Bryan’s Final Project Exploration

[1] Nanook of the North

[2] Cross-Cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Videos

[3] Pink, Interdisciplinary Agendas in Visual Research: Re-situating visual Anthropology

These streets will make you feel brand new, Big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York New York New York. I’m sure all of you have heard the lyric—felt the sensation as they talk about this great city(that I have never been to). I’ll be heading there 11 days from now to film my own version of that sensation. What started off as a small project of collecting pictures and videos that I would’ve taken on the trip is turning into a very detailed guide on how and when to shoot. I am putting considerable thought into the preproduction of the trip so that when I come back I know that I will have all the content that I need to finish the course project. This is very different from my typical approach of the documenting of some event. Usually it consists of a simple two step process: bring camera, shoot camera.

In this planning stage I need to develop at least a general idea of the type of documentary I will be shooting. This is a documentary of my trip, so reflexive was the obvious choice. In Barbash and Talyor [2] they describe this style as “the process of representation itself and foregrounds the relationship between the filmmaker and the spectators as well as between the filmmaker and the subjects.” I am the filmmaker and my subject, that will be the journey to New York and all the people and things that come with it. Like Flahery’s Nanook of the North[1][3], I will make no attempt to capture the trueness of the events that transpire on my trip (after all can such a thing be done? context upon context upon context), but instead take a reconstructivist approach. Just like Flaherty produced his film in collaboration with the Inuits, I will be producing my short in collaboration with the environment and people on the trip[1][3]. This is not to say that I will be staging events though. The scenes that I will be filming will all be impromptu captures of a reality that exists for people that know they are being filmed. I might even take a participatory role at some point. I figured I should just “recognize the ambiguity of visual meaning” and reconstruct the clips to capture the my sentiments as best as possible[3].

In this plan of mine there are a great deal of clips that I will be filming in environments that I have never filmed before. Places where you might not really see a camera guy floating around: Bars, clubs, early mornings in the hostels. I knew if I wanted to get this right when it mattered I would need to get some practice being the camera man in these types of settings. A perfect opportunity to practice presented itself last weekend at Kevin’s Bday celebration. Big camera in hand, I walked  over to the fun filled bar. Everyone is telling talking really loudly, telling fantastic stories of love, war, survival…

I think the point is clear now, these are all examples of reconstructed clips of the events that happened that day. The reality was twisted a bit in each of the clips, but I think that the sensation of being there was captured in all of them.