In-Depth 2017 Post #1

My in-depth is art, specifically scenery and portrait drawing. That may be a tad blunt but I’d like to cut to the chase and tell you why. It wasn’t on a whim I chose art, not because I like how some art looks or because of some of the many interesting artist I know are, though those do play a factor. No, the reason I wish to explore art in my In-Depth is more to do with a frustration with myself and how my mind works.

I’m frustrated that I can’t translate what my eye’s can see to what my hands can do. I can think a thought and write that down and I can think about singing a G and I can vocalize it, so then why is it that I  my hands and eyes don’t work together like my mind and my mouth! When I write the words make sense (at least to me) and when I sing others know what note I’m sing to, so why is when I start to sketch the outline of a face my hands don’t create anything close to human! How do you create hair that looks the part? How does a person noes slope? How in the world do you draw ears? and hands? and eyes? and lips? These are questions I hope to answer with my In-Depth each one feels like a requirement so my hands and eyes can behave like my brain and my mouth.  This always been a very human problem of mine, that I’ll hopefully solve with my work this year. But there is another reason I chose this as my In-Depth a reason born less of frustration and more so happy memories.

A forgotten passion you could say, when I was younger I loved art. Through elementary school I drew every second, when we learned about animals I drew birds galore, when science was on the timetable I drew volcanoes, tornadoes, and thunder clouds, and if we dabbled in french I illustrated what I believed to be a true Frenchmen, a man in a zebra striped shirt and beret, holding a baguette, sporting a pinstripe moustache, standing beside the Eiffel Tower. It was a great outlet fro my thought as a kid but as time went on new opportunities opened up for what I could explore. Month by month I bounced from class to class learning and trying everything I could, from the culinary arts and sewing, to science, math, books and literature and beyond. As a result I drifted away from art, not on purpose but because there were so much else I hadn’t tried, so I set it on the back burner, and now with my In-Depth I’d like to take it off it.

The only problem as of this moment in time is that I’m still searching for a mentor. It’s hard to track down someone who is willing and not busy to the point of being impossible to get a hold of. But my hope is to find someone to work with who is willing and happy to help ASAP.

 

 

Buster Keaton Made a Lot of Hats (Document of Learning)

Throughout Buster Keaton’s career it’s a documented fact that Keaton and his wife made somewhere over a thousand of his pork pie hats. They were core to Keaton’s signature look; Keaton’s hat was his own creation. It was something that made him stand out from the crowd. It was akin to seeing Micheal Jackson with his one white glove, it was something distinctly him.

So I figured if I’m going to have to make a hat myself if I wanted to portray Keaton with any grain of salt. So that’s what I did, I made a hat to call my own.  It was much simpler than I thought it would be, simple enough that I could teach you in one blog post, you know like maybe this blog post… or maybe in this link.

Eminent Interview: Gerald Potterton

The person I had the pleasure of interviewing was Gerald Potterton. Gerald Potterton was the director of the final silent film Buster Keaton was a part of, The Railrodder, as well as many other films of his own creation, which for the most part were animated.

Gerald, due in part to the nature of my question, didn’t go in-depth about his past work but he talked briefly on some of the variance between his work with Buster and past projects.  He mentioned how with animation most of the work was planning, sketching,  and story boarding, but with Buster it was much more “spur of the moment”. They had the locations and they had the plot, but each gag and scene were changed constantly.

Further along in the interview I asked him how he had started working on this project, after all it’s not ever day you get to work with one of the greats of the silent area. The way Gerald explained it modestly as one part fault of a wise cracking co-worker and another part luck. Gerald had written a half page script for a short film titled   The Traveling Man. He imagined it at the time as an animation piece using a photographed actors head on an animated body as the figure travelled across Canada. While talking about it with some fellow animators over lunch one of them tossed out the idea of using “The Great Stone Face” himself Buster Keaton as the actor.  Gerald admitted he wasn’t sure if he was still “around”, until he remembered someone mentioning he was working on a film in New York. So he set off to meet with Buster in New York and discuss the possibility of working on The Travelling man with him.  “He read it, thought it was a crazy idea, and immediately said he would do it” Gerald said, he felt ecstatic after one of the greats agreed to work with him.

Towards the end of the interview I asked about how Buster Keaton left an impact on him.  His words were “it opened my eyes
up to his thorough thought process of how to plan and work out the workings and complexity of the gags n his films”.  He also mentioned how he realized the genius Buster really was and how  amazing The General, one of Buster’s most acclaimed works, was. It was obvious that after talking to Gerald he thought incredibly highly of Buster.

My take away from the interview in the end was this. Buster Keaton was a man who strives in a social atmosphere, he was unlike other visionary directors like that of Stanley Kubrick who were often described as cold and distant to their crew. Though like the other great directors he was someone who was passionate about his work, working tirelessly on his films. Every scene and every gag he put together was made with a purpose and a idea in his mind. Buster Keaton was a man who there to get the job done in the way he wanted to do it.

Introductions: Buster Keaton

Through Buster Keatons career he’s said he made himself somewhere in the hundreds of his famous pork pie hat. He’s also said he was lucky if only has to make a total of six each film; his hats were stolen, on set, off set, and everywhere in-between, everyone wanted a piece of The Buster Keaton. Who wouldn’t though? He was person willing to do the extreme to accomplish his vision. He jumped roof top to roof top, he sat on the treads of a moving train, and stood beneath a collapsing home. Every one of these scenes he directed, acted, produced and wrote, Buster was a something in-human.

“Buster” was born October 4th 1895, his full name is Joseph Frank Keaton IV; the story goes he was nicknamed “Buster” by Harry Houdini at only eighteen months old after falling down a flight of stairs, after which Houdini exclaimed “that was a real buster!”. He spent his early life performing in vaudeville with his parents even then he was known to be knocked around, his father frequently threw him around, almost like a rag-doll, keeping to Buster’s name. This is also where he started to do his famous “dead-pan” expression, something that would be carried with him once he went to film.

Once he turned twenty and hit his stride, he began his career in film. He quickly gained notoriety as “The Great Stone Face” a man who created scenes that rivaled and surpassed the greats! He worked under Fatty Arbuckle (another comic of the time) but stole the show with his personal brand of comedy and with stunts that rivaled the famous Houdini. By the age of 25 he directed, he wrote, he produced, and he stared in his own films. He crashed into the industry like a wrecking ball, creating comedy and stunts that would inspire future generations. You can see him in the camera work of Wes Anderson, the acrobatics and stunts of Jackie Chan, the dead-paned behavior of Bill Murray and movement of robin Williams; Buster Keatons work exists in every nook and cranny of cinema today.

Knowing Buster Keaton’s legacy has staying power, drew me to him. I saw the roots of visual comedy, the core of a genre. He someone who paved the way for great directors like Edgar Wright and others who want to look beyond the cage many comedic directors found themselves in. Keaton’s films have opened the field for anyone wishes to give visual comedy shot, as long as your willing to get some bruises.

Though the paved path he’s laid isn’t without a barrier to entry. Before I can connect with Buster and follow his footsteps I need to learn how to tell a story through action. During the age of silent films to convey story the average film used around two-hundred title cards, the most Buster ever used was fifty-six. An astounding number if you think about it, with only fifty-six that would mean that he would only use the barest of the bare minimums. He didn’t bother adding dialogue to an entire conversation if believed if he could show it through body language alone, and Buster was a master of showing through actions. On the other hand, I think I struggle with telling stories through action, so I hope to progress this while I study how to be Buster Keaton. Also as I work towards becoming Buster on The Night of the Notable I hope to inch myself towards a more action oriented person, someone able to convey their thoughts through what they do and not always what they say.

Moving away from how we differ Buster Keaton on top of his vast list of qualities was also an improviser. He worked with his failures and the parts he didn’t plan for. He went into every film with fifty percent in his head and the rest to be decided, it made his work seem real, like it was made for you personally. I feel like anyone and certainly I can relate to this, never when I work on something do I come in with every piece planned out, I’ll have the outline but the in-between is always something conceived with some quick thinking. With Buster this added this added personality to many of his films, I hope to capture this personality at my learning centre.

In conclusion, Joseph Frank Keaton IV is a director/actor/writer/producer with works that have branches growing around and within the works of countless eminent directors, actors, writer’s and producers in the current day, with not few but many who play homage to his most and least famous scenes. The Great Stone Face is a man I highly anticipate portraying.

In-Depth #1

My choice of category when it comes to in-depth?

Cooking, to be more specific, fusion cooking.

I chose this out of the thousands if not hundreds of thousands other topics to explore, I chose it over weightlifting, over business, over painting… you get my point. But I chose it over these for a reason, passion.  I feel passion every time I cook it’s where I find a chance to let loose, so I felt like it was, for a person such as myself, where I should I go “In-depth” beyond my normal scope in its terms. So I quickly found where the unexplored territory of this subject lied for me and that was fusion cooking. The combination of two cultural styles and cookery, it isn’t just me making Thai food, it would be me making a blend of cultural quirks. I want to mash them so to as make them unidentifiable as one culture’s dish, it won’t just be Mexican food, it will be some kind west coast mash of the local ingredients and the spicing of Mexico.

To go along with this I’ve set my goal for this project to fit its theme of cohesion and blending, specifically I’ve set my goal as  to create not just a dish a repertoire of dishes. I want them to bring out and show what I’ve learned, they must make heavy use of the fresh ingredients grown or caught around us in  my city, so it can not just just be combination of cultures but also something that can only be made here.

Fusion cuisine from the restaurant Bambudda

Lastly the topic of my mentor, someone I still haven’t found yet. I’ve worked to find one, emails sent out in abundance, though they all say that they are too busy with their workload. Though, I push on and I continue to search for a mentor and as to make up for the time lost I’ve enrolled in a cooking course to help with the time in between when I come into contact with  someone available and now.

The Zip Process

The process of Zip project was an interesting one, at least for me. It started as exploration into a genre of public speaking but turned into me finding how to relate to audiences.

From every speech I heard there was one thing that was consistent, It was suited to the audience. They connected like no other public speaker, they found ways to relate, ways to understand, ways to get the audience to visualize. They motivated audiences using memory’s they knew audience could relate to, they connected with them. That connection spring boarded into their speech and was the basis of their motivational energy, the energy that powered their speech.

After that I knew what was what I believed the apex of motivational speaking, where I should aim for. So of course I began to take notes, notes on vocal techniques, hand motions, so on and so forth. This is where I spent the majority of my time on this project, watching speeches and analyzing them for the small details. I used this information to refine my speech, I learned to keep it short and sweet, I learned to use terminology that is relatable to my audience, and I learned to create an image in my audience’s minds. So I gathered these notes together I made my speech.

The Influence of Ideas

Now that the first term is over, I have been left thinking about socials, and what I believe we’ve learned. And what I’ve believed we’ve learned, which is, “with new ideas comes change” is the fundamental point of this post.  Though others would disagree, to me it seems obvious, from Columbus and The English Civil War to the current day election and Eminent these all show change through new ideas more so than anything else. Be it through conflicting ideas or a whole new way of discrimination, it’s evident (in my opinion) that this is what largely what this first term has been based around.

Discrimination

Image result for christopher columbus

Columbus was the person I was speaking of when I mentioned “a whole new kind of discrimination”, because he was the one who brought discrimination on massive scale to an entire continent worth of people. The cause of this? His idea of the first nations being less than people effected the first nations with more than just discrimination, it brought  genocide. But that is just cause and effect, this unit (Christopher Columbus) also showed off the idea of change and stagnation. The largest example of this being the European’s stagnant behavior in regards to their treatment of others and the idea’s they brought with their stagnation, that forced the first nation to change their way of life. They we’re literally torn form their homes and forced into slavery or killed outright. Columbus’s idea’s not only invoked change but also discrimination.

Conflict

Conflict was a topic that came in abundance through out this first term, but I believe the prime example of this was the English Civil War. In a war there is with no doubt, no lack of conflict, so as we studied the cause of this momentous battle through passages in peoples writing’s and the idea’s of the opposing sides, clashing, hoping to make change.  We got to look in from our unique perspective as those observing and debating there ideas (in countless class discussions). So in this conflict, on a country so important, this internal conflict, effect’s the world not just the country, we got utilize its conflict’s and effects, its change and stagnation, to create our own mock realization of its ideas. In the for of The Trial of the King.

Revolution

The Trial of the King was the moment, I looked beyond just the conflict of idea’s and literal conflict of the English Civil War and saw it for what it wanted to achieve, it’s effect not its cause, revolution. This trial played parallel to current event of the time, the election, and through constant comparing you could see there similarity’s. Stephen Harper was the 2015 equivalent of Charles the First, and much like Charles, people wanted a “revolution”. They wanted Harper out, as to force him to stop plaguing the people and to head way for someone new, someone different. These comparisons continued for awhile, even after the trial, because they stuck with people, much like gum to the sole of your bootSo after debating this comparison for a while I realized more on this topic in particular, I realized that it wasn’t just “new ideas that brought change” it was ideas themselves.

Conclusion

This term of socials I believe has been one of great value to me. It has shown me the influence exerted through ideas brought to the public more so than anything else before it. With countless lessons on ideas of cause and effect,  racial discrimination, and change because if them, I believe socials 9, so far, has promoted my understanding of the idea of the idea, to level of new depth.

A Bibliography of Stephen Colbert

Image result for Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert (Character): Wikipedia

A document I used to fill in the gaps of my knowledge, though there are some very intriguing facts contained within it.

Image result for the colbert report

The Colbert Report (Clips and Episodes)

A small library on all of the works of The Colbert Report. This show was incredibly lucrative to finding the core to my eminent person, I used this for the majority of the information I needed on his character.

The Colbert Super PAC: Wikipedia

A block of information, as Wikipedia articles normally are. Though essential for finding many specifics, number wise while looking into this portion of his life.

colbert rally
[Art From: Todd Lockwood]

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear: Wikipedia

You may have noticed a common theme, but this Wikipedia article, is again just there to fill in the specifics that I don’t have from the show.

Now to summarize, it is quite obvious that the vast majority of my knowledge I used was from the show. But with an episode count totaling at 1,447, It’s obvious why there are only small gaps of info to fill in.

 

My Document of Learning- Eminent Edition

My Eminent Speech, painful as it was to create I enjoyed it. It was painful not because of the subject matter, in fact I really enjoyed watching Colbert Report episodes, it was painful because of the critic inside of me. I would constantly go back and rewrite paragraphs, I spent hours on the beginning and end by themselves. But in the end I quieted my inner critic and work through my speech and by the end of it I had probably erased and restarted no less than five times.

So here, below this post is one of those states of my speech. Featuring many grammatical errors, clunky sentences, and none of the highlighting for my actual performance. But it was document that shows my learning (see what I did there?).

Stephen Colbert- from the perspective of his glasses

          I am the lens that he sees the world from; I mean literally, I am his glasses.  The glasses that have sat on his face and have been the lenses of which he perceives from, for *pause* close to twenty minutes now, since when his makeup staff put me on him. Which though is kind of “not long” per say, it’s long enough for me to understand *pause* that this man, is really nervous. He’s nervous not because this is his first time walking on this stage, he’s nervous because it’s his last time on The Colbert Report.

Last times can be nerve wracking for anyone; they’re a culmination of all that you’ve done and when “all that you’ve done” includes work important enough to receive notoriety that he is the best at what he does the pressure can be worse than nerve wracking. I can tell you it’s worse not from just the memories I get that help him perceive the world, but also from the way he stares through my glass lenses in fear of the stage that he’ll screw up.  But I then notice how he changes his glare to one not of fear but of determination, because today is not a day to mess about, today is a day for triumph! Because who else can you tell of, is important enough to receive no less than five species of animals named after him… That’s right folks a man honored by his peer as “one of the best at what he does” is award the honor of having a spider, a second specious of spider, a beetle, a fly, and a wasp named after him. But in all seriousness he has accomplished something much more important than the naming of insect species, he has influenced politics like no other comic of the twenty first century.

I can tell you he sees himself as influent, because when he looks through me and stares at the audiences on the walk across the stage. He sees them cheering, shouting his name and he remembers and I learn why he is important. He remembers that he was the one that explained, as satirically as possible; why you should vote Conservative and that many corporate owners are the real victim. He remembers that his particular brand of comedy is what inspires and entertains people to look from a different perspective, to change your point of view, to understand one and other. *pause*

We finish our walk and take a seat on the Colbert Report set, made up of Star – Spangled Banner on top of American flag, surrounded by important items like Stephen’s Captain America Shield and his second, third, and fourth American flag; I think they make him fell “at home”. Well at least the character he’s constructed. Because the character he’s made is one part “well-intentioned, poorly informed high-status idiot” and a second part “self-important right-wing commentator”, which clash to create… a relevant and entertaining news show, What, that can’t be true. But it is, with careful consideration on the satire he uses for news, Stephen’s has made a character he’s pushed to accomplish his greatest feats of influence. Influent enough to push to create a rally along with Jon Stewert’s to criticize the role press plays in political debate’s, which actually worked! With close to two-hundred and fifteen thousand people who attended.

But the much more important creation stemming from his character was the “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow”, better known as the “Colbert Super PAC”. This Super PAC was created in parody of another super PAC at the time, but ended up increasing to a level beyond the original and after asking for donations from those who watched the show or otherwise wanted to support it they received OVER ONE MILLION DOLLAR’S worth of donations. They used to assist Stephen’s run for “The President of the United States of… South Carolina” though running for state office forced him to leave his super PAC, he quickly become a “volunteer” for it. But in doing so the PAC’s name changed to that of “The Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC”. Once his election and one commercial, made seemingly made just to spite Mitt Romney, came to an end so did the super PAC. And when it finally shut down Stephen, along with the rest of the organization, had the rest of the PAC, totaling at eight hundred thousand dollars, donated to charity.

To summarize, before the show comes to an end, Stephen Colbert is man who convinces others to see from his perspective, my perspective, as to achieve goals beyond one mans, and to spread opinions that should be known by many.  And now as the show, finally comes to a close, and I approach almost an hour of sitting atop Stephen Colbert’s face! The episode doesn’t only come to a close but so does the show in its entirety, as well as the character of Stephen Colbert. This makes Stephen a rare kind of man, one who gets to attend his own funeral.

Lacking a Interview

I’ll be honest, I failed to get an interview, but it’s not due to a lack of trying. To be honest, (again) I sent out dozen of emails, and they all shared one quality they aimed to high. I sent E-mail to Stephen Colbert himself, to famous American Politicians (and not so famous ones), other famous comics… you get my point. So now I have no interview, but I do have… regret.

I have regret for things outside of my control but more so I regret for, as mentioned, aiming to high. I have much to say about this as not having an interview has irritated me, to say the least, since I began my speech. It’s mostly irritated me because I was never even close to getting one, it was always “not at this time” or no reply at all. I realize now that was likely due to me, messaging some very busy people, and I realize that. But at the time I was racking my brain to figure out why all these people are so busy!

I now (obviously) realize the reason I had no interview, beyond their apparent business, was me shooting for the stars. Because when you aim for the stars you kinda expect to fall. I grew blind to this, so thinking back on it, it is not surprising I failed. I should have aimed for people easier to come into contact, lower on the totem pole you could say. So in the end I failed, but I can learn from it.

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