So far in 2017

Update time! Firstly, thanks to my wife (and the folks at Squarespace!) I have a lovely new website to showcase the things I'm working on. My wife and I travelled to Yorkshire in March and I used the opportunity to do some filming in and around the Yorkshire dales. The colours and score which I ended up with during the post production ended up different to the feel of the place when I was actually there, but the video has a ethereal vibe that I felt was quite effective, so I went with it. Here it is below along with some more pictures on the day!

I've also been voraciously reading away at a number of books on filmmaking that have further piqued my interest in various topics. I'm finding the world of film to be fractal-like in that as I dive deeper into a given subject, I a discover a wealth of research and content available to me that ends up branching me out further and further into more areas to learn and gain an appreciation for - it's challenging, time consuming and above all, wonderful. To mention a couple of books I have read through lately that have stuck with me:

  • "The UK Scriptwriters Survival Handbook" by Tim Clague and Danny Stack - this is a book focusing on a pragmatic approach to perusing writing as it relates to the UK scene. I find this book particularly useful as resources on screenwriting in particular are often quite US-centric. The authors also produce a podcast with various topics and interviews which I find immeasurably insightful.
  • "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder - a book that appears to be so prolific in online screenwriting communities that i'm sometimes able to actually see the eye rolls across the internet whenever anybody mentions it as a discovery. I thoroughly enjoyed it; not because I treated it as a catch all code to write a pain-by-numbers screenplay, but because it highlighted to me the logic behind why certain sequences and events can be effective and how different stories that we know and love are connected with the structure of their respective story beats.
  • "The DV Rebel's Guide" by Stu Maschwitz - this is a reference guide to a wide range of topics as it relates to micro-budget, (sometimes "guerrilla style") indie filmmaking. It focuses on the action genre and visual effects, but touches on many useful topics for any genre. I found this book to be a great reference guide of suggestions to get great production value from indie films using affordable and pragmatic techniques. The author also blogs which is another useful resource on various topics.
  • "In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch - this is a relatively short read (it's based on the transcript of a lecture) but it's one of my most profoundly memorable books on filmmaking that I've read to date. Whilst it focuses on editing specifically, the way that the author postulates as to how film editing can be likened to how we perceive the world (by likening it to blinking), I found to be really effective and memorable. 

I have dozens of more books earmarked in a pile that I'm wading through - thoroughly enjoying the reads so far! I have no idea if to a film student these are considered essential reads or what, but learning through the osmosis of absorbing what they have to say whilst at the same time framing it all in the context of my own individual sensibilities has been really useful to me as I continue to make films.

More recently, I was able to use a bank holiday weekend to do some filming of an original piano composition of mine. It happened to be raining at one point that weekend so I used the opportunity to add in some shots of my garden! I also decided to use a variety of piano shots (in comarison to my other piano videos which focus on the hands in a static position). I had a less than graceful set up for one of the shots but it did the trick!

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Whilst a lot of my time has been invested in filmmaking endeavours, I'm still working away at various video game soundtracks which I'm really looking forward to sharing once they are complete! Some of the titles I'm writing original soundtracks for are Set in Stone, OAOA, Particles and a game I'm working on with my brother, tentatively titled Launch Party! As always watch this space for more info!

Matt Javanshir