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My first documentary

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prodigalgodson
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My first documentary

#1

Post by prodigalgodson » August 2nd, 2020, 12:57 am

Hey ICM friends! I've been working on this documentary for the last month, shooting at least a little every day of July, within the borders of Culver City, my little corner of west Los Angeles. It's rough around the edges due to technical/budgetary limitations, and it's very much a product of my sensibilities -- if you know my taste that might give you some sense of what to expect -- which means it probably won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if anyone has an hour to kill on some leisurely amateur filmmaking I'd love to hear your feedback.

https://vimeo.com/443518231

:cheers:

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Mario Gaborović
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#2

Post by Mario Gaborović » August 2nd, 2020, 1:27 am

I've just added your film to MUBI. Just tell me, are you THIS very guy? If not, then I should add a new one.
https://mubi.com/cast/justin-kelly

I'm working on my own contemplative doc, more about it on another occasion.

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prodigalgodson
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#3

Post by prodigalgodson » August 2nd, 2020, 1:48 am

Ahh thank you friend! No that's not me though.

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Mario Gaborović
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#4

Post by Mario Gaborović » August 2nd, 2020, 2:25 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
August 2nd, 2020, 1:48 am
Ahh thank you friend! No that's not me though.
I love this shot the most (l)
Image

I wonder if you had thoughts about eliminating shots that simply ain't attractive enough. That's what I'm most worried about, as keeping one's attention requires something worthy to contemplate over.
Also how many dialogue (and if any) should be put inside a poetic film, as some cinephiles say that's needless in a film that aims to be poetry itself.

These things I wanna clear off before I put something on a table.

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prodigalgodson
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#5

Post by prodigalgodson » August 2nd, 2020, 3:29 am

I appreciate the watch! To answer your questions:

1. I'm not that interested in pure aesthetic pleasure on a shot-by-shot basis so much as how meaning (even in the abstract) is created by a progression of imagery; in this case to capture as authentic an experience of my perspective of a time and place (this was at least as influenced by hip hop as by Marker, Benning, Herzog etc.), which isn't always the most attractive. It's chronologically edited, and I tried to only keep the shots that are interesting and relevant to the world I'm trying to build, as well as including at least some footage from every day of the month. I agree that there should always be things to contemplate, and I may not be providing enough in that regard, but nonstop screensaveresque prettiness is too at odds with authenticity, in my experience, to make for an experience I'd be interested in watching or creating.

2. By dialogue do you mean diagetic conversation between two people or voiceover narration? If it's the former I'd definitely consider including more in a future effort, as I think conversation can add an interesting element. If it's the latter, I'd say it depends on the content. I don't think I'd ever make a documentary where the voiceover was like "this is my place, this is my favorite restaurant, this is my girlfriend," etc., but if the voiceover interacts with the footage in an interesting way or helps illuminate different angles of the world than the imagery alone provides, I'm definitely for it (Peter Mettler's work, which I happened to discover thanks to ICM halfway through filming and writing this, provides for my money an example of ideal contemplative voiceover). Since this is as much about the subjective perspective seeing this constrained world as it is about the world itself, I thought the voiceover added rather than detracted. I tried to walk a line between too explicit and too vague, to make it meaningful without hitting what Tarkovsky would call a "thought ceiling" and negating the participation of the viewer's intellect; I hope I didn't include anything too superfluous. I was working on a silent narrative film when I started this, which I'm hoping to retool now; I definitely appreciate the value of pure imagery too, and my complaint about many documentaries has been a glut of obviating voiceover.

Cheers!

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