Sunday, May 23, 2010

looking and listening

I took American Sign Language and Deaf Art & Cinema this past quarter and was taught the importance of visual communication both in terms of everyday communication itself, as well as in terms of cinema.

I also took Audio Concepts for Animation, where the importance of sound being the life and soul of a film couldn't be stressed enough.

I haven't had the time to properly reflect on this.

But here's my final project for the audio class.. I did NOT animate this. Two guys in our class did for the purpose of the assignment.

AUDIO for Animation from Shreyasi Das on Vimeo.

The audio quality has deteriorated a little after uploading. Make sure to wear good quality stereo headphones to experience the truest product of my efforts!! I worked on this with my partner and did the first half of it till the "hell" sequence, while she did the soundscape for the hell scenes. We then looked over, or listened to rather, each others' segments and gave each other feedback. We both recorded sounds in the foley room using a variety of objects not limited to fruits, vegetables, chocolate pudding, mayo, whole punchers, forks and knives, wet t-shirts, rice crispies and so on and so forth.

I think it came out rather nicely!

Also, this quarter, I did all the sound design for my junior friend, Robyn Stanford, (who was also my partner in Audio). She was working on her one-quarter involving dragons and a tea-party and I did all the sound mixing for her. It was received well at screenings, audio-wise as well, and even made it to the Honor's Show! She's given me the kind permission to embed the link to her film here (and forewarns that the colors are slightly off!)

Tea Party from Robyn Stanford on Vimeo.

spring, a few words about

Another year has come to an end, and as always, there's been a flurry of activities. It seems to be a trend at the closing of every Spring quarter.

So, to back up a little- my 10-week animation project, popularly known as the "one-quarter", was completed, screened with good feedback from the faculty at the quarterly screenings, and selected for the School of Film & Animation's (SoFA) Honor's Show to be taking place in Fall next year.

Two days ago, I turned 19 and took charge of my own decisions. I had received an e-mail from the chairperson of SoFA informing me that the faculty members had decided to nominate me to be the undergraduate representative for the National Princess Grace Foundation Award in the Film category. I was tremendously excited. On further research, found out that this award award was meant for thesis films, and furthermore, the deadline for sending DVDs, treatments & proposals, script summaries, pre-production samples, bios, and other paperworks was in 10 days.

I emailed the chair about it and he informed me that the award could be applicable for any advanced project I would be doing next year (not just for a thesis) and that I should let him know immediately if I wished to decline. Had I been doing a thesis next year, it would have been an ideal opportunity, because by that time, I would have had a solid idea at hand, the pre-planning stage would have been rolling, and I would have a lot more samples to send exemplifying my work under my belt.

But next year, I will be working on my "two-quarter" (20-week project), and unlike my thesis, I do not have an entire academic quarter before this project is to be started, to seriously mull on the ideas being catapulted around my head, polishing the idea, etc. Instead, I have 10 days, if I am to apply for this award. As I've mentioned before I think, pre-production and ideation is the most important and most difficult part for me, and unless I can completely marry myself to my idea, I cannot work with it- be it 10 weeks, 20 weeks or an entire year.

If I were to come up with a 2-quarter idea in 10 days, send all the supporting materials and possibly win the award, I would have to be committed to this idea for the next 20 weeks that I would be spending working on it. I would have run the risk of hating an idea I spewed out in that small span of time and jeopardizing one of my three important projects during my time in college. The quality of my work is important to me and I didn't want to potentially sacrifice that by applying for the award. I wasn't afraid of the deadline. I was afraid of what the outcome of winning the award would be.

It was an especially hard decision for me to make, saying no, because my parents and my friends who knew about it were quite vocally against it. But I thought long and hard about it, and decided to forego the opportunity. It was a privilege being presented with the choice, and for me, all that matters is that I am recognized in my school as being capable.

I must say, making huge decisions like these in such short time can drain you of a lot of energy. Especially when you have to spend the rest of the day packing all your belongings and all the junk that accumulated in your room over the year and move out.

This quarter has been amazing. I've met new people, shared new ideas, earned an interview with Pixar at such an early stage in my career (even though it didn't work out in the end) and got many other valuable interview experiences.. I'm excited about what's to come.

Now I'm home, aching from lugging heavy things around. Will take a day or two off before diving into more work. Film festivals. Scholarships. CLEP. Internship. Translating. Animation practice. And ruminating over ideas for my next film. It has to be twice as good, now that I've made such a big deal about spending time on pre-planning.

Happy summer!