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Week 3 – Working with a New Visual Format

This week brought along a challenge I hadn’t thought I’d ever have to revisit: acting, and filming. For our team project, we decided to represent the format of oral storytelling through a film set in the near future (20~50 years). This decision came after listening to the fantastic lecture given by the excellent TF Caroline Dunford, who detailed telling stories with our bodies and the art of performance. Previously, it had been the general consensus at our table that performance would be the last format we’d select; favouring prose, graphic design, and illustration instead. However, TF Dunford’s lecture really moved me (us, all really), and the way she spoke of bringing stories to life through our bodies brought back memories of studying Drama and Playwriting at Higher level in high school. Why not? Was the question that remained when the lecture was over. Why not, once more?

With our visual format decided upon, we then allocated roles. As our team stemmed from different disciplinaries, we decided to focus on our strengths and to assign tasks accordingly. Our team were/are as follows:

  • Paula (with a background in Communication; from Uruguay; bilingual)
  • Sarah (with a dual-background in Computing Science & Creative Writing; from Washington, USA; programmer)
  • Joe (with a background in History; from Nottingham, USA; acting experience)
  • Aidie (with a background in Literature & Language; from Edinburgh; scriptwriting experience and trilingual)

Therefore, we separated the film project into: writing the script, acting out the scenes, researching ‘modern elements’, filming the scenes, and editing post-production. We were fortunate to have teammates with applicable strengths for each of the aforementioned tasks. Sarah and I (with our backgrounds in writing) focussed on the script. Joe researched the original ballad (with his background in handling antique works), and Paula researched potential trends and marketing ploys in the near future. Joe and I then did the heavy-lifting when it came to acting (having previous experience before the camera), and Paula and Sarah filmed (as they were familiar with the professional equipment being used).  Once the filming had come to a halt, Sarah and Paula were tasked with editing the material, whilst Joe and I collaborated on preparing the subsequent presentation.

The experience was an overall enjoyable one, and opened up new avenues of exploration and experience, but did bring its own challenges as well. For example, co-ordinating times so that we could all be present at filming locations (with the international studies having to attend lectures in-person for VISA -related reasons), meant that not all individuals could be present for the entirety of filming. Additionally, there was a queue for the required equipment (VR headset, camera, audio equipment), and so our schedule had to be edited in accordance with the dates of the equipment availability. Finally, the Bridge Inn at Ratho [see featured image] were kind enough to allow us to film on-site, but were only available between the hours of 7:00~11:00 on a Wednesday morning. Furthermore, it was located in Ratho (a 30-min minimum ride for all of us) and so we once more had to work around the lectures then, various forms of transport, and early-morning exhaustion and wet conditions, to be able to complete a large chunk of the initial filming.

However, at this time of writing, we have completed most of the project (script, research, filming), and are currently focussing on the editing and presenting of said activity. New teams have been allocated for other courses, and we are busy with additional responsibilities outside of our studies, but the experience is one I’m sure will remain with us for a long time. Thus, the stand-out point from this week was working with team members from different disciplinaries – and creating  a film project alongside them. 🙂

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