Author Archives: afishe21

Ars Poetica, by Aidan Fisher

Ars Poetica, by Aidan Fisher

Art is a gift. Not in the sense of a talent, but in the sense that art belongs to society as soon as it has been created. It is something that has been made to give people a chance to think about something else. Whether that is an escape, where one can forget about their problems, or whether it is a place where one can think about some of the bigger ones, art is meant to take us away for a little while. The way an image or a sound can change reality is remarkable, and some certain works of art are even immortalized by the human race, such as the Mona Lisa, the Smiley Face, and the song “Happy Birthday”. Art defines the way a society presents itself, as well as allowing millions of unique minds to express themselves in thousands of different ways. Because of this, choosing to become an artist in the form of a filmmaker has been quite daunting. But I have realized there are several reasons for why I have to at least try to be an artist.

I. Spreading Joy
Since I was a young kid, I have been telling stories. Many of those stories started out as excuses for why I didn’t have homework to turn in, but by the time I was a teenager, I realized I enjoyed telling stories to amuse people. In high school, I loved to write funny stories to read during English class so I could make people laugh. Over the years now, I have realized how important it can be to make someone laugh. There is a lot of tragedy and stress in this world, but a moment spent enjoying something entertaining is a small respite. I don’t know if any art that I create will ever alleviate tragedy or stress, but I don’t think these are bad goals to aim for.

II. Imagination
Another reason why I want to create films is because it provides a way to utilize one’s imagination. I have always loved to play. As a kid, I loved being able to invent my own story, and place myself in another world. As an adult, it has been extremely hard to find places where to use my imagination. Filmmaking allows me to once again invent my own story, and to place not just me, but an audience into another world. That is one thing I really appreciated about Jimmy Joe Roche’s film, “Hilvarenbeek.”

III. A Unique Message
Film makes it possible to give an audience many different impressions, just the same as an abstract painting or an interesting chord might evoke many different emotions. At first, I was hesitant to accept more experimental and abstract films, choosing to favor more main-stream films that laid everything out clearly and simply. But after watching some of the films by Wolf Vostell and Werner Herzog, I learned that it is very possible to evoke powerful emotions and messages from seemingly abstract images and sounds. I realized that no two people could have the same exact interpretation from a film that guards itself a little more. Films that don’t provide a clear message allow the viewer to walk away with their own, which is often times better than what the filmmaker had in mind anyway. This personalized emotion is completely unique, and in my opinion, it is what makes filmmaking special.

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by | July 31, 2012 · 7:12 pm

Process Blog – We Shall Go No More a Roving Revision

I decided to revise the video based on the poem, “We Shall Go No More a Roving,” by Lord Byron. In the first video, I felt that the timing could have matched better to the music and rhythm of the poem, and I also felt that some of the clips lagged on for a little too long. Therefore, on the revised version, I focused a lot on timing the shots up to the music and poem.
Another thing that bothered me about the first version was also that I felt that there were a lot of shots that didn’t really fit, such as some of the out of focus shot and an image of clouds. At the same time, I also felt that there were clips that weren’t utilized properly in the first version, such as the bubbling of the beer, the drinking shots, and the close-up shot on the beer in the glass. In the revision, I removed many of the shots that I felt were unnecessary, while repeating and moving many of the shots I wanted to keep. There were a few elements I chose to retain from the first version, which were mainly the shots of the eye opening and closing.
Finally, the first film didn’t give enough of an impression that the drinking scenes were flash backs to the night before, which is what I had wanted them to be. In an attempt to correct this, I decided to try to enhance the coloring and to add a glow effect to the shots during the nighttime. However, I wanted these to be subtle, because I didn’t want the viewer to think that the character had had a magical evening. Therefore, I simply cranked up the saturation on a lot of the beer shots, and then added an effect that causes light to shine really brightly and blurrily. In conclusion, I felt that the final version now has a faster, better pace but also contains the feelings of regret and shame present in the first version.

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by | July 30, 2012 · 7:02 pm

“The Garden of Love”

A clay-mation film based on the poem by William Blake

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by | July 26, 2012 · 6:21 pm

“On Gut” Process Blog

I based my short stop-motion animation film off of the poem, “On Gut,” by Ben Jonson. This poem speaks about “Gut” as if he were a character, and how his gluttony fuels another sin, such as lust. I decided the basic premise would be some sort of character eating himself into a situation that showed some form of lust, which I decided would be the lust for power.

Since the poem had a fairly dark tone, I decided I wanted to offset this with something light or childish. I originally chose clay to work with, as I felt that it was easy to manipulate and it would convey a light tone. However, I found that clay was actually a fairly difficult substance to manipulate in one place. For example, if I tried to adjust the eyes, I might cause indentations somewhere else on the face. And since I also wanted there to be a crowd of other characters in the film, I had to keep changing every individual for each shot. Ultimately, I decided for the sake of time that I would work with stuffed animals instead of clay.

The stuffed animals proved to be easy to manipulate, but also rigid enough that I could move them without their entire structure changing. I chose he setting to be on top of a laid out towel in my living room. I could control the levels of natural light in that room the easiest, and the towel allowed for me to have a good idea as to which stuffed animals I had moved all ready prior to each shot. For the main character, I chose a large monkey puppet, and I used dog biscuits for the food. I felt that the monkey was the closest representation of a human while still being an animal, and since it was a puppet, it had a mouth ideal for eating the dog biscuits. The dog biscuits were easy to crumble, and I could crush them to make it seem like the monkey was actually chewing them up.

The greatest difficulty I encountered came from having to worry about balance and gravity. Many times stuffed animals would fall over. Moving the monkey’s arms also proved to be challenging. To fight this, I was able to use needles and safety pins to hold parts up and stick things together. Despite the difficulties, I found the stop-motion assignment to be a fun and gratifying way to show a film.

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“On Gut,” a poem by Ben Jonson

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by | July 17, 2012 · 7:38 pm

Process Blog for “We’ll Go No More a Roving,” by Lord Byron

For the film based on Lord Byron’s poem, “We’ll Go No More a Roving,” the poem seemed to have many similarities to that of a person suffering from a hangover after a night of revelry. The poem seemed to have a regretful tone, but in a way that someone might be trying to glaze over the more embarrassing details.

In shooting the film, I knew that I wanted to include some shots of alcohol to let the audience know that the character had been drinking the previous night. I chose to shoot images of beer because the carbonation gave it a dynamic aspect that lent itself to being in a movie, and I appreciated the color. Most of the shots I used played off of pouring the beverage and the foam that followed. I also added a shot of the character drinking the beverage as well as a short stop-motion clip of the level of the beer in the glass getting lower until it emptied.

Next, I needed to include an aspect of time in the film. To do this, I took some night shots of some buildings in the Charles Village area. I wanted the shots to seem like they were from the point of view of the character, so I walked slowly while I was taking the shots. Then, I needed shots of the hangover itself. I first took a shot of myself still in bed at 2:17 pm. I felt that this let the audience know that something was out of the ordinary for the character’s wake up. I followed this with extreme close-ups of myself going about a morning routine. This seemed to provide the themes of shame and regret that the poem called for. I ended the film with another shot of the clock at 2:17 in an attempt to provide a cyclical sort of feel to it, and also to maybe give the audience the notion that the character never got out of bed in the first place.

In the next edit of this film, I want to change a few things and include a little bit more. First of all, I want to add more shots of the characters evening of revelry. I felt that the first version featured a little too much repetition, and it makes it seem like the character had a pretty tame evening, which isn’t what I wanted. Also, I want to make the shots of the evening out more rapid, so the audience gets the feeling that they are flashbacks of vague memories. Lastly, for the end of the film, I am planning on changing the angle of the shot of the clock and the character in bed. I feel that this will make the film a little more interesting as it will add a bit more variety to the piece.

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What Annoys Me…

What annoys me…

The definition of art

Nobody knows exactly how to define art, so it really bugs me when an artist or an art observer feels that they know about what art is more than somebody else. Art is subjective, and therefore it is more or less impossible to say whether a piece of art is good or bad. One may like a certain film, or they may hate it, but it doesn’t mean that the film isn’t art.

The absence of emotion and originality

In my opinion, one cannot just plop some paint on a canvas and call it art. This could be why I have such a problem with some works of modern art. I have always felt that in order to create a masterpiece, an artist must draw from a well of emotion and/or originality. Artists need to create art, not copy it or fake it. This can be said about films as well. It is very easy to tell when a film has been created as an afterthought, or one that has been made without any original ideas or emotions. Art needs to have a deeper meaning for why it deserves to exist, and the artist is responsible for that.

Art that nobody can understand

However, there are some works of art who’s message or meaning are simply too “out there.” While I do feel strongly that art should contain that message or certain meaning within, the message needs to be accessible to at least someone. If no one can ascertain or understand the message that an artist was trying to give, it is almost as if there wasn’t any message in the first place. There are so many artists who get so wrapped up in hidden meanings and symbols that their work isn’t appreciated by anybody.

Art and money

Lastly, art is definitely worth something. However, its value depends solely on an observer’s opinion. So when artists are creating art for financial gain, frequently they will attempt to determine what an observer would value in their work, rather than what the artists themselves would value. For that reason, many original and unique works are often copied, and numerous filmmakers regularly add explosions and chase scenes for the sake of “action.” While I recognize that many good films would not have been created if it weren’t for the incentive of wealth, I still think that many more bad films are created due to the incentive of wealth.

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“On Gut” by Ben Jonson

Gut eats all day and lechers all the night;
So all his meat he tasteth over twice;
And, striving so to double his delight,
He makes himself a thoroughfare of vice.
Thus in his belly can he change a sin:
Lust it comes out, that gluttony went in.

            The poem I have chosen for the stop-motion assignment is “On Gut,” by Ben Jonson. The themes of sin in the forms of gluttony, greed, and lust are present throughout, and the poet seems to think that the root of these sins lie in the gut of man. It’s a very pessimistic view as to the nature of mankind. I think a visualization of this poem would not only emphasize the poet’s message, but I also feel that the poem can be interpreted visually in many different ways, which is due to the abstract nature of the poem. This would allow the filmmaker a certain degree of flexibility when choosing what to shoot.


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“We’ll Go No More a Roving,” A film set to the poem by Lord Byron

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by | July 10, 2012 · 8:43 pm

“So We’ll Go No More A Roving”, by Lord Byron (George Gordon)

So, we’ll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

I chose this poem because I found that I could relate quite well to it, especially in the college setting. It describes the passing of time in the sense of aging. Despite the fact that the moon and the night are still beautiful and able to be explored, the time for wandering about and exploring the evening has passed. This seemed to parallel the college experience, just as one starts out with a youthful sense of wonder and then matures into an adult about to enter the professional world. I feel that there is powerful imagery within this poem, and I think it has a rhythm that lends itself to moving images.

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