideas? Problems? Inspiration?

Perhaps everything should just be under a Creative Commons license, because nothing is truly the work of one person. Everything I do, think, create, or feel is the accumulation of the thoughts, creations, and feelings of millions of people before me.

Most of all, in my art I show people who I am. And maybe it just so happens that who I am–and who we all are– is a composite of everyone else who ever thought, created, or felt in the entire history of the world. We don’t need to consider what it means to take in the world as a problem. It’s already what we are.