I have not posted anything for a while. Now I am curious is my readers are longing for the return of their favorite cinema blogger. So, show off in the comments, and we’ll see if writing long posts about cinematography should continue to be my obsession!
For one last time,
Greetings, dear Reader!
I am marking this to be the end of my cinema blog. I could list many tremendous accolades about the experience of working on my first and main multimedia journalism assignment, yet I have already written a summary post. And I dedicate the final one to be a spiritual conclusion to my journey. I could not think of anything to write about better than the historic moment of any aspiring filmmaker – the premier of the first movie.
Since Spring 2012, Documentary Filmmaking class at AUBG has galvanized the strengths and creatives hearts of its students in order to bring a single class-produce movie. The very first one was “Miss AUBG 2012“, then “I, too, am Bulgaria” and finally “Welcome Home” by Fall 2013 class. The new generation of students has decided to continue the tradition and began the production of a new documentary immediately after the Fall break. In the matter of weeks, they have managed to put together a surprising story of two mature Bulgarian men, whose lives are tangled with old, abandoned and vandalized Soviet monument, eternal social ideas that it represented a long time ago. I think this is what concealed behind the documentary’s title “Buzludzha: Memories in the Dust”.
The story revolves around a man, who was repressed by communist government in his youth for no good reason, and another man, who all his life has been serving to the homeland. Both of them explicitly share their attitude towards the communistic times and their views on the meanings of life in general. I am no documentary film critic, but I felt like the narrative unfolded just beautifully throughout the whole feature. However, I have found the ending to be a bit abrupt and quirky as the final part and the final lines were presented in an ordinary manner and the pacing did not imply the conclusion of the story. Still, this is incredible that the students were able to pull off a massive editing project in a such limiting timeframe. And in fact what got me the most excited about the film is the production part. I am amazed that the students have found the key element of their film just on the ride to the place — they were enjoying a candid conversation with a driver, who turned to be a father of one of the students, when they realized that his story was the one they had been seeking for. After the screening, the atmosphere on the stage become remarkably emotional, something extremely rare these days. The father of the student and the main character of the film gave a little speech, praising dedication of the filmmakers to accurately portraying the story of his life in the film. The executive producer of the documentary, Professor Gilbert, congratulated the students on becoming that night true filmmakers and wished them a bright future in the film world.
http://youtu.be/tpDvrdNGlRA In the end, I would like to say thank you to anyone who visited, commented or criticized this blog. I would not have achieved so much progress without you. Goodbye. And appreciate creative minds behind the camera 😉
P.S. The students have made an awesome production blog about their filmmaking adventures. You can read it over here. One last thing, AUBG Daily also wrote an article about impressions after the screening, take a look.
Greetings dear Reader,
There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The finals are indeed coming and with that the end of the semester.
It is already December, space-time continuum has apparently curved so drastically that I feel like I started the semester only yesterday. And it seems more like a reality.
Unfortunately and to my shame in the very beginning of the fall the blog stayed in a limbo state, with only About section filled in. This maybe why many of you know cannot recall the name of my blog. I was stumbled upon the direction I need to take it to deliver a good quality work. Nonetheless, on the other note, it is hard to underscore the skills I have learned throughout the class, into which I came with somewhat little knowledge of what kind of job the multimedia journalism really is.
We started off with an essential multimedia journalism skill: to record audio interviews. Since then each week a new tool was added to our “journalistic” gear. Even though I actually knew most of them even before, e.g. cutting audio and video, creating slideshows and etc., I found new something new like social media storytelling using the “apps” such as Thinglink and Storyify. Yet, the greatest beneficial aspect of the course was to become more comfortable with interviewing people and, afterwards, exercising it in neat ways.
Over the past I was on a hunt for film/video-production community spirit on AUBG campus. I found it in generous volunteers, media, student clubs, aspiring filmmakers. I interviewed different AUBG students and tortured with questions about creative values: Dumitrita Pacicovschi, Kira Kirichenko and Pavel Kukushkin, Evgeni Bizhev from German Club, Petar Agov from More-Honors, Ivan Onoshko from The Purple Studio, Darya Bavykina, Heidi Pullyard from The Bubble and my last favorite Sergey Zhelezko.
I’m sorry for the misleading title, but I can assure you this is not yet my last post. Hopefully, I will be able to get on the much-anticipated screening of “Buzludzha: Memories in the Dust” made by Documentary Filmmaking class students and after that I will write an exclusive mini-review, more likely just an opinion piece, on the documentary feature. So, stay tuned until the end of the week for my last bit!
Oh, Hail to the dearest Reader!
Lately, I have been focusing the blog largely on student media/clubs related to the video making, so for this entry I decided to take an interview with an independent student videographer. He is another freshly made filmmaker from Fall’14 Documentary Filmmaking class, having recently shot an inspiring documentary about fear, height and the inner strength. “Mt. Fear”.
Meet Sergey Zhelezko, Journalism and Mass Media Communications major.
Sergey’s passion to video-making started a long time ago. His parents showed him a world of grande cinema when he was really young: monumental movies of extraordinary directors. At the age of ten he saw a Tarkovsky‘s movie, and even if he could not understand much, he truly enjoyed it and that was his moment of life-changing inspiration. Then, in his teenage years, he tried shooting any kind of goofiness that popped out in his head, just for fun, and since he didn’t own a camera, he had to borrow it. At some point Sergey also began writing scripts. And that was how he started developing his video making skills.
This is the quote of what he discovered in the childhood:
Creativity liberates you. You want to spend all your time on it, but it’s really hard and that’s a problem since there are so many other obligations. Still, without it my life feels empty, like some part of me is missing. It changes the attitude to life, you start to appreciate it. For instance, in the editing, you have to arrange some shots and it’s like math problem. You use your imagination like any mathematician to solve it.
Sergey continued mastering the cinematography techniques later in the university. He watched many tutorials in his free time and tried to apply acquired skills in an unconventional ways, shooting experimental shorts and reels. He believes that in AUBG there are many opportunities to grow creatively as an independent artist as the university has a flexible course selection. Sergey seeks for versatility in his creative growth. He applied for internship at AUBG’s Admission Office, where he shot some commercials. It was a way of developing his advertising video making skills. Then, he is currently taking the Documentary class to learn storytelling techniques: “You can acquire skills in shooting and editing on your own, but with storytelling you need someone to teach you. My professor, Melody Gilbert, has a tremendous experience in storytelling. I try to get the most of out each class session“.
As for the creative collaborations, he thinks that there are certain restraints when it comes to dealing with the other people’s vision. Yet, he admits that sometimes doing everything the way he likes is not healthy for creative growth: “I worked with my friend Alex before and we both know how each of us work. We can trust each other. Together we get the «crap» done much faster. There is a mutual respect and benefit. We learn from each other”.
Ave, dear Reader! 😉
Today I’ve brought another exclusive interview for you! They are hungry for a true video journalism and they play by the rules of the real media world. Their show is relatively fresh, but has already gathered some serious buzz. They are The Bubble. I sat down to have a chat with Heidi Pullyard, executive producer of the student-run media.
To begin with, small background details about Heidi. She is a senior, as the most of
the members of the media, who is studying Political Science and Journalism and Mass Media Communications. She dreams to be working as a broadcast reporter after the graduation and cover stories that have an impact. It is safe to say that she has already succeeded with the latter with her reports on The Bubble.
Now, let’s focus on the main part of the story. Heidi told me that originally The Bubble was born as a part of TV News and Reporting class with Professor Gilbert during the last spring semester. It was an actual news show with some entertainment bits. The students covered different events on campus, they were hosts, reporters, cameramen. Each student was responsible for his own part and afterwards all of them were stitched together to produce a single show. Yet, the main point was to be able to come out with the show every week. And they actually did it. “Deadlines meant everything“. During the class, they’ve worked as a team for the first time and they had to rely on one another. Some of them decided to continue the collaboration even after the class was finished.
The Bubble of today is quite different. It is more serious, thoughtful and professional than its previous iteration. They’ve made a decision to continue the operation not as a club, but an independent student-run media. Most of the events the show covered before were the ones that happen every year, for a new season they’ve decided to cover serious stories that don’t occur that often: “Everything on campus that we feel newsworthy, the events that affect us on a serious level“.
The greatest thing about the team, according to Heidi, is that they are actually a small team now and they know how to work together. In the team everybody does some shooting and editing. And the next thing I asked Heidi to present the team. So, Heidi is responsible for executive producing, she also takes care of organizational part. Dima does all the vox pops as she really like asking people random questions. Igor is just being an amazing shooter and amazing editor. Next, there is Thomas, who did a few reports and helps out with everything. Then, Anton, who is the writer and co-host. And they have Olga, who is PR person and reporter.
I’m proud of the Bubble, it is exactly what I’ve wanted to do. I found people who are as passionate about this as I am. We work so well together, I could not imagine a better team. I could not be happier with the people I am working with.
As Heidi described, all of them are dedicated to the show and to the journalism in general. They are passionate and they try to be as much as journalists in the real world. The show is a real opportunity for them to gain the experience and to make all silly the mistakes now: “We all have this motivation to be the best kind of journalists. And we want to start from now. We want to have background after we graduate and we also feel very proud when we make the event that no one else covered“.
As for The Bubble of the future, it is going to change or, it is better to say, evolve. Next semester they will do more work as they are still trying everything together — the graphics, the theme. The show will be smoother, they will be able to come up with stories and hand them out quicker. After the graduation of the major part of the team, she hopes for a bright future of The Bubble with the next generation.
Phew, what a year dear Reader,
It’s already December and I salute you on the pages of my cinema blog!
So far I had interviews only with those who had some experience in the video production field, but for this time I thought… wouldn’t it be great to find a fresh face blistering of the excitement to something we may have got accustomed to or forgotten. Melody Gilbert’s documentary class was the perfect place to start my search from… and there I found my newest interviewee.
Darya Bavykina. Junior, Journalism and Mass Media Communications major. She is the Sneaker&Speakers author and the girl who dances through her life. It was her journey during the MMJ class of the previous year. With brave and courage (since she had never encountered the field before) Darya decided to take the role of documentary filmmaker for this semester. Our interview revolves around her experience in filmmaking.
We started with discussing the first true passion of her life, dancing. She shared that it has always been a part of her inner self-expression, kind of view on the life. It is also a great stress relief. Such passion helps to blend in with own feelings and emotions, yet it is possible to share with everyone else around.
I proceeded with a tough, but meaningful question: What creativity is for you?
“It’s freedom. Creativity is freedom. Every time you dance, you express yourself somehow differently. You can’t dance the same way over and over again”.
Then, I asked her to compare it to the filmmaking and I received a curious reply. Darya said that in any creative process there is a pain while searching for an idea. In dance it’s more connected to the physical pain, when somebody starts out new moves, it’s incredibly difficult at first, but with more practice, he/she dances better. With moviemaking experience it’s pain of creative the plot of a movie. The pain becomes more mental. It was the toughest part for her as she had to focus and then to narrow the focus.
She is a true JMCer, from the very beginning she wanted to devote herself only to JMC and she would never change her choice. She realized that the major would give her many opportunities to learn exciting things: writing and shooting compelling stories, or even analyzing behavior of the people. She also wanted to make each academic year as diverse and different from one another as possible: the first year was mainly about writing stories, the second – visual communications and design skills, and now, in junior year, she is concentrated on video-stuff.
Darya has never worked in the editing suites nor shot anything on camera. This makes the documentary filmmaking class to be a challenge, but the way she sees it the challenge that she would gladly accept in order to learn something new and grow as a creative person. Darya said that the equipment is single coolest part of the job and she recalled the times when she was envious with peer students on campus who had huge cameras and tripods, walking around like professionals and shooting fascinating stories.
It is important to note that the documentary realm has never really enchanted Darya:
“I don’t really like watching documentaries. Melody will shoot me for this! I personally have never seen a documentary that I couldn’t take my eyes from. That’s why I had to push myself to watch them“.
And that was the other side of the complex challenge. It raised an existential question — why would anyone want to watch her documentary. Still, taking the documentary class was a long plan in the making, since her freshman year Darya knew she would take it.
At first the very idea of producing the documentary gave her chills, but by the time the class began she got used to it and it felt almost natural. The next moment Melody Gilbert was talking about how she should start/end the movie, giving tips on the storytelling, sharing some fascinating techniques on the best ways to get to the heart of a movie.
The documentaries usually are the stories of somebody else. The problem is to make a person to confess, to tell you his story, because we keep our ideas and thoughts to ourselves. As a doc. filmmaker, you need to talk to lots of people, you need to collect their ideas to eventually converge them into the product of your thoughts. That was yet another challenge.
Then, we moved on to the discussion of the actual documentary production. The first and the crucial stage of any documentary pre-production is find the right story. For Darya it was like a snap, as always. The summer before the school she thought she would go with dancing topic as she “super-excitied” about the art and already had a blog on it in the MMJ class. However, when the semester started, she realized that she needed something more challenging, but on the first class session she had no clue what would that be. On the day of her deadline, she was sitting on financial accounting class, asking around the ideas for a topic. One guys suggested to go with Griffins, the team, and then she just clicked:
“I thought why not – it’s the sport, I had no knowledge about american football, about the rules. At the same time, I wanted a documentary about a club on campus, because I just love the idea of students, who don’t get any money out of this. The way they organize the clubs, establishing traditions and creating family bonds with each other. That gave me the start“.
Darya started shooting everything about the Griffins, looking out for details, and yet she didn’t have a clear picture on what kind of story she was trying to tell. It was a vague concept. She was searching for the focus almost until the very end of the production process. In middle of the semester the class had rough cut screenings. Visiting documentary filmmakers happened to be their first audience. When Darya presented her film, they could not understand what it was about, they could not see the connection between the events. Then, Professor Gilbert approached her. As the film clearly wasn’t working, she reassured Darya not to worry, but to grab the camera and start shooting right away, find another way to make it work. That was a mind blowing point for her.
In the middle of the night, Darya printed all the transcripts, cut the quotes in pieces and started looking through them, searching for a new story. That was the beginning of her new documentary. She also reinvented her interviewing process:
“I was pushy this time as I had a clear view of what I need to get out of him and I was pushing for that. And that’s good because before I let my interviewee led me. It was wrong“.
During my final set of question, I was wondering if Darya considers herself as a documentarist after all she had gone through and she said:
“To call myself a documentary filmmaker, I need to practice 10,000 times more. Just one documentary is not enough. I think, if you feel like to become a documentary filmmaker, you should consistently do it over and over again. I’m still not sure what to do with my life“.
In the end, I discovered that Darya has a little “crazy idea” to combine documentary filmmaking skills with her desire for dance.
I hope we’ll able to find out what she meant quite soon! 😉
BB-ZSHOOOO, dear Reader!
*Whooshing sound of the lightsaber*
This Thanksgiving brought a heaven-kind turkey “dinner” for “Star Wars” geeks all over the world as the trailer for the long-anticipated new story of the cosmic saga has been dropped in the Internet. We’ve got our own geeks in AUBG community, even amongst the faculty, but… hey, this quirky intro got carried away from the actual purpose of my blog.;)
I am still continuing my search for the most enthusiastic personalities and true pioneers in video production art on our campus. And for today I have interviewed the president and the founder of the Purple Studio, Ivan Onoshko.
Ivan has been engaged in multiple creative collaborations, organized several major student events (Lip Dub, Harlem Shake, etc.) and, to illustrate how much he is really involved in the life on campus, he was also nominated two times in a row for the “Public Enemy”. Ivan is a senior now, majoring in Business Administration and Economics. Considering his educational path, it is quite surprising to see his boundless devotion to the creative discipline. That’s where our conversation took off.
The roots of Ivan’s affection dates back to those days when he came to AUBG. He didn’t have any experience in the shooting or editing, however like any freshman he had tons of free time and stoic eagerness to find a new hobby. As a result, he put an eye on video production as it sounded cool and interested. Luckily, Bisera Savoska, the president of Defacto-TV at that time, gave him a shot to be a part of Defacto-TV cinematography and editing team. Ivan mesmerizes Bisera as his mentor, the person who taught him everything. She had an incredible passion to the cinematography, something that profoundly captivated him. That’s how he started loving cinematography and shooting:
“When you are surrounded by the people like her, it somehow transfers to you as well. And with her passion, interest, I realized that the shooting was what I was looking for“.
The following year, due to creative differences, it was decided to shut down Defacto-TV, but instead start a new project with a new name, brand, constitution and color. This is how the Purple was born: “We decided to go with this color, because it’s the color of creativity and royalty“.
The studio had a rough start. There were only ten people in the team, mostly zero experience and no equipment. Yet, since then they have gained necessary skills, prepared and equipped, now they have everything for the shooting: tripods, cameras, microphones. Today the Purple is a creative cinematography studio with 25 people, four producers and one executive producer. The club’s main product is a bi-weekly show about AUBG news and stories, they also have the second, «creative» department that shoots out-of-box videos roughly once a semester. It reminded me of the Google X team development workflow.
The show has seen a major change of format since the very launch of the project. In the beginning, it was mostly filled with the news reports only, but over the time the club members felt that they would want to focus more on the cinematography part, though not neglecting the journalistic side in their videos. This is the main reason why the studio is stated as the cinematography club.
According to Ivan, the ideal Purple club member is a person with a passion for the video production. He said that without this passion people at some point would stop working and they would loose the incentive. However, of course, a person should also be very communicative as you always have to interact with one another in a huge club of 25 people, rely on each other. If the person is shy, he or she is not reliable. These kind of qualities the club is looking for in the fresh comers.
This year the club opened doors to 15 absolutely fresh guys. Even though some of them had some previous experience, most of them had none. As Ivan said, the club decided to took exactly them, because they saw the seeds of that passion. In an effort to encourage the newbies into the videography, everyone was brought to a every intense team building, where they were shooting, editing and went for some insane ideas: “We showed them what being a part of a team is“.
Our time was almost over and yet I could not resist asking Ivan about plans for the future of the Purple:
“It really depends. Maybe next semester we’ll get a crazy idea like the one we had in a previous year with Lip Dub. When we’ve just stopped shooting anything for month a half, the whole Purple crew dedicated itself to the production. Maybe the same will happen, we will see“.
And we’ll keep looking forward to the new episodes!
Greetings, dear cinephile Reader!
This time I have prepared for you something special. They go by different names on campus: lunatics, arrogant weirdoes, creeps. Some despise them, others – praise. Their operation is shadowed by the public image of an intimidating elitist society. They have been trapped into various controversies throughout their history.
I am going to share an exclusive insight into the The Kingdom of Wackiness or More-Honors Academy.
While Interstellar is wrecking minds worldwide, I would like to greet you on the pages of my cinema blog, Dear Reader!
Sounds, syllables, words. Learning a foreign language is a tough work. I am sure many of the AUBG students have got a salty taste of that before. But what could more fun other than following Chandler’s jokes and appreciating Ross’s fake accent in “Friends” while harvesting new vocabulary and enlarging your overall listening comprehension?
We had an amazing class session today in the MMJ, I learned a few new tricks in social media communication that I would like to share with you. First we got in acquittance with Storify. This is a great app to visualize a story from a hordes of tweets, fb- /insta- and other social media platform posts. It helps to create a cohesive storyline with any kind of aggregated information from all over the Internet: pictures, videos and texts.
I chose to embark on a journey to the world of film news. There are countless of articles out there, so I picked only the most recent ones and the most influential.
Here is my first Storify, you can unveil it by clicking on the image or following the link!
Also, we learned yet another useful tool for social media geeks, Thinglink. This one allows you to pull up a picture and then tag it or link it with literally anything, for example, articles, places, web pages, videos and pictures! Certainly, a great way to communicate efficiently tons of information.
Have a look at my take either by, once again, clicking on the image or snapping the link.
I used an image from “Interstellar” and filled it with the latest reactions on Twitter.