Final Project: Why?

Why I want to do this:

I know I have the talent in every respect to do this. I had decided to do thing like this years ago. But I never did. Hundreds of dollars of equipment lay dusty around my room. With an actual deadline and a grade on the line, I’m confident history will not repeat itself.

More so, at the most fundamental, I want recognition for my talents. I want praise for what I can do from as many people as possible, as vain as that sounds. The most effective way to make that happen is to do something amazing. That means to push myself past my limits so that people have no choice but to recognize it. My biggest fear is not of criticism, but apathy from the audience.

But why Frozen? Surely I could have chosen any other movie, perhaps one that doesn’t have a female lead. Of course part of it is that Frozen is still relevant in pop culture and very likely will continue to be in a month. But it isn’t as simple as a cold, calculated way to get as much attention as possible. It is personal. It makes me feel like a kid again. It reminds me of all the cartoon theme songs I used to memorize. I noticed that since high school I don’t do that anymore. In part because of the music I listen to nowadays simply having little-to-no lyrics. A large part though was my anxiety. It really ate away at me over the years and for aspects like this, I’ve never quite recovered. Despite being part of a choral ensemble in high school, I feel embarrassed to sing now, and I don’t know why. I need to break this perception I have on myself. After all, it’s in my blood. My grandfather would sing all the time, in multiple languages. This passed down to my mother who will sing a song (as best she can) by the mention of certain key phrases that correlate. So I don’t know why I’m embarrassed to sing. Nobody ever made fun of me, or discouraged me in any way. It has always been me holding me back. All these things are actually themes in Frozen. The songs I’ll be singing for the project will be mirroring how I’ve felt, and how I am feeling, in my own life. By performing these songs, and more importantly, publishing it for others to see, I’m hoping I can finally let go of what’s been holding me back all this time.

So why am I doing it? For myself, obviously. I think the process will be fun since both Frozen and musical production are common topics in the dorm, so all my friends will want to contribute and I’ll have a great audience for test screening.

 

This post wasn’t required for the project, but I feel the need to share these thoughts. Unlike the analysis-heavy projects everyone else is doing, mine is about performance. In a way, that performance is my analysis of the movie, through the use of the movie’s own resources.

Final Project Proposal

I plan on dubbing the entirety of Disney’s Frozen. This means, at minimum, I will be replacing the voices of every single speaking role in the film. If time allows, my ultimate goal is to replace all audio with acapella by layering my audio over itself so simulate each instrument independently. However, I’m worried the latter idea is much too ambitious for a class project.

I will need to learn all lines of dialogue, as well as timing, intensity, and I will do my best to emulate the original voice work.

I plan to utilize Sony Vegas for this task, as it excels in video editing where multiple video and audio tracks are involved. If additional audio editing is involved I may use Audacity for precision and effects. Ideally, the video layout will have the original video in the center of the screen with video of myself voice acting on the sides. An example of such a style is Youtube user Smooth McGroove.

I have studio quality microphones with which to record audio and and an HD webcam to record a video of myself performing. The audience would be anyone who is a fan of the latest Disney movie, in particular, people in my dormitory of Demarest, who are absolutely obsessed with it. I don’t plan on using Auto-Tune style software, which means that I will require substantial range and stamina in order to maintain a level of quality.

 

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan is a work of art. I say this because I have always had mixed feeling about it. It sounds a bit like  an insult, but this is possibly the greatest gift that art can give. Years have went by and I still try to wrap my head around some of the movie’s themes and concepts. Unfortunately, while a work of art doesn’t need to be entertaining, the lasting appeal is still lost on me as I can never work up the motivation to re-watch the movie in order to make a bit more sense of it all. So while I appreciate it, I didn’t really enjoy it.

Black-swan-2010[1]

Every inch of this movie is saturated with surprisingly complex theming. From the very concept – Swan Lake, the most well known ballet in the world, and surely a well known story in itself -the movie promises to give everything a little bit of a twist by use of the themes of innocence and a loss of innocence. It permeates the entire movie, from the characters, to the in-movie ballet sequences, to eventually even the setting. The story Follows Nina Sayers, played by Natalie Portman, who needs to find a part of herself she seems to be missing in order to display the emotion necessary to maintain the lead role in the performance of Swan Lake. Her mother maintains her innocence while the director is promoting the release of that innocence n order to fully encapsulate the meaning of the white and black swans. It seems Nina is not able to do this in a reasonable amount of time and so the character Lily, played by Mila Kunis, is asked to join “just in case” Nina cannot perform well enough. After around that point in the story things start getting confusing. Don’t get me wrong, I like to be confused a bit in a story, but Black Swan looses me for good after that point. What seems to be the case is that Nina is not very mentally stable and between the general pressure and the demand to completely change her personality to fit the role, she begins spiraling into a delusional breakdown. Normally something like this is fine. I enjoy phychological torture-thrillers, but the execution just didn’t work for me. There is absolutely no way to tell when a character besides Portman is there in the story or if she is imagining them. This works for some scenes like the sexual escapades Portman and imaginary-Kunis go on together, but I lost track and just had to assume everyone and everything was in her mind at some point. It was frustrating.

 

But looking back at the experience, it was a beautifully complex method to make me feel as confused and helpless as Portman’s character is throughout the majority of  the film. You don’t get enough time to sit there and figure out when the hallucinations start and end because neither did she. It is that very frustration that makes this film beautiful but abhorrent at the same time. You feel the mental gymnastics Nina must have done in an attempt to please everyone. It works as art, but not as a movie. I can’t really think of a better medium one could translate it into, so I suppose the silver screen was the best bet. It was a terrible mistake to watch it with my parents and grandmother however.

Paperman (2010)

Paperman (2010)

I tried doing some research on Paperman when it first came out in 2012 but it resulted in little actually being learned as the details are probably much more technical than the average Disney fan is willing to understand. The first time I learned of this short it was with the tagline of the first Disney short in decades that uses hand drawn techniques. Turns out, it’s a bit of both new and old age with Disney using “a hybrid vector/raster-based drawing and animation system that gives artists an interactive way to craft the film, not just toon-shaded renders.” (Source: http://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-inside-story-behind-disneys-paperman/ )

As for the actual short, it’s beautiful. I had never lost faith in Disney’s ability to tell great silent stories, in fact, I was disappointed when they started talking in Wall-E. It’s the simplest stories that I feel make the deepest impressions. Without the ability to tell you how they feel the characters are all much more expressive. That’s why I chose this early frame against all the others. You can yourself feel the emotion our protagonist has in this shot. “Oh, haha, what a coincidence. What a strange occurrence in our busy lives.” It’s a feeling everyone gets, and yet I haven’t seen it displayed quite so well before. I’ve seen countless animations attempt such emotions but none seem to come close.

There are no voices and there are no colors, but because of this, not despite it, Paperman is able to describe emotion and interaction in ways that I think many people had long forgotten.

My Top 5 Movies in Tweets

In no particular order:

  • Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003)

I listen to Daft Punk’s Discovery daily. At only an hour long this is more music video than a movie but it still packs one emotional punch.

  • Airplane! (1980)

There isn’t a frame in this movie without humor. After watching it 15 times you’ll still be laughing at jokes you didn’t see before.

  • Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994)

Ace Ventura is just silly. But that’s why I like it. An absolutely crazy man in a relatively normal world doing stupid things with animals.

  • Fantasia (1940)

Fantasia28[1]

I haven’t seen Fantasia in at least a decade. The fact that it’s still on my top 5 list should speak volumes. A set of masterpieces in one.

  • Iron Man (2008)

It’s an action movie with just enough of everything, comedy, drama, romance, and pacing to keep the mood high throughout its entirety.