To begin this film for the University course, Experimental Production, Forms and Techniques; myself and my collaborator/producer, Karina Carroll, began thinking of experimental ideas that were reliant on a storyline or narrative that could be told simply with images. But at that time, we couldn’t think of anything that was believed to be good enough that could fit within those restrictions. Looking outside these limitations, we began thinking of ways to convey a short narrative without necessarily showing the actions through vision.
We stumbled accross a promotional video for the White Lies’ record “To Lose My Life…” titled “To Lose My Life 4 Play” (2009), directed by Fred&Nick and photographed by Mathew G. Cooke, which uses images central to the themes of the album overlaid with footage of the band both in artistically positioned poses within the image themes as well as footage of the band playing live. The video also contains, in its 11 minutes and 24 seconds, snippets of all of the record’s songs, but mixed in together without the recorded lyrics. In replace of the lyrics being sung, the lyrics have been rerecorded as spoken word pieces performed by three voice actors, which creates an extremely dark place within the viewers mind as well as creating a new meaning to the images that were previously shot. We agreed that this would be the process to try as well as to try and emulate these shooting and editing styles used within the promotional video.
The first step towards making this production was to find a band, willing to shoot in this style. Adrian Plevin, the bassist and creative director of Adelaide band Jupiter Lead, as well as a good creative partner and friend of myself, was contacted and a meeting was soon arranged. Within the first meeting of showing the video clip and talking about a rough narrative, Adrian was completely in agreement with idea and wanted to be fully involved with the production. The group, now consisted of three collaborators; Karina Carroll, myself who were to act as writers, editorial, grip, photography and direction; as well as Adrian Plevin, who was to act as a co-director and writer for the short production. Karina and myself agreed to select Adrian, an individual with no previous film production experience, as a co-director to the production; as we thought it would allow for a different experimental process where traditional boundaries could be surpassed and hopefully creating something that would be radically different and more visually significant.
The idea of the video was to create a promotional video for Jupiter Lead’s upcoming gig and to also promote one of their new songs called “The Funeral”. The rough treatment to begin with, was written by Adrian who wrote in an email:
“The clip its pretty much as follows:
Black and white, rain on the passenger window of a car, girl looking out, distant look in her eyes, perhaps she’s been crying, so maybe the camera pans the car and then ends up on her…
Cut scene, maybe her walking dejected somewhere, outside, maybe at the beach staring off into the ocean… Cut scene, her up close - zooms out and she’s at a cemetery.”
This idea sparked more and more ideas between the three collaborators and at the final meeting before filming; the treatment was finalized to shoot a real simple narrative sequence of a girl, played by Alex Thomson heading to a funeral at night as a last goodbye to a loved one. This sequence was shot on a Friday night, using the Cinemea Verite technique, which is defined by the Australian Screen Organization (2010) as a style of documentary from the French term, “cinema of truth” that follows the subject in an observational style with minimal or no use of filmmaking techniques. Images of Miss Thompon walking and posing were captured with little key direction from Adrian and myself and all the images of Adelaide at night were all shot on the spot with little or no setting up of framing techniques. Most of these shots were all filmed from within the confines of a Holden Stationwagon shooting out the windows, capturing anything that looked visually stunning.
During editing, this funeral sequence would be intercut with night footage of Adelaide shot in the loose technique illustrated in “To Lose My Life 4 Play” (2009). During editing, the main process was to go though the shots collected finding visually stimulating framing that complemented each other and were then spliced together. The audio track; put together by Adrian, including the overlay of the voiceover of the song’s lyrics contributed by Olivia Wells; was then given to myself and and Karina, which was then placed over the top of the already completed edit, resulting in the footage seen in the final edit.