If I was to be completely honest with myself, I can be defined by the term “avid overthinker.” When I was looking for inspiration for my first self-directed, filmed, and edited dance film I didn’t have to look very far. With the help of the lovely Lily Freidman, I got the chance to explore interesting ways to portray an overactive brain.
I present to you, Scatterbrained.
Not too long before I received the dance for camera assignment I went to an art exhibit at the Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus. One of the pieces was a collection of different black and white optical illusion clips entitled, “Mind’s Eye.” I immediately made the connection to my own thought processes and decided that I would want to explore the idea via dance whenever I got the opportunity.
Ironically, also around that same time, in my composition class we were showing our accumulation studies and Lily’s stuck out to me because there were parts that were evidently happy as well as parts that were evidently serious. I knew her study would be perfect if shot in room 370 in Sullivant Hall because of the weird lighting and white walls/gray floors that could give off that insane asylum vibe.
When it came time to shoot the actual video I only knew two things for sure: I wanted her to bring different items of clothing to show “different personalities” and I wanted a weird collection of thoughts to be the sound score for the film. So I started with the voiceover. I told her just to ramble off things off the top of her head which is why you hear her talking about things like the tripod or how many showers she takes a day. There were a lot of awkward moments that involved laughter from both of us that I originally wanted to cut out, but in the end I thought they added a nice touch.
I really couldn’t have come up with the concept if Lily had decided to create something else with her comp study. The contrast in ideas shown in her study went perfectly with the costume changes and although I’ve never recorded a dance film before, she was very easy to work with.
The editing process was probably the most stressful part of the process and the work that I completed the first day of editing was mostly mistakes and accidents that I thought ended up looking good. I knew that I wanted to layer videos and voiceover over each other in a way that seemed really random and scattered. I also wanted to speed things up to an abrupt stop at the end. I ended up putting her dance clips in a black and white 50s effect to represent her “thoughts”and being inside her brain while the videos of her talking or in her awake state were in color. The alarm at the end represented her waking up, kind of like when you’re sitting in your thoughts and someone snaps you out of it.
I’m very proud of the way that my first film turned out. I am so excited to create more work in the future.