Saturday, 30 October 2010

House of Wax (1953) Review...

House of Wax is a 1953 American horror film starring Vincent Price and directed by André de Toth. The House of Wax was an early example of the 3-D film craze of the early 1950s and the film was the first 3-D color feature from a major American studio. The story follows a 'Professor who is a devoted wax figure sculptor with a museum in 1910s New York. When his financial partner demands more sensational exhibits to increase profits, he refuses. In retaliation, his partner deliberately sets the museum on fire, intending to claim the insurance money, splashing kerosene over the sculptor's body and leaving him to die in the fire. Miraculously, he survives with severe injuries, and builds a new House of Wax with help from threatening deaf-mute sculptor, Igor. The museum's popular "Chamber of Horrors" showcases both notable crimes and more recent ones, including the murder of the sculptor's former business partner by a cloaked, disfigured killer. Sue Allen visits the museum, making a discovery that leads to the horrifying truth behind the House of Wax - that all of the waxworks are the wax-coated bodies of the sculptor's victims.'

With the waxworks of Madame tussauds an uncanny experience alone, the concept of the house of wax is an eerie thought on it's own. Even in the beginning of the film when we are first introduced to the house of wax, I found the waxworks to be extremely creepy, which was made more so when they melted in the fire. Despite this build up of eerie feeling and expectancy of the waxworks to come to life and terrorise the town, the actual evil was only human beings, which was extremely disappointing. I felt the storyline of the fire built up really well for a storyline where the waxworks come to life and plot their revenge. However, I was completely enticed by the film and found the storyline to be quite mysterious. It was funny having the scene with the bat and ball in their, clearly an attempt for the filmmakers to showcase their groundbreaking technology to its audience. Overall, House of Wax was an enjoyable film and still works today as a creepy and scary film, although i'm still convinced it should be about waxworks coming to life.

Adaptation Review...

Adaptation is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. 'Frequently cynical screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has just taken on a new assignment. That is, to adapt writer Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief" into a screenplay, all of it based on the life of the eccentric John Laroche, an exotic plant collector based out of Florida. While his easygoing twin brother Donald, is writing scripts with ease, Charlie finds himself on a perpetual struggle that never seems to end.'

Adaptation was a very clever film, with an underlying point emphasising how we are so obsessed with Hollywood plots and narrative. I was amazed that most of the class found the film ok and interesting as my honest opinion was that the storyline was uninteresting and never enticed me, until the ending which was a much more enjoyable experience, thus making it's underlying point as the ending was a Hollywood plot whereas the rest of the film wasn't. The reason I wasn't enticed by the film could be because I'm also used to Hollywood plots, however I 'enjoyed' funny games which follows more of an arthouse plot, as do films like pans labyrinth which I'm also a big fan of. Therefore, I would say that it was mainly because the film wasn't of any interest to me personally, and didn't play to my taste. After what I found to be a dull beginning and middle, the film seemed to pick up at the end with more of an action-packed and eventful story plot. Switching between two different stories, I found Adaptation to be slightly confusing at times finding it hard to follow what was going on. Overall, Adaptation isn't my kind of film at all, with an unenticing and slightly confusing narrative, although the ending made the film slightly more enjoyable.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Sheriff (Villain) Sketches...

The Sheriff (Villain) Silhouette...

After today's character design lesson and some really helpful tips from Justin, I decided to take my biro sketches of the sheriff and create a silhouette in Photoshop. I think it's a good starting point and a great help to see where i'm going with the design of this character, but there are definitely improvements and changes that can be made.

Character Profiles...

Sorrow (Heroin):

An outkast to the rest of civilisation and a lone ranger without any family or friends, Sorrow is taken in by by Master Yinn who becomes like a fatherly figure to her. Whilst her Master Trains her to fight kung fu style, his evil brother, 'The Sheriff', runs the town and sees her master as a threat, having him rid of and killed. Sorrow becomes a lone ranger again left only with her innate ability to use forged weapons and fight kung fu style. This time she isn't alone though, with her new loyal companion, Yang, a horse who would do anything to protect Sorrow. With The Sheriif slowly taking over and corrupting the villages and towns of the west, Sorrow seeks vengence in the name of her master and will stop at nothing and no one to give The Sheriff his comeupance.

Yang (Sidekick):

Yang isn't just an ordinary horse, posing almost human-like qualities synonimous with loyal animal companions found in other films and tv series. Yang was previously Master Yinn's horse, but with his Master dead, Yang knows he must do everything in his power to protect Sorrow and help her rid of the evil. Despite only being a horse, Yang has an innate ability to kick with his hind legs and front legs kung fu style.

The Sheriff (Villain):

The brother to Master Yinn, The Sheriff is an evil force slowly taking over the west, becoming more and more powerful; he needs to be stopped. Despite being a force to be reconned with, and having an ancient samurai/kung fu fighting style, The Sheriff would rather sit back and let his henchmen handle anyone who tries to defy him. No one knows his real name and he has never removed his mask.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Alien Toy Drawings...

Using images from Google, i did some different types of drawings as ideas for our alien in toy form. I showed Bob and Jolanta today and they both seemed happy with the last drawing, based on an image of baby godzilla off of Google images. Jolanta is now going to take this design into the digital painting stage and make the tweaks and changes that are necessary. I've also included the other drawings i've done...

Viral Marketing Campaign - Jay Z 'Decoded' Biography...

'The launch of ‘Decoded‘, a memoir by Jay-Z, will be preceded by a campaign that allows you to read and experience reproductions of entire pages from the book in several locations cited in the biography. While about half of the pages will be displayed on traditional billboards, the rest will be printed on quirkier forms of outdoor media, such as at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool, or on the felt of pool tables in a pool hall – locations specifically cited on those pages of the book... The location for the pages can be determined by searching at, which will also function as home base for an online scavenger hunt. Players will follow clues to arrive at the general vicinity of pages, with a ‘proximity meter’ indicating when they’re getting closer. The first players to discover the pages will be eligible to win a signed copy of the book, and a trip to Las Vegas to see Jay-Z perform at a New Year’s Eve concert.'

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Attack of the 50ft Alien Posters...

Void Canvas Business Card...

Character Design Sketchbook Work...

Here are the long over due pages of drawings i've done so far. As you can see, i've done quite a few clothing designs for the hero and only a few for the villain, using images from the internet as a reference. I still need to develop some more designs for the villain and sidekick though...

Character Design Workshop - Week 4...

At the the beginning of the workshop, Justin introduced us to how shapes were used in weaponary/objects to suit the different characters. The examples he used were weapons in The Lord of the Rings pointing out how the battle axes for the dwarves were square, representing power and strength and the swords for the elves are curved/rounded representing elegance and finesse. Other examples included Gandalf the Grey's natural staff and Saruman's sharp and dangerous looking staff. Each design was made specifically to match the attributes of each character. We were then introduced to The Brave Little Toaster because of the objects which have been turned into characters and given personalities. After this, we were given randomly selected rooms, and asked to turn objects associated with these places into characters. My room was the kitchen which was kind of annoying because a lot of the objects in The Brave Little Toaster were kitchen appliances and i didn't want to copy these so i had to think of some other ideas. In the end i decided to draw a chair, fridge and a spatula. I drew the fridge first, but it seemed to cute and child-like, whereas i was going for femininity and elegance. I then moved onto the chair which i tried to make look quite clumsy. When Justin came round, he helped me develop these designs further and afterwards I had no problem with the chair which seems to be quite shy/scared now, however i still don't think the fridge works, although you can tell it's female and quite elegant. The spatula works quite well in representing sadness and the gaps seem like eyes. I then made good use of the time by getting some tips off Justin about the designs for my sidekick and villain, and he drew a few ideas for me. These were helpful because I was struggling with drawing the horse and wasn't really sure what path i wanted the villain to go down, with Justin convincing me that he would look better if he was big and strong, not thin and tall.

Pitch Feedback

On Wednesday we had our pitch for the group project. I was really pleased with the progress during our pre-production stage and felt that we were keeping up to date with the pipeline of work. We were already aware that the beginning of our trailer needed to be stronger and more effective, from previous feedback we received on our studio blog. I was really pleased with our preparation for the pitch and therefore I felt it went really well, with the main constructive feedback being that we needed to work on the design of our alien from cute toy form to monstrous 50 foot alien form. After receiving this feedback, our group decided to have a quick meeting, agreeing that we now need to work on the alien design, beginning of the trailer and start to push forward with the Maya work in the production stage. Overall, the feedback was a great insight into what we need to improve and how well we’ve progressed as a studio thus far. I feel we almost have a green light for the production stage and I’m now really looking forward to getting hands-on with some Maya modelling.

Maya Car Tutorial - Week 4...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Funny Games U.S. Review...

Funny Games U.S. is the 'English-language remake of a deconstruction in the way violence is portrayed in the media. A family settles into its vacation home, which happens to be the next stop for a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers on an excursion through the neighborhood. In this exploration of our violent society and how depictions of violence reflect and shape our culture, a middle-class family submits both physically and mentally to the torture, violence, and death foisted upon them by two young, unexpected, white-gloved visitors at their vacation retreat near a lake.'

I have to start by saying Funny Games is one of the emotionally tense and powerful films i've ever seen. I've seen many thrillers in my time, some good, some bad, but i don't think i've ever watched a film quite like this. From beginning to end my stomach was churning and i was extremely impressed with how well the film was made, not once resorting to a commercialised technique but sticking to its original arthouse style, duplicating its German counterpart shot by shot. Despite being taken over to the states due to its lack of success in Germany, Director Michael Haneke stood firm with this arthouse style and i must say it is a superb piece of filmmaking, as i watched the reaction and impact it had on everyone in the lecture theatre. At points during the film, the characters stop to almost taunt us and include us in their saddistic 'games', and just when the audience thinks it gets the ending it wants, or feels it deserves, Haneke takes it straight back from them. I'm definitely considering watching the German version and have already found myself recommending it to people. I was particularly impressed by the long static shots used in the second half of the film, as i found myself urging the film to press on which we see in so many commercial thrillers, but it continued to taunt me with its slow and steady pacing. Funny Games is definitely a film worth adding to my collection and it's not often i get to see films like these, often choosing to watch commercial films as my preferance, but Funny Games has reminded me how strong and powerful arthouse filmmaking can actually be.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Review...

In The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) 'A flying saucer lands in Washington, DC. The lone occupant steps out and is shot by a jumpy soldier. A large and very powerful robot appears to save him and is able to melt tanks with the slightest bit of his power. The wounded alien orders Gort to stop his rampage and is taken to a hospital from which he escapes in order to learn more about this planet, by boarding with a family. When they begin to suspect him, he reveals himself, along with the news that Gort is a member of a race of super-robot enforcers invented to keep the peace of the galaxy that will destroy the Earth if provoked.'

The day the earth stood still was a film that I was already aware would have a big impact on our trailer after doing a lot of thorough research. So it was really important to take in the whole film as it has been such a big influence. I was particularly interested in the sound and military influences which didn't disappoint, with a strong sci fi soundtrack that was eerie throughout the film. The sound in the film played a huge part in making the film much more eerie and scary, particularly for the people who would have been watching the film for the first time in the 50s. Unfortunately the story and invasion aspect of the film didn't have an impact on the audience of today's generation as we are aware of the structure of these films, which makes it fairly predictable. Despite this, as filmmakers, we must appreciate films like the day the earth stood still which is arguably the origin of these rules and conventions, and possibly the first sci-fi film of it's kind. Overall, you can see the influence of this film even in today's sci-fi films and therefore I can only admire a film like the day the earth stood still which has helped form possibly my favourite film genre.

Moulin Rouge Review...

In Moulin Rouge, 'The year is 1899, and a young English writer, has come to Paris to follow the Bohemian revolution taking hold of the city's drug and prostitute infested underworld. And nowhere is the thrill of the underworld more alive than at the Moulin Rouge, a night club where the rich and poor men alike come to be entertained by the dancers, but things take a wicked turn for him as he starts a deadly love affair with the star courtesan of the club, Satine. But her affections are also coveted by the club's patron, the Duke. A dangerous love triangle ensues as Satine and the writer fight all odds to stay together but a force that not even love can conquer is taking its toll on Satine.'

Moulin rouge was your typical Romeo and Juliet love story and in that sense I found the story slightly predictable and unoriginal, however, it was the frantic pace and editing of the film that kept me hooked and particularly interested me. Clearly this version of the film has had a big impact from the MTV generation, but there were some really interesting uses of compositing and editing in there. The compositing can be seen with the layers used to show the city, which accompanied with the bold artistic style, created a really effective visual aesthetic. The fast paced editing worked well during the crazed parts of the film, really disorientating the viewer. And visually, the art direction and style of the film were wonderful, really using strong, bold colours effectively and almost making the film seem like a beautifully painted piece of art. Overall, moulin rouge was slightly unoriginal and lacked a unique storyline, but from a filmmaker's point of view, it was a beautifully constructed film, making great use of it's theatrical origin.

The Quatermass Xperiment Review...

The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) follows the storyline of 'Professor Bernard Quatermass who is in charge of a manned rocket mission that has gone awry. When the rocket crash lands in a farmer's field they find that only one of the three occupants is on board; the others have simply vanished. Slowly, the surviving astronaut begins to transform into a hideous creature and Quatermass realizes that he may have been infected by an alien being. When he escapes from the hospital with the help of his unsuspecting wife, the authorities must race to destroy it before it multiplies.'

The quatermass xperiment was a film that i probably wouldn't consider watching again. The storyline wasn't particularly interesting and by the time it had built up to the ending, the monster was just burnt alive and I was left waiting for something to happen and wanting more, neither of which i got. It isn't often I come away from a film with not much to say no matter how good or bad a film is, but the quatermass xperiment has left me pondering about what I can actually write about. Overall, the quatermass xperiment had a slow build up which was as lacklustre as its ending, leaving me waiting for something else to happen. This is not a film I would go out of my way to recommend to people.

Colin White Meeting...

At almost the halfway stage in our character design unit we each had a 15 minute one-to-one meeting with Colin White, who we had previously been introduced to last year as a guest lecturer. Unfortunately, 15 minutes went too quickly and I could have spent hours talking to him, but the 15 minuts I got was extremely resourceful and helpful. I began by introducing him to my genres and storyline, and straight away I was getting a buzz from him. After that, I showed him the drawings I had done thus far and he seemed impressed with the clothing drawings I had produced, reassuring me that it was perfectly fine to take ideas from pictures I got from the internet. He produced a couple of drawings for each of my characters, focusing mainly on my hero because she was the most resolved character at this point and helping me with designs for the villain and sidekick as i'm further behind with them. Colin took the different clothing designs I had for my female character and produced a couple of drawings with these integrated elements. In a couple of minutes I had a 2 really helpful images showing how I could integrate the clothing and objects into my characters. Afterwards, I explained to him that I was struggling with the shape of my sheriff so he quickly drew a couple of sketches that I can now use as a basis. He also gave me some good ideas about which direction I should take the design of the horse in, suggesting that minimalistic objects/clothing may work better. This meeting has since given me the incentive to really push forward with this project and start developing my fully resolved characters.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Postmodernism Lecture Week 3...

- Scream (and Scream again) the avant-garde is dead.
- "The notion of the existence of the avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism." (
- With postmodernism the avant-garde is a notion that has been thrown out and dis-proved.
- Avant garde is the French word for vanguard. A group or work that is innovative or inventive on one or more levels: subject, medium, technique, style, or relationship to context. An avant-garde work pushes the known boundaries of acceptable art sometimes with revolutionary, cultural, or political implications.
- 'We artists will serve you as an avant-garde... the power of the arts is most immediate: when we want to spread new ideas we inscribe them on marble or canvas. What a magnificent destiny for the arts is that of exercising a positive power over society, a true priestly function and of marching in the van [ie vanguard] of all the intellectual faculties! (Henri de Saint-Simon, 1825).
- Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1895.
- Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition: White on White, 1918.
- "It has been in search of the absolute that the avant-garde has arrived at "abstract" or "non-objective" art... The avant-garde poet or artist tries in effect to imitate God by creating something valid solely on its own terms, in the way nature itself is valid, in the way a landscape - not its picture - is aesthetically valid; something given, increate [existing without having been created], independent of meanings, similars or originals..." (Clement Greenberg, Avant-garde and Kitsch, 1939).
- What we arrive at is 'art for art's sake'.
- Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.
- You could argue that postmodernity in the arts kind of begins here with the Fountain.
- Marcel Duchamp, LHOOQ, 1919.
- Pastiche is a cultural artefact composed from elements appropriated from other works; the term can be used in a derogatory sense to indicate lack of originality, or to refer to works that involve a deliberate and playfully imitative tribute. The frequent resort to pastiche is a characteristic feature of postmodernism.
- Appropriation is the direct duplication, copying or incorporation of an image/object from an identified source by an artist who represents it in a different context, thus altering its meaning and questioning notions of originality and authenticity.
- Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Can, 1964.
- Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986.
- Irony is the use of words/images to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning... An expression, utterance or undertaking marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning... A literary or artistic style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect... Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs...
- Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988.
- '... the effacement of some key boundaries or seperations, most notably the erosion of the older distinction between high culture and so-called mass or popular culture. This is perhaps the most distressing development of all from an academic standpoint, which has traditionally had a vested interest in preserving a realm of high or elite culture... and in transmitting difficult and complex skills of reading, listening and seeing to its initiates...' (Frederic Jameson, The Cultural Turn, 1999).
- Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy), 1989.
- Sherrie Levine, Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp: A.P.), 1991.
- "I try to make art which celebrates doubt and uncertainty. Which provokes answers but doesn't give them. Which withholds absolute meaning by incorporating parasite meanings. Which suspends meaning while perpetually dispatching you toward interpretation, urging you beyong dogmatism, beyond doctrine, beyond ideology, beyond authority." (Sherrie Levine).
- Golf GTI, 'Singing in the Rain Remix', 2005.
- 'Culture beginning to cannibalise itself.'
- '... In a world in which stylistic innovation is no longer possible, all that is left is to imitate dead styles, to speak through the masks and with the voices of the styles in the imaginary museum... this means that contemporary or postmodernist art is going to be about art itself in a new kind of way; even more, it means that one of its essential messages will involve the necessary failure of art and aesthetic, the failure of the new, the inprisonment of the past...' (Frederic Jameson, The Cultural Turn, Verso, 1999).
- 'The Nostalgia Mode' (La Mode Retro).
- Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho shower scene.
- Halloween followed a successful formula, as did Friday the 13th.
- "What's the point? They're all the same, some stupid killer stalking some big breasted girl who can't act who's always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It's insulting." (Sidney Prescott, Scream).
- "A psycho killer obsessed with horror movies terrorizes a high schooler (Neve Campbell), whose mother was brutally murdered exactly one year earlier. Sounds like a typical, predictable, slasher film, and to a certain extent, horror maven Wes Craven's latest is. But, ironically, the predictability is actually one of the film's virtues. Scream, written with much self-mocking wit by Kevin Williamson, is also a satire of the "scary movie" genre, knowingly highlighting and celebrating its formula trappings while poking fun at them..." (
- "The slasher genre was long dead before this came along. Since the days of Halloween and Friday the 13th the genre had drowned itself with a cascade of rip-offs, clones and semi-spoofs. But along came Wes Craven and conjured up Scream, a self-aware film which tried to break free of the old slasher mould by offering us something very different. And it works to almost perfection. There is no question that the film isn't cliched itself. Practically everything had been done before. There's the girl who goes outside to investigate a noise, the teenager alone in the house, the killer who wears a mask, etc. But because the characters in the film know this as well, the film is turned right around into something very fresh and innovative." (
- "There is, perhaps, a degree of consensus that the typical post-modernist artefact is playful, self-ironizing and even schizoid; and that it reacts to the austere autonomy of high modernism by impudently embracing the language of commerce and commodity. It's stance towards cultural tradition is one of irreverent pastiche, and its contrived depthlessness undermines all metaphysical solemnities..." (Terry Eagleton, 1987).

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sidekick Idea #2... The horse...

My original idea was to have the sheriff (our kung fu fighter) as the hero and a young female character as the sidekick that he trains. Since then i have had the idea of making our a sidekick a kung fu fighting horse mainly because i think it's much more interesting, original and fun to do. Therefore i think this young female character will become the hero because she will connect with the audience and i'm still keeping the sheriff as her 'master' who teaches the young female and the horse kung fu. Here are some well-known horse characters, which have been given human characteristics, that i will use as references...




Week 3 Maya Tutorials... Mustang...

Friday, 8 October 2010

Guest Lecturer - Matthew Spradlin...

On Monday, we had a visit from Matthew Spradlin, the writer of Bad Kids Go To Hell, to give us a talk on narrative, scripting, pitches and all things film/Hollywood orientated. It was nice to have another lecturer visit to give us an insight into the industry from a first hand perspective and to share his experiences; this is really invaluable stuff and can only help our knowledge grow and develop. He helped with the group project by giving us some examples of good scripts to look at, as well as recommending some films and comics to watch for their effective use of narrative. It was really interesting to see his show bible for 'Thriller', a TV show about four kids in a rock band who battle zombies. I particularly like the way we got to see a first-hand example of the type of work he's producing at industry standard, also giving us a really helpful structure chart to keep with us at all times as a guideline for writing structured narratives. However, he did specify that this isn't a 'set-in-stone' structure and that many great narratives break the 'rules' of this three act structure. He was also helpful in giving us an insight into the marketing side of the industry, providing examples of ways we can sell our products to the audience. A lot of the suggestions were ideas i had already considered, but he did come up with a few new ideas that we could use in our group. Overall, it was another enjoyable lecture which turned out to be more like a friendly and casual chat. Cheers Matthew and Alan...

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Scream Review...

Scream is an American horror film directed by Wes Craven in 1996. The film tells the story of the fictional town Woodsboro being terrorised by a masked killer who enjoys tormenting his victims with phone calls and movie references. The killer's main target is a teenage girl whose mother fell victim to a brutal murder one year earlier. The film takes on a "whodunit" mystery, with many of her friends and townspeople being fellow targets and suspects. Scream was a box office success, grossing $173,046,663 internationally and received very positive reviews from critics with Rotten Tomatoes awarding the film an 81% rating. The film single-handedly revitalized the slasher film genre in the late 1990s, similar to the impact Halloween (1978) had on late 1970s film, by using a standard concept with a tongue-in-cheek approach that combined straightforward scares with dialogue that ridiculed slasher film conventions.

This was the first time I had seen Scream even though I had heard a lot about its successful impact in the film industry and I must say, it didn't disappoint. From beginning to end, its ridicule of the slasher film genre made it an enjoyable and very original concept for its time. Since then films like the Scary movie franchise have taken this concept and overused this concept to ridicule not only the horror/slasher film genre, but other genres and movies in general. I particularly liked the way the lead actress (Drew Barrymore) dies and straight away you can tell this is a slasher movie with a twist, playing with the "rules" that have been established, extremely cleverly. I had seen Scary Movie before this film which almost completely steals from and ridicules Scream, meaning that I was convinced the killer was the deputy, but how wrong could I be. Scream was a really enjoyable film and I loved the fact that it ridiculed this genre as I haven't watched a decent horror/slasher film for years, constantly being disappointed. I'm definitely going to watching the sequels now.

Postmodernism in Mulholland Drive...

- In David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, we can find an example of schizoid postmodernism.
- His use of decentred narrative is the most adbundantly postmodern feature of the film. We are led to believe that the film is centred around the bond developing between an aspiring actress new to Hollywood, and the only surving victim of a car crash with memory loss, as the two attempt to solve the mystery of her memory. Parallel to this story is a film director who is being strong armed by those backing his latest film. While the film's fragmented narrative is mostly interspersed scenes of the previously mentioned stories, several scenes which appear to be independent from the rest of the film are included within the narrative frame as well. The lack of narrative line and the fact that most scenes act more as independent vignettes lends to the notion of a decentred narrative.
- The film can also be considered a pastiche of film noir on several levels. Firstly, the film is very nostalgic of the 1950s era, especially with the story taking place in Hollywood. Whilst Mulholland Drive also echoes classic noir in the use of the detective plot during the dream portion of the film.
- Lynch's ability to combine many aspects of postmodern film is the sort of blend that firmly sets his films in the postmodern realm. Primarily though, it is through the use of a decentred narrative and nostalgic feel for film noir that Mulholland Drive is able to be categorised as a postmodern noir film.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Character Design Drawings...

After our second week of character design workshop, we were asked to start producing some basic shapes using the squares, circles and triangle designs Justin showed us. These are the drawings i came up with, the top being an example of a square shape design, the middle an example of circular design and the bottom an example of triangular design. As you can already begin to see, each shape gives a certain tone and feel to the character, with the square shape being particularly masculine and the circular shape being more curvacious and feminine. I am fairly happy with these designs as building blocks, which were taken from influential images i've found. However, as Justin informed me today, i seem to have jumped ahead a little and skipped a few stages, so therefore i need to go back and block out some really basic shapes and build up from there. The good thing is these drawings have given me a starting idea in my head and hopefully I can end up with a fully reformed design using the pipeline Justin is teaching us.

Cowboy and Kung Fu Fighting Stereotype Comparison...

Here's a comparison I put together after researcching into both cowboy/sheriff and kung fu fighter stereotypes. After i created the list, i started to see some similarities or ways of combining the traits to create a kung fu western. Here is the list of commonalities i found...

- Both kung fu fighters and cowboys are known to wear bandanas.
- A spur and the sheriff's badge both resemble a star shape which we can connect to the idea of the ninja star.
- The robe in kung fu and long coat in westerns could be integrated.
- A stereotypical Asian hat is the conical hat whereas in westerns we are used to seeing a cowboy hat.
- Both Cowboys and Kung fu fighters wear gloves.

Character Design Workshop Week 3...

Our third character design workshop began with a further continuation of the shapes of characters, building on from last weeks basic shapes. We looked at introducing shapes at the key points in the body and drawing interconnecting lines to create our characters. To get some practice in how to use these key points, Justin gave us a randomised group of characters that we had to draw using simple shapes to create a 'naked' outline for each character. I started of with Mushu from Mulan. When i first attempted to draw his shape, i got the idea of key points wrong and found myself drawing circles for the whole body. Justin came round and showed me that i firstly needed to see what shapes the character was made up of then put in the key shapes for key areas and then draw interconnecting lines. After Justin showed me on the page what he meant, I found it a lot easier to map out the shapes for these characters and i ended up doing Daffy Duck, Tigger, and Obelix. I enjoyed doing these drawings, and i felt that i completed them fairly successfully. However, i did notice that they were all rounded characters and if i had chosen a squarer or triangular shaped character, it's possible that i may have struggled more because of their complexity. After doing these drawings we were shown the key stereotype differences between male and female characters and then asked to pick an image of a character and try and turn them into a female. I decided to take Hercules and try and recreate a female version, but this didn't go to plan i found myself really struggling. When Justin came back round, he chose to take my previous drawing of Mushu and create a female version to help me get a better idea. I started to see how elements like more curvacious lines, feminine eyes, smaller features, and longer hair all helped to create this look. Shortly after that, we were shown how to do turnarounds, with Justin using Hercules as an example on the white board. We were then asked to take one of our characters and create a turnaround for another angle of the character. I chose Obelix, and although i was able to draw from the image fairly successfully, i found it extremely hard to make up the rest of my image and therefore i felt that my turnaround wasn't particularly successfull. I really enjoyed this lesson and i felt it gave me a further insight on how to develop the shapes for my own characters. I'm looking forward to integrating what we've learnt so far into my own character designs.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Maya Tutorials - Week 2... Mustang...

Postmodernism Lecture 2 Notes...

Introducing Postmodernism or 'The Apple, Auschwitz and The Incredulous Frenchman'...

- Jean-Francois Lyotard argues that the postmodern age is characterised by an 'incredulity towards meta-narratives.' (The Postmodern Condition: A report on knowledge, 1979).
- Incredulous is to not believe in something.
- Meta-narratives are large-scale theories and philosophies of the world.
- Examples of meta-narratives include religion, science, history and art.
- Meta-narratives are Teleological.
- Teleology supposes that there is inherent purpose or a directive principle at work in nature; put simply, it describes the inevitable 'coming-to-be' of something - the guarantee of progression towards a higher, greater level of development or definitive form.
- Religion is teleological because of its emphasis on transcendence.
- Art is teleological because of its perceived evolution from art movement to art movement and associated notion of the 'avant-garde'.
- Science is teleological because scientific discoveries are seen as unlocking the secrets of existence and revealing it finally.
- History is teleological because of the perceived progression from epoch to epoch, with each age more advanced than its predecessor.
- Meta-narratives are Utopian.
- Utopia is an ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral apects. In other words, they all lived happily ever after.
- Meta-narratives are Essentialist.
- Essentialism is the practice of regarding something as having innate existence or universal validity.
- Meta-narratives are Modern.
- "Modernism is a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology, and practical experimentation, and is thus in its essence both progressive and optimistic." (
- "Simply put, the overarching goal of Modernism... has been the creation of a better society." (Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe, Roots of Modernism,

All the planets and other objects in the universe move according to gravity; this mutual attraction explains the orderly and mechanistic motions of the universe.

The Universe can be explained completely through the use of mathematics; mathematical models of the universe are accurate physical descriptions of the universe.

The universe operates in a rational and predictable way following the mathematics used to describe the universe; the universe is mechanistic.

One need not appeal to religion or theology to explain any aspect of the physical phenomena of the universe.

- "If the universe was a vast machine of interacting objects, that meant that it could be understood as a machine. Human reason and the simple observation of the phenomena were sufficient to explain the universe; if physical phenomena were mechanistic, that means that physical phenomena can be manipulated, that is engineered... If the universe was a machine and could be understood rationally, then so perhaps could economics, history, politics, and ethics. It also followed that if economics, history, politics, and ethics were mechanical, they could be explained without recourse to religion or God and they could be manipulated as if they were machines, that is, they could be improved, engineered, and made to run better." (Richard Hooker, The European Enlightenment - The Scientific Revolution,
- 'The Enlightenment Project' (1668-1789).
- "Eighteenth century science saw an explosion of empirical knowledge about the physical world. A virtual flood of empirical observations and calculations inspired not only an increase in knowledge, but a massive effort to systematize that knowledge as Newton had done. The scientific revolution of the eighteenth century is, above everything else, characterized by fanatical conversion of knowledge into rational systems." (Richard Hooker, The European Enlightenment - The Scientific Revolution,
- Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801).
- Physiognomy is when you categorise people's personalities by reading their facial features. (refer to physiognomy pictures).
- Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914).
- Categorising criminality through the human face.
- "Every measurement slowly reveals the workings of the criminal. Careful observation and patience will reveal the truth." (Alphonse Bertillon).
- "The morally best, the most beautiful. The morally worst, the most deformed." (Johann Kaspar Lavater).
- "I hence conclude that the improvement of the breed of mankind is no insuperable difficulty. If everybody were to agree on the improvement of the race of man being a matter of the very utmost importance, and if the theory of the hereditary transmission of qualities in men was as thoroughly understood as it is in the case of our domestic animals, I see no absurdity in supposing that, in some way or other, the improvement would be carried into effect." (Francis Galton, Memories of My Life, 1908).
- 'The Final Solution' (Adolf Hitler).
- Hitler was all about a better society, but only accoring to his own ideas.
- Meta-narratives are teleological?
- Largely it isn't.
- Meta-narratives are utopian?
- There aren't huge amounts of evidence that we're moving towards utopian existence.
- Meta-narratives are essentialist?
- Culturally we are at greater fragmentation right now.
- "The Enlightenment project... took it as axiomatic (self-evident) that there was only one possible answer to any question; from this it followed that the world could be controlled and rationally ordered if we could only picture and represent it rightly; this presumed there existed a single correct mode of representation which, if we could uncover it (and this is what the scientific and mathematical endeavours were all about), would provide the means to Enlightenment ends." (David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity).
- "The postmodern is deliberately elusive as a concept, avoiding as much as possible the modernist desire to classify and thereby delimit, bound, and confine. Postmodernism partakes of uncertainty, insecurity, doubt, and accepts ambiguity. Whereas Modernism seeks closure in form and is concerned with conclusions, postmodernism is open, unbounded, and concerned with process and 'becoming'." (Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe, Roots of Modernism).