Author Archives: djmartinezblog

THE TREE, A Short Film

 

This is the final project for my Introduction to Media Arts class, but hopefully with effort, not the last post I make for my blog. This project was a challenge, the kind that pushed me and I had some success with this project because of lessons I learned from my first project, and there were also some mishaps and new lessons to learn from this time around too. Overall I was able to convey a fun little story that I enjoyed making and I hope, makes sense.

I’m sitting down in class and the teacher, Teresa Hughes, puts a three page guideline for making a film on the desk. Add that to the list, I think. I had several projects in various stages going on for all of my classes, and since I’m in the Media Arts program, there’s no big test at the end of the semester or mid-terms but sizable creative projects. While juggling these projects I was dealing with a problem, What am I going to work on first? After a week or two of thinking about it and that not working, I set a timer to come up with as many ideas as possible for this project, then a timer to write on each idea to find the most workable story. With the best ideas I set a timer to flesh out each of the couple of good ideas I had. Out of that short process I had a story to work with.

Pre Production was demanding, I hadn’t written a story in several years because I didn’t think I’d know how to. I used one of the Production work days in class to come up with a storyboard, using ideas and feedback gained from another class to make my storyboarding process more fruitful. The class was called “Concepts of Visual Literacy”. What I did differently in storyboarding here versus my first film was give the characters more facetime and setup, action and reaction shots, where we see the character look at someone or something, look through their eyes to what they do or are looking at and then see their face again to see what we are supposed to feel. With the subject of my film containing a sense of urgency, it was very important to capture the feeling of each character and look into their emotional experience.

Since I put off writing the story so long, I also had to work very quickly to find talented actors and fortunately I was able to work with family friends young Emily and Andrew and a couple of adult classmates Melia and Malakhai, everyone did excellently beyond my expectations! Thank you.

Behind the scenes were lots of laughs and funny moments because most of us were new to either being in front or behind the camera. Other important pre production aspects to keep my mind on was keeping the people who helped me happy to work with me. I bought food, tried my best to keep them warm and give as clear directions as possible as well as have as clear of an idea of who their characters were supposed to be and the story as possible so my actors were not performing blindly. Nevertheless, some of the best moments were from unexpected improvisation in the way they decided to convey the emotion or reaction I was looking for.

There is so much more I want to say about finding the location and losing wallets and finding unexpected surprises we found on the set at the river, or how I forgot my SD card at home and had to borrow one from the young actors’ dad. Thank you. But here is a little bit on my post production process:

From feedback on my first film from a panel of film critics I learned that sound is very important, if not more important than what you see on the camera. Stitching the shots together was a fairly straightforward and quick process compared to finding royalty-free sound effects and music, and then cutting these sounds together to make sense with what was happening on the screen. I’m grateful to the artists and nameless faces out there that created these clips for people doing creative work to use in their product. I’m no pro but the audio in this film is a step up from what I’ve done before. I learned a lot about basic audio from Mel Stark, my “Time-based Tools” professor and audio engineer and Teresa.

I’m looking forward to experiment with another film project soon, it won’t be my first time.


In Her Blood – Sitting down with the Director

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This is an article based on the interview with Heather McBride-Anders, story writer, director, and producer of the psycho-thriller film, “In Her Blood”. that premiered at Lane Community College (LCC) Ragozzino Performance Hall on November 3rd, 2017. The idea for this interview is to show aspiring filmmakers part of the process of filmmaking through Heather’s experience with In Her Blood.

It was a labor of love that she first began at a continuing ed screenwriting class at LCC about 10 years ago. At yhr time Heather was going through a separation she and was able to put her focus into writing, the story that came out eventually became “In Her Blood” is partially based off of her life and mostly fiction. Several years later and after submitting her finished screenplay in for a contest in Hollywood, Heather was contacted by Danny Mannis, who wrote the movie iFrankenstein. Mannis consulted her on her screenplay and Heather used this advice to make some edits, finalized the screenplay and resolved that she would make it into a film.

With this screenplay and being in charge of producing and directing the film, Heather was able to achieve some crowdfunding and then used her own money to fund a majority of the film. Next step, find a cast and crew! Heather went to Lane Community College to meet with Teresa Hughes, professor in the Media Arts program to ask her if there were any students looking for internship opportunities.  Three of the LCC interning crew were Rich Robison, Alan R. Thompson and Jeffrey King Osborns who did numerous jobs including cinematography, set design, prop creation and more. “There is a certain amount of giftedness in that group of those 3 guys, their synergy, you know. So I think I accidentally landed upon some genius.” Overall the film took 5 months, 14 actors, and 23 locations and don’t forget crew (for which I don’t have a figure). The main location for the film, an old 1888 victorian home called the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House was lent by its board for free, for over a month for filming. This house is a tourist attraction in Eugene OR. “The place had some pretty freaky energy”, said Heather. Making it the perfect place for a film setting such as this. Another location used during the shoot that has an interesting back story was a fraternity house on Alder Street called the Lorax Manor. This place was perfect, there was a basement there that already had meat hooks attached to the ceiling, a cage, old dirty mattresses, tools were strewn about the room everywhere and there was a pool table in there that looked like it was about a hundred years old. The set design was basically already done for them, so Heather saw the perfect mess and said, “Alan, go in there and make the set!”. He fixed it up perfectly for a lovely day of shooting film. You’ll know the scene when you’ve seen it.

Heather McBride-Anders projects energy and pride when talking about the film and especially when talking about her team she spent over 6 months with while making the film. From start to finish creating a movie was not without their fair share of struggle. Heather shares that writing can be long and agonizing. “It took 10 years and you get really attached to the writing and you don’t know if it is good enough.” The post production process also turned out to take much longer for unexpected reasons, but she comments, “Working with a crew is so tiring but it is like being on a high from morning to night. When you get a shot, people would be celebrating and then, “move on!” Energy and ideas happened.” Heather goes on to explain that there was the occasional clash of egos that happened on set that had to do with creative decisions. “…but you have to have a little bit of ego starting out to survive the constant onslaught of people’s opinions and if you don’t stay true to yourself then you lose your art.” This is good advice for someone starting out, stay open to the ideas of your team and also stay true to your ideas because there will always be varying opinions.

What I really like about Heather is that she used the internet to learn to do anything that she didn’t know how to do, she learned to make things. One of the challenges was learning how to make realistic bodies for a scene in the movie. Instead she found an easy method to make heads in jars for a scene instead of complete bodies while browsing the popular website, Pinterest. Alan Thompson did the work to bring these heads to life. Heather’s advice to filmmakers starting out is to “Leave your mind open and start exploring on the internet!” She has reroofed her house and fixed a fridge and more from tutorials online. Much of the knowledge she used to learn to make to make this movie a reality came from online resources as well. Some sites she mentioned specifically were YouTube, Pinterest, and frugalfilmmaker.com.

Heather’s biggest takeaway lesson from producing “In Her Blood” was regarding sound. As a filmmaker you may have heard about the importance of quality sound, I certainly have but we can benefit from hearing it from a first-hand account. Heather tells us that she was so focused on the filming and video aspects of the film that the focus on audio was minimized, so the postproduction process was extended for about 2 months. Here’s her specific advice regarding managing your sound production process:

  1. Test audio ahead of time.
  2. Use external audio.
  3. Always sync your audio with video at the end of the day.
  4. Don’t start editing your video until your audio is synced with the video.
  5. Use either Mac or PC to do your edits on since these two platforms don’t “talk” with eachother easily or well.

Jumping into a film project is going to be a rewarding and challenging process! Trust your gut and your creative capabilities, get help and work with people and use your resources to your advantage, there is tons of help out there waiting for you online and through organizations such as Lane Community College and other people willing to help you for cheap or free such as the board of the Shelton McMurphy Johnson House. My hope is that this article enlighted you to some of the rewards and challenges of being a first time filmmaker.

 

Thanks for reading!

By Daniel Martinez

 


Five Photos over 5 Five Minute Walks in Eugene, OR

We were assigned a project for our Intro to Media Arts class at Lane Community College. The project was innocently named “Image Editing”, but the theme was “Five”. Five of what? I asked myself. Five was the theme for a two minute video and we were left with creative control over what five meant to us. I had a packed weekend ahead of me with class projects and work. I found a way to integrate the creation of the materials for my project into a walk I had to travel through in Downtown Eugene. It was a bit out of my way but not too far off from the bank I had to walk to.

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This was my path. From where the bus dropped me off (bottom middle), to the 5th Street Market (upper left).

As you can see in the map above, I was dropped off near the University of Oregon Campus and walked to 5th Street Market to keep the theme of 5. Every 5 minutes of this walk I took 5 pictures, I stopped to take these pictures 5 times over my journey. In this video you will see my journey.

It was not too hard to come up with an idea. I wrote down many ideas in a notepad over the course of a couple of minutes during class and the hard part was narrowing my ideas down. Some were complex and I knew that I had a busy weekend ahead of me. So I chose this simple idea. I am okay with how the video turned out. Freesound.org had thousands of free sounds for me to use to create the ambient water, traffic and gusty wind sounds that I wanted to use to help the viewer immerse in the experience I had. It helps.

So there is more to the story of how I created this short photography series project. I had a camera checked out from Lane CC’s Media checkout center that I used for a Portrait Photography project that Friday morning. The checkout called me that morning to let me know that I was late to return the camera and could I get to school to drop off the camera between 1-2pm. I jumped on a bus and turned the camera in on time, the guys at the Media Equipment Checkout Center were really cool about me dropping of the camera late and asked me if I would like to hold onto the camera for the rest of the weekend. Since I knew I was going to have to be all over town that day I said, “No”. This is why many of my photos are such poor quality, I used my cellphone camera for the pictures and immediately regretted not checking the camera out. However, I have learned through a photographer on YouTube, Chase Jarvis, that the best camera is the one that you have on you, and he promotes using whatever camera you have, cellphone or SLR. This was the challenge.

Editing and pulling the photos together into a final product is the most fun part for me. I didn’t have a lot of time but you’ll see what I did. I hope this video doesn’t keep anyone from wanting to take a walk through Downtown Eugene. I somehow chose a less beautiful path to shoot this project, but was challenged to try to find interesting shots where interesting objects were usually hard to find.

See below my favorite images from the walk:

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location 1
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location 2
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also location 2
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location 4
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location 5

Excerpt from, Edgar Allan Poe’s, “The Masque of The Red Death”

This is the fourth project for the Intro to Media Arts class at Lane Community College. Here I took an excerpt from Mr. Poe’s, The Masque of the Red Death. I chose this poem because I like how simply Edgar Allan is able to convey his fantasy story and still give us enough detail to feel a bit horrified.

This was my first time putting my voice online for others to listen to, and the first time in a long time that I’ve used audio editing software. This project taught me that a huge volume of work goes into the recording and mixing of the sound, voice, music and special effects that we hear almost every single day. It also taught me how important it is to make high quality sound if you want people to listen to what you make.

To record this project I used my phone’s voice recording software, and did many takes, to get some emotionality into the voice. I used Audacity to mix the audio but didn’t check before I did my voice recording if it would accept the audio format from the files I made on my phone; well it doesn’t! So, I played the audio from my phone into the computer’s microphone to get the audio onto a track in Audacity.

Mixing the background sound and music was also a challenging surprise. Fortunately, our teacher, Teresa, gave us access to royalty free music and ambient sounds to use for the project. I sliced up pieces of music to match the story, and used the deep drum and thump-like beats from a couple of songs to recreate the dreadfully musical tick-tock described by Poe in his poem.

To close, I think I successfully experimented with sound, but didn’t succeed in making anything very pleasing to the ear. I have a much bigger appreciation of sound designers now than before I started this project (which was obviously 0%…). There is so much to learn and so many variables that I’m looking forward to exploring during and after my time at Lane. Next time, I will give myself more time to find a good microphone, do more research to find other great sounds, and especially choose music around the same time I am recording my voice so that the sounds play off of each other better.

Thanks for reading.

-Daniel Martinez


cjLIVEing your creative pursuit

the blog to see    http://www.chasejarvis.com

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Visit this site (not) at your own peril, this content is great for Media Arts students!

The Chase Jarvis Blog is one of the best business and motivational resources in the field of creativity, whether you are a graphic arts student, a photographer trying to get their work out there, or an entrepreneur truly trying to do something different. I discovered the photographer Mr. Jarvis through YouTube by recommendation from YouTuber, Evan Carmichael. The channel turned out to be a hub for great content, interviews with world-changing creatives, from Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, to Sir Mix-A-Lot! I chose this blog to present for other students because I think they can benefit from the advice of prolific and impactful creatives to speed up their journeys or answer creative questions they have. I am really underselling Chase Jarvis himself he is a groundbreaking creative person in his own right.

On the top of the page you will see tabs to explore the website – select “projects” – then select the “chase jarvis live” box – scroll down through the list of interviews until you find the series of interviews Chase hosts called “30 days of genius”. I know this lots of work, but trust me, when you see the fantastic work that he’s put into asking questions to his interviewees you will have a leg up I promise. I recommend the interview with award-winning designer and creative director, Sefan Sagmeister and Marie Forleo who is a life coach and host of MarieTV.

The website is produced very well, I really like the small details, such as the screen loading icon being a spinning camera aperture and the simplicity of exploring the website with many links appearing as icons. Its made to match our iPhoney sensibilities.

You’ll also see pictures from Mr. Jarvis’ career, a podcast, blog posts and a link to his company CreativeLive where you can take courses to learn to do things.

 

 

-Daniel Martinez, 10.15.2017


The Locations to Know as a Media Arts Major at Lane CC

  1. Check out, The Equipment Checkout Counter where Media Arts students checkout gear, cameras, lighting equipment and more! Make sure to reserve ahead of time. – On first floor of Bldg 17Scavenger_Hunt_10
  2. The Photography Studio with the “Blue Cyc Wall” (“Cyc” is short for Cyclorama, aka blue or green screen). – Also located on the first floor of Bldg 17 Scavenger_Hunt_11
  3. Center for Student Engagement in the Center building. *See free popcorn just through that doorway. – located on the second floor of the Center BldgScavenger_Hunt_1
  4. See student creative work in the main Art Gallery on campus. – located on the first and only floor of Bldg 11Scavenger_Hunt_3
  5. The Art-O-Mat. An original artwork dispensing machine, just $5. – Located in Bldg 11Scavenger_Hunt_4
  6. The Reference counter in the Library. Ask your questions here, I do when I have printer problems or am looking for something specific on campus. – Located in the Center BldgScavenger_Hunt_2
  7. The large silver sculpture that sits outside of the Health & Wellness building. – You can’t miss thisScavenger_Hunt_7
  8. Mary Jo Kreindel’s office (The Arts division Office Specialist). – Located in Bldg 11Scavenger_Hunt_5
  9. Media Creation Lab in the Center building. Need more time to complete a project? This is where you will have access to a computer with Adobe Suite until 7pm Mon – Fri. – Located in Library in the Center BldgScavenger_Hunt_9
  10. Judy Gates’ office (She is your advisor for Media Arts). If you haven’t met Judy, she is a very knowledgable about the program you are attending as a Media Arts major. Book a time with her to look into the crystal ball of your future at Lane CC. – Located in Bldg 11Scavenger_Hunt_6
  11. “The Commons” area on the 2nd floor. Meet, converse, hangout and study with your fellow Media Arts Majors here. – Located on second floor of Bldg 17 Scavenger_Hunt_13
  12. The large hall representing many countries in the Student Services Center. Financial Aid, Advisors, and Placement testing are located here. You will see the inside of this room if your are just starting your time here at Lane CC. Located at Bldg 1 Scavenger_Hunt_8
  13. The LCC turkeys are our unofficial mascots! The real Titan. – Located everywhere, as long as you aren’t looking for them.Scavenger_Hunt_12by: Daniel Martinez

Hi

2017-09-02.DeejMartinezHi my name is Daniel but I also go by Deej (DJ). Daniel is my father’s name and it took me a while to get used to being called by that name when I started working at 17, but it feels normal and professional now and I don’t care anymore. I’m 26 years old and lived in Hawaii with my big family from 11 to 22 years old. I went to some college there to be a paramedic and became super interested in physiology. The idea to do the paramedic program was from a friend of mine, so I never completed the program. But because of what I learned there I delved into health, and ended up learning a lot about to apply new ideas and knowledge into action (I applied my knowledge to getting results in the gym). I think I cared so much because I used to have lower back issues in my freshman year of college and around the same time that I wanted to start putting on some size. It was pretty cool to understand why things worked the way they did. Working out also became a form of self expression for me because at the time I was a pretty shy person. I became a personal trainer this summer (2017). But I’ve always had a latent interest in arts and media and decided that exploring this interest would be very gratifying and the career move I’d enjoy the most. When I went to school before it was because I felt like I was, “supposed to”, and was just going with the flow. Now I think I’m going to put in the work this time because I’m doing something I really want to do!

Some things I like to do are, write, exercise, meet people, hike, make/EAT food, explore and travel and I think make art but thats what I am here to learn.

When I finish this Media Arts program I plan to create content, or films and make a business around it. I also hope to help other people follow their dreams by making films or photography or training programs that are great and help/inspire others. I also hope to have an positive effect on the way that people relate with the natural environment.

Thanks for readin”.

By: Daniel Martinez