Visual Communication — Lessons Learned

For our final visual communication assignment, Lynn-Wood has asked us to make a short piece describing what we learned this semester in her Directing class. As always, my mind began to swirl!
Oh, to have wings…

Limitations. That’s a big part of what I learned. It’s always an important — nay, crucial — part of any project. You have to be able to critically access the logistical factors. Even though that’s the producer’s job, the director has to have a deep understanding of it too. What’s the budget? How much time do we have? The director gets the fun job of dreaming it up, that’s true, but their inner-producer has to rein it in, bring it back to earth… especially when you’re working in a group.

I know, you were expecting me to joyously describe how wonderful it all is! After all, I waited so long to go to film school, and have sacrificed so much to be here! There have been moments of ecstasy, truly! This class has been great for helping me see how all the disparate elements of film come together; things and people… when we can work as a team. This class in particular has been fun because of the great people in it, not just the skills I learned. If filmmaking is indeed about working in groups — as Lynn-Wood keeps reminding me — perhaps one of the most important lessons is pick the right team! On a Hollywood movie, you don’t get to do that. I don’t think I’ll be going to Hollywood… not any time soon, anyways.

I’m so glad this semester is almost over. I’ve had no less than four group projects to do for other classes this month, some of which have given me no end of grief. Is it me? I’ve done a lot of soul searching. Some of it is me, I’m sure, but I’m letting myself off the hook for some of it too! This semester has been about navigating for that place in-between; finding a balance between being teachable and acknowledging what I already know. I’m old enough to be the instructors’ mother, in many cases, not to mention the students’, and I’ve been an artist for a long time. I’m guessing it would be very different if I were working on my Masters. By then, there’s an assumption you know what you’re doing, to a degree, and you have some credibility. My peers would be focused, dedicated filmmakers… and older, so they might understand me better. There’s been a lot of walking on eggshells this term.

So what do I wanna be when I grow up? Hmmm… I’m really enjoying so many things about film, and next semester I have animation and motion, acoustics, and two other relevant classes. Grad school? Perhaps, but I’ve recently decided not to go until after I have some time to practice what I’ve learned. I know I came here to find a way to integrate my beloved artforms of writing, music, visuals, and movement. I loved Dale’s sound class too, and did some composing again this term, which was fabulous. (The song in this piece was made with the gracious help of my dear friends Abby Coleman and Tabitha Hall — thank you so much!) I wrote short scripts; did narrative and documentary-style filming; I learned a lot about my camera and cinematography. All are important elements of film, any of which could stand alone or work together. Since I’m all about complicating things, I think you can guess where I’m going with this!

In May we’ll be reopening the restaurant, unless Piere’s work scene stays steady. My biggest concern is that it doesn’t take over my life. Maybe I’ll take this year to make my reel, then try to get into a really good school. I have one picked out. Getting in there would be a real achievement. So many dreams. I hope the world doesn’t end on December 21st!

Happy holidays, everyone. Thanks for everything. Make film!

What I Learned… from Crystal Kingston on Vimeo.

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Artist-owned giclee print shop and art gallery in NW Montana, on the Flathead River near the National Bison Range. Free delivery to Missoula. Crystal is just a few assignments away from completing her BA in Media Arts at the UofM Missoula.
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