TMA 285 DIRECTOR’S REFLECTION
Were you successful at achieving what you set out to achieve? What are you proud of? What would you do differently if you could remake this piece? What did you learn?
My original intent was to shoot a capoeira fight, I observed and shot some of it, but I wasn’t able to get what I wanted and I wasn’t happy with the result. I found the capoeira team and observed them for around 30 minutes, I really liked it and adapted my original plan to this event.
The purpose was to capture some friendly competition and show some of the physical dangers of the sport. I was lucky to capture a very cool moment that I decided to include as the prologue but that luck only came because I was prepared, all my observation paid off and the introduction turned out very nice.
There are some good moments when we see the two fighters and the action.
The ending was strong, we see the fence break and the reaction that comes from that.
If I was to remake this, I’d be more precise in the compositions and let the camera stay for a while instead of being indecisive. I wandered too much and I wish I had more close ups of the hands, the legwork, and the faces.
I learned a lot about the importance of observing and being in the moment, I also felt a lot more prepared to shoot the scripted scene in one shot as I understood the importance of finding the beats and the purpose of the scene by showing the important elements.
Briefly, discuss the following:
What, specifically, did you want to communicate? Were you successful? Why? Why not?
I wanted to show a friendly competition and the inherent risk of any contact sport. In this case, fencing is an elegant yet dangerous activity.
I was successful in showing the risks by adding the prologue which I wanted to have as part of the one take but the rest was too long and didn’t work quite well. I liked the beginning and the end, but the middle felt very insecure, I was everywhere and it shows it was the last shot.
I think it wasn’t a complete failure since I was able to get some of the things I wanted but I wouldn’t say I succeeded either. I think one of the problems was that I spend too much time in that space and by the time shot the scene I was too tired and not fully invested in what was happening.
How, specifically, did you try to communicate this?
The prologue helps a lot because it raises the stakes and shows some of the risks of practicing fencing. I tried to create a sense of competition by focusing in one of the characters and at times using low angles and fast movements to communicate danger.
What did you learn about storytelling:
characters are the center of every story and the conflict only works when we feel some empathy for the characters. No matter what kind of narrative, we should always focus our attention on the characters and the best way to do that is by showing them.
What did you learn about working with actors and getting performance:
Since this a documentary there wasn’t any performance, however, I learned that once you have a camera in front of someone, they will start performing and you have to learn how to deal with it.
In the case of the prologue, the guy who was poked with the fence was one of those that like to perform for the camera and I decided that to deal with that the best thing in that moment was to ignore him and once I cut I explained that I wasn’t looking for any performance and I wanted them to forget the camera was there.
What did you learn about blocking the camera and actors?
This was a great exercise on blocking because I wasn’t supposed to block anything but the camera. It was hard to anticipate the movements but I learned that the more you observe and become part of the environment the better you get at knowing where to put the “camera eye”
What did you learn about visual elements such as lighting, composition, framing, etc.?
In situations where you can’t use any lighting or block your actors, the composition becomes very important. I learned that shooting documentaries is a great way to become a better cinematographer because creating wwell-composedimages becomes part of your nature,
What did you learn about design and art direction?
The reason I chose this scene was because the people fencing was clearly different. The hair and clothing helps create a sense of character and orients the audience.
What did you learn about the Production Process such as pre-production, collaborating with crew, securing equipment, etc.?
I think i just confirmed the fact that securing your equipment very early is very important. I wish could’ve gotten the lens and camera I was planning to get because that would’ve saved me some trouble and helped me get closer to the action and also get wide angles of the fight.
What was it like to watch your film with an audience? Did they understand it? Miss the point? Why did they respond the way they did?
My favorite part was the response to the prologue, It was overall my favorite part of the film because it engaged the audience and they reacted the way I was expecting. The rest of the film was somewhat clear but not as engaging as the introduction.