From strength, to weakness, to strength!
My god, its been a while! And boy, am I glad to be blogging again. So much to share with you, so much has happened: This has been the final sprint to the end of the first year, and it has left me somewhat exhausted. Our small but hard-working group of four have kept busy like the proverbial bee, ensuring all work is finished on time, and we are ready for the reflective essay weekend (which is now upon us!). It’s not over yet, so I cannot return to a regular pace of posts just yet, but we’re nearly done…
…We’ve gone from strengths to weaknesses, on what can only be described as an emotional roller-coaster (cliché alert!)
In this final stage of the first year we have been set a number of practical tasks, which we were to subsequently reflect on with all the relative theory. We have reviewed newspapers, created radio advertisements and made a handful of films, but the schedule was deliberately set to push us harder in the final two weeks. Either that or the lecturers clearly didn’t think through the logic of setting the ‘larger’ tasks towards the end, I assume it’s not the latter but I could be wrong.
The air has been tense with expectation and work pressure for every group, as we wonder what everyone else could be cooking up: I guess that is part of it all though – wondering what we are up against (I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks like that, media students are pre-disposed to be competitive.
I’m excited to reach the ‘grand unveiling’ moment, when we finally get to enjoy the fruits of our labours; today was a taster for that event in some respects, as we finally saw one another’s ‘Peeping Tom’ remake scenes.
And to those of you that are reading this thinking “What on earth is this chap on about?”Peeping tom is a cult film by Michael Powell; a 60’s taboo smasher that had the critics on it’s back ever since it came out.
Aside from that all I will say is the following: ‘B-list, British, Snuff Porn, Serial Killings and Voyeurism.’
That’s all you need to know, that’s all you want to know.
So we created a modern version loosely based on the original, but the main criteria of this task were specifically to not have visible edits, and more importantly explore the ‘fourth look’ (the ‘Fourth Look’ being a rather abstract of audience psycho-analysis developed by Paul Willemen). Here is our attempt:
And here is the original:
Admittedly I was unsure how to do this task for the most part, had I known that we could change it up as much as we wanted we would have thought up something a little crazier. Either way I was in the basement editing a different film whilst my group made this.
So here we are worrying about making some abstract film that plays tricks on the audience and their expectations, absolutely paranoid that Spencer (Our lecturer) will shoot down our work, and at the end of today’s screenings he responds in a way none of us saw coming.
Firstly he congratulated us on our efforts to complete the task he set us, (I think on paper we all completed the task as best we could, even though the brief was rather ambiguous, like one of those ‘no right or wrong answer’ jobs) but he went on to say that pretty-much all of us had failed to pull of the ‘expect the unexpected’ vibe. We tried to defend our work with-what now seems to be petty excuses (such as “the cameras were no good!”) as you do, but he wouldn’t have a bar of it.
I personally tried justifying to him that we had all in-a-sense completed the task we were set, arguing the basis of the ‘fourth look’ theory and how we applied it. It didn’t work, but at least I tried.
Then, when we all ran out of things to say and excuses to throw at him Spencer admitted it was very hard to complete this task, in fact we could only make valid attempts. He then concluded to us that it was so we could understand the workings of this theory (at least, that’s how I interpreted it).
You can pat the student on the back and inflate his or her ego, but the best way to teach someone is put them through their paces, and then knock them back down: We learn from our mistakes, and it’s these humblings that ensure the lesson has hit home for good.
I get Spencer’s style, it’s effective. You still have to work bloody hard to keep on his good side (work wise) but it keeps people on form, and I guess with us all trying hard he has our attention whenever he ‘drops the knowledge’.