Thursday, December 18, 2008

Principal Photography

Film Treatment

This short fiction film has very few dialogues between a young couple in the middle of a relationship crisis, while the rest work with the visuals, sound design, and musical score. The look exudes some coldness and superficiality, and yet, the characters become emotional from inside them. They are boxed up by the technology and lifestyle that try to cover up their deeper emotions through the gadgets and entertainment devices they utilize.

The film’s treatment would mainly center on a more character-driven aspect of storytelling
Knowing that the film requires a techie physicality from the movements of the characters, it is of key importance that the actors be able to exude such requirements while being emotional from inside – where the major external window into their deeper emotions would be their eyes, and in support to this would be the sound design and musical score utilized very distinctively and in line with the film’s very concept about technology and gadgets. The shots would generally be a combination of shots and moving shots that are always linear. In the same way, the mise-en-scené is filled with straight lines, no much curves and waves. The colors are in the neutral – whites, silvers, blacks, grays. The most colorful would be the presence of some shades of blue.

There is a tinge of quirkiness in some elements of the film – reflecting the techno, geeky, droll, and zany aspects that technology can bring to young adults. These are shown in the somehow exaggerated and considerably outlandish opening scene of the guy making his girlfriend’s face seem like a computer screen and her hand like the computer’s mouse, and the robotic movements of the characters by the last part of the film.

Most of the shots are very intimate. A bulk of the film is composed of tight shots. Some wide shots would show the straight lines and promote a futuristic and/or techie appeal. And by the film’s end, the shots and movements would look robotic. Things would seem like machines functioning. The robotic shots and movements of the people are mostly tight and intimate, and as a whole, rendering a factory function scene through them: the typing on keyboard, texting, calling, and taking photos.


This 5-minute fiction film is about how technology is starting to shape people to become too dependent on it that relationships and lifestyles are altered, and later on, possibly destroyed. At one point by now, our interactions to other people are becoming as robotic as the machines we use.

After the first three months that I, a filmmaker from a developing country as the Philippines, lived in Seoul, I have walked going to places, I have ridden the subway, the bus, the taxi. I have met various people along the way. And with the technology now, one common thing noticeable is how much technology has affected people’s lifestyle. Most listen to music or watch TV from their mobile phones more than talking to their companion in the subway or bus. People walk with earphones plugged on their ears without much caution on the important sounds they might need like the beeping of an unanticipated fast-speeding motorcycle about to bump them on the road. Or perhaps, an iPod addict from the sidewalk not hearing an old special friend riding the bus and calling his attention (and they have not seen each other for the last 10 years). Indeed, relationships and the ways of life have been greatly changed by technology.

For a foreigner artist from the Manila las me, how much do I lose every time I go to Korean tourist spots when I rather shoot with my SLR and video cameras rather than enjoying the very presence, the very feel of being in wonderful places through my own eyes? How much do I miss on the experience?

How much time do people spend online nowadays? How much time do people allot for personal meetings? In this fast-paced era filled with much technological innovation, it’s great to have many choices to keep in touch including the internet, mobile phone, telephone, and the considerably obsolete snail mail (though it still works on specific occasions). Greeting cards before, e-cards now. No need to go out to shop, just watch TV, dial the number, or surf the internet, key in the credit card number, and finish it with a click. In cars, the directions are provided by a piece of GPS-capable LCD screen. Lots of things are scan-friendly, touch-and-go, plug-and-play. Sensors and codes are used in lights, locks, and other security and convenient devices. There are so much things to do, there is too much work to finish. And it seems like there’s too little time. When could be the last moment a person yielded to the cliché of stopping for a bit and smelling the flowers?

Things are so easy, so convenient. Entertainment is mostly boxed up in gadgets. And in Korea, MP3 players and handyphones are now TV and small movie screens as well. One time, I was at the subway trying to observe people around, my imaginative mind actually saw a bunch of robots listening to their masters which turn out to be their mobile phones. People even miss out on the stations they should get off to because they are too preoccupied by what they’re watching. And by this time, I made this concept for the film. The story won’t say that technology is bad, it just wants to convey how technology should be in harmony with the way people should live their lives as human beings who feel, love, and appreciate the world more than just the convenience of technological breakthroughs. Human relationships are vital. Computers and gadgets should not rule the person. Rather, they should be utilized to make human lives better and more meaningful.

Quality time with a loved one should not be fully controlled by text messaging, voice calls, and video chats. Personal interaction should never be ignored.

There are moments that we should pause for a bit and realize how far we are digging into technology that we are starting to ignore too much about our relationships and what it means by quality time. Perhaps, we can keep both instead of falling too much on only 1 aspect and closing ourselves to it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Technophilia Shoot

A short film we shot in Seoul, Korea

Director: Rianne Hill Soriano; Director of Photography: Jano Mohammed; Production Designer: Rianne Hill Soriano; Art Director: Stephen Kochenash
Field Sound Recordist: Junghun Choi; Boom person: Katsudo Minei; Camera crew: Filmmakers from KAFA (Korean Academy of Film Arts); Production coordinators: Yoo-Sun Chung and Kiley Kyungmin Moon

Main Cast: Jin and Saekyung Lee
Supporting Cast: Ipod girls-Kiley Kyungmin Moon, Yumi Maenaka, and Katie Shasteen; PSP guy-Gino de Guia; Laptop girl-Kiyono Kakinuma; Mobile phone guy-Stephen Kochenash; Mp3 girl-Amy Bopp; Laptop guys-Tim Lee and Edvan Muslimy; Camera guy-Junghun Choi; internet guy-Katsudo Minei

Acknowledgments: Korean Film Council (KOFIC), KAFA (Korean Academy of Film Arts), Korea University (KU), and Rianne's friends in Korea

Monday, December 08, 2008

Pera-perahang Lata BTS #3 - Production Experience

BTS (Behind-the-scene) video (3 out of 4) for "Pera-perahang Lata" (Penny from the Tin Can) in partial fulfillment for my grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Videography by Dustin Uy
Music by Philip Arvin Jarilla