Tell us a bit about your course and what you are working on at the moment.
AR: We're both second year students studying Film Studies at LJMU. The course is split 70/30 academic/practical, which gives us time to work extensively on two projects throughout the academic year. Currently, I am working in a group on a fictional film exploring crime and neo/noir genres. We have permission to film at the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse, which is now being renovated, so we will be some of the last people to film there! Academically, Adam and I are both working on three other modules which include gaining work experience opportunities, and studying Film Adaptation and Contemporary American Cinema. I'm also in the Filmmaker’s Club, working on several cross-curriculum practical projects with students from other year groups and courses.
AJ: The practical and theory-based modules on the Film Studies degree have helped to give me a better understanding of how a film goes from the initial idea to its release and reception, including all areas of production. I am currently in the pre-production phase on my second fiction film assignment for which I am working with 4 other students in my class. During this collaborative effort, I have discovered I am most interested in sound design and foley, and these assignments allow me to explore the various creative possibilities within such areas.
What inspired you to get into filmmaking?
AR: I have always enjoyed watching films and been fascinated with how they are made - when I was younger, I would always buy double disc DVDs so I could watch how everything was done before I watched the film itself. When I was a teenager, I started to make short films with friends and that is when I decided film making was what I wanted to do. I went on to take Film and Media Studies at A-Level, which progressed to university. I have pursued that passion ever since, whether that be through education, or whenever I could get my hands on the necessary equipment - often my phone or a cheap camera.
AJ: I got into filmmaking initially through my passion and interest in music. I first became aware of the power of sound and music during my time studying Music Technology in college, for which I did a module on Music in Film. It was when I studied Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976) for an assignment that I realised how much impact Bernard Herrmann’s scoring contributes towards the understated atmosphere of the film. This acted as a gateway for me to begin an understanding of, interest in and passion for, films.
What are your favourite films and which film professionals do you admire most?
AR: There aren't many films that I don’t enjoy, because I love film. Stylistic films are my favourite to watch, most recently, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Generally, my favourite films, although it is a very popular answer, are Quentin Tarantino’s. I want to become a cinematoggrapher, and one of my favourites is Robert Richardson, who has worked extensively with Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone. Richardson's films include Casino and Django Unchained, and he is also working on Tarantino’s new film, The Hateful Eight, which I’m greatly anticipating! I also enjoy the work of Roger Deakins, in particular, the films he has made with the Coen Brothers such as, No Country for Old Men and Fargo.
AJ: It’s difficult to choose a handful of films out of the many that I particularly enjoy. When it comes to filmmakers, I enjoy the works of Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Thomas Anderson, Akira Kurosawa amongst others. My biggest interest is sound design, so I admire pioneering designers such as Ben Burtt (who worked on the Star Wars Saga and Wall-E) along with his pupil, Gary Rydstrom (Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan). More current examples would be Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) and Interstellar (2014) – both with sound design by Richard King, along with Glenn Freemantle’s designing on Gravity (Cuaron, 2013) which I believe have reasserted the power and influence of sound and how it can be used to produce emotive responses in an audience.
Tell us what you thought of the Type Motion exhibition - which works were your favourite?
AR: Overall, the exhibition was excellent. I’d seen some artwork using typography before but this was different and much more interesting, and I really enjoyed the interactive displays and the typography film posters, particularly because I have studied some of the films represented in the posters and many are amongst my own collection! I found that the film posters were representative of the films themselves, rather than the generic cinematic posters you see.
AJ: It was a fascinating exhibition that brought light and attention to that of another overlooked form used within film, much like sound, and has certainly given me a lot to think about with regards to how sound can be applied to space in order to establish a mood. The exhibition in gallery one that had a speaker for each screen, all playing at different times, combined with a general background soundscape inspired me to not just to think about how sound can be applied to film, but also how it contributes towards turning the space of the cinema into a unique world of a three-dimensional film world (or 4D – thanks to 3D glasses).
Did you enjoy the interactive elements of the exhibition?
AR: Very much. Growing up with technological developments has meant there is always something new happening, and to go to an art exhibition and be able to interact with the pieces was something I hadn’t experienced before. The simulator was excellent - it's really good to know such a modern gallery exists here in Liverpool.
If you could create a film to represent Type Motion what would you do and why?
AJ: I would also want to stress the importance of typography and the use of text in film, so bearing that in mind could possibly take such an idea down the avenue of a silent film, which would re-introduce the use of intertitles to the text, similar to that of The Artist (Hazanavicius, 2011). Or, I might possibly include text within the film as a mode of information delivery to the protagonist, possibly a form of conspiracy-based detective crime thriller that involve capitalists (antagonists) that have their main mode of communication or control delivered through that of advertisement, with a detective (protagonist) who has to analyse such adverts in order to decipher them.
Wow, some brilliant ideas! What did you learn about FACT on your visit that surprised you most?
AR: I learnt that FACT has many more media platforms to offer to the public. I knew that FACT had galleries as well as cinemas, but I wasn’t aware of the breadth of work that FACT has incorporated into the building. I was also surprised by the level of interactivity in the Type Motion exhibition, and to hear about the in-house film production team.
Speaking to our resident filmmakers, has this inspired you to pursue your interests?
AR: Most definitely. Speaking to Carl from the production team and hearing how he ended up working in the industry helped me realise there are many paths to get into film making. As the film industry is a hugely competitive field, the idea of exploring different opportunities has helped me to pursue my goals and push on for what I want in the future.