Visual Communication: Pain (Cleo Film)

My Facebook friends know I’ve been working on this film for several weeks, and it’s finally done! There’s something satisfying about posting it online, like it makes it official. It’s a short film assignment for Directing class; topic — Pain.

Cleopatra (For Cleo) from Crystal Kingston on Vimeo.

Here’s the little blurb I wrote for the Vimeo description:

Picking the subject about pain was obvious. Cleopatra River Queen was our six year old Doberman, who died this year from congestive heart failure. We don’t have kids, so she was our baby. The last nine months of her life were hell, as my partner Piere and I watched her health continue to decline. Her life was prolonged by the use of medication and a change of diet (she ate better than we did!), but we knew it was just a matter of time. Some days were better than others. The last day of her life she was still chasing squirrels! She died in my arms on February 16th. I still miss her very much. Making this film was rough, but I’m glad I did. It gives me a lot of pleasure to watch her and remember the good times. She was amazing.

I hope you enjoy watching it.

PS Special thanks to Joni Mitchell, who always did know how to help me through the tough bits.

There’s so much more I could say… Dealing with the technical stuff helped me do the assignment. Of course at the last minute Premiere decided to go wonky on me, which by now I should know to plan for. It happens every time! I’m just glad I’m not up until 2am working on it.

Now, if I can get through the class without bursting into tears, I’ll be doing good.

Please feel free to comment. I have yet to have anyone post to my blog. C’mon! You could be the first!

I’d like say something about fiction vs non-fiction. I’m excited to work on some fiction. This film is a departure in some ways from my customary documentary outlook, though it does use some footage I shot while in “documentary mode.” I grew up reading books and watching films, so I adore fiction. I just have to wrap my mind around the whole directing thing. Something is starting to click.

This week I did my MAP (Montana Artrepreneurship Program) mentorship with Brandon Woodard. I should make a separate entry about it, because it was really a big deal for me. He’s a very good teacher, and an excellent DP. I was playing with my camera today and thinking about all the things he said. Thanks much, Brandon.

I have mixed feelings about school… I want it to be OVER, but I’m learning so much. I would have made this film very differently without the parameters we were given. The question is, though, would I have even made the film if I hadn’t been given the assignment? (Thank you Lynn-Wood!) Looking at footage of Cleo’s last days? Nope. Wouldn’t have gone there yet. I certainly wouldn’t have sat through all the old mini-DV footage to find what I needed. (Much of that footage is terrible, mostly because I never watched it so I wasn’t learning from my mistakes. The 7D changed all that.) I knew I’d shot a lot of adventures on the river, but half of my DVs aren’t even labeled! I was pretty pleased to find the race. That’s Maggie, by the way; our friend Adam’s dog. They used to have some great times.

Well, I’m rambling now. Better go, so I can get a decent night’s sleep for a change. Sweet dreams Cleo, and anyone else who may be reading this.

Here’s the YouTube link:

Note: They did it! I like the preview image too. I specifically uploaded the Vimeo image, but the YouTube version is a serendipitous happy accident.

Here’s the message I got from YouTube within minutes of uploading:

Dear CrystalKingstonFilms,

Your video “Cleopatra (For Cleo).mp4”, may have content that is owned or licensed by WMG, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, ads may appear next to it.

This claim is not penalizing your account status. Visit your Copyright Notice page for more details on the policy applied to your video.

– The YouTube Team

About admin

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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