THE BRIEF: This Unit is part of your preparation for your Final Major Project (FMP). It is designed to enable you to consider the historical, technical, and cultural influences on your chosen media and inform the production of your FMP. This will give you an opportunity to determine the production method and topic you want to focus on and conduct thorough research into your chosen area.
You will create a printed and bound research portfolio as evidence of study. There should be a main essay of at least 1000-1200 words plus supporting documents and images. Since you are media students, consideration will be given to presentation as well as content.
During this project you will have a chance to experience and explore different options for your FMP. You can choose what you want your research project to be based on, but make sure it is relevant to creative media production, as well as being an area you are considering for your FMP.
At college, we're delving into the world of research projects, and I've been mulling over which of my inspirations to use as my subject...
• Option One: Nathan Head •
A digital artist and photographer, Nathan Head has a very clear surrealist style and colour scheme, designed to create connotations of dreams and an alternative, magical world. His work has always inspired me, partly because it's so unique and partly because it fits in with my own style and personal aesthetic. If I researched him, I would design the whole project around experimenting with maintaining this look, in colour scheme and graphics.
• Option Two: Quentin Tarantino •
Tarantino is one of my favourite (if not absolute favourite) directors, with Pulp Fiction as one of my favourite films of all time, almost entirely down to the genius cinematography. I would love to spend some time analysing some of his shots, colour grading, colour schemes and lighting! And of course I'd have to rewatch some of his films, do some reading on him... it's almost like a dream project!
• Option Three: Inception •
I hate to be cliche, but Inception is another one of my favourite films ever. Cliches exist for a reason though - because it's a classic! I would definitely research the colour schemes, and how the lighting works with the cinematography to portray the emotional depth and complication expressed in the film. I find it to be one of the most immersive films I have ever watched, next to Pulp Fiction. Usually I have to be doing something productive while I'm watching a film, but when Inception or Pulp Fiction are on - 100% of my attention is in the
film. I think this is partly down to the incredible synchronisation of all aspects of the film - the sound, the movement, the sound effects, the speech and the shots are all perfectly synchronised and nothing is out of place, leaving the audience with no opportunity to tear themselves back into the real world!
In conclusion, I wish I could triple my time and complete all three of these projects! But for the moment, I will go with researching Tarantino. I think it gives me more freedom than only researching one film, and is more relevant to my studies than Nathan Head, as it is moving image-based. I am immensely looking forward to seeing where this project takes me!
Quentin Tarantino Interviews ~ Edited by Gerald Perry
Quentin Tarantino interviews is a book that I became completely addicted to - it is an edited version of every single official interview Quentin Tarantino has had, arranged in chronological order, and with reference to the year, context and circumstances of each interview; even information about the interviewer. The interviews started in the early 90s and a lot of them in this time period were held at Cannes Film Festival, mostly at screenings of Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, as these did jumpstart his career (particularly Pulp Fiction). I found it fascinating to gain such a comprehensive insight into Tarantino’s writing process and so much of his experience of the industry (especially climbing up the ladder) behind the camera.
Shoot Like Tarantino ~ Christopher Kenworthy
Kenworthy provided a much more practical reading of Tarantino’s films, in a very organised format. He arranged the book by different films, selected scenes from each film and went through the strengths and speculated processes behind every detail in each shot. This extended not only to the background details but also to the acting, and how each actor negotiated their setting to make sense in Tarantino’s world. Especially as this book was printed in black and white, I found it a really interesting insight into how Tarantino sets up his shots and reasoning behind each one that I might never have thought of myself - therefore leading me to deeper thought processes and attention to detail in his films.
When conducting secondary research, it is always important to only take information from reliable sources - such as businesses, organisations or individuals with well-known authority in their field. Otherwise one risks creating a reputation as a font of false knowledge; a provider of unreliable information. But this is not the only reason to include referencing in secondary research.
When providing information, one must reference the source in order to prove credibility of the claims. A news story from the BBC might be more trusted than a five minute piece from the Daily Mail, for example. Equally, any medical statistics would be more quickly trusted from John Hopkins University or the WHO than if it were from Wikipedia. Referencing also prevents anyone from suggesting that the information used is plagiarised - a reference gives credit to the original owner and also gives anyone else the opportunity to pursue further information from the source.
‘Quentin Tarantino’s obscenely regressive vision of the sixties in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood’ ~ The New Yorker
This review produced an unusually voiced negative opinion of Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, which allowed me a window into how some audiences can perceive a Tarantino film as regressive in certain ways. Here, Brody wrote about how his view of the sixties is ‘regressive’, which I was no expecting, but an experience of the film so drastically different to my own helped me to see it in more of an analytical light and to weigh up its strengths and weaknesses in different ways, and to then think about even evaluating whether these strengths and weaknesses really were just that, or if they still merely remained as opinions.
‘How Quentin Tarantino concocted a genre of his own’ ~ The New Yorker
In this article from The New Yorker, McGrath first introduces the various ways in which Tarantino writes to create a consistency between his films - therefore creating one ‘universe’ which all of his characters from all of his different films co-exist in. McGrath goes into how he has accentuated this with various techniques and in different aspects of all of his films, and then provides an interview he conducted with Tarantino himself, about this very process. The structure of this article was incredibly informative and also enjoyable to read because it included neither on or the other to exclude the other one - he re-immersed the reader in aspects of Tarantino’s films, so that then the article was a lot more in context and made a lot more sense for some readers. This experience produced a very rounded article which leaves the reader with an informed satisfaction.
Iconic Tarantino shots and how he uses them to tell stories - No Film School
This article from No Film School by V Renee was more of a practical approach to explaining Tarantino’s techniques. Once the basic concepts and key principles were explained, Renee focussed a lot more on explaining how others can replicate not these shots, but this way of thinking during the process of filming. Therefore, I found this very informative and useful to my own development as a filmmaker, not only in isolation of discovering more about Tarantino for this project. The article itself was short, and put across the point predominantly through embedded videos, so that the reader could physically see the run through of Tarantino’s techniques, which would make sense, as some people who are interested in film might be more likely to respond well or be more engaged with visual (specifically video-based) content.
The unit 12 project gave me the opportunity to research a topic that I am passionate about but in depth, and it also taught me how to construct an official research project. I think that the secondary research ended up being extensive and probably could have been made more concise, but that I could have used more of a variety of methods of primary research - such as an Instagram poll or study group. This would have given me more primary research to develop and draw from in my secondary research, as I do think they ended up as slightly too unrelated. The word count was also over the guidelines because I got quite carried away with the secondary research, but I am highly satisfied with everything I wrote, because I ended up going through an important process in my own head as I wrote. The title was ‘how cinematography in the films of Quentin Tarantino reflect and accentuate his storylines’, and although my research was based around this title - and I made sure to link back to it - but I failed to actually signpost the name of the title throughout the research essay. Overall, I found the research project a brilliantly interesting development through the topic, a very immersive essay which allowed me to reference books and articles but also branch out on my original ideas - but I do also think that I probably wrote too much and should check my conciseness in the future.