Cindy Auyeung, studio class
Moving On From Here
I am very interested in doing intense character studies as a way to start creating a story and through the characters lay down the bare bones for the dialogue and the sort of phrases that they will say. Perhaps using character studies as a method to start writing scripts for film? I am interested in trying that.
As for my projects, Take Flight was more of an experimentation and warm up to more writing. But I do hope to add more content to each chapter and try describing more of the world that the girl is placed in and sort of emulate Ondaatje's style of writing, and make the story a bit more poetic - for practice!
As for The Dinner Party (title varies, haven't decided on a proper title yet), I hope to finish the character studies first, and then fully develop it into a 5.1 radio play. Continuing on, I would like to produce a short dramatic film of the story to show the glances that the girls give to each other as another girl arrives and the flirting with the waiter and so on. So I would like a writing piece from this, a sound piece, and an official script and film. Maybe I'm too ambitious? But I find the process from interesting - how do you compensate for the change in medium? Hopefully, something for an Advanced Film Production class or a Cinematography class.
In the end, both works are still a work in progress. I ran into more technical difficulties than expected, hence I spent as much time figuring out the process as well as writing. I think my writing suffered more and definitely needs more development to enhance the storyline.
This is considered my first time really attempting to write a story that is more creative and not academic or essay-related. I enjoyed it very much, had a lot of fun deciding what kind of details I should include, and would like to continue writing and exploring more ways to make reading more interesting online, as well as improve my writing and story development skills in general. I see myself expanding into script-writing, as I do want to write for film, but lack the chance to try writing anything until now.
I am happy with the result of the sound piece as the characters do sound like they are in conversation with each other. When Lauren, the last girl arrived, the conversation became a bit more awkward, with more pauses, which is what I wanted, but I felt I could have exaggerated more. But I also wanted it to be slightly comical, funny to listen to throughout the whole 9 minutes.
From this experience, I learned that there are many details to pay attention to that you need to write out in language. Description is really important to really get the image you want your viewer to try and imagine. And especially how you introduce and attract your reader to immerse inside your world relies on how well you set up your world and describe it in the first place. So I think I learned to pay attention to this for next time and be more descriptive in my writing. I also feel that I need to exaggerate the characters more - especially for the Dinner story.
As for writers, I really admire Michael Ondaaje's writing, which is very poetic and descriptive, and you have a very beautiful sense and visual image of whatever he is describing. It is also very eloquent and flows very well together.
In the beginning of the semester, I started with Take Flight and planned the general outline of the story on paper.
1) Plan story on paper, draw a draft of the image that I wanted to create links from. (My inspiration ended up being an aritzia retail bag.)
2) Create an image with multiple images from various sources, including Google search with some shapes made by myself. I used Photoshop for this.
3) Create the buttons that the reader will click on.
4) Coding everything. I ran into a lot of problems in the making of this website. This took up many, many hours as I ended up using Flash to do the rollovers and the back buttons after failing to do so in Photoshop and Illustrator. But in the end, Flash worked in combination with HTML.
5) Writing the story.
My focus shifted to The Dinner story in the second half of the semester.
1) Plan the personality of each girl: their hobbies, what they do, what personality they carry which borrows from stereotypes.
2) Build a simple HTML site and link to the pages needed.
3) Write the script. This happened fairly early in the semester, I had a rough draft and then updated it so that it was ready to be read on April 6th.
4) Separated the script of each character so they only needed to read their own lines. My experimentation here was to record each character separately. They only read their own lines and had a bit of context of the story and who they responded to. Otherwise, they don't know who else is part of the story or who else I recorded. So my experimentation here is to see if they actually responded to each other in conversation when I edited them together.
5) Recorded each character
6) Sound Editing: Voices, then background sounds, and then mixing/adjusting panning and volume. There were some problems with sound levels due to the rooms that I ended up recording the characters in. So some sound levels are not properly leveled yet and there is a reverb from the recording that I had trouble getting rid of. This step took up most of the time, around 8-10 hours for a rough version.
What My Projects Are
For Experimental Practices, I have written two separate stories (links below) to experiment with story-telling. In comparison, the dinner story is told through multiple perspectives and with multiple time lines: there is a sound piece that represents present time at the dinner, a biography (intended to be a character study) of each girl, and a history of their grade 12 that represents past time. You would get a sense of what is going on by listening to the sound piece and reading the content on the website.
As for the bird story (Take Flight), it is taken from one perspective of the girl protagonist and you just jump back and forth in time depending on what button you click on to read a chapter, and you would form the story together by reading all the chapters.
My Project Links
(comment Fiona) Hi Cindy, the links are not working for some reason- not sure if it's an ECU issue or your page is down...(end comment) (comment Cindy reply) I'm sorry! I think the server was down for that website for a while! (end comment)
This is a story about six girls that graduated from the same high school. After four years of leading separate lives, they finally meeting again for one night of reunion over dinner. Old tensions and grudges are dug up from the past as the girls see each other again for the first time.
This is a story about a girl who went through a metamorphosis through the means of a magic fountain. Through a series of events, she gains new perspective about her life living in the 21st Century, about love, and about herself. The setting is a city setting but without actual names of places.
Feel free to leave comments about either story here! Please title with your name, which story, and your comment. Thank you!
(Example: Cindy - Take Flight - Keep updating please!)
(Cindy, I think your story The Dinner Party has an interesting setup, you have a lot of potential through exaggerating each characters inner and outer performances. I'm interested in how you see the story progressing, is it more of a conversational piece or something that becomes escalated drama through slow reveal of intentions? The was a guy last summer who delivered a story via twitter which was a chose you own adventure concept. His process was interesting and similar to yours as each person had a different impression and influence on how your outcome would ensue. His planning was what i found to be impressive though as his writing had to be posted from end to beginning due to the nature of twitter post organization.  Another film I thought you might be interested in viewing for its heightened use of drama is The Celebration by Thomas Vinterberg.) (END COMMENT - JENNA)
(Comment Cindy reply) Thank you Jenna! Your point about exaggerating each character and their performances is so true! I am still trying to develop that right now! I wanted to show more subtle hints through their conversations what they actually felt about each other. But I think more of the personality comes through in the sound file I played in class. Thank you for the link as well! (End Comment)
ASSIGNMENT 2, The Proposal, defining a project 1. What work do you wish to pursue? For this class, I wish to pursue writing work that incorporates sound elements into the text, but with very little visuals because I want the reader to use his or her own imagination without having a certain image affixed to a certain character. As for the story and writing part of the work, I wanted to experiment with non-linear story telling, especially when read online on a website.
2. Is it a medium/ practice/ technique that you have had an interest in and not yet an opportunity to explore? Yes, I have always had a strong interest in fictional and creative writing but didn’t have a lot of opportunity to practice and explore it as a project or as a strong focus in my work yet.
3. is it a 'stab in the dark' in the interest of taking you into personally uncharted territory? It is a ‘stab in the dark’ in the sense that I’ve never really tried writing my own story before and have not explored combining sound and writing, which is a very powerful way to inform the reader instead of using visuals and staying with the rules of filming. However, sound is not totally uncharted territory for me and in fact, I have had quite a strong interest in recording, editing, and mixing sounds and music.
4. It is encouraged to be outside of your current experience/techniques, but is it also outside of your conceptual habits/comfort zone? Writing stories, even though it may or may not be related to one’s own life, is still quite a personal and sometimes vulnerable position to be in. Especially for me, since I haven’t written my own story before, doing this project will be outside of my comfort zone. I don’t have a lot of experience in structuring and narrating a story, but my project does not follow a linear storyline either so conceptually the project is very different as well.
5. What is it about this area of inquiry/subject/media/medium etc. that interests you? I am interested in story-telling because the mediums I’m interested in, film, video, media, writing, and sound, are all involved with telling a story, whatever the narrative may be. The most important goal for any of these mediums working together is how the use of sound or the use of a scene in a film tells a story about the character, about character development, about the mood and setting in the story and place in time. Therefore, I have an increasing sense of awareness and emphasis on story-telling and I want to explore that in time, one of the most traditional forms with story.
ASSIGNMENT 1, Thinking about Experimental Practices
1. What's your individual perspective on experimentation? (eg. working against being deliberate? working toward spontaneity/improvisation or working outside or your area of expertise/ comfort?)
My individual perspective on experimentation is to work outside of my comfort zone and what I think I already know. Most importantly, growth and exploration has a lot to do with working and collaborating on group projects with people I have never worked with before. It's coming up with ideas and not being afraid to propose it to work with someone else or to ask for expertise and advice from someone who does know. Even if experimentation may work well with a spontaneous and open attitude, I think it should still include a lot of research and purpose. Experimentation and how far you go with your ideas also depends on your medium and what you are experimenting with. Your concept may be experimental, or even your medium or process may be experimental (and perhaps something you may never have done before), but how you approach, plan, and execute your work through, for example, performance art in comparison to video art, writing, sound, or dance will be very different.
2. Experimental practice (is this term an oxymoron?)
I don't know if experimental practice is an oxymoron because it is a very personal practice. People may argue or consider it as an oxymoron because so many things have been done before that it is very difficult to cover new ground. But I think experimental practice is for each person to discover new ways of thinking about creating work.
I'm not sure what the academic arguements about experimental practices are, but if anyone does have examples, please do share because I am interested to read about it more!
It is hard for me to picture an artist whose practice is experimental, then I will think: but in what medium? what concept? with what intention? what was the goal? There are so many open-ended questions to such a seemingly open-ended medium, which has very limited possiblities in terms of "creating something completely new, different, or original".
3. What is the significance of experimental work at this particular point in time (considering our global general social/ political/ environmental milieu: social interactions, art practices, art business, politics, social movements, social networking etc.)
Experimental work can have an impact because it can be ambiguous. It is not so easily defined in history, traditions, and the accepted standard way of doing or thinking about things. Perhaps it even takes more time and more understanding to think about the same thing in a different way and that is why experimentation and experimental practice can be so important to our 21st Century because we need to constantly think, reframe, and respond to this world in different ways but too often, it is about the same thing, even though this world is moving along in a very fast pace. This can apply to business, art, media, and social interactions online or offline. Perhaps access to so much information and interaction is so easy that experimentation is the next step to really change the way people can think about things and even about our history, globally and individually.
4. Experimental work example from Ubu.com
The above link is to a musical score written by Philip Glass. Recently, I encountered his work by watching Fog of War directed by Errol Morris. Produced in 2003, this is a documentary film interviewing the former US Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara who worked for both President Kennedy and Johnson. During the time of the interview, McNamara was 85 years old. The original film score for this documentary is by Philip Glass. At the beginning of the film, you hear a score titled 67 Cities.
67 Cities by Philip Glass This is a link to the score on YouTube.
The amazing part of Glass' work, which is apparent in this film score is that it gives so much forward momentum. It also creates mood, suspense, but it stays neutral to the story of the film and doesn't overwhelm or overtake the visuals and the soul of the documentary. So I decided to find Philip Glass at ubu.com and came upon his musical score of rhythm and beat. You tap an amplified table following his two "main beats" choosing between three "melodies" for as long or short as you like. I enjoy this piece because it is a simple structure that can carry more complex notions like experimentation, time, and weight. It is open to you to decide what kind of table to use and what kind of sound that table makes. It is open to you to tap for as long as you can or want. And it is based on two beats in variation to each other.
Sometimes it is very difficult to pull back and work with simple ideas and simple materials to create possibly meaningful work, for which I find that this piece is very inspiring and very "play-able" by anyone, hence, it is open to experimentation in the sense that it is very open to who can play what.
I am not sure if this same work can apply to a canon/tradition/or technique, but tapping a beat has a lot of history from all kinds of musical regions (Japanese, African, Chinese) and drumming or tapping and dancing. And this piece is a very simple, possible reference to multiple histories.
Hi there, I am a 3rd year FVIM student. I am interested in exploring different styles and methods of creating film and video, and I am also very interested in incorporating sound and writing together, which is something I will probably explore for this studio class this semester.
I love to eat and I love good coffee so if you agree with me, I think we will get along just fine!