Digital Studies Final Project Reflection

Categories Applied Digital Studies

Here I am, at the end of my final semester of my undergraduate career. That means I don’t ever have to go to school ever again if I don’t want to. Wow.

Instead of reeling over the identity crisis that comes with the lack of an institutional safety net (read: a college student is allowed to be just “figuring things out.” A post grad 22-year-old is not.) I thought I’d leave you with my thoughts on my final project for Advanced Digital Studies.

Now, I have many flaws, one of which is trying to do too much at once- far more than I should healthily expect from myself. When I originally came up with my project idea months ago (weeks before I even wrote up the proposal), I thought I could somehow make a movie that combined the impossibly incompatible genres of film noir and mockumentary. This was meant to be created, scripted, and filmed alongside my final for Video Art, which required me to make a movie.

Should I have probably tried to make one movie that would work for both courses? Yes. But, as we all know, hindsight is 20/20.

Finally, I realized that it was virtually impossible to quickly make something that combined mockumentary with noir and was still accessible to audiences. At least, at the time it seemed impossible, but I think that with less outside stressors I may be able to figure it out. Regardless, I made the call to focus simply on the genre of noir.

What I had for weeks following this decision was the problem of trying to get a solid script hashed out. I even enlisted the help of my friend Mark, who is the president of the Film Club, and a fellow English major. Two problems came along with this: one, we had the hardest time focusing, and two, Mark and I have completely different styles. I kept in mind what was doable as a filmmaker when trying to draft the script-simplicity, in my mind, is key. I also wanted to make sure the main character was not a man, as that trope was tired. But, when it comes to attempting to dismantle tropes, one gets bogged down in questions of exactly how much can be changed before the genre itself transforms. Mark looked at the endeavor more as a writer would-meaning basically, anything goes, regardless of its ability to be turned into a workable film. It was also difficult to get him to think outside of the box in terms of plot devices and characters, which I see as my own failing, rather than his own.

But all of that is quite alright. I love Mark, and he took my ideas and brought me the beginning of a hilarious and gregarious script that I would love to pursue someday (maybe that’s what I’ll do with all of my post-graduation time off!)

After a week or so of ignoring the dilemma I still had, I realized I would be much better off simply taking photographs that attempted to emulate noir elements. The process took me a while with my limited resources, especially in terms of lighting, but I think that a lot of the beauty of noir comes from the fact that it was created by low-budget cinematographers, and is largely accessible still to anyone wishing to recreate it.

One day, maybe within the next year, or maybe within the next ten years, I’ll have the time and money needed to make a moving noir picture out of all of the ideas I had when trying to write a script- one that challenges social norms yet retains similarity to the genre. In any case, I had a nice time trying to recreate elements of a genre that, for one reason or another, seems to keep popping up in my life.

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