Author Archives: cwityk

My First Short Film!

It was nothing less than an adventure to create a short film for the first time. One of the first main lessons I learned is that it’s okay if I have no idea what I’m doing while I’m shooting, because film is an art that you learn kinetically, or by doing. I started by brainstorming good shooting locations and figured I could probably get a lot of interesting footage in Hamden while hanging out with my friend. So we spent an afternoon there and I discovered that finding interesting subjects was easier than I had expected. All you have to do is be aware of your surroundings and look at things with an eye for their artistic potential. I also went to Loch Raven Reservoir the next day because it’s one of my favorite places to visit and chill out. The area is particularly beautiful during sunset.

The editing phase was where I really developed my concept. I had initially thought that I would make the film about the coexistence of man and nature, or something like that, inspired by the poem ‘Who robbed the woods.’ But instead, I played around with what I had and came up with a draft of something new. But first, I ran into some technical difficulties. I’m a PC person and very technically challenged, and so using an unfamiliar program on a Mac was a little confusing. But that was nothing compared to figuring out how to transfer my data from one source to another: from the camera to Final Cut and then Final Cut to my external hard drive (which was set up for a PC and had to be wiped). It also did not help that I lost everything after day one of editing when the computer crashed. Yay for Apple.

So after a lot of chocolate and a good night’s sleep, I was ready to get back to editing. I changed the order of many of the shots for the second version, and I worked with the timing in the audio (i.e. the poem). This is where the message of the film transformed from man vs. nature into man’s journey alongside nature. At least, this is the message I gleaned from it; it’s up for interpretation. In all honesty I didn’t even know what it meant until I finished it. Considering my method of just going for it and building the film as I go, as opposed to organizing every little detail from the start, I think my first film actually made itself.

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The Trusting Woods v.2

This is the second version of The Trusting Woods, directed by Cat Wityk for the Auteur 101 class.

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by | July 12, 2013 · 8:54 pm

The Trusting Woods v.1

This is a very rough first draft of a short film called The Trusting Woods, based on the poem Who robbed the woods by Emily Dickinson. Directed by Cat Wityk for the Auteur 101 class in Film&Media Studies at Johns Hopkins Summer Programs.

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by | July 10, 2013 · 9:48 pm

What Annoys Me

It is so easy to describe the many aspects that I really love about art, but what annoys me about it is something I’ve never thought about before. I have always regarded art in the highest esteem and proudly called myself an artist. So then what could I possibly say negatively about it?

Despite all the positives of art, nothing is perfect. Art especially, is not perfect. And yet that in itself is something positive too because it makes the creation unique and human. It requires a certain capacity of the viewer to appreciate it for its oddness. However, some artists take this concept too far. My old English teacher in high school always told her students that “if we don’t like a book, we must not say ‘I do not like this book.’ Instead, we must say ‘I am not ready to appreciate this work.’” That’s all good and well, up to a point. When artists start taking photos of dead dogs and piss and claim it to be a bold statement that others don’t appreciate, that’s where I think we’ve crossed the line. Artistry requires good taste as much as shock value; and the lack thereof is one thing that annoys me about certain works of art.

Good taste goes further than choosing what is appropriate and what is crude. It can determine an artist’s style and genre. Unfortunately in the eyes of my old English teacher, I was never able to appreciate Louisa May Alcott or Jane Austen, simply because the style of writing was so utterly dull and not captivating. Part of the purpose of art is to convey a message; so how will that be possible if the medium is such a turn off? The inability of some works to attract an audience and, more importantly, to maintain an audience is what annoys me about art.

Clearly the audience is essential for making the success of a work possible. But some works honestly don’t deserve the credit that they have gotten. Art has become all about pomp and the artist’s superiority complex; people try too hard to be artsy to make an impression and this, I believe, has taken a toll on the true value and transparency of art. It ought to be made for a higher purpose, yes, but it doesn’t need to advertise itself so egotistically as something noble to be admired. A lot of Renaissance and Romantic paintings are like this, particularly the more religious ones.

As for film, what annoys me the most is inconsistency. So what if you have a bunch of cool shots, one after another? How do they relate to one another? Why am I watching this unexplained, nonsensical stream of images? Every single image that goes onto the big screen is going to mean something, or try to mean something, to the audience. Therefore, a filmmaker’s awareness of what it is he is showing us is essential to focusing on the message, or whatever it is that ties everything together. Similarly, the success of a work is entirely dependent on its conclusion. A good clincher at the end can suddenly turn a mediocre film into a spectacular one. Films such as Inception (2010) that leave the ending open to interpretation or just leave the audience hanging do not satisfy the viewer’s desire to be profoundly affected. Thus, poorly crafted transitions and especially endings are what annoy me about film.

The list of things that annoy me about art apparently goes on and on, contrary to what I had originally thought. Yet I am finding that most of these things are faults of the artist, not necessarily of the art itself. So in a sense, the artist’s process of creating the art is what annoys me. But then again, the process of creation is exactly the best part for an artist.

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Poems and Ideas!

To See A World by William Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

(The imagery and concise simplicity of the poem inspire many up-close shots of small things. When added up, these shots would embody the poem’s message that a larger idea is made of many small parts.)

 

Who robbed the woods by Emily Dickinson

Who robbed the woods,

The trusting woods?

The unsuspecting trees

Brought out their burrs and mosses

His fantasy to please.

He scanned their trinkets, curious,

He grasped, he bore away.

What will the solemn hemlock,

What will the fir-tree say?

(A combination of shots about how man affects nature (perhaps a hand intrudes the frame and snatches away a beautiful flower?) could represent this poem as a social commentary.)

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