As of a month ago, I was fairly certain of the project I would do for my capstone course. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, my opinion on this project reversed, and now I am back at the drawling board. Though I have ideas, I have no sure project in mind, which brings me both anxiety and curiosity.
The one thing I am sure of is the form in which I want to explore a topic. Over the past year, I’ve become familiar with documentary production. Last semester, I became familiar with essay documentary more specifically. It’s my favorite art form because it is an excellent device for an author to show their perspective both visually and verbally, allowing for a dialectic between the word and image. In it, the author of the documentary usually plays a role from behind or even in front of the camera (or both), and uses his voice over to comment on the events that visually unfold. An example of an interesting essay doc is John Bresland’s The Seinfeld Analog. You can also check out a recent essay doc I did (it’s a semi rough version uploaded for class that I haven’t started publicizing–we’re still polishing it in post prod). It’s called Screens and Stages. I also really enjoy work by Ross McElwee, in which he explores his own personal relationships in order to make metaphysical statements often very reflexive of film.
A more radical thing for me to do would be to make a fiction essay doc (meaning script something that the audience would perceive as a non-fiction documentary if they went into it without warning). I love non-fiction filmmaking because of it’s ability to make me go out into the real world, but I’ve always been curious about blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction through documentary.
So, I have a mode down with several examples in mind (though I could always take more recommendations for inspiration!), but I’m not totally sure on the content. I have several things in mind:
1. An essay doc regarding my family or my home town. I think as a VERY small town raised boy, I have an interesting story on what it’s like to examine your roots before you graduate and finally make a large departure from them.
2. Possibly do a relationship oriented piece–explore the question of how much our emotions for someone is in our control or is determined by timing, place, and physiology.
3. Any interesting doc that can deal with identity in new ways.
I’m still very much in the brainstorming process. But I can tell you that I’m most inspired to do work that reflects on identity, relationships, sex, and that act of storytelling itself (especially if I can tie all of these things together). Let me know if you have any advice for finding my muse!