Monday, August 12, 2013
In Week 5 of the internship, a filmmaker named Lina Hoshino came to the NJAHS office buildng to work with us interns on making a mini movie. The previous week we were told to write a rough draft of our script and collect photos that we may want to use. Since I didn't read the instructions carefully enough, I just went on the Internet and looked for photos. Then at about 9:00 p.m. on the day before we were supposed to begin the movie workshop, I realized that I wasn't allowed to use Internet photos unless they were uncopyrighted...which they weren't. This resulted in a mad scramble to find and take as many pictures as I could the night before, but there weren't many photos to be found. On the first day of the workshop, we shared our scripts out loud, which was not something I wanted to do. My script had no central theme, it wasn't worded that well, and I thought it was too personal. Just as I expected, the advice the other interns and Lina gave me included establishing a main idea for my script. Lina gave us time right after to edit our writing, and during that time I shifted the theme of my story. I discussed my script with her in private and made more changes, and then I brought it back to her. She approved it. The next day I had more pictures, except most of them were all photos of nature. I learned to scan them and then I transferred them into my computer. I went upstairs and recorded my script about twenty-five times. During that hour I kept tampering with the script, which was one of the reasons why it took so long. Then I listened to the recordings on the laptop and picked out the best versions of my voice, since I had recorded the whole thing in paragraphs. I started working in Final Cut Express, a movie-making app, where Lina showed us how to insert our voiceovers and add pictures. I edited the voiceover by cutting out a lot of parts and making sure everything transitioned smoothly. The hardest part of this movie project was the pictures. Finding them, transferring them, adding them, and editing them. In the beginning, when I was inserting pictures for the first time, most of them were logos or objects or nature views. I didn't have enough photos of myself or other people. When Lina saw the rough draft of the movie, she said I needed more pictures of people and that I should include less photos overall so the audience could focus on what I was saying. I took her advice, and I ended up making the movie a whole lot better. I emailed my mother asking for any kinds of family photos or pictures of friends and she sent a boatload within the next ten minutes. The second most difficult stage was the transitions and special effects. Adding the transitions was a pain because 1) I didn't know what they were, and 2) Every time I added a transition between two clips I had to "render" everything, which was time-consuming. Also, creating the photo effects was very confusing at first. Lina explained to me how to do them but I was still baffled. However, the next day, I figured it all out using my common sense. The results, though they took forever to get, made the screen look like it was shifting during each photo. The final step was the inclusion of the title and credits, which I had put off because I wasn't sure if they were mandatory. Both were pretty easy to create, and I had fun with the title especially. I'm actually really happy with how my project turned out, because it expresses an important part of me without making it too personal and awkward. There were some minor issues with my voiceover and the transitions could have been smoother, but it is a story that I wouldn't mind sharing with my friends and family. Instead of a few days, the making of the movie actually stretched to almost a week, but that extra time made the movie that much better.
This week of making my own short film with film maker, Lina Hoshino really taught me a lot in the process of filming. After Lina arrived at NJAHS, she asked me to read a rough draft of my narrative and her feedback was really helpful to help me write a better narrative. Since she had gone over some steps which I was familiar with making a film, such as writing a script and having photos being already online available to use; I thought that editing the film would be a no brainer, but I thought wrong. Learning how to make and edit a film on a software that was entirely new to me was different. If it had not been for Lina, my film would of been a wreck. Not only did I learn how to cut, shorten, and lengthen clips, but I learned volume control over voices, where transitions go and how to add them, how to make an image appear bigger on the screen, and how to add background music. Too many complexities came along with making a perfect film and looking back to my childhood, I never did think that much of the process of film making when I was little. I used to think that they would record the video and then just add in captions with transitions. But now I have a new perspective to think about for the filming industry and I would not have of gained this if someone hadn't bothered to help me along the way. A couple hours until I was finished with my narrative and I was excited towards finishing it first. Never did it occur to me that a 3 minute film could take 2 days to make and edit, and a couple of hours to publish on the Internet. I am extremely glad that Lina had helped me make such a short film in such a quick amount of time. Thank you Lina Hoshino for helping me create a film for my narrative and I never would have never been able to do it without you! I will surely use this as an advantage during the upcoming school years, especially if I ever have a project involved with Final Cut, I will now know how to use it!
I thought spending $20 in Japantown for one day for the 5 of us ninterns could not be enough. But I was wrong. If you did not know, $20 a day is a project where we NJAHS Interns go to Japantown with only $20 to spend for one day and we film the whole day. After we had finished going to all the stores we needed to go to, I was tired and thinking that the day had been fun without spending the full $20. We had bought mochi, chopsticks, tokens to play in Playland Japan, washi paper, a cat sauce bowl, a black notebook, and a red bean taiyaki. Re-watching all the footage we shot really did make the editing of this project take forever. I have never been in a situation where I tried to adjust the volume of our voices so many times to fit it with the background music, not be able to add in any transitions, have a hard time with speeding up or slowing down videos, and adding captions. In all, I think the 5 of us did a pretty good job shopping in Japantown with only $20; we didn't even spend it all!
For the project called $20 a Day, we interns were given $20 altogether to spend however we wanted in Japantown. We could go to any stores and select anything we wanted to buy, just as long as the total cost added up to $20 or less. Later we would go back to the "chosen" stores and film ourselves to make a mini movie, which would be posted on Youtube. The video would advise people who have never been to Japantown on what they could do with just $20. We started out by just walking around Japantown. We visited various stores and shops like Ichiban Kan, Daiso, Playland Japan, etc. In each store we picked one item out that we would like to buy and wrote it down on a list. We made sure the total cost added up to around $20, or at least close to that amount. Afterwards, we used the list to write a script for the movie. Stores were assigned to different people, and the people assigned certain stores wrote his/her own parts. The order of the stores were switched up so that the stores closest to each other were in succession. Each section of the script was only a few sentences long. We included general information for each store, what we were planning to buy, and the cost. When the script was almost finished, I was taught how to use a big, complex video recorder. I had to film two of the interns and their sections because they were not coming back to the internship after that week. Before we filmed inside every store, we had to ask permission, which could take a while. I filmed Ichiban Kan, Playland Japan, May's Coffee Shop, and the "goodbye" scene in Buchanan Mall. I liked holding the video recorder because it made me feel like a professional. When I was filming, though, it got very heavy and my arm started to ache. After the script was completely done, I showed one of the interns how to use the video recorder because she would be filming me. Then we went outside and shot Daiso, Soko Hardware, Sanko, Paper Tree, and Benkyodo. Originally we were going to do Nijiya Market instead of Soko Hardware, but the manager saw our machine and didn't let us film. He probably thought it was going to be on TV or something, even though we said it was just for a project. In the end, we ended up buying a black notebook, cat sauce bowl, chopsticks, washi paper, and mochi that day. I kept the notebook because it was cool, and it certainly didn't look like it cost only $1.50. An intern and I started working on the movie in Final Cut Express, which took about two days. We trimmed the clips and added transitions, music, titles and credits. For the clips in which people moved too slow, we sped them up. Sometimes the program didn't cooperate with us on the transitions and speeding up of the clips, and I got frustrated. However, in the end the movie turned out good. I especially like the music that plays throughout the seven minutes of the movie, because it gives it an upbeat tone that the movie was lacking before. In conclusion, I think the point of this project was to show that $20 can take you all across Japantown, as long as you know where and how to use it.