I started playing with video on my phone about three years ago. It started when a friend of mine shared a tiny clip of himself that he recorded from his drone. My mind was blown at the idea that normal people like me could get our hands on a camera that could fly. I googled drones and was introduced to this entire world of filmmaking, lighting, cameras and tutorials. I got the drone, and about a year later, I bought my first camera, a mirrorless photo-video hybrid, and it all kind of snow-balled from there. The more photos I took; the more videos I made, the more hungry I became to learn, improve and figure out what makes a viewer feel something. I feel like I’m still in that transition period where I need to create more and make more mistakes before confidently identifying as a filmmaker. I’m almost there.
The music! I mean, there’s so much of the process I love. The conceptualising, and playing with mood through lighting, sound and colour. But I think what I love the most is also what drives me most mad – it’s the music. If I have an idea first, I can go a little nuts looking for the perfect tracks, especially when there’s an abundance of great music out there to license. I spend a significant amount of my time curating and cataloging music, and there are times when you hear a track, and you can visualise the story immediately! I love that. But I think overall, developing a narrative that makes the viewer feel something, whether it be with the music, the sound design, the ambiance of the visuals or a combination of it all, that is my favourite part – evoking emotion. I just happen to feel it’s the music that drives most of that.
In addition to video, I spend a lot of my time taking and editing photos and I find I am still doing a bit of it all in terms of photo genre. But regardless of genre, I find the most satisfying part of that creative process is finding and loving the flaws in the frame – and accentuating them. Some rust or some spider web dangling off a flower or a piece of decay. When you pay attention to these little ugly things, you might just see that they are beautiful.
The concept was driven by the theme of the contest – Hope. The interesting thing about this short is that when I think of themes, I like to think of ways to have viewers feel the theme, rather than tell them what the theme is. But with this one, I went straight-on literal with the theme through the narration. The narration and title literally tell the viewer that this is a short about Hope. To compensate for this, we edited the audio to sound like a phone call, or a walkie-talkie conversation to call nostalgia. I think of hope as a future-driven emotion. And when I think of the stars and aliens and other worlds, I don’t think of the past or the present – I think in terms of what we might find or experience in the future. So, through that thought process, I was able to commit to the idea of making this a sci-fi, visually. But I also didn’t want the strong over-the-top colour and deep shadows to detract from the message, which is where the walkie-talkie audio and music helped immensely. The track we licensed was also just fitting, as it really sounded like a sci-fi track and it called for hope and inspiration. And to round it off, we added some astronaut sounds deep in the background. Though I suspect a lot of viewers didn’t hear the astronauts, I hoped that the sound of muffled astronauts talking to Houston would provide a sense of support and being not-alone.