There is a special relationship between a film's first images and its last. This video -- too loose to be called an essay -- presents the first and last moments of 48 short films, recently completed by students at Sydney Film School. These films screened last week at the 26th Sydney Film School Festival, and exhibit all the formal technique and variation one would expect from the students of that institution.*
Sometimes the first and last moments are clearly related. Graphic matching and/or contrast of the moments are evident. (e.g. Little Sam, seen at 3:12). Others present less of a visual relationship between the moments and focus on character state. (e.g. Laserlight Blues, 4:10 - where contrast in character state is evident - or How to Write a Screenplay, 5:38 - where it is not). Some lay bare the ideas of the film (e.g. The Dilemma of Choice, 4:57).
Music for the essay comes from the scores of two of the films references. Albert Torrents' film 'Now It's Time' (seen at 5:44) is the source of the music that runs from 1:40-6:58, and was composed by Antony Martinovic. Anagha Unni's 'Maya.' (seen at 0:24) is the source of the music from 0:01-1:39 and 6:58-8:48, and was composed by Maria Alfonsine.
This video is for educational purposes only. The allusion to 'positive outcomes' in the final title card is a reference to a recent defamatory remark regarding Sydney Film School by the Australian government that the Sydney Film School failed to provide positive outcomes for its students. This video is ample answer to that incorrect assertion. The 48 films sampled in this video indicate the high quality of work made possible by the framework the School provides. Together they comprised 9 hours, or 6 feature films of content, produced largely within a 4-5 month production cycle.
* Disclaimer: the essayist is a teacher at this institution at time of writing.
The best stories play with reflection in the relationship between story world and story heart. The concerns of the story and the characters almost seem to be written on the walls at times, and when examined, nothing seems accidental. A powerful device that many stories benefit from is what John Truby describes as 'the miniature'.
We might mistake this for the device of the significant prop, but it serves a more specific purpose, and isn't limited to the production design. The miniature is a glimpse of the bigger picture, via a smaller picture. Truby draws an analogy to chaos theory and the way fractals reveal tiny versions of themselves when scrutinised at varying magnitudes. The function of the miniature is not just to avoid having to show 'the impossible wide shot', but to satisfy audience desire for reinforcement of the whole of the narrative through its particulars.
Something which didn't make the essay is the way many films use maps to orient their audience re: story world geography. The essay is long enough as it is.
The music chosen is Kilar's superb 'Exodus' piece. Not because Knight of Cups is one of the many films referenced here, but more because its energy fit the edit well, and there seemed a certain appropriateness to having the music of a Polish master in an essay that devotes its last third to another.
Truby's book The Anatomy of Story and his excellent audio lectures can be purchased from his website: truby.com