How to Learn

The introduction of this project talks about what it takes to learn and where one should focus on when learning. Is it the improvement of skills, or going from one new thing to the other, or just let creativity work without really mastering the skills of filmmaking?

I've really procrastinated with this course. I wonder if it's because I'm doing an other course at the same time, when signing up for two courses I thought it shouldn't be a problem, because at university and schools I would take even 3 or 4 modules at the same time. But maybe with distance learning it takes a lot more discipline to work as hard on both courses as when forced to be a certain schedule. 

An other reason for postponing doing the work for the assignments is that I'm not confident in the technicalities of filming and that keeps me from starting it. I've been looking at a few Lynda.com movies, but have not spent enough time practicing to master it. The same counts for post processing, which will probably take a lot of time as well. 

Both sound like excuses and they actually are. The aim of the course is to learn these things and not stop because I don't know them already!

I have watched a lot of movies and started reading the books from the list, so I feel that I'm starting to look differently at images and image making, but now the main step is to get a move on and start shooting footage myself!

In this project I'm asked to reflect on a project, I'll do that on the last one.

* What I set out to achieve:
- I wanted to produce a movie in which the story is enforced by the camera angles and division of the story in sets.
- I wanted to convey a certain atmosphere in the movie, one of being alone, curiosity and a bit of sneakiness. 
- The audience should stay interested the entire shoot, I wanted to achieve this by bringing pace and enough changes of cuts.

* How can I identify what I achieved:
- By watching the movie a bit later with a fresh eye and see if I feel and see what I had envisioned. I can also ask other viewers to watch it. I asked for feedback from other students, but have not received any so far.

* What I achieved:
- I was able to shoot a movie that kind of keeps the viewers interest, although I think that some scenes are a bit too slow. The ones that worked for me are the first shot in which the camera follows the actor, especially compared to the next one where you see him walking away. That is taking just a bit too long.
- The scene in which the idea was that you could see the actor taking a bottle of coke didn't really work out well because it was too dark. Because of that it is also not really clear that he hears a certain sound. Because of this an important part of the story is not shown. 
- The scene where the actor walks up and down is nice, although there should have been an extra shot in the hallway where we could see him looking for somebody and show some expression so that we know that he is doing something that he's not allowed to.
- The scene in which he pours himself a drink is taking too long. Even though it's funny that all the coke spouts out, it takes away the essence of the story and makes the story dragging. 

* What I learned from this:
- I need to be more critical when editing the film. Some scenes can be shorter, or an other shot with a different camera angle can be added to add more dimension to the film
- What I see when filming comes across differently when it is being watched. With thinking each shot through and be aware of the technical challenges beforehand, I can plan it better and get it right.
- I'm too easily satisfied. I should have done a few shots again. But since I was already very happy to have my son act for these five minutes, I didn't want to ask more. So get a different actor next time!

 

Other questions:

* Is it better to struggle and improve your weaker areas or should you cut your losses and focus on your strengths?
- In my case I find this question not entirely relevant, because right now I only see weaknesses that need to be improved and no strengths to focus on! I do think it is important to get the basic skills right and up till perfection so that from there on I can focus on my creativity and insights in how I want the movie to look like. I think it is important to be encouraged by  glimpses of my strengths, but not be too complacent and think that I'm there. 
- An other thing would be that I enjoy learning and the struggle of going from no skills and knowledge at all to becoming aware of what is good, what I want to achieve and how to achieve it. Through that struggle comes a lot of fulfilment and fun.

* How can you really know what your strengths and weaknesses are?
- Before starting something I can sort of see what will come easier than other things. On the other hand, if I've never done something before, I won't know if it will be a strength or not. I think you can find it out by doing, taking risks, but also by staying self reflective and critical of what the work that has been done. 

* Who can you ask and where can you find out?
- I can ask other students and my tutor. Besides that, I can ask my family and especially brother-in-law, who has a production company. Although I don't feel like showing him anything at all, because I feel like such an utter beginner! I've also been watching instructional movies on lynda.com and creative live and that has also helped me in knowing what works and what doesn't.

* How do you know if you have improved? When is it time to move on?
- I think you know when things come easier and almost instinctively and you feel that you're not struggling with the technicalities, but can focus on creative ways. I think it's time to move on when you're starting to feel too comfortable in what you're doing.