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The Dormitory Window-Sight and Sound Action Project

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Part 3/4: from FILM 450 Sight & Sound:

Storyboarded, Directed, and Edited by Kevin DeLoughry
Shot by Kevin DeLoughry, Sam Norton
With Assistance by Scott Davis, Sam Norton

Starring Kevin DeLoughry, Laura Pérez Maquedano, Scott Davis

The Action Project is filmed using 200 feet of 16 mm footage, which is about 5 minutes, 20 seconds of recording space. I digitized the film by pointing my own digital camera at a Steenbeck editing table (makes it a little bouncy, sorry). Independent sound design was done using the library and synced using Final Cut Pro.

This project was the first on which we were allowed lighting equipment and encouraged to work indoors. While this has advantages in shot composition, it also requires quite a bit more time to set up, and we still only had a weekend to do three projects.

I wanted the action project to be more than could conceivably make it. Cinematically, the swinging slats of my window shade seemed interesting, as they offered constantly changing glimpses to the outside world. I thought of a clueless protagonist letting danger in without knowing, because he wasn't as attentive as the audience, and he wasn't looking through the slats properly. I thought of a gunshot fracturing the story, cutting it down and returning it as something new. I thought of an alley shooting, hidden/implied backstory, innocence corrupted. Idolizing criminality (Frank Sinatra's mug shot) vs. experiencing victimhood. Both characters are victims. Laura's character is threatened by Scott's. She shoots him self-defense, an understandable situation. She assaults my character to protect herself from consequences. An act of violence to protect herself from being turned in. Now she's become the aggressor.

I do think it's a lot to put into 118 seconds. I also wish the cinematic language had been a little stronger, especially in the beginning. On the day of set, I had run out of time and space before shooting a planned sequence which showed my character in bed, bored and staring up at the posters, before the rocks hit the window. I wish the film had that slow build, instead of starting en media res. It would've created a closer alignment with my character.

Still, it certainly lives up to the "Action" title. Some panicking crowd noises go a long way to add tension to a scene. Cuts are inherently violent, as Sergei Eisenstein might tell you. A swinging book and a body hitting the floor communicates that violence by their juxtaposition. Little touches, little experiments. I learned a lot.

Those following the Kevin DeLoughry Sight & Sound Series™ in order may notice the second appearance of my dorm mirror, which is right where it's supposed to be, hanging in my dorm. It shall return in the final.

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