Introduction

In this unit we were thought how to write a narrative. In English, we read short stories to observe how an author would communicate a narrative without the use of dialogue. Then over the next few months, we drafted a story of our own, the challenge being we had to tell the story without relying heavily on dialogue. Our film project was the same, we went through the whole process of telling a visual narrative story without the use of dialogue, we did this by studying old silent films and storytelling techniques they’d use. I really valued this unit because it taught me how to tell a story effectively, so even when I produce narratives with dialogue, I’ll still be able to tell a story properly.

Story

The assignment we were given was to write narrative short stories relying heavily on a description of settings and actions rather than dialogue. My inspiration for the student teacher conflict was derived from the student-teacher relationship between Ken and Rothko in John Logan’s “Red”. We were also assigned to produce an audio version of the story, to produce the audio version of my story I recorded myself reading the story and afterward I added sound effects using Adobe Audition. I valued doing both a written and auditory version of the story because they really are different art forms. The added challenge of sound effects and sound editing is different because in a written version you would have to read a description of the sound whereas in an audio form, you would just hear it.

Screenshot of Adobe Audition

Behind the Scenes

Illustrations

The header for each of these secessions was an illustration done with Adobe Illustrator, While I wanted each one to be unique, I also thought I’d want to stick to the same style throughout, which I did. While creating these I saw myself as a kind of digital Picasso, keeping with the polygonal multi-edged style. The first header was a visual representation of how I thought Thomas viewed himself while his teacher was tearing into him, not knowing the full story and only being able to represent small parts of himself through what he had written. The second I thought symbolized the balancing act that is being an art student, and the dissatisfaction one feels knowing the work they produced is below their potential. The third header was more monochrome, the perspective of an educator unable to connect with a student, high up and unreachable. Finally, the last header was a statement about how conventional teaching is repressive of student creativity, we observe a beautiful colorful creature, full of life and potential, and before t learns from mistakes and knows how things work, we kill it. a student with potential is beautiful, and we should not punish failures, we should ask ourselves what can be done better. Encouraging creativity and fueling the students believe that they can create something amazing.

This Illustration was not created in relation to my story, rather, its a representation of those who may merely observer art, without seeing the struggle of the artist. 

Film Production

This was our big project this unit, our junior narrative film, the challenge was to tell a story visually, without the use of dialogue. Making a narrative film is a long hard process, it took us months to learn all the necessary skills involved with making the film, this section will take you all the way through the process. You can click right here- Jr. Narrative Synopsis-CaseyS to read the synopsis for my narrative film, this was the first draft of what the film was going to be. A lot changed throughout the film making process but the original idea can definitely be seen in the final process. The first valuable storytelling skill we learned came from studying D. W. Griffith, David Wark Griffith was an American director, writer, and producer who pioneered modern cinematic techniques. He was especially famous for “Griffiths Patten”. Griffiths Pattern is a film technique used in visual storytelling to establish the premise of what’s happening in the story. In groups of three, we were challenged to demonstrate this pattern with different establishing shots in a scene of our own (unrelated to any story to make it easier.)

After acquiring the skills necessary to establish that something in a story is happening, we then learn the very important skill of manipulating the emotions of an audience. In this particular project, we focus on how to create suspense through different techniques such as dragging out a dramatic moment or making an audience aware of something our protagonist doesn’t know is about to happen. With a different group of three consisting specifically of people we had never worked with before, we used these techniques to create suspense without the use of any audio.

After finishing this project we dove into the three month long process or creating our Junior Narrative Film. Contrary to popular believe, most of the time it take to produce a film is spent in pre and post production. With a new partner, in groups of two, we set out to storyboard our film, this alone took three weeks to complete.

 

Afterwards, we had to cast actors and set locations, it was about four weeks into production when we actually started filming. after that there was the editing, oh the editing. Turning raw footage into a finished product is hard work. While there was no dialogue between characters we still did have to add sound effects, everything from wind to car doors to ambient room tone, everything you hear in the film was added in post. For a lot of the breathing and fabric sound effects there was nothing specific enough for exactly what I needed so I used a technique called foley. Foley is a method of adding sound where, you would watch the film while recording yourself manipulating different objects to produce sound effects in real time. After the entire editing process we came our with a film I’m quite proud of, But we weren’t done yet. The last step to finishing the project was creating a trailer for our film, using everything we had learned so far when produced a forty second trailer that would captivate the audience and create excitement and suspense, as well as establishing what the story was without giving the plot away to the audience. So before you watch the film I explore you to complete the experience by first watching the trailer.

After months of planning, editing, and just plain hard work in general, it was finally finished. Jordan and I had written a story without words. Making a dialogue-free film is not easy, but it’s rewarding to know that I am fully able to communicate with an audience without saying a word. Here it is, my narrative film, Callow.