MEA Conference Workshop Feb 2012

I was pleased to have the opportunity to give a workshop on the Cinématèque project at the Media Education Association (MEA) Conference at the BFI on February 4 2012. Here’s a link to the script and slides.

After some input from myself and 3 great Year 8 volunteers from the London Nautical School (LNS), the delegates were given the following film task:

From a fixed camera position: film a person waiting for someone who eventually joins him/her. Choose a location that enables an interaction between fiction and elements of reality. (1 ½ – 2 mins duration). Time allocation: 15 mins.

Before filming there was a Q & A with the LNS boys and the teachers seemed to be impressed with their eloquence and composure in what, for any other person, might have seemed like an intimidating setting … delivering unprepared answers to teachers’ random questions at the front of a BFI screening room. Not to mention the relevance and insight of their responses. The boys then accompanied groups of teachers as they went off with Flip cameras to shoot their brief. Scroll down further for the photos.

I like the way this exercise has a way of getting you excited about the ordinary or at least making you look at the everyday in a different light.

Here are some thoughts on the clips …please feel free to express your own:

Despite straying slightly from the ‘fixed camera’ element, the following clip was inventive in its use of the BFI entrance as the ‘missed’ meeting point with deft point of view camera work from Mark (delegate) & Ebenezer. See how the subject walks into the frame having handed the camera over.

Nicely set up wide shot in the BFI lobby. There’s some real coming and going of BFI visitors and you’re not quite sure who the subject is until he starts pacing and looking at his watch. I like the way you have him running downstairs for the meet up.

I think it’s a lovely well-balanced shot photographically, all that depth of field and interesting framing. Also like the way you stayed with the couple walking, receding into the distance and merging with the rest of the general public.

I have to say, when I first watched this I didn’t notice the waiting subject because he merged into the black lamp post and I was watching the passers-by. Was this intentional? I was also intrigued by the incongruous diegetic sound of the Southbank skate-boarders. Loving how you chose not to reveal this! I also like the way the second character walks in from the side with her back to us.

‘Missed Meeting’ Take 2: great location decision, next to the unsuspecting man on his laptop. How could he have known that his nonchalant look upwards could have played such an important part in the project!?

Another ‘unfixed’ camera, but all is forgiven because it was a great choice of setting. I like the opening shot with the sight and sound of sizzling food, the disembodied footsteps, the sunlight, the following of the subject as she waits and wanders and then asks the stall holder the time. Also good timing as subject B turns up, again entering the frame from the side, and this is the point where we see Subject A’s smiling face for the first time as she turns round.

Thanks to all the delegates for being great on the day, to the boys for their valuable input and finally to Chris Waugh for bringing the boys, taking the photos and being a fantastic mentor-teacher. (BTW, this is where the Ancient Mariner / ‘real’ zombies clip resides).

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