The two videos created for this appropriation assignment were titled ‘On Sontag’ a light hearted parody of the works of the writer Susan Sontag and ‘IF’ an illustrated poem by Rudyard Kipling, narrated by Sir Michael Caine.
The two videos were received to encouraging comments by the class, but mixed reactions from Gemma our tutor.
In relation to the Sontag movie she felt that whilst good it fell just a little short of a ‘polished’ parody and that due to Sontag’s iconic status this was the level that was expected. It was none the less a well crafted edit but over reliant on stock images. The criticism was fair as the stock images were chosen for their emotional impact and with hind sight was something I could have quite easily created myself using volunteers.
The video was the kind of piece that you could easily spend months tinkering with in attempts to improve it, and not really achieving much more than was already present. I came to this conclusion at Christmas when I decided to end the work on the film and create a brand new one.
The second video ‘IF’ took the poem of Rudyard Kipling, narrated by Sir Michael Caine and with the background music of Batman and the stills from La Jetee.
The blending of these disparate elements caused a few difficult artistic decisions to be made, namely how La Jetee could be matched to the lines of the poem. Once the stills were selected the decision on how they should be presented to give a different look to the film was raised. The decision to turn the images into a comic book was inspired by the music from Batman which accompanies the reading of the poem, but also the comic strip account of the Jameson Raid, the event that inspired the poem.
The decision of creating the comic book effect was after long discussions with Gemma my tutor and we both came to conclusion that we were unsure as to whether this would work sufficiently to carry the poem.
After processing each of the images and turning each one into a panel from a comic book the overall effect I felt worked. There was a clear indication that the poem was still ‘told effectively’ in the form of a comic, but whether Sir Michael Caine’s narrative was still needed was an issue I still continue to wrestle with as it appears to work both with and without his commentary. The music enhances both versions (narrated and non narrated).
The final verdict of the class was that overall they liked it. After careful consideration Gemma too admitted she liked the final result.
Footnote: The author of the Photo shop action I used to convert the still photos into comic book frames Owen Billcliffe, posted the following comment on my word press account.
Hey Graham, I;m the guy that made the comic book Photoshop effect and I love what you’ve done with it! Love the inspiration you drew from as well, great comics those 🙂
Thanks for sharing your work, and linking to mine!