Post-shoot

After the filming over the weekend I was still left with some presents.
I wanted to carry on filming, but the weather hasn’t been on my side and I didn’t really have anyone to help me :/

So as it stands, the footage from the weekend is the total footage available for my video, as the deadline is tomorrow (technically today now :S).
After getting Toni to send me the footage that was on her memory card and spending quite a while shifting it to/from devices, when I finally watched it there was nothing usable there. Shame. Oh well…

This week I’ve been going to uni to try to edit my video, although on the first day I was just mainly transferring files back and forth, trying to gather it all… and to sort out a problem: for some reason my macbook keeps ejecting my pen drives almost immediately. This has been going on for a while and is a right hassle!! It puzzles me because other things like my Wacom tablet and external hard drives work no problem on my USB port, and the pen drives work fine on other computers o.O

Under the suggestion of John, the technician at uni, I’ve formatted the pen drives.
Then it worked fine… but sadly now, when I most need it, it won’t D:

I’ve been editing my video and saving it on the pen drive, and didn’t finish at uni… so as I don’t have Adobe Premiere at home, I downloaded the trial version (Creative Cloud).
Only to then see that I could do nothing with it as I couldn’t access my files on the pen drive.

So here I am, the night before deadline, not able to progress with it overnight as I intended… trust me, NOT GOOD!!

Oh, and of course, the music student who was meant to do my soundtrack disappeared too!

Fun times!! #not

Anyway, at least it has been very useful to learn about film-making (that sounds so ambitious, though haha more like “learning to just about make a little unpretentious shaky video”) and editing!
Got me thinking very differently to the usual and, although very basic, it included another option in my “creative menu”. I totally wouldn’t mind exploring this further and think it could actually be quite useful in the future – and there’s absolutely no harm in expanding the professional prospects, eh?
I’m glad that I’ll be exploring this at The Cornerhouse (where I’ve been recently chosen to be one of their Digital Reporters).

Well, fingers crossed I can pull a soundtrack out of the bag tomorrow and finish my editing from uni in time! :/ Wish me luck!

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Sunday’s Shoot

So Sunday Toni told me that she really wasn’t comfortable with filming, so I was like D: trying to come up with a back up plan on the spot!

I had counted on her camera to be my second camera (and consequently didn’t hire one from uni), but gladly she said I could still borrow it…
At such short notice, the only person who could help me was my ex/flatmate, who gladly drove to Toni’s to pick her camera up (and drop it off later)!
He was a life saver, despite the incredible grumpiness, as he REALLY didn’t want to do it.
Much appreciated regardless!

So I decided to try a different location this time… We went to the Northern Quarter, as I thought it would be a better place to leave both the sketchbook and the watercolours behind, as it was more likely to fall in the hands of someone artistic.
We checked out that area in front of Fred Aldous/Incognito, but 1) it was really hard to find two locations where we could film from that wasn’t literally on the stranger’s face and 2) the area was really quiet, apart from a few dodgy people who went by…

So we moved on to a place in between Afflecks Palace and the Arndale, where I recalled there was a car park I had been to before to photograph a giant graffiti piece… I thought: It would be awesome to have one of us filming from above, both for the angle variety and because it wouldn’t be as visible!

So I asked Steve to stay at a specific place up there (with the 5D Mark II and the 70-300 lens) and I decided to stay on the street, ready to move about with the 550D, which had the 24-105mm lens on.
In the end neither of us used the tripod, which to be fair was probably best.

By the way, before setting off on Sunday, I revisited some of the packaging, based on my experience the previous day.
I ended up finding some coloured paper back from the college days and used it to wrap around my previous package. Also found a different ribbon and used it to make a nice bow.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE! That’s what I call an upgrade!! So much more appealing!!

Red Present

So I started off by putting the package above (cotton candy) on this squared structure that surrounded some plants.
I crossed the street and stood at this bus stop ready for some action.

To me it really stood out, but so many people were going by without noticing it!
It was raining and a couple of times the wind knocked it over… I put it back up, and noticed the letter was starting to get smudged and the paper getting rain dots all over (and the red coming off on my hands) :S Eventually I just swapped it for another present (sweets, I believe!), which was on the brown paper again (as it should resist the rain a little more).

You won’t believe what happened!!

The SAME tall guy who picked up my Anastasia DVD the day before (and I lost track of) appeared and collected this other present again!!
I couldn’t believe my eyes! He was even dressed exactly like the day before! lol
Once again, he annoyingly didn’t open the present and, after reading the letter and looking around suspiciously (he totally saw me), he crossed, stood at the bus stop for a bit and then disappeared out towards Afflecks again.

There was no way of me filming him discreetly from such a short distance, so yeah, it was pretty obvious.

We moved again…
This time we went to the tram stop at Market Street.
Turned out to be a pretty good location! It was busy, people came and went but were there waiting for a while first.
So I developed a little routine: I’d stand at the tram stop as if waiting for a tram waiting for the seat to become available. When the tram came and people left, I’d sit down and discreetly leave the present next to me and walk off…
Steve was already in place (well, not the first time around, but after that) to capture it in case it happened before I got to my place (also in front of Primark).
He was better hidden, on the corner of a door, whilst I was just in front of the window.
As you’ll eventually see on the video, it generally worked. A couple of ladies got sweets, one lady kept the letter and rejected Toni’s painted pebbles hehehe oops! and, guess who I saw approaching again? ¬¬ Yes, that same tall guy who had already collected 2 gifts!!
I deliberately said out loud (speaking to Steve but to him mostly) “Oh no, a third time NO!!” hehehe
I was ready to grab the present back if he decided to be that cheeky again! Come on!!

It’s funny, though, because before I felt like I was somewhat stalking people with this “hidden” camera, but he made me feel like we swapped places and I had been stalked instead! No doubt now that he could recognise me he must have been observing me to see where to go collect his next freebie ¬¬

Anyway, he got the message and went away…

At one point I decided to innovate a little and leave a present inside the compartment where you collect your ticket/change at the machine.
A young boy picked it up, which was good 🙂

Let me just point out this process was quite time consuming, as sometimes I had to wait like 7 minutes or longer for the tram to arrive so I could leave the gifts behind, plus the time it took people to acknowledge/grab it.

Eventually it started to go dark again (I had changed places for a while and was actually stood at the tram stop the whole time now, filming from behind).
When I decided to give that same red package another go (the cotton candy), it almost backfired for being more eye-catching – people were a lot more suspicious about it.
Nobody would pick it up yet again!!
After waiting around for ages, I noticed people chatting to each other at the stop about it, a girl taking a picture on her phone and somebody saying the word “Police”.
At that point I approached them to ask and this lady said she had just reported the “suspicious package” to the Police! ¬¬
People really made a big deal about it!!
I grabbed it and said I was an arts student doing a project, blah blah blah, that it was actually mine and that it was cotton candy.
A boy dared me to open it but I refused on the grounds that I knew what was in it, as I had wrapped it myself (and to be honest, didn’t want to ruin the wrapping)!
Once again it was going dark, Steve was impatient and grumpy and well, the police were on their way (as well as an expected storm!), so I called it a day!

I have to say in even just a day I was quite pleased with the progression – for a start I actually had two people properly filming it, I felt much more comfortable being able to move around and consequently started to get more creative with my footage!

The whole filming process required a lot of patience and took much longer than I had anticipated! But it’s been fun to try to learn it and do something different! 🙂

Ps.: Unfortunately nobody tweeted a picture of them with their presents like I asked to 😦
Ps.2: The police, however, tweeted about my suspicious parcel! LOL

Police's Tweet

Rubbish? Excuse you!! ;P (Maybe another box, which was empty, was found there instead? Some actual rubbish that had nothing to do with it? hehe)
And gosh, spell check anyone?

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Saturday’s Shoot

Saturday I went to Manchester city centre to start filming my project.
I met Toni (a classmate), as I envisioned it to be more than a one (wo)man’s job.

We decided to start with her project, and I helped her approach strangers and record sound as she asked them questions.
Having done over 16 mini-interviews, we had a coffee break so I could finish writing the letters that were going to accompany my presents, as well as finish wrapping some of the gifts. That did take ages…

Her friend met us and off we went to Piccadilly Gardens.

After considering a few places, I set up the monstrous “video tripod” above this sort of bench between Queen Victoria’s and Duke of Wellington’s statue. I used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 70-300mm lens.

I asked Toni to stay in a different location and use her Canon 550D to film simultaneously from an alternative angle, both to get some variety but also as a “back up”, in case I screwed something up.

As I was in place, Toni casually walked and left the first gift (a little teddy bear 🙂 above a wall that surrounds some plants.
It wasn’t long before this gentleman saw it and became curious. It was great to watch him hesitate, feel the package, leave it, walk away… and come back for it 😛
He joined his mate as he sat down, read the letter and opened it.
Meanwhile I was struggling with making the camera face down on this tripod and eventually just tipped the whole thing forward in order to try to capture it in frame. Of course that means it wasn’t exactly smooth…

To get decent footage without being noticed proved to be very difficult! Eventually he saw me and Toni, and I tried to film other bits to make it less obvious. I asked her to stand near the statue so I could pretend I was filming her instead hehe
The guy seemed pleased, and he put the package in his coat pocket.
That was a good start! 🙂

For the next one I decided to remain on the same spot but facing the opposite way.
As Toni was very uncomfortable with filming and didn’t really manage the first time around, I asked her friend Chris to give it a go.
Toni left the gift (Disney’s Anastasia DVD) on the steps of the Duke of Wellington’s statue, and Chris pretended to be looking at a map nearby.
Many went by without noticing it, others looked but didn’t stop… but eventually this tall man picked it up.
Although it’s a pretty decent zoom, I was a bit too far and carried the tripod closer mid-footage.
It was very funny to observe another “ritual”. He collected it, looked at the letter and without opening it, walked around the statue looking around. Then he walked off…
Inside I was like “Grrr!! Open it!!”, and tried to follow him with the camera.
Only when I watched the footage on the computer afterwards I realised that half way through I got confused and started to follow the wrong man! hehehe Duh!! (I can’t multitask, and as somebody talked to me, that was enough for me to slip the attention and mess it up! :S)

For the next one I turned back to the original direction and Toni sat down on Queen Victoria’s statue’s steps, abandoning a little package behind.
Some time later, a man came by briefly fiddled with it and left it there… and started to pray hehe That meant nobody else would approach it until he left.

After that, I swapped presents and put a bigger “parcel” there instead (the little bucket of cotton candy – which let me point out, was awkward enough to wrap!).
It was going dark and people weren’t even looking at it. It made me think the colour of the paper I used to wrap it with didn’t help. Had it been a vivid red paper, it would’ve stood out a lot more!

This was the colour, by the way (below are the DVD and a bag of sweets):

Brown Parcels

At one point Toni said that people were probably assuming it was some take away packaging that was left behind with some napkin sticking out of the top lol It kind of made sense hehe
I had used this paper because it was the only one I found at home that wasn’t Christmas or birthday themed, and I didn’t really fancy spending any more money (considering I had to buy most presents and my bank account has definitely seen better days)! I used the ribbon to try to make it look slightly more appealing… until it ran out 😛

Anyway! As Toni and her friend wanted to go and I was losing light, we called it a day, intending to resume it on Sunday.

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The Plan (tomorrow’s shoot)!

So it’s time to reveal “The Plan”!

Tomorrow I’m heading to Manchester city centre, where my classmate Toni will meet me (she’ll give me a hand with my project and vice-versa).

Earlier today I bought some bits and pieces (nothing too expensive, as I’m an impoverished student!), which I’m about to wrap. I intend to write a little letter to go alongside them…
So what am I going to do? I’m gonna place these little gifts in public areas of the city, such as bus stops, for strangers to pick up. I will attempt to film their reactions from far away (hopefully me and Toni can capture it from different angles without being noticed).

The intention: To bring a smile to a stranger’s face. To cheer them up a tiny bit.
Hopefully that will happen and I won’t just get somebody pulling a face and looking grumpy! hehe That would be so disappointing! :/

So below are some mobile snapshots of part of the things I’m gonna give away:

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5

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7

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I’m also thinking of burning a CD with some songs that I like, maybe write down a poem, a recipe, maybe get a few flowers in the morning… Toni is also letting me have some pebbles she painted, which might work as paper weights?

If you have any further suggestions, as long as it’s cheap, I’m eager to hear them! 😉

I’m also planning to include a hashtag on the piece of paper (#DearStranger), and ask if they’re willing to take a picture with the gift and publish on social media… it would be nice to collect these afterwards to include in my video!

I’m expecting it all to be quite challenging, as I haven’t really got any experience with video, and don’t know how difficult it will be to hide and capture these reactions. Plus, I have no idea how people are going to react! :S Fingers crossed it will be alright!

Then I have to worry about editing the footage on Adobe Premiere (which is new to me!) and incorporate a soundtrack (which a music student should do… nice collaborative work)!
Deadline is next week, and I still have to write stuff like Self-Evaluation and all the rest of it. So it should be pretty intense! (Getting nervous!)

I’ll be sure to let you know how it went! 😉
Wish me luck!!

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One Million Lovely Letters

Earlier this week, I came across Jodi Bickley’s project “One Million Lovely Letters” by chance, as I looked at Umter’s Facebook Page (which uni emailed me about).

It was so very relevant to this project that I couldn’t believe my luck – what perfect timing too!!

In a nutshell, she writes letters to strangers to cheer them up and remind them of their importance.

I recommend you have a look at her website, but here’s her summary about this:

“Hi,

My names Jodi Ann Bickley, I’m 24.

One million lovely letters is something I’ve been working on since I was eleven. Ever since Ms Wrights Science Class in Year 7 I have been leaving people notes. In between text books, on buses, in libraries and as I got older in pubs, restaurants and as I got a little older in doctors surgeries and hospital beds – anywhere I thought that maybe someone might need a little bit of cheering up, reassurance or just a reminder that actually they are pretty lovely.  It’s never been a “thing” – just something I’ve done. I think everyone deserves to know that they are thought of and they are loved. Even if it is by a complete stranger.

This is where my idea for One Million Lovely Letters has come from. Although I hope every little note I’ve left someone, somewhere has reached someone who needed it – I’m pretty sure some may have fell too far down the side of the bus seat. In the UK alone there are 62,641,000 people, in the whole wide world there are 7,038,044,500. The average person has 3 close friends and 19 “mates” so take that off and you are still left with seven billion thirty-eight million forty-four thousand four hundred and seventy eight strangers.  And all of those strangers have at least one day where they could use a little lift.

So this is a call out. To every other person other than me on the planet – I’m going to write you a letter. A letter just to make the day a bit better or to remind you of the bloody amazing stuff about you that you’ve forgotten because we all forget once in a while.

If you would like a letter you can email me at : onemillionlovelyletters@gmail.com
Send me your address and the reason why you need a little lift and I will send you a little hug in an envelope.

On the days I’m good to go out I’m gunna be leaving more letters on my travels and around my hometown (Birmingham, UK).

Heres to letter number one.

Jodi x”

letterpart1

letterpart2

 

 

letterpart3

I think it’s a great project which has inspired me even more! 🙂

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Amélie

Today I watched one of my favourite films again in order to refresh my memory, as it’s relevant for this project: “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain” (a.k.a. “Amélie”) ❤

Amélie

Here’s a description obtained from Rotten Tomatoes (spoiler alert!):

One woman decides to change the world by changing the lives of the people she knows in this charming and romantic comic fantasy from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is a young woman who had a decidedly unusual childhood; misdiagnosed with an unusual heart condition, Amelie didn’t attend school with other children, but spent most of her time in her room, where she developed a keen imagination and an active fantasy life. Her mother Amandine (Lorella Cravotta) died in a freak accident when Amelie was eight, and her father Raphael (Rufus) had limited contact with her, since his presence seemed to throw her heart into high gear. Despite all this, Amelie has grown into a healthy and beautiful young woman who works in a cafe and has a whimsical, romantic nature. When Princess Diana dies in a car wreck in the summer of 1997, Amelie is reminded that life can be fleeting and she decides it’s time for her to intervene in the lives of those around her, hoping to bring a bit of happiness to her neighbors and the regulars at the cafe. Amelie starts by bringing together two lonely people — Georgette (Isabelle Nanty), a tobacconist with a severe case of hypochondria, and Joseph (Dominique Pinon), an especially ill-tempered customer. When Amelie finds a box of old toys in her apartment, she returns them to their former owner, Mr. Bretodeau (Maurice Benichou), sending him on a reverie of childhood. Amelie befriends Dufayel (Serge Merlin), an elderly artist living nearby whose bones are so brittle, thanks to a rare disease, that everything in his flat must be padded for his protection. And Amelie decides someone has to step into the life of Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz), a lonely adult video store clerk and part-time carnival spook-show ghost who collects pictures left behind at photo booths around Paris. Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulain received unusually enthusiastic advance reviews prior to its French premiere in the spring of 2001, and was well received at a special free screening at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi”

From the little pleasures and pet peeves depicted on the film, to simple acts of kindness such as when she takes an old blind man for a narrated tour of senses, to the scene with the treasure box (old toys) that were unexpectedly returned to its owner… this film is oh so charming and captivating! Her odd and irresistible perspective on life, creative mind and big heart, accompanied  by the vivid complementary colours just conquered a special place in my heart hehe

If you haven’t yet, make sure to watch it!

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Profeta Gentileza

Gentileza gera gentileza

José Datrino, known as prophet Gentileza (CafelândiaSão Paulo, April 11 de 1917 — MirandópolisSão Paulo, May 28, 1996) was a Brazilian urban personality, kind of a preacher, which became known from 1980 by making quirky inscriptions under an overpass in Rio de Janeiro, where he walked in a white robe and long beard. “Gentileza gera gentileza” (“Kindness generates kindness”) is his most famous phrase.”

(Source: Wikipedia)

Profeta Gentileza

Although there’s a great deal of things that Profeta Gentileza used to write and preach that I disagree with (pretty much being too conservative and a bit extremist religious), there is a valid side that I quite like. His saying “Gentileza gera gentileza” stuck with me and even though it’s simple, I think it’s a valid, strong and positive philosophy… Although I’d relate more to a hippie take on it than a religious one. In any way!
“Kindness generates kindness” is my idea in a nutshell, so I couldn’t let him pass unacknowledged…

An example of his writings on a viaduct’s concrete pillar

The example above is quite good, as it’s not religious and moralistic, just positive.

In fact, I wouldn’t be too fond on having religious writings imposed on my face everywhere, but secular positive messages are rather welcome – certainly much better than the hideous grey concrete that was there before!

Singer Marisa Monte (who I like very much) sang a song about him years ago, which I’m embedding below:

Kindness

They’ve erased everything
Painted all grey
The word on the wall
Is covered with paint
They’ve erased everything
Painted all grey
(What’s) only left on the wall
(Is) sadness and fresh paint
But we who rush by
Through the city’s streets
Deserve to read Kindness’
Letters and words
So therefore I ask you
Out there in the world
Which is smarter?
The book or wisdom?
The world is a school
Life is a circus
Love, word that frees
So said the Prophet
They’ve erased everything
Painted all grey
(What’s) only left on the wall
(Is) sadness and fresh paint
So therefore I ask you
Out there in the world
Which is smarter?
The book or wisdom?
The world is a school
Life is a circus
Love, word that frees
So said the Prophet
(Translation from http://lyricstranslate.com/en/gentileza-kindness.html#uW4ywqIFVU0bbiTT.99 )

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