For assignment one of 20: Shot. Produce a short film that presents a place. Conduct extensive research in the location. Look for various camera angles and meaningful details. Pay attention to the foreground, middle-ground, and background. Be sure to use a long shot, a medium shot and closeup.
I came up with this story riding my bike through downtown Manhattan one cloudy day, scrambling for ideas to write my first of twenty films about. I was lost—I had just gone to my professor, Alrick Brown about an idea involving the Twin Towers and the visual of them standing tall in the middle of a modern-day New York City untouched, and we worked out together that I needed to do something different.
I looked into myself for my pain, my specific story. What did I have to say about myself that I could universalize via this visual medium?
I was in the West Village by the afternoon. 7 Av South has a clear shot of One World Trade Center from Varick and Houston all the way to 7 Av and 14 St.
I’m gay. My mother has never taken that well. I was by the Stonewall Inn. Okay. The technical itch could be scratched here. Got it. Maybe I had a story to tell about this.
I get to tell a story about being gay in what feels like the nexus of all gay culture. I was living in Dallas, TX, trying to tell these same stories in a place with practically nothing to do with any of that. Of course, the stories are universal and can happen anywhere really, but they say “location, location, location” for a reason. It feels more important here. More relevant.
In doing a period piece I know that the production design and art direction have to be clear. I also know that I need to find a place in New York that has been relatively untouched by the slow, ever-forward march of time. I need to select my shots carefully so that no anachronism can take a viewer out of the reality of the short.
One of the clearest influences I projected on this story is the documentary Paris is Burning. I want to evoke that specific time period, of the height of ball culture in the late 80s and early 90s. A year before this, I was watching the film as source material for a documentary I edited for my freshman year production class.
And as for the experience—I just wanted to transmit my pain and my overcoming it in a way that was clear and effective. I workshopped the script around my friend group in a tizzy, asking them how it felt, how the story elements laid…one thing I got back was that the character of the mother never resolved, to which I fired back every time: “My mother still isn’t over it either. I don’t think she ever will be.” And despite this, I’m fine. I’ve learned to find validation from outside my family, and more importantly from within myself. I hope that people see that Lola goes through the same self-affirmation, that even though her mother never really resolves by the end, she has, which is far more important.
All NYU Tisch Sight and Sound projects shot Fall 2018 make use of the Canon C200, as well as a kit of Zeiss Distagon prime lenses (21mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2, 85mm f/2).
This project was cut and delivered using Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 and After Effects CC 2018.