I’m learning how to make a movie…but what the hell is an image?

So I’m taking a film class at Filmmakers in Pittsburgh. It’s a super basic course called “Motion Picture Fundamentals” and culminates in a final project: a short 3-4 minute film on Super 8.

To prepare us for this project, my teacher Mike has us shooting a role of 35mm black and white film to turn into a film roman, sort of like La Jetee...

I had all these grand ideas for staging a bunch of shots, but when I brought the camera home, I was struck by the fact that I have NO IDEA what constitutes an image. Zero visual intelligence happening here. It’s sad.

It dawned on me that my relationship to film and the visual image generally is a lot like constantly going to restaurants and being hyper critical about the cuisine, but then going home and not knowing how to hold a skillet.

Mike passed around this packet on “how to compose good photographs.” My initial thought was that it’d be great to bring in a roll of film that breaks every single “rule,” but I should actually learn how to use the light meter and adjust the aperture/shutter speed. And not just take a billion pictures of my pet cat.

I just wrote up my final project proposal … it’ll be (surprise) a science fiction piece. But without much science. Or even fiction (narrative). We’ll see how it turns out. I’ll post my results…

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