Hey look. My computer crashed 24 hours before my final paper was due. Of my undergraduate career. Tomorrow. I think I’m in shock and should just lie down.
Portia is on the cover of OUT magazine, and I’m #2 on their Power 50 list! How gay are we?
The ‘Her Tragedy’ Promotional Clip!
We were so excited by the footage we got during the last week that we just had to share some of it with our supporters and our team. Here is a brief promotional clip showcasing some of the footage we took. The featured music is an original piece by two of our crew members, performed by two of our leads. With this first step, editing is officially underway. We will be releasing further trailers and clips as they are completed.
So this one time I went to Minnesota to shoot a feature length movie called “Her Tragedy.” Only here’s the catch, we had to shoot it in a week. So, me a group of other South Carolina crew members drove the 20 hours to the Twin Cities and had the experience of a life time.
This was my biggest project as director of photography yet, and I’m so proud of the cast and crew. I miss all of them so much.
These make me miss you so much.
Excuse my while I go cry in a corner and wish I could move a camera like this.
This is “bullet-time.” A technique developed by cinematographer Bill Pope for the blockbuster hit The Matrix.
Basically, this cinematography is the sex.
With a hat to match! #menswear #plaid #tweed #polkadots #richstyles
Can I grow up to be a dapper old man, please? Just look at that hat!
My initial field of study was optics, a compromise with my parents, which combined my “passion” for science with my “hobby” in camera technologies. However, halfway through my sophomore year, I realized that my passion was for the cameras and my hobby was the science. This discovery was much in part due to my experiences studying abroad in Japan, where I not only captured images of my travels but also learned about Japan’s unique cinema tradition for the first time. I returned to America with a new thirst for Japanese and gravitated towards animated films and television as both a means of language practice and a field of research.
This intertwining of Japanese and media strengthened, after taking an independent study, focused on Japan’s Takarazuka,an all-female theatre, which also happened to be one of the largest influences on early Japanese animation. During this investigation, I questioned the influence of Westernization on the theatre and, by extension, Japanese society as a whole. However, I realized using a Western lens to understand any culture, other than my own, could lead to harmful and patronizing assumptions. Initially, I was discouraged when I was told that I could never remove my Western perspective. But over time my professors taught me how to turn this bias into awareness, forming my own analytical lens, which I’ve applied not only to my research but also to my filmmaking. The creation of media, like in the analysis of culture, constantly runs the risk of manipulating the individual’s voice.
In fact, this challenge served as the inspiration for taking on a “participatory” documentary project for my Honors senior thesis. I applied for and received a USC Leadership Grant to fund a social media campaign called “Ask My Name,” which utilizes new media practices as a preventative approach to fighting bullying in schools. I teach students awareness about the harms of cyber-bullying and ways to use their digital literacy for building communities instead of tearing others down. By creating their own video projects, I engage the students rather than victimize. The videos will be available online and open for public discussion as a means of raising public awareness beyond the classroom.
Working with these students made me reflect on my own craftsmanship and analyze my own influences, such as the Japanese animator Mamaro Oshii and the American cinematographer Bill Pope, who were influenced by American and Japanese animation, respectively. Which raises the question: Are there elements in animation that make stories more accessible despite cultural differences and can they be utilized by media-makers? For my graduate studies, I propose investigating this fluidity of animation, and then incorporating this research into a new participatory documentary project, focusing on stories about growing up LBGTQ (Lesbian Bisexual Gay Trans* Queer) in South Carolina.
It was not until I traveled across the world and found myself an outsider in a different country, that I realized I had been an outsider back home all along. I do not want to make the same talking-head documentary or satirical cartoon about the LBGTQ experience that already exists. Instead I want to tell new stories, unique to the South, in which the participants direct own stories and I am their director of photography, providing the technical assistance to help them craft their stories. These narratives will be collected on a website, where the public can access them and have a forum for discussion as well as invite others to share their stories.
The aims of this project are gain knowledge in both the history and craft of animation as well as new insight into different modes of visual storytelling. I want to investigate how to communicate a story despite cultural differences, like between the queer and conservative Southern communities. And most importantly I want to develop my own understanding of the history and craft of documentary, especially as it relates to new media practices and how media-makers can facilitate further discussion instead of only providing one piece of the conversation.