The SNU runs alongside the Masters unit, which means this is just for part time year one students – about 30 people over all courses. For Moving Image and Sound, that means 4 people, including me.

The summary was led by Suzie and Marie, but Judith, Rob, and James were also there. To summarise, SNU is like an extension of RIPU wherein we get to experiment and refine our ideas and our study. We are encouraged to use this module to show that we are a master of what we do, so I’ll be using it to work on my technical skills while evolving ideas from the previous two units. 

The four main points which were mentioned as targets were:

  1. Develop critical reflection,
  2. Encourage self direction and originality,
  3. Engage with creative industries,
  4. Enable independent learning and personal responsibility.

After a small break, Suzie had us pair up and consider one of the four Learning Outcomes. Emma and I had LO10: Generate work that demonstrates innovation in its approach; that challenges existing perspectives, and is responsive to discourse associated with your area of enquiry. We were asked to consider how we might approach that outcome in relation to our own study, and what would be considered an excellent piece of work and what would be considered a poor piece of work.

We both considered our work (Emma, story and narrative, me, documentary) and wrote down a few ideas. It didn’t make much sense as my notes were scribbles and disconnected, but Suzie asked us to talk to the group first, and this is pretty much what I said:

In regards to work that is “innovative in its approach”, I think my films this unit will be relatively unique as I am intending on making a series of artist profile where the style of the artist is reflected in the final film (much like my work with Laure last module, where her use of language and layering is visible in the film we did together).

I intend to research a wide area, including audiences, filmmakers, and artists, to see what the ‘existing perspectives’ are, regarding documentary filmmaking as a whole, but also online videos, artists profiles, and promotional videos. How are they seen, do they ever overlap, are they popular, has there ever been a change in style or form, etc… The research will include surveys, studies of historical changes in film over time, geography, and demographics, and experiments into how many different ways something can be portrayed on film (looking into form and style).

Finally, the main ‘areas of discourse’ relating specifically to my research would be in the documentary filmmaking mode, and how much input filmmakers should really have when it comes to documentary, but also, where the line is between, documentary, profile, and advertisement, when it comes to these films? 

All the tutors were quite complimentary of my level of understanding of the LO, but were quite concerned by the amount of work it was. Suzie even suggested that it was two year’s worth of work on its own and that I should consider not making anything this unit, which seems ridiculous. But overall, a promising start as everyone seemed happy with my summary. Suzie recommended I check out and Judith mentioned an artist called Richard Long who has just created a documentary which would apparently be useful to me. Other groups discussed other LO’s, but I’ve summarised those in my notebook so as not to create too much repetition.

We finished the session by trying to come up with 30 second ‘elevator pitches’ for our projects/research. I had a few ideas which I jotted down and then came up with the following, which I think pretty accurately sums up the work I’ll be doing this summer:

I will be creating a series of cinematic Moving Portraits of artists and artisans from the local area.
The format of the films will be led by the individual style of each subject and reflected in the content.
I’ll use voiceovers and background music, blended with personal imagery and emotive visuals to create films which invite audiences to learn through stories rather than facts.

I emailed this to Judith and she quite liked it. I also think that, as Rob suggested, I’m going to have a title for the work, and I think that will be Moving PortraitsIt works on two levels, which is nice.